For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS GEORGIAN J144
Commissioned at Toronto on 23 Sep 1941, Georgian arrived at Halifax on 13 Oct 1941. On completing workups she was assigned to Sydney Force, but in Jan 1942, she joined Newfoundland Force and remained with it until Feb 1944. Through a tragic error on 12 Jun 1942, she rammed and sank the British submarine P.514 off Newfoundland.
It was just after midnight on 21 Jun 1942. The tragedy took place off Cape Race when the path of the eastbound submarine & her corvette escort, which were heading for St. John's from Argentia, intercepted that of a westbound convoy CL.43 being escorted by the minesweeper. Problems with one of the ships in CL.43 had delayed the start of the convoy & it was several hours behind schedule. At the same time an eastbound convoy, SC.88, which had been blown north of its intended track, intercepted & passed through CL.43. The situation was confusing & dangerous. Visibility was poor & the night sky was overcast with frequent mist patches. Georgian detected approaching diesel engine HE on her hydrophones & turned onto the bearing to investigate. When the lookouts spotted the submarine the helm was immediately put over & she rammed P.514 amidships. According to one testimony, the submarine's navigation lights flicked on, then off. According to the CO of the corvette escorting P.514, her lights had been on for some time. The bridge personnel in Georgian could look down into the bridge of the submarine & they observed that it was empty & the hatch was shut. At 00:40 hours Atlantic Time, the submarine went down in 27 fathoms. There were no survivors. A lone body was spotted in the water at the time but sank before it could be recovered. The body of ERA, N.C. Bennett came ashore near Ferrylands a month later. He was interred in the local graveyard with full military honors. At the enquiry, no blame was attached to anyone concerned. It was NSHQ policy then, & throughout the war, to not inform escort forces of the movements of Allied submarines for fear they would hesitate in attacking U-boats. The only measure of safety offered to Allied submarines passing through an operational area was the establishment of temporary no-attack zones for aircraft, but the submarines were always on their own when it came to both ships & aircraft.
Nominated for duties in connection with the invasion of Europe, she left Halifax on 18 Feb 1944,with Bayfield, Mulgrave and Thunder for Plymouth via the Azores, arriving on 07 Mar 1944. Assigned to a series of minesweeping flotillas, particularly the 14th, she was present on D-Day. She returned to Canada in Jan 1945, for refit at Lunenburg, N.S., then returned to the U.K. for service with the 31st Flotilla in Apr 1945. That fall she sailed again for Canada, where she was paid off at Sydney on 23 Oct 1945 and laid up at Shelburne until sold for scrap.