For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS MINAS J165 / 189
Named for Minas Basin in the Bay of Fundy, she was built at Vancouver and commissioned there 02 Aug 1941. She sailed for Halifax on 13 Sep 1941, arriving on 19 Oct 1941. After brief service with Sydney Force, she was assigned in Jan 1942, to Newfoundland Force. In Nov 1942 she transferred to WLEF, and when WLEF was divided into escort groups in Jun 1943, she became a member of EG W-7. That December she was re-assigned to W-4. On 01 Feb 1943, she collided with HMS Liscomb outside Halifax, necessitating a month's repairs. Minas left Halifax for the U.K. on 20 Feb 1944, with Blairmore, Fort William and Milltown, via the Azores. on arrival in the U.K. on 08 Mar 1944, she was assigned to the 31st Minesweeping Flotilla for invasion duties, and was on hand on D-Day. In Sep 1944 she proceeded to Canada to refit at Dartmouth, N.S., returning to Plymouth in Jan 1945. There she rejoined the 31st Flotilla until she sailed again for Canada on 04 Sep 1945. She was paid off into reserve at Shelburne on 06 Oct 1945, and later moved to Sorel, but was re-acquired by the RCN in 1952 and re-commissioned on 15 Mar 1955 for training on the west coast. Paid off on 07 Nov 1955, she was sold in Aug 1958, and broken up at Seattle in 1959.
Minas' return to Canada: After the invasion of Normandy and after we had completed most of the work that we needed to do there, we got sent back to Canada for a refit and I remember the day, we got word, pick up a convoy that was sailing back to Canada, to America. And we headed from the English Channel out, we were working in the English Channel at the time and we headed into the Atlantic to pick this convoy and we went by the Channel Islands. At this time, the Channel Islands had not yet surrendered and theyíre still occupied by Germans. And of course, to us, I guess we didnít know it at the time and we could see the beach over there on our left and we could see the water actually slopping up on the beach and we were sailing past it, happy as hell, heading back to Canada when all of a sudden, the big guns on the island start firing on us. We were a little minesweeper all by ourself. The old man [Lt. James Barrett Lamb], quick thinking guy, he just ordered the ship to turn toward the island and the next salvo, you know, these are 12 inch guns I think, and the next salvo went over the top and some of them exploded in the air and some of them, when they hit the water. And then he ordered black smoke. (Source: The Memory Project - excerpt for the entry of William Lorne Empey)
Minas' return to Canada: Minas had been working off the coast of France when it was ordered back to Canada and the skipper, James B Lamb, wanted to take the shortest route possible. He didnít take into account that the Channel Islands were still in German hands and that his course was well within the range of their big guns. All hell was breaking loose around them and the skipper had ordered smoke but for some unknown reason there was none. My father (Hugh Menzies) was not on watch at the time and made his way to the engine room as fast as he could and was able to produce the requested smoke screen. According to my father, the stoker on duty was quite notorious for making smoke when not required or wanted and when they needed it badly it couldnít be produced. He explained that the some damage was done to the superstructure and the crew was told to keep quiet about it and as far as I know the incident was never reported. My father and the rest of the crew had a good deal of respect for Lamb even though he was younger than many of them. (From the memoirs of Hugh Cameron Menzies, Sto PO, submitted by his son Bill Menzies)
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