HMCS SARNIA J309 / 190


Bangor Class Minesweeper




Gunshield art



Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1942-43,   Gulf of St. Lawrence  1942



Laid down: 18 Sep 1941

Launched: 21 Jan 1942

Commissioned: 13 Aug 1942

Paid off: 28 Oct 1945

Re-acquired by RCN: 1951

Transferred to the Turkish Navy: 29 Mar 1958

Paid off: 1972

Fate: Unknown


Commissioned at Toronto on 13 Aug 1942, SARNIA arrived at Halifax on 22 Sep 1942, having escorted a Quebec-Sydney convoy en route, and was assigned to Newfoundland Force. In Sep 1944, she underwent a major refit at Lunenburg, and on completion went to Bermuda in Nov 1944 to work up. On her return to Canada she was assigned to Halifax Force and, later, to Halifax Local Defence Force until Jun 1945. On 16 Apr 1945, she rescued survivors of HMCS ESQUIMALT, torpedoed outside Halifax. She then performed miscellaneous duties until paid off on 28 Oct 1945, at Sydney and laid up at Shelburne. In 1946 she was placed in strategic reserve at Sorel and in 1951 re-acquired by the RCN and extensively refitted. She did not re-commission, however, and on 29 Mar 1958 was transferred to the Turkish navy to serve until 1972 as Buyukdere.


The following was submitted by Liam Dwyer, PO ERA, HMCS SARNIA - When we were operating out of St. John's, it was not unusual to sweep up to 12 to 15 mines in a patrol. We had both the paravane sweep and the electrical magnetic field sweep known as the LL Sweep. When we were in operating out of Newfie John you could cut the tension on the ship with a knife. One stoker PO sabotaged the steering hydraulics on the ship and was taken ashore under handcuffs by the Mounties; the Captain became a hopeless alcoholic and had to be taken off; and a seaman went nuts and thought he was some one else. When we did the LL Sweep I had to start up a big Allis-Chalmer diesel to supply electricity to a bladder with two electrodes on it. This bladder was paid out from the stern from a great spool of rubber coated wire. The sparking of the two electrodes would set up a magnetic field triggering the mechanism of the German mines tethered to the bottom the mine would surface and we would destroy it with gun fire. One time we had to bring a mine in for examination by a RN specialist. It broke loose from it's lashing and was free on the deck. The captain mustered all the crew forward of the bridge. Me, being junior ERA got stuck in the engine room with one oilier. (Webmaster's note: This is the oft forgotten part of the war - everyone has heard about the minesweeping operations for D-Day, but nothing is mentioned about the minesweeping off of Canada's shores and the hardships these sailors endured.)


The following was submitted by Lou Howard, SLt, HMCS SARNIA - The following officers were on HMCS SARNIA when she rescued the crew from HMCS Esquimalt - Lt. R. Douty, CO; Lt. Morris C. Shonfield, XO; SLt Pat Salter, E.O.;  Lt. Jack Cantril, Signals; Lt. Bill Brown, NavO; Lt. Doug Kirby, Asdic; SLt Lou Howard, bridge watch keeper (and took over from Brown and Kirby as Nav & Asdic)



Photos and Documents          Ship's company photos          The Ship's Bell



RCN Memories:     Crew Member Purrfected Direction Finding     SARNIA Sails With WRENS .... And A Wife     The Picnic



Commanding Officers


Lt Charles A. Mott, RCNR - 15 Jun 1942 / 13 Aug 1942 - 10 Feb 1943

Lt David Ireland McGill, RCNVR - 11 Feb 1943 - 17 Jul 1943

Lt Richard Cassels Chenoweth, RCNVR - 18 Jul 1943 - 1 Mar 1944

Lt Herbert Allan Plow, RCNVR - 13 Mar 1944 - 24 Jun 1944

Lt Roland Douglas Hurst, RCNVR - 25 Jun 1944 - 09 Oct 1944

Lt Robert Percy Joel Douty, RCNVR - 10 Oct 1944 - 21 Sep 1945

Lt D.M. Mossop, RCNVR - 22 Sep 1945 - 28 Oct 1945



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Adam, George F.

Ahern, Maurice F.

Barnard, W.H.

Bieber, Edgar E.

Boggild, Kai H.

Brisky, Mitchell

Brown, William G.

Cantril, Frederick E.J.

Douty, Robert P.J.

Dwyer, Liam D.

Finkbeiner, Howard

Fraser, John L.


French, Winston O.

Gudewill, Edward H.

Henricksen, Christian J.

Howard, Louis H.

Hurst, Roland D.

Jandras, Henry L.

Kinchen, George A.

Kirby, Charles D.

Kirkland, Edwin S.

Knight, Roland B.

Loewen, Calvin

Marsh, Gordon H.

Martin, Louis B.

McDougall, Leo S.

McMurray, Leonard D.

McTavish, Gordon B.

Mercer, W. John

Moskos, Leo J.

Mott, Charles A.

Pendergast, James E.

Regimbal, Daniel J. J.

Robinson, J. W. David

Saint Louis, Joseph A.

Salter, Albert E.

Shonfield, Morris C.

Simpson, Russell G.

Stemmler, Leslie

Stokes, J.

Stronach, Robert W.

Townsend, Daniel T.

Tucci, Albert

Walsh, Thomas R.




Photos and Documents


(L-R) SLt Lou Howard and Lt Morris Shonfield, HMCS SARNIA


Courtesy of Lou Howard, MID, RCNVR


Survivors of the minesweeper HMCS Esquimalt, which was torpedoed by the German submarine U-190 on 16 Apr 1945, disembarking from the rescue minesweeper HMCS SARNIA, Halifax, NS on 16 Apr 1945.


Source: Lt Richard G. Arless / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-157033


Click here to view the photo with each sailor numbered


(3) Ahern, Maurice F. (Moe)



Survivors of the minesweeper HMCS ESQUIMALT, which was torpedoed by the German submarine U-190 on 16 Apr 1945, disembarking from the rescue minesweeper HMCS Sarnia, Halifax, NS on 16 Apr 1945.


Source: Lt Richard G. Arless / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-157021


Click here to view the photo with each sailor numbered


(6) Burch, Robert Charles


Reunion of crew and survivors from HMCS SARNIA and HMCS Esquimalt, 1996, SARNIA, Ont


(L-R) Frank Smith (Esquimalt), Albert Campbell (Esquimalt), Joe Wilson (Esquimalt, , John Sargent (Esquimalt), Ken Bexrud (Esquimalt), Lou Howard (SARNIA), unknown, Howard (Doc) Finkbeiner (SARNIA)


Courtesy of Lou Howard, MID, RCNVR

Reunion of crew and survivors from HMCS SARNIA, HMCS Esquimalt and U-190, 1996, SARNIA, Ont


Leslie Stemmler (SARNIA), Jack Ware (Esquimalt), Howard Finkbeiner (SARNIA), Werner Hirschmann, (U-190), Leo McDougall (SARNIA), Lou Howard (SARNIA)


Courtesy of Lou Howard, MID, RCNVR








(GM05) HMCS SARNIA J309  (GM06) HMCS ESQUIMALT survivors on a carley float (GM07) Survivors from ESQUIMALT being picked up by the ship's boat from East Halifax Lightship  (GM08) Ship's workboat picking up ESQUIMALT survivors  (GM09) ESQUIMALT'S dead lay on the quarterdeck of HMCS SARNIA


From the collection of Gordon H. Marsh, Stoker, RCNVR


Courtesy of Murray Marsh






(MA01) HMCS SARNIA'S gunshield art after it was moved to the bridge face - 1944

(MA02-MA03) HMCS SARNIA J309 cloth jacket patches


From the collection of Maurice (Moe) Ahern, RCNVR