For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS SOREL K153
Commissioned at Sorel on 19 Aug 1941, Sorel arrived at Halifax on 30 Aug 1941. She joined Sydney Force in Oct 1941 but transferred in Nov 1941 to Newfoundland Force, leaving St. John's on 18 Nov 1941 to escort convoy SC.55 to Iceland. On her next trip, mechanical defects forced her to go on to the U.K., and she arrived at Leith, Scotland, 17 Jan 1942, for ten weeks' repairs. She left Londonderry on 23 Apr 1942 to join convoy ON.88, and in May 1942 joined WLEF. Between 19 Oct 1942, and Feb 1943, she underwent refit, including fo'c's'le extension, successively at Liverpool, N.S., Pictou, and Halifax. In Feb 1943 she entered service as a training ship, first at Digby, then at St. Margaret's Bay, and at Pictou. In Sep 1943, she was temporarily allocated to EG C-3 for one round trip to Londonderry, and on her return underwent refit at Halifax and Dartmouth. This refit completed on 31 Mar 1944, she proceeded to Bermuda for workups and on her return was assigned to WEF's EG W-4 for the rest of the war. Paid off on on 22 Jun 1945, she was sold to the Yugoslav Navy on 16 Nov 1945. While manned by a Yugoslav crew, she ran aground on the southern point of Henry Island on 13 Dec 1945.
The information below is from the Chestico Museum and Archives page on Facebook 13 Dec 2014:
Sixty eight years ago today a winter storm resulted in quite an occurrence in the area. On December 13, 1945 the former Royal Canadian Navy corvette, H.M.C.S. “Sorel” went aground off the southern point of Henry Island in a raging blizzard. After the ship grounded, about 3 AM and began taking on water the men realized the water was shallow enough to wade in to shore. After much difficulty, the crew made landfall and struggled uphill to the Henry Island lighthouse. Charlie MacLennan was the lighthouse keeper at the time. The MacLennans had moved across to Port Hood in 1936 but Charlie still travelled back and forth to Henry Island to man the light. However, the day before he had gone to the mainland to gather supplies and was stranded by the storm – his children Cameron and Frances were left on Henry Island. Just after daylight, Cameron and Frances were startled by heavy pounding on the door and the astonished youngsters discovered 19 shivering and sodden men desperate for shelter. As the crew was largely of foreign extraction, most did not speak English, but one of the Canadians present explained their predicament. Frances phoned her parent’s house in Port Hood to let them know what had happened and her mother told her to make biscuits for the men! Cameron called Port Hood Island for assistance as there was not enough food on hand for such a large group. That afternoon, a rescue party consisting of Walter Tobey, Bruce MacPherson, Rufus Embree and Lloyd Smith traveled to Henry Island and picked up 12 of the crew. The next day, under much improved conditions, the remaining crew members were collected. Island residents took in as many as the men as possible and they remained on the Island for several days. The four men who brought the crew to Port Hood Island formed a company and purchased the wreck from the insurance company for $600. They salvaged a considerable amount of gear, much of which was bought by the Ferguson Shipyard in Pictou. Later, stripped of her engines and parts, the wreck was barely visible above water. Since then, the final remains have become totally submerged.
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