C - Class Destroyer (RN)


River Class Destroyer (RCN)




Photo from the Flickr collection of Ron Bell


Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1939-45,   Normandy  1944



Laid down: 01 Dec 1930

Launched: 29 Sep 1931

Commissioned: 09 Apr 1932

Paid off:: 30 Sep 1936

Transferred to the RCN: 01 Feb 1937

Commissioned: 17 Feb 1937

Paid off: 10 Oct 1945

Fate: Broken up in 1947


HMS CYGNET was a C-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s. After the ship commissioned on 09 Apr 1932, she was assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet. She spent a lot of time in dockyard hands during her first two years of service. She was repaired at Devonport in Nov 1932 - Jan 1933, Mar - May 1933, July - Aug 1933 and Nov 1933 - Jan 1934 before deploying to the West Indies with the Home Fleet between Jan and Mar 1934. The ship required more repairs upon her return in Apr - May 1934 and then a refit from 25 Jul to 31 Aug 1934. Cygnet was detached from the Home Fleet during the Abyssinian Crisis, and deployed in the Red Sea from Sep 1935 to Apr 1936. She returned to the UK in Apr 1936 and refitted at Devonport between 20 Apr and 18 June 1936 before resuming duty with the Home Fleet. In Jul - Aug 1936 she was deployed for patrol duties off the Spanish coast in the Bay of Biscay to intercept shipping carrying contraband goods to Spain and to protect British-flagged shipping during the first stages of the Spanish Civil War. Together with her sister HMS Crescent, Cygnet was sold to Canada on 20 Oct 1936 for a total price of 400,000. She was refitted again to meet Canadian standards, including the installation of Type 124 ASDIC, and handed over on 01 Feb 1937. The ship was renamed as HMCS ST LAURENT and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 17 Feb 1937. ST LAURENT was assigned to Halifax, Nova Scotia and arrived there in May 1937. She remained there for a year before she was transferred to Esquimalt in 1938. In the summer of 1938, HMCS SKEENA, HMCS FRASER, HMCS SAGUENAY and HMCS ST LAURENT paid a port visit to San Diego as part of the spring training cruise. ST LAURENT was stationed on the west coast of Canada when World War II began and shortly thereafter she returned to the east coast, arriving at Halifax on 15 Sep 1939, and for several months escorted convoys on the first leg of the transatlantic journey. ST LAURENT left Halifax for the U.K. on 24 May 1940, and on arrival at Plymouth on 31 May 1940, was assigned to Western Approaches Command, playing a brief role in the evacuation of France. On 02 Jul 1940, she rescued 860 survivors of the torpedoed liner Arandora Star. She returned to Halifax on March 3, 1941, for refit, on completion of which she joined Newfoundland Command as a mid-ocean escort, serving continuously for the following three years. In Apr 1943, she became a member of EG C-1. During this period "Sally" assisted in the destruction of two U-boats: U 356 on 27 Dec 1942, while escorting convoy ONS.154; and U 845 on 10 Mar 1944, while with convoy SC.154. 


From the wartime diary on the sinking of U-845:  Mar 10th Fri  //  Lovely day today, nice day for a submarine and we really got one. Got contact with it about noon and stayed with it until 4 o' clock then went in to attack. Corvettes dropped first pattern but all they got was a whale. Then we went in and dropped a ten charge pattern but with no luck. We then tried a creep attack with the Forrester going in first and we following them but still didn't bring it up. Still kept contact with it until 9 o'clock when she surfaced and that's when the fun started. She started to shell us but with no luck and our 20mm's cleaned the deck and our ??? started to open up and made some hits. I was very lucky. My gun wasn't firing so I stayed up on deck to see the fun. We damaged her quite a bit so we closed in to ram her but she dodged and tried to ram us instead but our after gun hit her conning tower off at the range of about forty feet. Boy what a racket and what a fight but we got her all right. The A A gunners had a lot of fun, they kept pouring the lead into her until conning tower was red hot. The boarding party was sent over but she had sunk so they picked up 5 survivors instead. The Swansee and Forrester picked up some too, but that's all they did do, they couldn't get in to shoot at all so old "Sally" got all the credit.


In May 1944, she was transferred to EG 11 for invasion duties, remaining with the group on patrol and support duties until the end of Nov 1944, when she returned to Canada for major repairs at Shelburne, N.S. She afterward remained in Canadian waters as a member of Halifax Force and after VE-Day was employed in transporting troops from Newfoundland to Canada. Paid off on 10 Oct 1945, she was broken up at Sydney, NS, in 1947.


U-Boats Sunk:  (1) U-356 sunk on 27 Dec 1942 by HMCS ST LAURENT H83, HMCS CHILLIWACK K131, HMCS BATTLEFORD K165, and HMCS NAPANEE K118 in position 45-30 N, 25-40 W


(2) U-845 (Korvkpt Werner Weber) a type IXC-40 U-boat, sunk on 10 Mar 1944 by HMCS ST LAURENT H83, HMCS OWEN SOUND K340, HMCS SWANSEA K328 and HMS FORESTER in the North Atlantic at position 48-20N 20-33W. Of her crew of 56 there were 45 survivors.


Note: The two ship's badges from Designs of Distinction by David Freeman were both credited to HMCS ST LAURENT H83.



RCN Memories:     The sinking of U-845


Photos and Documents          Ship's company photos


Battle for Convoy BX-141          Battle for Convoy ONS-154          Interrogation of Survivors - U-845


Excerpts from a sailor's diary: 01 - 13 Jun 1944 - HMCS ST LAURENT off Normandie



Commanding Officers


LCdr Roger Edward Shelford Bidwell, RCN - 17 Feb 1937 - 07 Dec 1937

LCdr Adrian Mitchell Hope, RCN - 08 Dec 1937 - 05 Oct 1939

LCdr Henry George DeWolf, RCN - 06 Oct 1939 - 13 Jul 1940

Lt Herbert Sharples Rayner, DSC, RCN - 14 Jul 1940 - 18 Feb 1942

LCdr Edgar Lorne Armstrong, RCN - 19 Feb 1942 - 13 Nov 1942

LCdr Guy Stanley Windeyer, RCN - 14 Nov 1942 - 19 Jan 1943

Cdr Hugh Francis Pullen, RCN - 20 Jan 1943 - 12 Mar 1943

LCdr George Hay Stephen, DSC, RCNR - 13 Mar 1943 - 14 Apr 1944

LCdr Angus George Boulton, RCNVR - 14 Apr 1944 - 07 Nov 1944

A/LCdr M.G. Stirling, RCN - 08 Nov 1944 - 07 Apr 1945

LCdr George Hay Stephen, DSC, OBE, RCNR - 08 Apr 1945 - 10 Oct 1945



     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     


HUSON, Earl F. D.


MPK - 23 Nov 1940

MOORE, Robert

Tel, RN

DOW - 30 Mar 1943

ROBERTS, Alexander W.


MPK - 01 Feb 1944



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten















Edwards, Ralph W.























Lawrence, John S.


























Thicke, Charles F.








Vaughan, Arnold












Ship's Mascots








Former Crew Members


Adams, Kenneth (Ken) Frederick, LCdr, RCN - 17 Feb 1937


Angus, David, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Apr 1941


Arber, Sidney Roy, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 02 Jun 1941


Atwell, Bill, ERA - 1942


Balfour, St. Clair, Lt, RCNVR - 10 Mar 1941


Bourne, John Desmond, SLt (E), RCNVR - 07 Mar 1945


Brainerd, Thomas Chalmers, LCdr, RCNVR - 17 Feb 1945


Brown, William Gould, LCdr (E), RCNVR - 08 Feb 1943


Bryant, James Allison, LCdr, RCNVR - 09 Mar 1945


Burgess, Basil Arthur SLt (E), RCNVR - 14 Apr 1944


Byers, Phillip Taber, SLt, RCNVR - 17 May 1941


Caldwell, Frank Birch, Lt, RCN - 18 Apr 1940


Carruthers, Harvey, Lt (E), RCNVR - 19 Feb 1945


Clarke, Alfred William, Wt (E), RCN - 06 Mar 1937


Davies, Lewis Thomas, Lt, RCNR - 10 Feb 1943

Edwards, Ralph, E.R.A. - 1942


Flemming, Eric Rayland, Paym/Lt, RCNR - 14 Apr 1944


Fraser, Hugh Wellington, Lt, RCNVR - 03 Jul 1942


Freeman, Arthur George, Gnr, RCN - 17 Feb 1937


Gibson, James William, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 03 Jun 1943


Haddon, Philip Edwin, Lt, RCN - 17 Feb 1937


Hay, James MacMurry, SLt, RCNVR - 29 Jul 1942


Hodgkin, William Leonard, A/Gnr, RCN - Jan 1945


Inglis, Keith, ERA. - 1942


Jackson, Reginald (Cowboy), Lt, RCNVR - 12 Apr 1940


McDowell, Sammie, ERA - 1942


McKeever, Archibald, Lt, RCNVR - 23 Feb 1943


McMaster, Samuel, Lt (E), RCN - 21 Apr 1938


Meagher, Kevin Joseph, A/Paym, LCdr, RCNVR - Jan 1945


Mitchell, James Evelyn, A/Lt, RCNVR - 19 Feb 1940

Moore, John Brenton, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - Jan 1945


Piggott, Jean Jaques (Jock), SLt (E), RCNVR - 12 Apr 1941 / 21 Apr 1941 / Lt, E.O., RCNVR - Jan 1942


Porteous, William Walter, LCdr (E), RCN - 01 Feb 1937

 (Stand by) / 17 Feb 1937


Reid, Donald Thorburn, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Jun 1945


Robb, James Preston, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 27 Jul 1942


Ross, Jack, E.R.A. - 1942


Scovil, Henry Evelyn Derrick, Lt, RCNVR - Jan 1945


Stirling, Michael Grote, SLt, RCN - 21 Apr 1938


Street, Lawrence


Swain, Robert Francis, Lt (E), RCNR - 01 Jun 1941


Telfer, Russel Bertrand, Lt, RCNVR - 07 May 1945


Turner, Anthony Aubrey, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Jul 1944


Webber, Reginal Amand, Lt, RCN - 17 Feb 1937


Welland, Robert (Bob) Phillip, SLt, RCN - 06 Mar 1940


Wilson, Dick, E.R.A. - 1942


Wilson, Thomas Victor, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - Jan 1944



Photos and Documents


HMCS Cygnet H83 (later HMCS ST LAURENT H83)

New Canadian Destroyer Docks at Montreal Pier

Newspaper article on the arrival of HMCS ST LAURENT at Montreal in 1937

Courtesy of Terry Pinnell

Crossing the Line - HMCS ST LAURENT circa 1938

From the collection of John James Ashworth Clarke

Courtesy of Eric Clarke

Gunnery and Torpedo Shoot - HMCS ST LAURENT circa 1938

From the collection of John James Ashworth Clarke

Courtesy of Eric Clarke

HMCS ST LAURENT H83, Esquimalt, 1939

From the collection of Jim Silvester

Courtesy of Jim Silvester

HMCS ST LAURENT - Date and location unknown

Courtesy of Erling Baldorf

HMCS Skeena and HMCS ST LAURENT visit New York

The Halifax Mail, Fri., 30 Jun 1939

Researched by / Courtesy of George Newbury

HMCS ST LAURENT H83, Halifax, 1941

Photo taken from HMCS Baddeck K147

From the collection of Kenneth Medford, DSM

Courtesy of Gary Medford

"Another depth charge - we didn't get this sub"

HMCS ST LAURENT conducts an attack on a U-boat


Walter Bond

Commissioning Crew, HMCS ST LAURENT, 1937


Source: Government of Nova Scotia Virtual Archives - H.F. Pullen NSARM accession no. 1984-573 Box 1 F/18

HMCS ST LAURENT postcard by Edward Goodall

Courtesy Dave Clark

Newspaper article on article on the loss of Able Seaman Earl Huson

 The Ottawa Journal, 04 Dec 1940

Frank Pramberg on HMCS ST LAURENT - 1942

From the collection of Frank Pramberg

Courtesy of Edna Wiebe


From the collection of Frank Gilraine

Courtesy of George Gilraine

HMCS ST LAURENT Knocks Out Fire and Sub In One Blow

The Winnipeg Evening Tribune 06 Jun 1944

Thomas Mosher on HMCS ST LAURENT, Callao, Peru - date unknown

From the collection of Thomas Mosher

Courtesy of Gordon Rhymes

HMCS ST LAURENT H83 - location unknown

From the collection Harry Swanson

Courtesy of Jason Belanger

Lewis Hue (right) and brother George Hue (2nd from right) on George's ship - HMCS ST LAURENT H83.  The CPO and other PO in the photo are not known

From the collection of Lewis Hue

Courtesy of David Hue

Postcard - HMCS ST LAURENT H83 in Alcapoco, Mexico

From the collection of Lewis Hue

Courtesy of David Hue


From the collection of John Carpenter

Courtesy of Brian Carpenter


From the collection of John Carpenter

Courtesy of Brian Carpenter

QF 2-pdr pom pom on HMCS ST LAURENT H83  - circa late 1942 early 1943

From the collection of Robert Errol Cross

Courtesy of Penny Duncan

HMCS ST LAURENT H83 - date unknown

From the collection of R. Errol Cross

Courtesy of Penny Duncan

Newspaper article on HMCS ST LAURENT sinking U-845 in March 9144


HMCS ST LAURENT H83 at anchor


From the collection of Donald R. Johnston, Stoker, RCNVR


Courtesy of William Johnson



Photos from the collection of H.J. Simmons and John Carpenter




The photos here are from the collections of two sailors. It is known that H.J. Simmons served in HMCS Saskatchewan and it is known that John Carpenter served in HMCS ST LAURENT. However, it is not known which ship these were taken from. Did both serve on the same ship at some point, or were they friends and shared photos.  


As it is not known which ship these were taken on - they have been included on the pages of both HMCS ST LAURENT and HMCS SASKATCHEWAN


photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

photo 8

(1-2) "Hands to Bathe"  (3) Sailors on the quarterdeck of ........ John Carpenter directly in front of 2nd man from left, back row  (4) Sailors on the quarterdeck of ..... John Carpenter directly in front of 2nd man from left, back row  (5) Crew members of .......  (6) Locals trying to sell goods to the crew of .......  (7) Looking aft on .......  (8) Unknown sailor on a gun mount on ....... 

photo 8

photo 9

photo 10

photo 11

photo 12

photo 13

photo 14

photo 15

 (8) Unknown sailor on a gun mount on .......  (9) Torpedo tube on .....  (10-11) Launching a torpedo from .......  (12) Recovering the torpedo  (13) Gun mount on  .......  (14) Sailors by the torpedo tubes on .....  (15) Sailor on after gun platform on .....


Webmaster's note:  above photos 2, 9, 12, 14 and 15 - were from the collection of John Carpenter.  There were included in this section as they appear to have been taken on a destroyer and some fit the sequence of photos that were identical



The photos below are from the collection of H.J. Simmons.  It is known he served in HMCS Saskatchewan H70 - and these photos were in a album which included his leave ticket while on HMCS Saskatchewan.  However, a number of his photos (above) are identical to those in the collection of John Carpenter.  It is known John served in HMCS ST LAURENT H83. While the photos below are not found in John's collection, there is reason to wonder if they were taken on/from Saskatchewan or ST LAURENT.


None of the photos from either sailors collection has their ship's name written on the back - so at this point, until these photos can be positively placed as being taken on one ship or the other, they will be included on the pages for both.


photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

photo 8

(1) Torpedo Party, 1944 Standing (L-R): Al Phillips, Jack Telfer, Dan Belyea, Frank Aldred, Alex Bell Kneeling (L-R): John Lawrie, Mark Ennis, Jack Simmons Background (Left) - QM Bill Shill  (2) Looking aft on .....  (3) Four crew members on .....  (4)  HMCS Saskatchewan H70  (5) Four crew members on .....  (6-7) Destroyers turning into formation. Photo taken from .....  (8) bow of .....

photo 9

photo 10

photo 11

photo 12

photo 13

photo 14

photo 15

photo 16

D-Day as seen from .....

(10) An explosion in the distance   (12) Ships going in - note the barrage balloons  (13) Ships at anchor - note the barrage balloons  (14) Unknown aircraft carrier and merchant ships  (16)King George V class battleship

photo 17

photo 18

photo 19

photo 20

photo 22

(17) H.J. (Jack) Simmons on ..... Jun 1944  (18) Life below decks on .....  (19) Three unknown crew members on .....  (20) An iceberg seen from .... (21) A convoy as seen from .....


From the collection of H.J. Simmons

Courtesy of RCSCC Bowmanville