Honouring the past, remembering HMCS Ottawa I

HMCS Ottawa I

HMCS Ottawa I honored. The water casting party, PO1 Keith Fairman and MS Ley Ireland, commit the blessed water to the sea to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the sinking.

The crew of HMCS Ottawa were joined by past commanding officers and veterans on Sept. 14 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the original destroyer HMCS Ottawa and crew.

Once the ship’s company had fallen into divisions on the flight deck the ceremony began.

“Let us think reverently of those comrades who laid down their lives for sovereign and country,” said Commanding Officer Cdr Scott VanWill to his crew. “Let us be mindful of the cost of freedom and peace. May our country and its people be worthy of their sacrifice.”

Then, the ship’s flag was lowered to half mast.

Padre Lt(N) Jeannine Friesen led a naval prayer and blessed the water in Ottawa II’s ship bell and MS Ley Ireland and PO1 Keith Fairman committed the water over the side of the ship.

The ship’s bell rang once in memory of Ottawa I and two minutes of silence followed.

Amazing Grace was piped on the bagpipes.

“We commemorate the sinking every year, but this is the first year we have reached out to veterans and past commanding officers,” said Ottawa’s coxswain, CPO1 Sid Tobias. “It gives the sailors a direct reference point to think about and brings them closer to the sacrifice of service. It is our responsibility to mark this each year,” he said.

Veteran Ed Dallin attended the ceremony. His brother was a stoker on the original Ottawa from 1938 to 1941.

“This brings back a lot of memories for me,” said Dallin. “My brother got off the ship before it sank the following year. He was glad he wasn’t on it. It means a lot for me to be here today.”

HMCS Ottawa was built as British HMS Crusader H60 in 1931 and transferred to Canada in 1938 and renamed HMCS Ottawa.

During the Second World War, Ottawa escorted convoys between Great Britain and Canada.

On Sept. 13, 1942, the ship was torpedoed off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. A second hit broke the ship in half and sunk it. Only 65 survivors were rescued from the freezing Atlantic waters, while 114 died.

The current HMCS Ottawa is the fourth generation of Ottawa in the Canadian Navy.

Shelley Lipke, Staff Writer

Filed Under: Top Stories

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  1. Amanda LaCoste says:

    My Grandfather was on this ship when it sank. He was one of the survivors. His name was Clifford Samuel Power. He passed away 8 years ago at the age of 90.

  2. Michael Bariault survivor from corner brook says:

    I would to know what happened to him when he retiredL am an old friend I believe he returned. To corner brooke

  3. Nicholas Desautels says:

    My great grand father was on that ship his name was Albert Arthur Moore II would like to know if there is today still survivors living .

  4. AJ BAll says:

    My great uncle was a survivor of HMCS Ottawa his name was George Johnson I believe he was a stoker, sadly he passed away in November 2006, he had up on the wall of his basement the life vest that he wore while drifting in the Atlantic, I always recall him wearing a blue coat with the ships emblem and H60, I think it might of been his first posting / ship, Ottawa always seemed to be his favourite / remembered ship of choice.

    He’s in a photo online of survivors of HMCS Ottawa that came from Ontario.

  5. Lookout says:

    According to the Naval and Military Museum, a survivor list doesn’t exist. Here is their answer:
    “We don’t have a list of the sixty-nine survivors of the sinking of HMCS Ottawa. The book “The Canadian Naval Chronicle 1939-1945” by Fraser McKee & Robert Darlington lists 113 of the 141 casualties (5 officers, 108 crew, 6 RN seamen and 22 merchant seamen) but only mentions a few of the survivors by name: LCdr Larry Robinson, Lt. L.B. “Yogi” Jensen, Lt Tom C. Pullen, Leading Steward Barriault, AB Rod Skillen, Ed Fox, Radio Operator Terry Terrebassi, L.I. Jones, and Norman Wilson.”

  6. Lookout says:

    We are checking with the Naval and Military Museum here on base to see if they know of a list.

  7. Jan Briggs-McGowan says:

    Is there a list of the survivors somewhere?

  8. Vicki says:

    My uncle was a seaman stationed on this ship when it was struck. Like many others he went down with the ship.

  9. Robin McQueen says:

    My Grandfather, William McQueen was a signalman on the Ottawa when it was torpedoed, and was also one of the 65 survivors.

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