Daily Event for September 11, 2008

U-boats not only ranged the worlds oceans, but sometimes got into smaller waterways to find their prey. Such was the case on Sept. 11, 1942 when the U-517 torpedoed and sank HMCS Charlottetown K-244 in the St. Lawrence river off Cap Chat, Quebec, Canada. The flower class corvette was launched one year and one day earlier at Kingston Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Kingston, Ontario, Canada and commissioned in Quebec City on Dec. 13, 1941 after leaving Kingston on Dec. 3 to avoid being frozen in. She was sailing in company with HMCS Clayoquot J-174 after escorting convoy SQ-30 when the torpedo struck the starboard side of the ship. A second torpedo exploded near the engine room seconds later and the ship began to sink. Almost all the crew got off the ship before she went down, however it is believed that three men were still in her when she sank, perhaps killed by the explosions or trapped inside. Only one boat was launched, but all the Karly floats made it into the water.

However just getting off the ship did not save the lives of the men in the water, since Charlottetown was a
corvette she was carrying depth charges and when they reached the prescribed depth they exploded killing
several men in the water, including Lt. Cm dr. John Bonner. The explosions wounded over a dozen others, three of whom died later.

After depth charging the submarine the Clayoquot picked up the fifty-eight men who were still alive and took
them to shore. On Jan. 26, 1943 a new HMCS Charlottetown K-244 was launched by Davie Shipbuilding in
Quebec and she served through the rest of the war. The U-517 was sunk on Nov. 21, 1942 still under the
command of the man who sunk the Charlottetown, Kapitänleutnant Paul Härtwig, one man was killed, but
Härtwig and the rest of the crew were taken prisoner and remained in captivity until after the war.
© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

2007 Daily Event