75 years ago …

As in past years, I remember my father, Lieutenant Commander Frank Campbell and the other officers and sailors of HMCS Louisburg who were killed in action at sea off the coast of North Africa …

Louisburg.001

… on 6 February 1943 while Louisburg was escorting a convoy of (mainly) troopships ~ most filled with US soldiers who would, later in the year, join with the British and Canadians in 8th Army to invade Sicily in July 1943. She was the first Canadian warship to be sunk by German torpedo bombers. The bombers wanted to sink the troopships but the duty of the escorts was to make that difficult, simply getting in the way if necessary.

It was part of the “routine” of that war ~ convoys of troops and supplies and food being taken from North America (and from India and the South Pacific) to Britain and then from Britain to battlefields in Africa and Asia and Europe … the little “flowers,” the flower  class corvettes, were the plow-horses of that war: small, sturdy, cheap, easy to handle, simple to build. Louisburg was one of the early ones and she was never sent for refit (and for crew retraining) and so she retained the short fo’csle that made her so uncomfortable to be aboard in even moderate sea states … in later years, but starting early in the war as the lessons about crew endurance were learned, corvettes with much longer fo’csles would be built and, starting in about 1941, a whole new class of more than 150 “super corvettes,” the River class frigates (230 feet and 1,370 tons displacement as against Louisburg‘s 200 feet and 925 ton displacement), would join the allied fleets, but the 225 “flowers” would remain the backbone of the escort forces for the crucial, perhaps decisive Battle of the Atlantic and for the early convoys to Africa.

One thought on “75 years ago …”

  1. Great Post Ted – your Dad was a real sailor and we thank him for his service. I had several uncles who were Flower-Class sailors as well. One was sunk on what I think I remember as HMCS Buctouche….over the war years he was sunk twice. But, unlike your Dad, he survived. Bravo Zulu Lt. Cdr Campbell!

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