… on 6 February 1943, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Louisburg, a little (less than 1,000 tonnes) flower class corvette, pennant number K-143, was sunk just off the coast of Algeria, near Oran. She was escorting a convoy, which had formed up in British waters and which included many troopships with soldiers and equipment destined, eventually, for the invasion of Sicily in the summer of 1943.
Louisburg was suk by enemy air attack, a threat with which the little “flowers” were ill-equipped to deal. But the duty of the escorts was to get the lumbering, unarmed merchantmen, filled with thousands of soldiers, safely to their harbour, and so her captain, Lieutenant Commander Frank Campbell of Shelburne, ON, and Saskatoon, SK, made the only tactical decision he could make, and he put her directly in the line of fire, where the German torpedo bombers would have to sink her, first … he made the right decision, the only good decision, even though it would cost him his life
Nearly half the crew, 38 officers and sailors from a crew of about 85, were killed that day. Lieutenant Commander Campbell, after giving the order to abandon ship, went below to help care for the wounded and he, too, was killed in action at sea. They were just a few of the thousands and, eventually tens of thousands of Canadians who died defeating Hitler’s Germany … but they are not forgotten, especially not by me.