"They found that submarines operating individually were losing their success because we were getting quite proficient at hunting submarines"
My name is Roy Ernest Eddy, CD. I served in World War II in the RCNVR.
My wartime service was on HMCS Outremont. And then I was on the decommissioning crew for the Stormont and the HMS Puncher. That was a sister ship to the Nabob. And it was the only ship in the Canadian Navy that they didn't change the pre-fix to HMCS, they left it at HMS. So we turned it over in Norfolk, in the spring of 1946 and got a real great reception.
I enlisted in the navy and was sent up to HMCS Griffin, which was the training facility that I was sent to. These were called stone Frigates, actually, but they were training bases. And we had several of them throughout Canada and the closest one for me was in Port Arthur, which is now Thunder Bay. A combination of Port Arthur and Fort William. And that was twelve weeks and they took us back to square one and taught us ... and ... and guns and naval warfare and naval techniques. And we did a lot of marching. And we did a lot of class work. Then we were sent down to Cornwallis in Digby, Nova Scotia. And we went through gunnery and signals and wireless and they wrote up a little note on our progress every week. At that time radar was becoming very prominent. The advances and improvement, in radar, were made by our own National Research Council in Toronto and Ottawa. And it kind of intrigues me, so I was sent off to Ste. Hyacinth, which is the signal school of the navy in the east. And so I was on a radar course there of about three and a half months. And, at the end of each week, we would have a bar exam, they called it, and if you failed you were washed out. Because they didn't wait 'til the very end to find out that your weren't suitable. I managed to struggle through with all the good luck charms I had, I guess and I finished and then got transferred to the Outrement, which was on convoy and I met her in Sydney, Cape Breton Island. And that was sort of our home base from then on in.
The radar we had at that time was excellent. It was called the SU set. It was on as soon as we started to move. We were picking up contacts from the time we slipped through the gates because, at that time in the early part of '44, the German submarine fleet had developed under Admiral ...., the wolf pack. They found that submarines operating individually were losing their success because we were getting quite proficient at hunting submarines. So they decided they would travel in tens and twelves, maybe over a radius of about 25 or 30 miles. And they could communicate when they got sight of a convoy. And our convoys were usually very loosely knit. We started out in good fashion. Everything looked great on paper. But, all these Merchantmen were usually quite old and some were really old and the merchant seamen, as far as I'm concerned, were the heroes of the war. They'd get sunk so many times, they'd go back and have a recuperation period and, first thing you know, they'd be on another ship. So we used to have to watch them very carefully and we became very successful and noted throughout the allied navy as good submarine hunters. As you know, the most critical hours of the day for a submarine to attack, regardless of weather, would be early in the morning or at dusk. That would be the time that would be hardest for us to see them visually. So they were ushering us all across the Atlantic. And, as a result, we lost a number of ships in convoy and we had one drastic convoy that lost 60 or 70 percent.