Veteran Stories:
John J. Doyle

Navy

  • The HMCS Digby, pendant number J267, Bangor Class Minesweeper, 1942.

    John Doyle
  • John J. (Jack) Doyle, November 11, 1999. Veterans’ Memorial Highway overpass, Bells Corners (Nepean), Ontario. Doyle is seated, wearing white gloves.

    John Doyle
  • Part of the crew of the HMCS Digby at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

    John Doyle
  • Seaman John J. Doyle in Nova Scotia, at 20 years of age, 1943.

    John Doyle
  • Last wartime signal to the crew of the HMCS Digby, May 31, 1945.

    John Doyle
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"We had numerous skirmishes with U-Boats etc. on our trips at sea while escorting Convoys. One that comes to mind was in the black of night, a battleship nearly collided with us off New York Harbour."

Transcript

Well, my name is John Doyle - they call me Jack. I enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy on... around July the 20th, 1942. And from there I proceeded to Toronto for basic training, and on to communications school, and to Halifax, where I was assigned to a minesweeper as a communicator. We departed Halifax on short notice for an assignment at New York Harbour. Our Escort Group consisted of 6 Warships known as Halifax Western Escort Group 5 to take charge of a convoy of Merchant ships to sail on the Triangle Run from the gates of New York Harbour to WOMP, Western Ocean Meeting Point. This is where we would be relieved by another Escort Group at a point approximately 400 to 500 miles south east of St. John's, Newfoundland, arriving at night with gale force winds. It was a scary exercise to rendezvous with another Escort Group in thick fog while attempting to protect our convoy of Merchant ships loaded with munitions headed for the U.K. We had numerous skirmishes with U-Boats etc. on our trips at sea while escorting Convoys. One that comes to mind was in the black of night, a battleship nearly collided with us off New York Harbour. I believe it was the USS Texas, which our radar failed to alert our crew on the bridge. This could have had disastrous consequences for our ship. Later in the fall of 1944 we were taken off Escort Group 5 and reassigned to the Sydney N.S. patrol force to patrol the Gulf of St. Lawrence waters where many ships were being sunk by U-Boats. At 9:30 at night we encountered ASDIC PINGS which registered a U-Boat contact in our area. This required our combat involvement which lasted til 6:30 AM at which point our supply of depth charges were exhausted. We broke off and saile to Rimouski, Quebec, to resupply our explosives, but on our return the U-Boat had gone and we did not make the kill. Due to warm waters of the river it distorted our Sonar device readings at different levels of currents.
Follow us