Front cover of "Survivor's Leave" by Robert Sutherland, a youth-age book based on his naval experiences in the Second World War.HC
A drawing of HMCS Loch Morlich by Robert Sutherland.Robert Sutherland
Crew of the HMCS Loch Morlich, 1946.Robert Sutherland
The "K" being painted for HMCS Loch Morlich's hull classification symbol. 1946. In the Second World War, the "K" indicated the ship as either a frigate, corvette, or sloop. In this case, Loch Morlich was a frigate.Robert Sutherland
The "pom-pom" anti-aircraft gun on HMCS Loch Morlich. Included in HMCS Loch Morlich's armaments were four QF 2-pounder Mk. VII anti-aircraft guns on a single quad mount, named "pom-pom" after the sound made when they fired. Robert Sutherland was a member of the gun crew.Robert Sutherland
HMCS Loch Morlich.Robert Sutherland
A view of HMCS Loch Morlich's bow from the masthead.Robert Sutherland
A view of HMCS Loch Morlich's stern from the masthead.Robert Sutherland
Jud Graham with HMCS Loch Morlich's long-lasting mascot, "Flakers."Robert Sutherland
Chief Petty Officer Graves, HMCS Loch Morlich with "one mascot that didn't last long (ended up on the Petty Officer's table)."Robert Sutherland
Robert Sutherland, 1945.Robert Sutherland
Charlotte Cameron, "the Scottish girl I met in Scotland." Robert Sutherland married his war bride in Toronto in 1948.Robert Sutherland
"The depth charge and the torpedo both blew and…"
I was drafted to a new frigate. It was called Loch Morlich, new class – Loch Class frigate, being built in Newcastle [UK], and it had just been - I guess it was its first - I just was there to complement them – the crew, and I think there were about eight of us that went from [HMCS] Niobe.* And I was on the Loch Morlich for the - up right, up until V-E Day.** Which would be about a year, somewhere in that area, and we did – we were part of an escort group, that is, that we escorted convoys. We would often take a convoy going down to the Mediterranean. We’d take - we’d escort them about halfway down and meet another convoy coming back and we’d turn around and go back up to Britain.
And, then we made – we were making one trip up to Murmansk, northern Russia, we ran into a - one of those fierce northern Atlantic gales and the bottom plates gave way, and we had to limp back to drydock. And we went all the way to London [UK] before we found a drydock that would look after us, so we were in London for a while. And then, our ship was repaired and we went back to convoy duty again. We were actually – we made our first trip back to Canada, to arrive just on V-E Day. So, then I could have been demobbed,*** but I decided to volunteer to stay in for the war in the Pacific and be an aircraft, an anti-aircraft gunner. They decided that I would be suitable if I was drafted to the new aircraft carrier, the HMCS Warrior, that was still in the builder’s hands in Belfast, Ireland. So, while waiting for the Warrior to be ready, I was sent back again to Niobe in Scotland. And it was there - I was still waiting, to go on the Warrior, when the Americans dropped their bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki [Japan], and that war was over.
On one occasion we had a torpedo fired at the ship, but there was torpedoes, headed for the screws that were making the most noise. They automatically did that and we had a depth charge ready to drop off the back if one came, and we did that, and the depth charge and the torpedo both blew and… But that was in the English Channel.
*During the Second World War, HMCS Niobe was a shore establishment near Greenock, Scotland that served as the Royal Canadian Navy’s overseas headquarters and a transit point for personnel for their overseas appointments
**Victory in Europe Day, 8 May 1945 – the end of the European war
***Demobilized from the armed services