Veteran Stories:
Jim Dryburgh

Navy

  • Personnel of the corvette H.M.C.S. REGINA, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, May 1943. (L-R): Petty Officer W. Cramp, Able Seaman R. Leblanc, Stoker E.W. Barclay, Petty Officer J. Yankoshi, Leading Seaman, B.J. Jenkin, T.N. Jackson.

    Library and Archives Canada, Mikan Number: 3225225
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"I was on the upper deck and, when the torpedo hit, I was blown into the water."

Transcript

I served on the HMCS Regina for three and a half years. I picked the ship up in St. John’s, Newfoundland. And from there, we went on escort duty in the North Atlantic for quite some time. And we spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean, when we sank a sub there. We brought the sub to the surface with depth charges [anti-submarine weapons]. I took it in tow. We were going to tow it into Oran, in North Africa, but she was taking on too much water, so we had to cut the lines and let it go. But we also got 30 prisoners off the ship and took them into Oran. We were going to the aid of a U.S. merchant ship that our skipper thought it had hit a mine. But it turned out it was torpedoed. We were going to pick up survivors off her. Our skipper stopped engines and we were ready to pick up survivors and that’s when we got torpedoed. Oh, she was just blown all to pieces. She just sunk in no time. Eight miles off the Cornish coast, a place called Padstow, an air-sea rescue picked me up. I was on the upper deck and, when the torpedo hit, I was blown into the water. Air-sea rescue picked me up and took me to the hospital. I was in hospital for two months. We lost 30 people.
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