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HMCS SHAWINIGAN
Remembered on 5 May 2002 at HMCS CHIPPAWA, Winnipeg, MB

HMCS Shawinigan

On Sunday 5 May 2002, at HMCS CHIPPAWA, Winnipeg, Manitoba, the annual service that commemorates the Battle of the Atlantic was held in honour of HMCS SHAWINIGAN and the nine Manitobans that perished on a fateful Nov 1944 night. The service was attended by nearly 500 individuals, including relatives of Ralph Earp and Clifford Eppler.

The Story

HMCS SHAWINIGAN was commissioned on September 19, 1941 at Quebec City. She spent the first part of much of 1942 escorting three separate convoy runs over the Atlantic to Londonderry and return. Later in 1942 she was assigned to Halifax Force as an escort for Quebec-Labrador convoys. After a refit, completed in March 1943, she continued to work as an escort, mainly in Canadian waters. In early 1944 she underwent a second refit in Liverpool, N.S. Upon completion of the refit she traveled to Bermuda for work-ups (June 1944). Afterwards she was again assigned to escort duties off the east coast of Canada.

On commissioning A/LCDR C.P. Balfry, RCNR, was the Commanding Officer of the SHAWINIGAN. LT. R.S. Williams, RCNVR, relieved him on 5 January 1944, and LT. W.E. Callan, RCNVR, from Winnipeg, was the Commanding Officer from 15 March 1944 to 4 June 1944. Afterwards LT. W.J. Jones RCNR took over as Commanding Officer of the SHAWINIGAN.

SHAWINIGAN and the US Coast Guard cutter Sassafras were ordered to escort the ferry Burgeo from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Since the tragic loss of the ferry Caribou, ferries on this route were always escorted. The three ships made an uneventful crossing to Port aux Basques on November 24, at which time SHAWINIGAN detached to continue anti submarine patrols in the area. SHAWINIGAN was scheduled to rendezvous with the Burgeo the following morning for the return to Cape Breton. But the corvette never made it.

Nearby, U-1228, which had been ordered into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, was tarrying, trying to repair a faulty schnorkel. Without the tactical advantage that the device provided, its commander, Frederich-Wilhelm Marienfeld, feared his chances should he pass through the Cabot Strait. On the moonlit night of November 24, he tested his repairs, found them ineffective and decided to return to Germany. As he issued orders that would pilot his U-Boat back into the Atlantic, the SHAWINIGAN was sighted. U-1228, which had not yet recorded an attack on enemy shipping, let loose a Gnat torpedo. Exactly four minutes later, HMCS SHAWINIGAN disappeared in a plume of water and a shower of sparks. All 91 members of her crew were killed.

HMCS SHAWINIGAN was one of three Canadian warships that have been lost with all hands. SHAWINIGAN's final resting place is in the Cabot Strait, between Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island. Her precise location is not known, but by best estimates based on the uboat's reports the Shawinigan should lay at 47 degrees-34 minutes north-Latitude, 59 degrees-11 minutes West-Longitude.

Nine Manitobans

Nine Manitobans were onboard HMCS SHAWINIGAN on that fateful November night. They were:

Lieutenant William Edmund Callan of Winnipeg was 30 years old and is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was the son of William and Minnie A. Callan of Winnipeg. Lieutenant Callan had been on active service on the Pacific and Atlantic for most of WWII. He was born in Winnipeg and attended Lord Roberts and Kelvin schools, also Success Business College and the Angus School of Commerce. Prior to enlistment, he was employed as a bookkeeper by Neaman's Fur Company. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942). Callan Lake (54 B/2), northeast of Shamattawa was named after him in 1962.

Engine Room Artificer 4 James Campbell
Engine Room Artificer 4 James Campbell

Engine Room Artificer 4 James Campbell of Winnipeg was 23 year old and is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents Robert and Catherine Campbell and by his wife Eileen E. Campbell (nee Todd) of Winnipeg. ERA Campbell enlisted in February, 1942, and served 15 months as instructor at Royal Canadian Naval College, Victoria, B.C. After serving three months in Ottawa under the director of naval engineering, he was later transferred to the Shawinigan. Artificer Campbell was educated at Principal Sparling and Daniel Mcintyre schools and prior to his enlistment was employed as a draftsman for the Dominion Bridge Company. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942). Campbell Hill (64 N/1), northwest of Minuhik Lake was named after him in 1989

Able Seaman Ralph N. Earp
Able Seaman Ralph N. Earp

Able Seaman Ralph N. Earp of Winnipeg was 18 years of age and is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents William and Lillian Earp of Winnipeg. A/B Earp enlisted with the RCNVR October 20, 1943, and after training at HMCS CHIPPAWA and Cornwallis served for two months on a minesweeper, before being transferred to the Shawinigan. Educated at Lord Roberts and Earl Grey schools and Kelvin high school, A/B Earp was employed in the accounting department, City Hydro Company before enlisting. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942). Earp Lake (64 B/6), south of Southern Indian Lake was named after him in 1962.

Ordinary Seaman Clifford Eppler
Ordinary Seaman Clifford Eppler

Ordinary Seaman Clifford Eppler of Winnipeg was 19 years old. He is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents Charles and Molly Eppler of Winnipeg. OS Eppler was educated at Machray school and St. John's high school. He joined the navy September, 1943, receiving his training in HMCS Chippawa, Winnipeg and HMCS CORNWALLIS, Halifax. The Shawinigan was his first ship. A brother, Private Ernie Eppler, served with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942). Eppler Lake (54 Ul 3), northwest of Churchill was named after him in 1957.

Lieutenant John C. Lawrence of Winnipeg was 28 years old. He is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents John H. C. and May L. Lawrence of Winnipeg and by his wife Phyilis E. "Betty" Lawrence (nee Dean) of Winnipeg. Lieutenant Lawrence attended Kelvin High school and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1938. Before enlistment in 1942, he was employed at the Great West Life Insurance Company. He trained at King's College, Halifax. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942). Lawrence Reef (63 B/8) southwest of Reindeer Island in Lake Winnipeg was named after him in 1976.

Stoker 1 Glenn S. Murray of Winnipeg was 19 years of age. He is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents Roderick J. and Irene L. Murray of Winnipeg. Glenn Murray Lake (53 MI5), west of Hackland Lake was named after him in 1995.

Petty Officer Howard N. Parsons of Winnipeg was 20 years of age. He is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents Eli and Louise Parsons of Norwood. PO Parsons attended King, George and Tache schools. He enlisted June 15, 1941 and trained in Esquimalt, B.C. and Halifax. PO Parsons was a Tribune carrier for four years prior to the war. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942) Parsons Lake (64 N/1 3), west of Nueltin Lake was named after him in 1972.

Ordinary Seaman James G. Phillips of Norwood was 20 years of age. He is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents Arthur W. and Lily Phillips of Winnipeg. OS Phillips was educated at Wellington and Greenway schools and was employed by the Western Glove Company before enlisting in June 1943. He

Able Seaman Clayton L. White

trained at HMCS Chippawa and HMCS CORNWALLIS, Halifax. (The Winnipeg Tribune 7 December 1942). Phillips Creek (64 J/4), which flows southwest into Morand Lake was named after him in 1995.

Able Seaman Clayton L. White of Brandon was 19 years of age. He is commemorated at the Halifax Memorial. He was survived by his parents Percy and Myrtle White of Brandon. Clayton White Island (63 P/9) in Cauchon Lake was named after him in 1995.

Credits: Personal Biographies are from A Place of Honour (to be published - November 2002) Manitoba Geographical Names Program.

HMCS SHAWINIGAN- Ship's Company Photo

HMCS SHAWINIGAN- Ship's Company Photo
Click on the photo for a larger version.

List of Crew Lost on the SHAWINIGAN
24 Nov 1944

Agar, Robert J., L., Cook
Anderson, Stewart W., OS
Anderson, William J., L.Coder
Armstrong, Robert O., L.Tel
Baird, Haddow F., SLt
Barlow, Howard C., Tel
Beauchamp, Joseph F.A., AB
Benoit, Joseph B.A., Cook
Bernst, Ronald W., AB
Blaylock, Douglas J., AB
Brett, Robert A., OS
Breux, Joseph Y.P., AB
Brown, Gordon, OS
Butler, Arthur H., OS
Callan, William F., Lt
Campbell, Alexander H., Sto
Campbell, James, ERA
Chalmers, George A., L.Sig
Chisolm, Eric M., LS
Clayton, Alfred E.J., SA
Cole, Harry C.B., OS
Conners, Cyril W., CPO
Dupuis, Ronald J., AB
Duval, Alfred H., Stwd
Earp, Ralph N., AB
Eppler, Clifford, OS
Evans, David M., PO
Evans, John J., AB
Evans, Lewis B., OS
Fiander, Edgar L., Sto.PO
Fougere, Leo H., Sto.PO

French, Donald F., Lt
Garrett, Dudley M., AB
Grant, Robert G., Sig
Hibbard, Arnold S., OS
Hodgson, John W., AB
Hughes, William, AB
Hunter, Roy S., O.Tel
Hurd, Harold J., L.SBA
James, John L., Sto
Johnson, Maurice W., Coder
Jones, William J., Lt,
Kemp, Arthur E., Coder
Kendall, Robin D.H.,Sto
Kennah, Willette R., Sig
La Barre, Joseph A., Sto
Langfield, Leslie B., LS
Lawrence, John C., Lt
Lawrence, Thomas E., AB
Lloyd, Walter J., AB
MacArthur, David A., OS
McDougall, Donald T.C., Sig
MacEachers, William C., AB
MacLanders, Vernon E., AB
McNeil, Donald, B., Wt.Eng
MacWilliam, Jack, AB
Mitchell, Patrick A., LS
Morrison, Ewan, LS
Morrow, David J., Lt
Moss, Cecil R., OS
Murray, Glenn S., Sto.

O'Gorman, Michael B., ERA
Ossachuk, John, Sto
Piathowski, Michael J.,Sto.PO
Parsons, Howard N., PO
Phillips, James G., OS
Rayner, Robert F., AB
Rea, Clifford L., Sto
Rigby, John J., OS
Ritzer, Edward E., Sto
Roy, Frank N., Stwd
Savoy, Alfred T., AB
Sealey, Walter B., AB
Smith, Gerald J.., Sto
Smith, William R., OS
Smithson, Stanley L., Sto
Smrke, Anthony, OS
Snyder, Arthur D., PO
Stefiuk, George, LS
Swart, Dirk C., Sto.PO
Thomas, Roger C., Tel
Todd, Hugh L., AB
Trenholm, Frank R., OS
Vincent, Eldon G., L.Sto
Wallington, Spencer, L.Sto
Watson, Wilfred, Elec.Art
Watt, Conway J., ERA
White, Clayton L., AB
Whitehead, Arthur J., AB
Whymark, Milton E., AB
Woods, Harold G., Tel


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