The time­line of events

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Features - BY J. R. ROY SPE­CIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

The sink­ing of the SS Cari­bou took place on Oct. 14, 1942 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at 47° 19’ North, 49° 29’West. Here is how the tragedy un­folded. OC­TO­BER 13 9:30 p.m. – The SS Cari­bou, un­der the com­mand of Cap­tain Ben­jamin Tav­erner, de­parts Syd­ney with 237 souls on board – 73 civil­ians (in­clud­ing 11 chil­dren), 118 mil­i­tary per­son­nel, 46 crew. 9:30 p.m. – The HMCS Grand­mère, un­der the com­mand of Lieu­tenant James Cuth­bert, also leaves Port aux Basques, serv­ing as a mil­i­tary es­cort for the SS Cari­bou.The Ban­gor-class minesweeper runs astern of the pas­sen­ger ferry, op­er­at­ing no radar. OC­TO­BER 14 3:21 a.m. – Ger­man sub­ma­rine U-69, a Type VIIC Nazi U-boat, spots the SS Cari­bou’s steam trails and misiden­ti­fies her as a 6,500-ton freighter and the Grand­mère as a two-stack de­stroyer. 3:40 a.m. – U-69, un­der the com­mand of Kapitän-Leut­nant Ul­rich Gräf, fires a 3:40-3:43 a.m. – Tor­pedo im­pacted SS Cari­bou amid­ships on the star­board side. Her coal-fired boil­ers im­me­di­ately ex­plode, caus­ing the ferry to list se­verely to the port side. 3:45 a.m. – The SS Cari­bou sinks.The Grand­mère at­tempts to ram U-69, which crash dives. Grand­mère fires depth charges in a di­a­mond pat­tern for­ma­tion. 3:45-6:30 a.m. – HMCS Grand­mère fires off 5 more se­ries of depth charges in pur­suit of U-69.The Nazi sub­ma­rine hid in the waters be­neath sur­vivors of the SS Cari­bou be­fore fir­ing a de­coy and slip­ping away undamaged. 6:30 a.m. – Grand­mère halts pur­suit and be­gins pulling sur­vivors from the wa­ter. 8:20 a.m. – HMCS Elk and HMCS Rein­deer, along with another Ban­gor-class minesweeper, ar­rive to help pull sur­vivors from the wa­ter. 4:40 p.m. –101 sur­vivors (in­clud­ing one child) ar­rive in Syd­ney, Nova Sco­tia. 59 mil­i­tary per­son­nel and 49 civil­ians (in­clud­ing 10 chil­dren) are dead. FE­BRU­ARY 13, 1943 A mag­is­te­rial in­quiry con­cludes in Chan­nel-Port aux Basques.The in­quiry doc­u­mented eye­wit­ness ac­counts and the se­quence of events, but no leg­isla­tive changes by ei­ther New­found­land or Canada were rec­om­mended or adopted. FE­BRU­ARY 17, 1943 A lit­tle less than 4 months af­ter the sink­ing of the SS Cari­bou, U-69 is part of an at­tack on con­voy ONS 165 in the mid­dle of the North At­lantic.The Al­lied con­voy is com­prised of slower ships west­bound from Liver­pool to Hal­i­fax Har­bour. De­stroyer HMCS Fame iden­ti­fies U-69 on radar and de­ploys a se­ries of depth charges, forc­ing the Nazi sub­ma­rine to the sur­face. U-69 is then rammed by HMCS Fame and sinks with all 46 hands lost.

sin­gle tor­pedo.

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