It was a fat target for German U-boats: close to five dozen cargo ships laden with explosives, fuel and lumber for the war effort and life-sustaining food—grain, sugar, meat and frozen foods—which left Halifax on Feb. 22, 1944, bound for wartorn Britain.
Escorting the convoy were HMS Icarus, a destroyer, HMCS St. Catharines and four corvettes HMC ships Chaudière, Gatineau, Chilliwack and St. Fennel. They were about to take part in the second longest U-boat hunt of the Second World War.
Gatineau’s asdic (sonar) detected a U-boat on March 5. Immediately, the escorts, joined by British corvette HMS Kenilworth Castle, began to attack. U-744, commanded by Oberleutnant zur See Heinz Blischke, dove deep, manoeuvring to escape his attackers through that night and the next day.
“I was on d...