CASPIR Aircraft Groups:Canadian Aircraft Losses (5)
Sinking of the SS Caribou
On the 14th October 1942, SS CARIBOU, on voyage from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland with passengers, was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-69, 25 miles south of Port Aux Basques off Cabot Strait. 136 people died.
Story: CARIBOU (Capt. Taverner) was torpedoed by U-69 (Kapitanleutnant Ulrich Graf) while in convoy NL-9, on her regular run between Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Her escort, the minesweeper HMCS GRANDMERE had only short range asdic (sonar detection) and no radar. GRANDMERE did not detect the submarine but sighted it after the attack, giving chase with depth charges as the submarine dove.
U-69's torpedo struck at 2:21 am hitting CARIBOU's boilers. The explosion was very violent and the CARIBOU was ripped in two pieces. She sank in 5 minutes. Survivors were left in overcrowded lifeboats and clinging to wreckage until dawn when GRANDMERE returned from its unsuccessful hunt for U-69. Only 101 of the 237 people aboard survived. 31 crew, 57 military and 48 passengers died.
Part of the passengers on board were women and children, who were heading to Nova Scotia to welcome a contingent of RCN sailors home from overseas. The sinking caused alarm in the Canadian and Newfoundland public about the vulnerability of the St. Lawrence to submarine attack. reference: wrecksite.eu