Crew of the HMCS Sarnia carry a survivor of the HMCS Esquimalt. Maurice Ahern is the clean shaven man at the head of the stretcher. (Courtesy of Cliff Thitchener)

LETTER: Survivors of HMCS Sarnia, Esquimalt must be remembered

Letter writer Nick Standen sets the record straight


In reference to your article, “Surrey man served on the ‘most fightingest ship’ in the Canadian navy”:

The events as listed are, I’m sure, true and correct but I must point out that the photograph and caption used in the article has no relationship to the facts.

My father-in-law, Maurice Francis Ahern (Moe) is featured in the photograph, clean shaven at the head of the stretcher, but was, in fact, serving on HMCS Sarnia, a Bangor Class minesweeper, when her sister ship, HMCS Esquimalt, was torpedoed by the German U Boat, U-190. The account of the tragedy is well documented on numerous internet sites.

I say this not to detract from the brave life and times of Mr. Thitchener but to remember the commendable behaviour and courage of the crews of Sarnia and Esquimalt and, of course, Moe under terrible circumstances during, not just this tragic loss of comrades, but the years they spent traversing the treacherous Atlantic.

At this time, we all remember those who gave everything protecting home and country; Moe survived the war but never spoke about those times.

Nick Standen

Editor’s note: Our thanks to Mr. Standen for pointing out this error. An additional correction must be made regarding this article, which ran in our Nov. 7 edition. The HMCS Haida is now docked in Hamilton, Ont., not in Toronto as was stated. For this, and for the error in the caption that Mr. Standen identified, we apologize.

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