The Skeena was a River class destroyer with a crew of 181 that was built at Southampton, Hampshire, England, and commissioned in 1931. She was one of the six destroyers in the pre-war Royal Canadian Navy. The Skeena had a varied career early in the war, the highlight of which took place when she and the corvette HMCS Wetaskiwin destroyed U588 in the mid-Atlantic 19420731.

By late 1944 HMCS Skeena had been in the forefront of the U-boat war for five long years. She was working out of Londonderry and patrolling south of Iceland when a gale blew up and the Skeena was ordered to anchor near Videy Island on Iceland’s west coast. Over the protests of her navigator she was brought to anchor in a cove. But as the storm worsened the Skeena seemed to be in danger of breaking up on the rocks. In the confusion of the moment some of the crew thought the order to abandon ship had been given and went over the side. Fifteen of them perished, among them JF Janos, JN Johnston and A Unger.

Note that Abraham Unger’s brother Frank has extensively researched the story of the Skeena, see Doug Chisholm, Their Names Live On, p.195. Frank’s account, which appears in Our Unger Heritage, differs – sometimes markedly – from the official account given above.

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