USS McCook was built at Quincy, Massachusetts, and commissioned in 1919. She was one of the eight Town class destroyers taken into the Royal Canadian Navy when President Roosevelt offered 50 of them to Prime Minister Churchill in exhange for a base in Newfoundland early in 1940. She was re-commissioned as HMCS St. Croix and went to work. On 19420724 while leading the westbound convoy ON-113 south of Greenland when a submarine was spotted on the surface. The St. Croix gave chase, and completed four depth charge runs before the unmistakeable debris of the destroyed U90 came rushing to the surface. Eight months later HMCS St. Croix and Shediac jointly destroyed U87 off the coast of Portugal.

It was a remarkable record for a relatively old vessel that constantly pitched and rolled because of her narrow beam, and seemed to keep her crew constantly wet – above or below decks. And it was not to last. On 19430920 the St. Croix was working with a massive convoy in the mid-Atlantic as part of no fewer than three escort groups when they came under attack from a large pack of recently refitted U-boats. U305 put three of the German’s new acoustic torpedoes into the St. Croix. Most of the survivors were picked up by HMS Itchen after spending 12 or more hours in the water, but the Itchen was also torpedoed three days later. In the end Stoker W Fisher was the only one of St. Croix’s crew of 153 to survive. Among the casualties were RG Booth, RJ Botham, WB Brett, CJA Gordon, RE Grant, LG Moore, WL Page, GF Parnell, HC Riecke, TM Robertson and PD Walsh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *