Donald Woodman was undoubtedly present to witness these events:
“VE Day did not pass entirely unheralded with Convoy ON.301. To express our grateful appreciation and respect for the Allied Merchant Navies, all naval escort vessels fired an eleven gun salute, followed by a Feu de Joie consisting of five depth charges. The firing of the gun salute and dropping of depth charges were controlled by radio telephone and provided a spectacular and much appreciated gesture of goodwill. The Commodore [later Rear Admiral Jeff Brock] then ordered all Merchant ships to fire four rockets as a salute to the Navy. This mutual demonstration of thankfulness and pride was a small thing…and gave vent to our noisy exuberance in a most fitting way.”
To end his report, the senior officer of Escort Group C-6 in HMCS Eastview concluded: “As darkness fell those of us not fortunate enough to have been ashore for V-E day celebrations when the lights went on again, saw the lights go on again at sea and were able to count our blessings by night as well as by day. The sight of sixty odd ships well formed into convoy and fully illuminated was a truly remarkable one, and after five and a half years of complete darkness, a little frightening to behold. However, we lighted up our pipes on the bridge, and having ‘Cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armour of light,’ we were soon readjusted to pursuing our lawful occasions for all the World to see.”
Commenting on the extravagant use of ammunition, the Staff Officer at Liverpool minuted: “Commander Brock has advised me that the exuberant use of ammunition is covered by King’s Regulations in celebration of a significant feat of arms by His Majesty’s Forces. To order the event it is apparent that Commander Brock temporarily promoted himself to the rank of Governor. Propose No Action.”
Edited from the Summer 2000 issue of Starshell.