HMCS La Hulloise

I remember being dropped off at Jetty One with pretty much everything I owned and carrying those kit bags across the quarterdecks of other frigates in the Ninth Canadian Escort Squadron tied up there. My ship was the third one out. The La Hulloise looked well past her prime. In fact they all were.

She was originally built as a River Class Frigate and was commissioned in May 1944. During the Second World War, she saw service pounding back and forth across the Atlantic, protecting convoys. Then, late in the war she was sent to work out of Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  

I recently found an account of the ship’s activities that helped put the ship’s war record into perspective.  On July 7, 1945, the La Hulloise along with two other Canadian warships were working in St. Georges Channel between Ireland and Wales, one of the main convoy routes bringing needed supplies to Britain during the war. They were close to the Welsh coastline.

At 3:00 AM the radar operator Thomas Simpson saw two small blips on his screen. He reported it to the officer of the watch who dismissed the second blip as a “gremlin” and ignored it saying what he had seen on his screen was a navigation buoy. Simpson was sure he was on to something and so annoyed, he challenged the officer of the watch’s judgment and the row got so loud that it woke the skipper. The captain decided they should take a closer look.

HMCS La Hulloise (wartime)
When they got within a kilometer of the buoy they turned on the ship’s searchlight and saw a submarine’s snorkel. The boat dove, the three Canadian warships swooped in and pounded the area with depth charges. After two or three runs the flotsam from a German submarine  started to float to the surface.

Five days before on March 2nd that submarine, U-1302 had torpedoed and damaged a Danish freighter MV Novasli in Bristol Channel and sunk British ship MV King Edgar near to where the La Hulloise discovered her.

Simpson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his actions.

The La Hulloise and other ships of the same class were decommissioned after the war then finally reconfigured in the 1950’s, had their armament upgraded, renamed Prestonian Class frigates, were recommissioned and put back into service. 

Alongside in Halifax

HMCS La Hulloise

HMCS La Hulloise leaving Harbour in Halifax

HMCS La Hulloise
The black ring on the funnel indicates that at that point she was the lead ship in the Squadron

HMCS La Hulloise

1 comment:

Unknown said...

HMCS La Hulloise was my first ship which I joined in October 1963 after graduating from Comm School OSSG1. The Yeoman was Dinty Moore. Christmas 1963 I was Captain for the Day as I was the youngest member of the RCN - east coast. A tradition I am told still exists today.. I also proudly served on the Swansea and Cresent. Great memories..

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