Attacks in the Saint Lawrence
Story by Sharon Adams
The Second World War came home to Canada with a U-boat attack in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the spring of 1942, bringing the naval conflict to Canada’s inland waters.
Between 1942 and 1944, 23 ships were sunk by German submarines and hundreds of lives were lost.
Kapitänleutnant Karl Thurmann had dispatched five ships and damaged another during U-553’s first six missions in far-ranging patrols in the North Atlantic. His seventh mission brought him to Canadian waters.
In the late hours of May 11, 1942, off the Gaspé Peninsula, the British ship SS Nicoya, en route to join a convoy in Halifax, crossed his path. U-553 launched a torpedo. As the crew was abandoning the ship, a second torpedo sealed its fate, and that of six crew. The next morning, 111 survivors were rescued.