They made the Ultimate Sacrifice


Cliford Carter


Fireman, Merchant Navy


Died: 05 Nov 1940 at sea


CARTER, Clifford, Fireman, Merchant Navy, Killed - 05 Nov 1940 - S.S. Beaverford - Clifford Carter, Fireman aboard the SS Beaverford, Merchant Navy, was lost at sea at the age of 22. Clifford went down with his ship, which was sunk by the germane Pocket Battleship Admiral Scheer on November 5, 1940. All 77 crew on board were lost. A Canadian Pacific cargo ship, Beaverford was part of a 38-ship convoy, HX-84, crossing the Atlantic. She was sunk fighting alongside HMS Jervis Bay. Jervis Bay had tried to draw the enemy to her and away from the convoy. Beaverford was sunk not long after Jervis Bay after several hours of holding Admiral Scheer at bay. She went down at 52-26N 32-34W in the North Atlantic.


Cliff had lived all his life in and around new Lowell and Glencairn before becoming a sailor on a small lake boat. He was promoted to Fireman and then Oiler, hoping to become an engineer. He signed on with the Beaverford at Montreal on 24 Oct 1940. He loved to play hockey and spent several winters on the ice with the Glencairn team. His parents, one sister and five brothers survived him. A memorial service was held in the church at Brentwood. 


The Barrie Examiner reported on the service December 12, 1940:


"Reverend Cruse spoke from Psalm 107: 'They that go down to the sea in ships.'


"The arteries of our Empire are our trade routes, even in peace our debt to the men of the sea is immeasurable. In these days our sailors are our first line of defence, and the heroes who offer their lives do not all wear the King's uniform. These men, who face the perils of war without the thrill of combat knowing that when victor is won no bands will welcome them home, are the backbone of our defence and the guardians of our morale.


"It is symbolic of the nature and ruthlessness of the present attack on democracy, that the first blood of sacrifice in our community should be that of a young man engaged in the peaceful pursuit of commerce.


"Our hearts and arms surround a home today, where the sacrifice is felt supremely. Will you share with us the consolation of our Eternal Friend? We have but one life here to give, be it long or short. It is measured not in years, but in service to the cause of humanity.


"Clifford died like a man, doing a man's job, facing a man's peril in war; and the head lifts proudly, thought the heart may sadly weep So may we all do our part."


(Source: Canadian Virtual War Memorial. Research by Eliza Ashby and Mr. Lovell, Eastview Secondary School, Barrie, Ontario)


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