They made the Ultimate Sacrifice
BONNER, John Willard, LCdr, RCNR, MPK - 11 Sep 1942, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN - Son of the late Robert and Ellen Bonner. Brother of Wendall, Thomas, May and Eleanor. Husband of Mary Bonner and father of Moira Marilyn of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In peacetime LCdr Bonner served as a marine officer with the RCMP.
HMCS Charlottetown was sunk by the German submarine U-517 in the waters of the St. Lawrence near Cape Chat, Quebec, on 11 September 1942. Nine of her 64 crew members were lost when the Flower Class corvette was torpedoed, including the captain. After the ship was torpedoed, Bonner's men searched desperately for their commander's body as they picked up surviving crew members. They did eventually find him and were able to pull him into a rescue boat. In order to have room to manoeuvre the oars, the crew had to tie his remains to the boat's rudder and it was a struggle as they tried to row for shore. As fate would have it, rather than prevent the men from getting to shore, the rudder was pulled off the boat and Lieutenant Commander Bonner's body disappeared into the mist. (The Charlottetown Guardian, June 3, 2002)
Ships served in:
HMCS FRENCH - Appointed to FRENCH 19 Sep 1939 as an A/Lt, RCNR, CO. Appointed Lt, RCNR 08 Sep 1940. 1st Commanding Officer
HMCS STADACONA - Appointed to STADACONA 27 Feb 1941 as a Lt, RCNR, add'l for Training and Disposal
HMCS RIMOUSKI - Appointed to RIMOUSKI 19 Mar 1941 as a Lt, RCNR, CO. 1st Commanding Officer
HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN - Appointed to CHARLOTTETOWN 12 Dec 1941 as a Lt, RCNR, CO. Appointed A/LCdr, RCNR 01 Jul 1942
(JB01) Appointment certificate to A/Lt, RCNR, seniority 08 Sep 1939
(JB02-JB03) Record of Service
(JB04) Report of Death
(JB05) Letter to LCdr Bonner's wife
(JB06) RCMP Book of Remembrance entry
(JB07) Article on the death of LCdr Bonner