For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

HMCS SARNIA J309 / 190

Then Turkish Naval Vessel Buyukdere (1958)

HMCS Sarnia J309


Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1942-43,   Gulf of St. Lawrence  1942



Laid down: 18 Sep 1941

Launched: 21 Jan 1942

Commissioned: 13 Aug 1942

Decommissioned: 28 Oct 1945

Re-acquired by RCN: 1951

Transferred to the Turkish Navy: 29 Mar 1958

Paid off: 1972

Fate: Unknown


Commissioned at Toronto on 13 Aug 1942, Sarnia arrived at Halifax on 22 Sep 1942, having escorted a Quebec-Sydney convoy en route, and was assigned to Newfoundland Force. In Sep 1944, she underwent a major refit at Lunenburg, and on completion went to Bermuda in Nov 1944 to work up. On her return to Canada she was assigned to Halifax Force and, later, to Halifax Local Defence Force until Jun 1945. On 16 Apr 1945, she rescued survivors of HMCS Esquimalt, torpedoed outside Halifax. She then performed miscellaneous duties until paid off on 28 Oct 1945, at Sydney and laid up at Shelburne. In 1946 she was placed in strategic reserve at Sorel and in 1951 re-acquired by the RCN and extensively refitted. She did not re-commission, however, and on 29 Mar 1958 was transferred to the Turkish navy to serve until 1972 as Buyukdere.


The following was submitted by Liam Dwyer, PO ERA, HMCS Sarnia.

When we were operating out of St. John's, it was not unusual to sweep up to 12 to 15 mines in a patrol. We had both the paravane sweep and the electrical magnetic field sweep known as the LL Sweep. When we were in operating out of Newfie John you could cut the tension on the ship with a knife. One stoker PO sabotaged the steering hydraulics on the ship and was taken ashore under handcuffs by the Mounties; the Captain became a hopeless alcoholic and had to be taken off; and a seaman went nuts and thought he was some one else. When we did the LL Sweep I had to start up a big Allis-Chalmer diesel to supply electricity to a bladder with two electrodes on it. This bladder was paid out from the stern from a great spool of rubber coated wire. The sparking of the two electrodes would set up a magnetic field triggering the mechanism of the German mines tethered to the bottom the mine would surface and we would destroy it with gun fire. One time we had to bring a mine in for examination by a RN specialist. It broke loose from it's lashing and was free on the deck. The captain mustered all the crew forward of the bridge. Me, being junior ERA got stuck in the engine room with one oilier. (Webmaster's note: This is the oft forgotten part of the war - everyone has heard about the minesweeping operations for D-Day, but nothing is mentioned about the minesweeping off of Canada's shores and the hardships these sailors endured.)


The following was submitted by Lou Howard, Slt, HMCS Sarnia

The following officers were on HMCS Sarnia when she rescued the crew from HMCS Esquimalt - Lt. R. Douty, CO; Lt. Morris C. Shonfield, XO; Slt Pat Salter, E.O.;  Lt. Jack Cantril, Signals; Lt. Bill Brown, NavO; Lt. Doug Kirby, Asdic; Slt Lou Howard, bridge watch keeper (and took over from Brown and Kirby as Nav & Asdic)


Ship's company photos          Photos and Documents


RCN Memories:     Crew Member Purrfected Direction Finding          Sarnia Sails With WRENS .... And A Wife          The Picnic


Commanding Officers

Lt Charles Atkins Mott, RCNR - 13 Aug 1942 - 10 Feb 1943

Lt David Ireland McGill, RCNVR - 11 Feb 1943 - 17 Jul 1943

Lt Richard Cassels Chenoweth, RCNVR - 18 Jul 1943 - 1 Mar 1944

Lt Herbert Allan Plow, RCNVR - 13 Mar 1944 - 24 Jun 1944

Lt Roland Douglas Hurst, RCNVR - 25 Jun 1944 - 09 Oct 1944

Lt Robert Percy Joel Douty, RCNVR - 10 Oct 1944 - 21 Sep 1945

Lt D.M. Mossop, RCNVR - 22 Sep 1945 - 28 Oct 1945


     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Ahern, Maurice F.


Boggild, Kai Hugh


Drafted to Sarnia 31 Jul 1943 as Slt, RCNVR

Brown, Bill


NavO on Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt




Cantril, Frederick Earl John


Signals Officer on Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt


Douty, Robert Percy Joel


C.O. of Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt.

6th Commanding Officer





Finkbeiner, Howard


SBA (Tiffy) on Sarnia during the rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt

Fraser, John Little


Drafted to Sarnia 28 May 1945 as Lt (E), RCNVR.

French, Winston Oswald


Drafted to Sarnia on 22 Mar 1944 as Lt, RCNVR




Henricksen, Christian John


Hurst, Roland Douglas


5th Commanding Officer





Jandras, Henry Lawrence


Drafted to Sarnia 30 Jun 1944 as Lt (E), RCNVR






Kinchen, George Arthur


Drafted to Sarnia 15 Mar 1943 as Wt (E), RCNR

Kirby, Charles Douglas


Drafted to Sarnia 26 Jan 1945 as Lt, RCNVR. ASDIC Officer on Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt

Kirkland, Edwin Stanley


Drafted to Sarnia 28 Feb 1943 as Slt, RCNVR

Knight, Roland Bradley


Served in Sarnia 14 Aug 1942 - 08 Jan 1943 and 20 Feb 1942 - 27 Mar 1943

Loewen, Calvin (Cal)



Martin, Louis B.


Was a PO ERA on Sarnia during the rescue to the crew from HMCS Esquimalt

McDougall, Leo Stephen


McMurray, Leonard Denison


Drafted to Sarnia 15 Jun 1942 as Lt, RCNVR, Stand by

Moskos, Leo James


Mott, Charles Atkins


Drafted to Sarnia 15 Jun 1942 as Lt, RCNR, CO, Stand by.

1st Commanding Officer


Pendergast, James Edward







Robinson, James William David


Drafted to Sarnia 14 Apr 1944 as Slt, RCNVR






Saint Louis, Joseph Albert


Drafted to Sarnia 09 Mar 1944 as Lt, RCNVR

Salter, Albert Evans


Drafted to Sarnia Jan 1945 as Slt (E), promoted to Lt (E) 26 Mar 1945. Engineering Officer on Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt

Shonfield, Morris Conroy


XO on Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt

Simpson, Russell George


Stemmler, Leslie


Stokes, J.


Stoker PO on Sarnia during rescue of crew from HMCS Esquimalt

Stronach, Robert Warren


Drafted to Sarnia 13 Mar 1943 as Slt, RCNVR

Townsend, Daniel Thomas

See HMCS Blairmore

Drafted to Sarnia 13 Sep 1942 as A/Wt (E), RCNR, Stand by




Walsh, Thomas Richard


Drafted to Sarnia 06 Jul 1943 as Slt (E), RCNVR. Promoted to Lt (E), RCNVR, 07 Apr 1944






Former Crew Members

Dwyer, Liam, PO, ERA

Howard, Louis Henry, Slt, RCNVR - drafted to Sarnia Jan 1945



Photos and Documents (below)


(L-R) Slt Lou Howard and Lt Morris Shonfield, HMCS Sarnia

Courtesy of Lou Howard, MID, RCNVR

Reunion of crew and survivors from HMCS Sarnia and HMCS Esquimalt, 1996, Sarnia, Ont


(L-R) Frank Smith (Esquimalt), Albert Campbell (Esquimalt), Joe Wilson (Esquimalt, , John Sargent (Esquimalt), Ken Bexrud (Esquimalt), Lou Howard (Sarnia), unknown, Howard (Doc) Finkbeiner (Sarnia)

Courtesy of Lou Howard, MID, RCNVR

Reunion of crew and survivors from HMCS Sarnia, HMCS Esquimalt and U-190, 1996, Sarnia, Ont


Leslie Stemmler (Sarnia), Jack Ware (Esquimalt), Howard Finkbeiner (Sarnia), Werner Hirschmann, (U-190), Leo McDougall (Sarnia), Lou Howard (Sarnia)


Courtesy of Lou Howard, MID, RCNVR