For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS ST. LAURENT H83
Former HMS CYGNET
HMS Cygnet was a C-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s. After the ship commissioned on 09 Apr 1932, she was assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet. She spent a lot of time in dockyard hands during her first two years of service. She was repaired at Devonport in Nov 1932 - Jan 1933, Mar - May 1933, July - Aug 1933 and Nov 1933 - Jan 1934 before deploying to the West Indies with the Home Fleet between Jan and Mar 1934. The ship required more repairs upon her return in Apr - May 1934 and then a refit from 25 Jul to 31 Aug 1934. Cygnet was detached from the Home Fleet during the Abyssinian Crisis, and deployed in the Red Sea from Sep 1935 to Apr 1936. She returned to the UK in Apr 1936 and refitted at Devonport between 20 Apr and 18 June 1936 before resuming duty with the Home Fleet. In Jul - Aug 1936 she was deployed for patrol duties off the Spanish coast in the Bay of Biscay to intercept shipping carrying contraband goods to Spain and to protect British-flagged shipping during the first stages of the Spanish Civil War. Together with her sister HMS Crescent, Cygnet was sold to Canada on 20 Oct 1936 for a total price of £400,000. She was refitted again to meet Canadian standards, including the installation of Type 124 ASDIC, and handed over on 01 Feb 1937. The ship was renamed as HMCS St. Laurent and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 17 Feb 1937. St. Laurent was assigned to Halifax, Nova Scotia and arrived there in May 1937. She remained there for a year before she was transferred to Esquimalt in 1938. In the summer of 1938, HMCS Skeena, HMCS Fraser, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS St. Laurent paid a port visit to San Diego as part of the spring training cruise. St Laurent was stationed on the west coast of Canada when World War II began and shortly thereafter she returned to the east coast, arriving at Halifax on 15 Sep 1939, and for several months escorted convoys on the first leg of the transatlantic journey. St. Laurent left Halifax for the U.K. on 24 May 1940, and on arrival at Plymouth on 31 May 1940, was assigned to Western Approaches Command, playing a brief role in the evacuation of France. On 02 Jul 1940, she rescued 860 survivors of the torpedoed liner Arandora Star. She returned to Halifax on March 3, 1941, for refit, on completion of which she joined Newfoundland Command as a mid-ocean escort, serving continuously for the following three years. In Apr 1943, she became a member of EG C-1. During this period "Sally" assisted in the destruction of two U-boats: U 356 on 27 Dec 1942, while escorting convoy ONS.154; and U 845 on 10 Mar 1944, while with convoy SC.154. In May 1944, she was transferred to EG 11 for invasion duties, remaining with the group on patrol and support duties until the end of Nov 1944, when she returned to Canada for major repairs at Shelburne, N.S. She afterward remained in Canadian waters as a member of Halifax Force and after VE-Day was employed in transporting troops from Newfoundland to Canada. Paid off on 10 Oct 1945, she was broken up at Sydney, NS, in 1947.
RCN Memories: The sinking of U-845
Photos and Documents