H.M.C.S. Regina was torpedoed 65 years ago today on 8 August 1944.
Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Regina, the Halifax-class frigate in which I served for three years, is named after Regina, the capital city of the Province of Saskatchewan. "The Queen City", as Regina is affectionately known, was named in 1882 after Queen Victoria, i.e. Victoria Regina, by her daughter Princess Louise, wife of the then-Governor General the Marquess of Lorne.
Today's modern warship is the second vessel to carry the designation HMCS Regina. The first was a Royal Canadian Navy Flower-class corvette, which took part in convoy escort duties during the Battle of the Atlantic. On 8 August 1944, Regina was torpedoed and sunk by U-667 eight nautical miles off the coast of Cornwall, while rescuing survivors of the American merchant Ezra Weston. The warship sank in 28 seconds.
Although 30 crew members were killed (mostly engineers and stokers who drowned), because the depth charges on Regina had been set to “safe,” (thanks to a quick thinking sailor) many lives were saved and 66 survivors lived to tell their story. This was fortunate since explosions of depth charges from sinking ships usually killed many sailors who survived the initial attack on their ships.
The U-boat that sank her struck a mine and went down with all hands just days after sinking the Regina. I personally came into contact with some of the old Regina's survivors in 1994 at the commissioning ceremony of the new Regina, and heard firsthand the details of their grim story. Their memory is kept alive in the Battle Honours of the current HMCS Regina.