The HMCS REGINA (K 234), a Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Corvette of the Flower Class, was launched on 14 October 1941 and commissioned on 22 January 1942.
She was one of 10 corvettes built to fulfill the RCN’s commitment to supply forces for the defence of Newfoundland and its adjacent waters. HMCS REGINA started her career in Halifax, but eventually she was chosen to travel to Britain as an escort for the Great Britain-Mediterranean runs.
While serving in the Mediterranean the HMCS REGINA sank the Italian submarine AVORIO on February 8, 1943. In March 1943 she returned to Halifax for a refit and in February 1944 she returned to England as part of the build-up for the planned invasion of Europe.
On August 8, 1944 the HMCS REGINA was serving as the sole escort for the convoy EBC-66 when disaster struck. One of the ships in the convoy, the US Liberty ship Ezra Weston, reported that she had hit a mine. REGINA pulled within hailing distance and advised the Ezra Weston to beach on the shore near Padstow, the nearest port. The Ezra Weston was unable to do so, as her engines had stopped. Another ship in the convoy, the HM LCT, was attempting to tow the Ezra Weston stern-first to shallower water when the HMCS REGINA was hit by a torpedo.
Because the depth charges on REGINA had been set to “safe,” many lives were saved. (Explosions of depth charges from sinking ships killed many sailors who survived the initial attack on their ships.) Still, 30 crew members were killed. 66 survivors from the REGINA and the 4 officers who had remained on the Ezra Weston were picked up by the LCT. It was later determined that the Ezra Weston had probably been struck by a torpedo, not a mine. (The REGINA would probably not have pulled near had this been known, but the captain of the Ezra Weston was working from negative evidence – no sighting of a U-boat or a torpedo track – and thus assumed erroneously that she struck a mine.)
By studying German records after the war ended, it was determined that U 667 sank the REGINA. (The U-boat struck a mine and went down with all hands just days after sinking the REGINA.)
To learn more about HMCS Regina I or HMCS Regina II (which is in active service), go to the Canadian Department of National Defense website.