HMCS MARGAREE –River class destroyer, was lost in collision with M/V Port Fairy on the North Atlantic on 22 October 1940. At the time of her loss she had 176 sailors in her ship’s company, 142 were killed with thirty-two survivors.
MARGAREE had commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy only a few weeks earlier on 6 September 1940. Originally commissioned as the D class destroyer, HMS DIANA, she was purchased from the Royal Navy to replace HMCS FRASER, lost in collision with HMS CALCUTTA on 25 June 1940. The majority of MARGAREE’s ship’s company was made up of survivors from FRASER. Her first escort was to proceed to Canada with convoy OL-8, consisting of five ships and travelling at an unusually fast speed of 14.5 kts.
With visibility reduced by rain, MARAGREE cut across M/V Port Fairy‘s path, seconds later at 0100 the freighter sliced into MARGAREE near the bridge, severing the forward section of the destroyer, which sank immediately. The stern section remained afloat and after removing the survivors to Port Fairy the freighter attempted to sink MARAGEE’s stern with gunfire. With the hulk on fire and sinking slowly, Port Fairy rejoined the convoy.
Eighty-six of the 142 sailors lost in MARGAREE had survived the loss of FRASER.
Photo courtesy the Naval Museum of Manitoba.