On 7 December 1941, HMCS WINDFLOWER was lost in collision with the freighter SS Zypenburg off St. John’s, NF. Twenty-three of the RCN corvette’s ship’s company were killed in the incident.
At the time, WINDFLOWER was part of the mid-ocean escort for SC 58, a convoy of forty-nine merchant ships that had left Sidney, NS. on 4 December. On the morning of 7 December, the convoy was off the Grand Banks in Dense fog, when SS Zypenberg appeared thru the dense fog at only 400 yds. Collision was unavoidable and the large freighter sliced into WINDFLOWER’s port quarter at a 45 degree angle.
The CO and 1st Lieutenant in WINDFLOWER at first thought the corvette could be saved, but within minutes of the collision the bulkhead near the damage gave way and the corvette began to flood. When the cold sea water reached the boiler room, the boilers exploded, causing many of the deaths.
Zypenberg rescued forty-seven men from the cold water, three later succumbed to their injuries.