Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina popped over to wish Harry Shakeshaft a happy 100th birthday. Harry was a World War II Canadian Navy veteran having served on a Corvette, the Owen Sound, in the North Atlantic. Harry’s ship was assigned to the Newfie-Derry run as they called it between St. John’s Nfld and Londonderry Northern Ireland. protecting the convoys supplying Britain and Russia from German U-boats. Harry’s first trip was in the winter and in the North Atlantic corvettes were notorious for their tendency to roll and pitch wildly in choppy seas. . Below decks water got into every compartment of the ship’s very cramped quarters.
On March 10 1944 the Owen Sound assisted the destroyers St. Laurent and Forester in the destruction of U-boat 845. The sub was depth-charged and when the U-boat surfaced late at night, she was attacked with artillery, killing the Captain and the bridge crew as well as the crew servicing the AA guns. The rest of the crew survived the attack and was picked up by the escorts. Swansea picked up 23, Forester 17, and St. Laurent five men.
You can get a sense of Harry’s time at sea in the recent Tom Hanks movie Greyhound, which incorporates a Flower Class Corvette into the battle action. Scans of the corvette Sackville’s exterior were used to produce visual effects, bringing the Flower class corvette to life once again.
Harry was married for 76 years to Marion until her death in 2019. He was also the last WWII vet to be a member of the Hamilton Naval Association.