On Christmas Eve 1944, the HMCS Clayoquot was torpedoed just outside Halifax harbour by a German U-boat.
One of three in an escort group, the Bangor Class minesweeper was heading in to meet ships coming out of Halifax early in the morning, when it had its stern blown off by an acoustic torpedo launched from the German submarine, U-806. The vessel sank stern first in a matter of minutes.
Most of the crew abandoned ship but eight members of the crew were trapped in the Engine room with no hope of escape. It has been said that the trapped men saluted from the port holes to their comrades in life rafts as the ship went down. Watching in horror, the saved men lifted their voices and sang Silent Night in final farewell as they returned the salute. Images of HMCS Clayoquot survivors courtesy of Kenneth Merritt.