Assignment: Creative Responses

ENG 2D1/2P1


  1. What is a corvette?
  2. List five facts about World War II and the Battle of the Atlantic.

In groups of three or four, discuss the answers to the pre-reading questions.

Read the passages on Stoker William I. Brown, Seaman John Garland and Leading Stoker William Fisher.


Respond creatively to tell the story of one (1) of the Stokers.

Choose one (1) of the following activities:

The heroism of Seaman John 'Judy' Garland

Seaman John 'Judy' Garland - HMCS Charlottetown

On the morning of September 11, 1942, at around 08:00, HMCS Charlottetown, on escort duty with HMCS Clayoquot in the St. Lawrence, was torpedoed twice by U-517. The Charlottetown, a new Corvette commissioned only a few months earlier, sank in just 4 minutes and 10 members of the ship's crew were lost. There was no indication of U-boat activity in the area as the fresh/salt water of the St. Lawrence hampered ASDIC activity.

Seaman Garland was at his post and stood by the lifejacket locker passing out jackets to the crew. He then ran back to the mess deck to rescue the ship's pet dog, Screech. He was not aware that Screech had been thrown overboard and had been saved. Seaman Garland went down with the ship. A few weeks later, Screech was presented to Seaman Garland's mother.

The story of Seaman Garland is one of a young man who, though in mortal danger, was compassionate and considerate of the potential fate of the ship's pet and mascot. He put his own safety and wellbeing aside and sought to look for the little dog that had become an important morale booster of the ship's crew. In effect, he sacrificed his life for the dog, unaware that others had already saved it.

Assignment: Profile of a Canadian Sailor

The Tragedy of Stoker William I. Brown, RCN

Stoker William I. Brown - HMCS Chambly

Corvette, HMCS Chambly, in tandem with another corvette, HMCS Moose Jaw, attacked and successfully caught U-boat 501 on the surface. The action took place on September 10, 1941 off Greenland. It was to be the first sinking of a U-boat in the Battle of the Atlantic by the RCN.

Stoker William I. Brown was a member of the HMCS Chambly boarding party that boarded the U-boat to pick up any intelligence information (Code books, enigma machine). One of the German officers had opened the flooding valves in order to scuttle the boat. The Canadian boarding party and remaining U-boat crew were ordered to make a quick evacuation of U-501. Stoker Brown went further into the sub to see if he could shut off the valves. He got trapped and went down with it.

The irony of Stoker Brown's story.

He was a member of a successful Canadian naval group searching for U-boats. He and his ship were in danger from U-boats, but his ship successfully engaged and neutralized an enemy. In an effort to secure the captured German vessel, he became trapped and lost his life in the very vessel he and his crewmates on HMCS Chambly had set out to destroy.

Profile of a Canadian Sailor

Questions to Ponder:

The story of Stoker W. Fisher

Sole survivor of HMCS St. Croix

September 1943, while escorting ON (Outbound to North America) convoy, HMCS St. Croix was torpedoed by U-305. Her position was 57 30N, 31 10 W, south of Iceland. She sank within minutes. Royal Navy corvette HMS Polyanthus was detached from the convoy to pick up St. Croix survivors. Before she could reach the St. Croix survivors, she was also hit by torpedoes from U-952 and sank. Another British ship, HMS Itchen searched for survivors. She found only one survivor of HMS Polyanthus and 82 survivors from HMCS St. Croix. She carried the 83 survivors for only a few hours when she was torpedoed by U-666. Only three men survived this final attack – one from HMS Itchen, the lone survivor of HMS Polyanthus, and only one from the 82 rescued HMCS St. Croix. That lone Canadian was Leading Stoker William Allen Fisher. The three men were picked up by a Polish merchant ship SS Waleha.