On October 13, 1942, the SS Caribou sailed from Sydney harbour to its home part, Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Lying in wait was the German submarine U-69, which unleashed a torpedo that sank the passenger ship and led to the demise of 136 men, women, and children.
From 1942 to 1944, German submarines destroyed or severely damaged twenty-five ships, including four Canadian warships and a U.S. Army troop transport. It was the only battle of the twentieth century to take place within Canada’s boundaries, and the only one fought almost exclusively by Canadian forces under Canadian high command. And for more than forty years the battle was characterized as a Canadian defeat.
But was it a defeat? Drawing on new material from wartime records, eminent historian Roger Sarty brings the forgotten battle to life for new generations of Canadians.
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ROGER SARTY became professor of naval, military, and Canadian history at Wilfrid Laurier University after twenty-three years as a historical researcher and manager for the Canadian government. As deputy director at the Canadian War Museum, he led exhibition development for the new museum building that opened in 2005.
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