Sunday, February 01, 2009

Canadian Second World War Frigate HMCS Waskesiu

Canadian Second World War Frigate HMCS Waskesiu
By Duane Duff

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:

R.L. Duane Duff, Email:
Canadian Second World War Frigate HMCS Waskesiu
By Duane Duff
I have got a mail late hours on Tuesday from my staunch bud, Mr. Duane Duff, who is author of “I have A Story To Tell”,
in which my short life story is included

from British Colombia, Canada about his last work on a book to be named as “Waskesiu: Canada's First Frigate” to be published in 2010.

He has made a short interview with a journalist about his book project. He kindly gets me informed of his book project and on his interview. Me too in return wished his endauver must be known all over world through my words. Maybe interested people would like to read about this matter:

You will read below his article about book and some short information about the book titled as “WASKESIU: Canada's First Frigate” down below. Hope you would get enjoy reading.

Erkan Kiraz,
Alikahya, Kentsa Site Homes, City of Izmit, Turkey
January 27th, 2009

From: "Duane Duff", To: "Erkan Kiraz", Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2009 13:46:46 -0800, Subj: Newspaper Article,


I thought that you might be interested in seeing the online newspaper article concerning an interview a local reporter had with me in regard to our book Waskesiu: Canada's First Frigate. We saw it yesterday. It will probably be in the print edition on Wednesday. Our family feels that he wrote a good story. I am currently beginning research on updating the book for a 2010 edition for the Navy's centennial year. The URL for the article is

I have seen some of your webpages on the internet. Thank you for the publicity for the book I Have a Story to Tell. I hope that all is well with you and your family. We have not heard from you for a long time.

Best regards,


Surrey author Duane Duff has written a book about the Canadian Second World War frigate HMCS Waskesiu.

Boaz Joseph / The Leader

Surrey North Delta Leader
A crew's story finally told
By Boaz Joseph - Surrey North Delta Leader
Published: January 26, 2009 9:00 AM
Updated: January 26, 2009 10:00 AM

After witnessing the torpedoing of her sister ship on Jan. 7, 1944 – the British HMS Tweed was fully submerged in less than 15 minutes – the Canadian crew of the HMCS Waskesiu had to abandon the cold, injured, oil-covered survivors in water to search for the elusive U-305, which escaped the encounter.

When the Waskesiu returned with another Frigate, the HMS Nene, they were able to rescue 56 men, less than half of the Tweed's original crew.

By the following morning, five of the rescued survivors were dead, and were buried at sea.

Six weeks later, a depth charge and gun battle between the Waskesiu and the German submarine U-257 led to what the crews considered revenge for the Tweed.

On the night of Feb. 24, 1944, the HMCS Waskesiu became the first Canadian frigate to sink a U-boat – and capture her crew.

The story of the ship – a Cree word for "red deer" – and her crew of 145 has never been told in detail – until now.

Surrey author Duane Duff, while working on a book about Canadian war and peacekeeping veterans, came to meet an ASDIC (sonar) operator from the Waskesiu in Stanley Park last year.

While talking to the veteran, Commissionaire Bruce Menzies at the HMCS Discovery naval training facility in Vancouver, Duff quickly became curious about one of Canada's hundreds of frigates that were used to escort transport ships and hunt for U-boats in the Atlantic during the Second World War.

"I sensed a story," he recalls, and wanted to find out more about life on board the ship.

Before long, he had contacted 11 other veterans who crewed the River class frigate from 1943 to the end of the war.

At first, he sent out questionnaires. Then came the interviews, with veterans as far east as Ottawa.

The youngest was 83.

Within months, Duff had compiled enough material for the 215-page Waskesiu: Canada's First Frigate, which was published before Christmas.

The ship's story, as relayed by her crew, is one of fatigue, boredom, cold and periods of great tension.

Dangers included rough seas, magnetic mines, torpedoes and dive bombers – the latter a particular hazard on the ship's escort run to the Soviet Arctic port of Murmansk in April, 1943. (She would be the first Canadian naval ship to enter a Russian port).

The navy food was described as tolerable to some, "Yuck!" to others.

Veterans of the HMCS Waskesiu "have been waiting for years to get their stories in print," says Duff, a retired teacher and school librarian for 38 years.

All of those interviewed for the book were given copies.

"It almost made me cry because they were so happy."

Since the book was first published, other veterans of Waskesiu have been found. The most local is a 94-year-old man in Delta who Duff will interview in February.

The family of a lieutenant who passed away last month in Ontario will have his story forwarded to Duff by the man's family.

A revised edition of the book is planned for 2010.

"I'm hoping to get his story in."

For more information or to purchase Waskesiu: Canada's First Frigate, visit

WASKESIU: Canada's First Frigate, Relives the Battle of the Atlantic

SURREY, BC, CANADA, December 3, 2008 — HMCS Waskesiu is the subject of a newly published book of Canadian naval history. Veterans who served aboard the country's first ship of its class relate what life was like at sea during World War II. At their request to keep their story alive, Duane Duff of Surrey, British Columbia, compiled personal accounts and photographs into this 215-page volume.

Waskesiu, a Cree word meaning "red deer", was an anti-submarine warship named after the townsite in Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan. Her task was to search for submarines in the Atlantic, the Arctic, and the English Channel, shielding merchant vessels from marauding German U-boats.

Waskesiu experienced several near misses by torpedoes, but a sister ship was not so fortunate, a devastating scene that haunts the veterans to this day. She was the first frigate to sink an enemy submarine, but the book includes a moving story of a friendship that developed between members of the crew and the survivors of that doomed U-boat.

Surviving veterans periodically reunite and did so on one occasion at the ship's namesake in Prince Albert National Park in June 2003. A chapter is dedicated to that reunion.

WASKESIU: Canada's First Frigate ($24.95, 215 pages, ISBN 978-0-9810784-3-4, Duff Publishing) has 29 chapters and features a glossary to help readers understand the navy terminology used by the sailors. Don Ravis, chair of the Waskesiu Community Council, wrote the foreword.

Duane is the author of six books, including his autobiography. He is a retired high school teacher and librarian of thirty-eight years, having taught in Manitoba, Ontario, and Alberta. His wife, Pamela, is from Saskatoon and remembers visiting Waskesiu Lake as a child.

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