Thomas Joseph Simpson

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Thomas Joseph Simpson
Thomas Joseph SImpson.jpg
Born(1921-11-06)November 6, 1921
Windsor, Ontario
DiedJanuary 28, 2017(2017-01-28) (aged 95)
Windsor, Ontario
AllegianceFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Service/branch Royal Canadian Navy
Rank Able seaman
Service number V-46636
Battles/wars Battle of the Atlantic
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Italy Star
France and Germany Star
1939-1945 Star
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

Thomas Joseph Simpson (November 6, 1921 – January 28, 2017) was one of the first radar operators in Royal Canadian Navy history. Simpson was credited with having "saved hundreds of lives by locating U-boat 1302" [1] and a recipient of the Royal Navy's Distinguished Service Medal (United Kingdom).

Contents

Role in sinking U-boat 1302

His role in March 1945 helped sink the German U-boat 1302 -- that was fully loaded with 14 torpedoes -- in St George's Channel between Ireland and the United Kingdom. Simpson, then 23, was aboard His Majesty's Canadian Ship HMCS La Hulloise, that was sailing with HMC ships Strathadam and Thetford Mines in Escort Group 25.

Their task was to protect a 31-ship convoy that was sailing from Halifax in Canada to England. Even though the Battle of the Atlantic was nearly over, the U-boats were still posing a constant threat there.

The Royal Canadian Navy website comments:

As one of the Royal Canadian Navy's (RCN) first radar operators, Simpson’s role in hunting U-boats was vital in keeping the shipping lanes open and the waters around the United Kingdom and Canada safe. His job required constant alertness for days on end, because at any moment a German torpedo could come racing silently from the depths. [2]

At 3 a.m. on March 7, he picked up a radar contact in St George's Channel. [2] He was twice dismissed by the officer of the watch. [2] He spoke to the captain. On the captain ordering the 20-inch searchlight to check, a periscope and snorkel came into view. The subsequent attack is reported by the Royal Canadian Navy site. Some 48 submariners were lost, and Simpson was reported as being "haunted by his actions for years". Yet,

On the other hand, he had been instrumental in saving hundreds of lives that night as his attention to duty ended the reign of terror by U-boat 1302. [2]

Returning to Liverpool, England, Simpson was called before the Admiralty Board and questioned about the events and, specifically, his actions during his watch that night. The Royal Canadian Navy recommended Simpson for a Mention in Dispatches, but the Royal Navy opted for higher recognition. George Simpson, Commodore Western Approaches, and a decorated submariner, described Simpson’s role as “an outstanding piece of work.” “The detection of the periscope and the snorkel was invaluable in the successful prosecution of the attack.” [2]

Service history

Simpson enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy at HMCS Hunter in Windsor, Ontario, as a radar operator during the Second World War in 1942. He trained as a radar operator in Esquimalt, British Columbia, and later Halifax, Nova Scotia, before serving on the corvette HMCS Shawinigan and frigates HMCS Toronto, and HMCS La Hulloise in the Battle of the Atlantic. [3] He died on January 28, 2017. [4]

Awards

On March 7, 1945, La Hulloise along with two other Canadian River-class frigates, Strathadam and Thetford Mines, sank the German submarine U-1302 (originally thought to be U-775) in the St George's Channel.[ citation needed ] In August the event was recognised by the awarding of medals to a number of the officers and men of the three frigates, Simpson included.

He was one of the 114 Canadians to receive the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for World War II service. [5]

Related Research Articles

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USS <i>Natchez</i> (PF-2) River-class frigate of the U.S. Navy

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HMCS <i>Charlottetown</i> (1943)

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HMCS<i> Star</i> Military unit

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HMCS <i>Beacon Hill</i>

HMCS Beacon Hill was a River-class frigate that served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as an ocean convoy escort during the Second World War. She fought primarily in the Battle of the Atlantic. In 1954 she was converted to a Prestonian-class frigate and served until 1957. She was named for Victoria, British Columbia, but because HMS Victorious was in service with the Royal Navy, the RCN, in an effort to avoid confusion, chose to honour the city by choosing another name associated with it.

HMCS <i>Swansea</i> (K328)

HMCS Swansea was a Canadian River-class frigate that was the most successful U-boat hunter in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, having a hand in the destruction of four of them. She saw service in the Battle of the Atlantic from 1943 to 1945. Following the war she was refit as a Prestonian-class frigate. She is named for Swansea, Ontario.

HMCS <i>La Hulloise</i>

HMCS La Hulloise was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and again as a training ship and Prestonian-class frigate from 1957–1965. She was named for Hull, Quebec, but due to possible confusion with USS Hull, her name was altered.

HMCS Buckingham was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and as a Prestonian-class frigate from 1954–1965. She was named for Buckingham, Quebec. She is considered a significant part of Canadian naval history as used for some early trials of helicopter landings on smaller escort vessels. This led to the development of the future helicopter carrying destroyers.

HMCS <i>Chebogue</i> (K317)

HMCS Chebogue was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as an ocean convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for Chebogue, Nova Scotia. During the war she was torpedoed and declared a constructive loss.

HMCS <i>Jonquiere</i>

HMCS Jonquière was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and again from 1954–1966 as a Prestonian-class frigate. She was named for Jonquière, Quebec.

HMCS <i>Prince Rupert</i> (K324)

HMCS Prince Rupert was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

HMCS <i>St. Catharines</i> (K325)

HMCS St. Catharines was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for St. Catharines, Ontario. After the war she was re-purposed as a weather ship for use by the Department of Transport of Canada.

HMCS <i>Strathadam</i> (K682) River-class frigate of the Royal Canadian Navy

HMCS Strathadam was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for Strathadam, New Brunswick. After the war she was made part of the nascent Israeli Navy as the renamed Misgav.

HMCS <i>Thetford Mines</i> (K459)

HMCS Thetford Mines was a River-class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. She served primarily as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic. She was named for Thetford Mines, Quebec.

HMCS<i> Hunter</i> Military unit

HMCS Hunter is a Canadian Forces Naval Reserve Division (NRD) located in Windsor, Ontario. Dubbed a stone frigate, HMCS Hunter is a land-based naval training establishment crewed by part-time sailors and also serves as a local recruitment centre for the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve. It is one of 24 naval reserve divisions located in major cities across Canada.

References

  1. Government of Canada, National Defence (2014-05-22). "Royal Canadian Navy | History | Canadian Naval Heroes - Thomas Simpson". www.navy-marine.forces.gc.ca. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Government of Canada, National Defence (2014-05-22). "Royal Canadian Navy | History | Canadian Naval Heroes - Thomas Simpson". www.navy-marine.forces.gc.ca. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  3. Simpson, Ronald. "Able Seaman Thomas J. Simpson, DSM". readyayeready.com. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  4. Wilhelm, Trevor (29 January 2017). "Windsor war veteran and recipient of Distinguished Service Medal dies at age 95". Windsor Star. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  5. "Tribute to AB Thomas Joseph Simpson". The Roll Call of Honour at HonourThem.ca. Retrieved 11 November 2011.