On October 14, 1942, the SS Caribou, a Newfoundland Railway passenger ferry, was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Newfoundland. The attack killed 137 people and sent shockwaves throughout the region.
The U-69 submarine had maneuvered into attack position and fired one torpedo from its stern tube at 3:21 a.m. Atlantic Daylight Time (3:51 in Newfoundland). The torpedo struck the ferry’s starboard side, causing pandemonium among passengers who were thrown from their bunks by the explosion. It is believed that some of the casualties were caused by the submarine itself as survivors reported seeing it surface after firing its torpedo.
The sinking of SS Caribou was part of the Battle of St. Lawrence during World War II which saw German submarines attacking merchant ships along Canada’s east coast. This particular incident had a devastating impact on Newfoundland and Labrador as it was one of many attacks during this period that resulted in significant loss of life and property damage.
Today marks 75 years since this tragic event occurred and we remember those who lost their lives on board SS Caribou as well as all those affected by this tragedy in Newfoundland and Labrador.