29th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla / Her Majesty's Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat 459 (H.M.C.T.M.B 459)
The accident occurred in the harbour of Ostend, Belgium, on the 14th of February 1945, when an explosion and subsequent fires destroyed twelve Motor Torpedo Boats, closely berthed in a narrow passage known as the Grique inside the harbour. Five of the crafts were Canadian and belonged to the 29th Canadian Motor Torpedo Boat Flotilla commanded by Lieutenant Commander C.A. Law, D.S.C., Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Within a few minutes after the explosion boats were afire and it was impossible to move the inside craft to safety. One Officer and twenty-five Canadian Naval ratings lost their lives at this time and several were injured.
Medical attention was given as soon as possible by British and Canadian Naval and Army medical Officers who were immediately rushed to the scene.
The following is an excerpt from a report of a Canadian Naval Press Relations Officer regarding memorial services which were held.
"On the Sunday following, a memorial mass was said for the Canadian dead by Father Dodd in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. This was followed by an impressive memorial service in the dockyard, conducted by Chaplain E.R. Bowdler (Church of England), Royal Naval Reserve, Ostend Base Baval Chaplain, and Command Chaplain Ernest G.B. Foote (Protestant), Royal Canadian Navy. Officers and comrades of the men who their lives were drawn up on the decks of a group of Motor Torpedo Boats below the deck of the Control Tower where the service was conducted."
Personal details have been collected from official Service Records and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Some of the additional information has been provided by War Diaries, Libera Me (G.E. Spittael), Polder Fighting (R.W. Catsburg), Veterans Affairs Canada, WW2 Talk, Aircrew Remembered and other sources. The commonwealth-adegem.com website is not responsible for incorrect information.
Everything has been collected and processed voluntarily by Michael van de Velde, Netherlands. Along the way I had great support from expert researchers and other volunteers. Thank you!