Fatal Decision

programmes  —  Deep Wreck Mysteries Series One  —  Fatal Decision

Fatal Decision – Who or what sank the Canadian corvette, HMCS Regina? Was it a German secret weapon or a British mine? And was the captain guilty of gross negligence? Sixty years later a bitter controversy still rages; why did 30 men have to die?

In a remote churchyard in deepest rural Cornwall are the headstones of three Canadian sailors. Buried in the latter stages of the 2nd Word War, they are from HMCS Regina, a Canadian corvette. Her story is one of confusion and of bravery. But now with the discovery of her wreckage on the seabed there is an opportunity to clear up this wartime mystery.

In August 1944, the Regina, is the sole escort for a convoy of ten merchantmen steaming down the north coast of Cornwall bound for a beach head on the Normandy coast. It is a fine evening, unusually clear, and the sea is calm with a slight swell.

Suddenly there is a heavy explosion in the third ship of the starboard column, the American merchantman Ezra Weston. In spite of her best efforts to save herself she is doomed and the Regina orders her to be evacuated. During the transfer of the crew, the captain of the Regina makes a decision which is to have far reaching consequences. Stopping her engines, the warship hoves to some 300 yards away from the sinking freighter.

Without warning, the Regina is blown apart and disappears in a great plume of water and spray. Within thirty seconds there is nothing left to show that she has been there except for men and debris floating on the surface. Thirty of her men die, most going down with the ship. Shortly afterwards the Ezra Weston’s back breaks and she joins the Regina on the seabed.

Have both ships run into rogue mines or are they the victim of an unsuspected submarine? Whatever the cause, at a subsequent board of enquiry the captain of Regina is heavily criticised for placing his ship in unnecessary danger, little consolation to the thirty men who went down with the ship.

Today the two vessels lie hidden deep below the surface, together with unanswered questions …and bitter controversy. For the first time, the technical diving can unlock the full story of what occurred and unmask the heroes and villains of that fateful night.

Produced & Directed by
Crispin Sadler
Wayne Abbott

Sweeney MacArthur

Director of Photography  
Wayne Abbott

Additional  Photography (UK)
Richard Edwards
Crispin Sadler
Dan Stevenson
Wendall Collier (Canada)

Underwater Photography
Dan Stevenson

Additional Underwater Photography
Norman Woods 
Rick Ayrton

Written by
Jeremy Evans
Crispin Sadler

Jim Blokland

Original Music Composed by
Peter Mundinger

Production Manager (UK)
Carolyn Naylor

Co-Producer (Canada)
Jocelyne Abbott

Assistant Producer
John Chambers

Researcher (Canada)
Laura Abbott

Production Assistant (Canada)
Jason Hailman
Walt Liley

Sound Design and Mix
Mike Rowland

Sound Editors
James Robinson
Rudy Michael

Audio Post by
Wanted! Post Production

Wreck Artist           
Rob Ward

Visual Effects
The Studio Upstairs

Graphics and Animation
The Studio Upstairs

On Line Editing
Creative Post Inc.
On Line Editor
Peter Hordylan

Lt Radford: Russell Sketchly
Dr Gould: Ian Gilmore

Executive Producer for MSP
Simon Mallinson

Executive Producer for ITV
James Garrett

Executive Producers for History Television   
Cindy Witten
Michael Kot
Steve Gamester


Executive Producer for ZDF
Nikolas Hϋlbusch


Historical Consultants
Marc Milner, University of New Brunswick
Eric Grove, University of Salford
Innes McCartney
Axel Niestlé


Archive libraries
National Archives of Canada
National Defence Image Library, Canada
Imperial War Museum
US National Archives
U-boat Archive, Cuxhaven


With Special Thanks to
Explosion! – Museum of Naval Firepower
Royal Naval Historical Branch
Royal Navy
UK Hydrographic Office
Phoenix Damage Repair Instructional Unit, HMS Excellent
Chris Lowe – Atlantic Diver
Bill Smith
CodaOctopus Ltd
Jack Muir
George Dick
Dr Grant Gould
George Mann
Archie Marsh
Don McIntosh
Everett Behrens
Peter Cramp
Brian Malone
Elaine Nakonechny
Patricia Radford-Pellows
Ivor & Jackie Jenkins
St  Winwaloes Church, Poundstock, Cornwall
Trevor Hadlow
Rev. Rob Dickenson
HMCS Regina
Lt Peter Sergeant
Geoff Drummond, Flower Class Corvette Association
Phil Durbin
Keith Denby
David Sawatzky
Ralph Hoskins
Andy Aston
Steve Brown
Kim Cox
Tony O’Brien
Maurice Stradling
Peter Elphick
HQS Wellington, London
HMCS Sackville/The Canadian Naval Memorial Trust
James Reddy
Project Liberty Ship, S.S. JOHN W. BROWN, Baltimore                
Jo-Ann Malpass
Dive Diseases Research Centre, Plymouth
Richard Bull
Tom Mitchell
Dave McKinnon
James Yates
Stuart Frame
Trudy Mallinson
Gillian Kelly


A United Kingdom-Canada co-production
Copyright 2006

Northern Sky Entertainment
Mallinson Sadler Productions

For more see www.deepwreckmysteries.co.uk