Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 1931-1939, Armed Troopships, Trawlers, Yachts, Patrol and Torpedo Boats, Fisherman's Reserve, Auxiliaries and Training Vessels

Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 1931–1949,

Armed Troopships, Trawlers, Yachts, Patrol and Torpedo Boats, Fisherman's Reserve, Auxiliaries and Training Vessels

Data currrent to 30 June 2019.

Armed Troopships

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, Bo N80)

RMS (HMT) Empress of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1 June 1936.  

RMS Empress of Canada was an ocean liner built in 1920 for the Canadian Pacific Steamships (CP) by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Company at Govan on the Clyde in Scotland.  She was 653 feet long.  This ship was the first of two CP vessels to be named Empress of Canada, and regularly traversed the trans-Pacific route between the west coast of Canada and the Far East until 1939.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, she was converted for use as a troopship.  Her defensive arrmament consisted of a 6-inch gun right aft with a 3-inch AA gun sited above it.

She was one of the ships in the first Australian/New Zealand convoy, designated US.1 for secrecy, destined for North Africa and at that time not yet fully converted for full troop capacity with few ships of the convoy carrying more than 25% more than their normal passenger load.  Empress of Canada departed Wellington on 6 January 1940 with the New Zealand elements, joined the Australian ships and arrived in Aden on 8 February from where the convoy split with all ships heading for Suez.

She continued to transport ANZAC troops from New Zealand and from Australia to the war zones in Europe until sunk.  The return voyage from Europe was not less dangerous than the trip north had been.  On 13 March 1943, while en route from Durban, South Africa to Takoradi carrying Italian prisoners of war along with Polish and Greek refugees, the SS Empress of Canada was hit on the starboard side by a torpedo from the Italian submarine Leonardo da Vinci, and quickly developed a list and lost all power.  She was struck at midnight approximately 400 miles (640 km) south of Cape Palmas off the coast of Africa.  Within an hour another torpedo hit and she sank soon after.   Of the approximate 1800 people on board, 392 died.  The final casualty toll was 44 crew, 8 guards and 340 passengers, ironically many of them Italian prisoners of war.  An SOS had been transmitted and a Catalina flying boat found the lifeboats the next day.  Rescue boats finally collected 1,360 survivors and took them to Freetown.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, CVA 371-1053)

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, CVA 447-2190.2)

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, CVA 99-1619)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3331327)

A Canadian machine gun crew aboard His Majesties Troopship (HMT)  Empress of Canada, taking part in Operation GAUNTLET, the Spitsbergen raid, en route to Spitsbergen, ca. 19-24 August 1941.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3331328)

A Canadian crew aboard His Majesties Troopship (HMT) Empress of Canada, taking part in Operation GAUNTLET, the Spitsbergen raid, en route to Spitsbergen, ca. 19-24 August 1941.

HMT Queen Mary

 (William Carey Photo)

HMT Queen Mary.  Although not in service with  the RCN, she carried many Canadian soldiers to Europe after being converted to serve as a troopship during the Second World War.  The RMS Queen Mary was an ocean liner that sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967 for the Cunard Line when the vessel entered service.

In late August 1939, Queen Mary was on a return run from New York to Southampton.  The international situation led to her being escorted by the battlecruiser HMS Hood.  She arrived safely, and set out again for New York on 1 September.  By the time she arrived, the Second World War had begun and she was ordered to remain in port alongside the Normandie until further notice.

In March 1940, Queen Mary and Normandie were joined in New York by Queen Mary's new sister ship Queen Elizabeth, fresh from her secret dash from Clydebank.  The three largest liners in the world sat idle for some time until the Allied commanders decided that all three ships could be used as troopships.  Normandie was destroyed by fire during her troopship conversion.  Queen Mary left New York for Sydney, Australia, where she, along with several other liners, was converted into a troopship to carry Australian and New Zealand soldiers to the United Kingdom.

In the Second World War conversion, the ship's hull, superstructure, and funnels were painted navy grey.  As a result of her new colour, and in combination with her great speed, she became known as the "Grey Ghost".  To protect against magnetic mines, a degaussing coil was fitted around the outside of the hull . Inside, stateroom furniture and decoration were removed and replaced with triple-tiered (fixed) wooden bunks, which were later replaced by "standee" (fold-up) bunks.

 Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were the largest and fastest troopships involved in the war, often carrying as many as 15,000 men in a single voyage, and often travelling out of convoy and without escort. Their high speed and zigzag courses made it virtually impossible for U-boats to catch them.

After the war end and after delivering a load of war brides to Canada, Queen Mary made her fastest ever crossing, returning to Southampton in only three days, 22 hours and 42 minutes at an average speed of just under 32 knots (59 km/h).

Armed trawlers, Isles Class

HMCS Anticosti (T274) (Isles class); HMCS Baffin (T275) (Isles class); HMCS Cailiff (T276) (Isles class); HMCS Ironbound (T284) (Isles class); HMCS Liscomb (T285) (Isles class); HMCS Magdalen (T279) (Isles class); HMCS Manitoulin (T280) (Isles class); HMCS Miscou (T277) (Isles class)

HMCS Anticosti (T274) 

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Anticosti (T274) (Isles class).  Built at Collingwood, Ontario for the RN, she was commissioned on 10 Aug 1942 as HMS Anticosti.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned in the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  She was returned to the RN at Plymouth and paid off on 17 Jun 1945.

HMCS Baffin (T275)

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Baffin (T275) (Isles class).  Built at Collingwood, Ont. for the RN, she was commissioned on 26 Aug 1942 as HMS Baffin.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned in the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  She was engaged in minesweeping duties out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She was decommissioned and returned to the Royal Navy on 20 Aug 1945 . In 1947 she was sold for commercial use under the same name, becoming Niedermehnen in 1952. Subsequently named Kellenhusen, Kairos and Theoxenia, she was scrapped in 1983.

HMCS Cailiff (T276)

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cailiff (T276) (Isles class)

HMCS Ironbound (T284)

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Ironbound (T284) (Isles class).  Built at Collingwood, Ontario for the RN, she was commissioned on 16 Oct 1942 as HMS Ironbound.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned in the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  Returned to the RN at Plymouth and paid off on 17 Jun 1945 . Sold to civilian use 19 Mar 1946.

HMCS Liscomb (T285) 

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Liscomb (T285) (Isles class).  Built for the RN at Kingston, Ont., she was commissioned on 08 Sep 1942 as HMS Liscomb.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned into the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  Returned to the RN at Plymouth and paid off on 17 Jun 1945.  Later sold in 1946 to Norwegian interests and renamed Aalesund.

HMCS Magdalen (T279) 

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Magdalen (T279) (Isles class).  Originally built for the RN, she was commissioned as HMS Magdalen on 24 Aug 1942.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned into the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  Returned to the RN and paid off on 17 Jun 1945.  She was sold to civilian use on 2 Jul 1946.

HMCS Manitoulin (T280)

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Manitoulin (T280) (Iles class).  Built at Midland, Ontario for the RN, she was commissioned on 28 Sep 1942 as HMS Manitoulin.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned in the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  She arrived at Halifax on 04 Apr 1943 to join the Halifax Local Defence Force.  Returned to the RN at Plymouth and paid off on 17 Jun 1945, she was later sold for civilian use.

HMCS Miscou (T277)

 (Dan Clermont Photo) 

HMCS Miscou (T277) (Isles class).  Built for the RN, she was commissioned on 17 Oct 1942 as HMS Miscou.  She was loaned to the RCN, though never commissioned into the RCN; and was manned by RN personnel.  Prior to being commissioned as HMS Miscou, she had the names HMS Campenia and HMS Bowell.   She was returned to the RN at Plymouth and paid off on 17 Jun 1945.  Sold to Bergen in 1946 and renamed Cleveland (converted to motor vessel), purchased by Nordlandslinjen in 1950 and renamed Sigurd Hund.  Sold to Ålesund in 1963, renamed Vestfar the following year, then Hans Hansen in 1971 for owners in the Faroe Islands.  Sold for breaking up in 1974.

Armed Yachts

HMCS Ambler (Q11); HMCS Beaver (S10); HMCS Caribou (S12); HMCS Cougar (Z15); HMCS Elk (S05); HMCS Grizzly (Z14); HMCS Husky (S06); HMCS Lynx (Z07); HMCS Moose (Z14); HMCS Otter; HMCS Raccoon; HMCS Reindeer (S08); HMCS Renard (S13); HMCS Sans Peur (Z02); HMCS Vison (S11); HMCS Wolf (Z16).

HMCS Ambler (Q11)

(RCN Photo)

HMCS Ambler (Q11).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3589808)

HMCS Ambler (Q11).

HMCS Elk (S05).

(RCN Photo)

HMCS Elk (S05).

HMCS Otter

 (RCN  Photo)

HMCS Otter.  Lost in a fire, sinking off Halifax on 26 Nov 1941.

Auxiliary Vessels

HMCS Adversus (auxiliary); HMCS Alachasse (auxiliary); HMCS Andrée Dupré (auxiliary); HMCS Bras d’Or (auxiliary minesweeper); HMCS Cedarwood (auxiliary); HMCS Dundalk (auxiliary); HMCS Dundurn (auxiliary); HMCS Eastmore (auxiliary); HMCS Fleur de Lis (auxiliary); HMCS French (auxiliary); HMCS Jalobert (auxiliary); HMCS Laurier (auxiliary); HMCS Laymore (auxiliary); HMCS Macdonald (auxiliary); HMCS Macsin (auxiliary); HMCS Marvita (auxiliary); HMCS Mastodon (auxiliary); HMCS Mont Joli (auxiliary); HMCS Moonbeam (auxiliary); HMCS Murray Stewart (auxiliary); HMCS Nitinat (auxiliary); HMCS Norsal (auxiliary); HMCS Preserver (auxiliary); HMCS Provider (auxiliary); HMCS Rayon d’Or (auxiliary); HMCS Reo II (auxiliary); HMCS Ross Norman (auxiliary); HMCS Sankaty (auxiliary); HMCS Shulamite (auxiliary); HMCS Standard Coaster (auxiliary); HMCS Star XVI (auxiliary); HMCS Sunbeam (auxiliary); HMCS Vencedor (auxiliary); HMCS Venosta (auxiliary); HMCS Venture II (auxiliary); HMCS Viernoe (auxiliary); HMCS Whitethroat (auxiliary)

HMCS Adversus

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Adversus (auxiliary), commissioned 7 Sep 1939, wrecked when she ran aground 20 Dec 1941.  Adversus was a Preventive Service patrol boat transferred to the RCMP in 1932.  She patrolled the North Sydney, Nova Scotia area until 1933 when she was reassigned to the West Coast.  She was the first RCMP vessel to transit the Panama Canal.  In August 1937 she returned to the East Coast and in 1939 was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and became HMCS Adversus.  On Dec 20, 1941 she was lost at sea when caught in a blizzard and run aground on McNutts Island near Shelburne, NS.

HMCS Alachasse (Z18)

 (DND Photo)

Alachasse was a Preventive Service patrol boat transferred to the RCMP in 1932.  She was based in Shediac, New Brunswick.  In 1939 Alachasse was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and became HMCS Alachasse, with pendant number Z18.  She was declared surplus and turned over to CADC on 3 January 1946.  She was sold to Marine Industries Limited on 15 April 1946 who used her until she was scrapped in 1957.

HMCS Andrée Dupré

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Andrée Dupré.  Originally a Sorel-built naval trawler of the TR class, she was sold for commercial use after the First World War and renamed Napoléon L.  Again renamed and in the hands of Marine Industries Ltd, as a tug, she was taken up by the RCN in 1939 for use as an examination vessel at Halifax.  Sold after the war, she resumed her former occupation as a tug, renamed Remorqueur 16, at Bordeau, France from 1947 to 1956.

Aristocrat (Z46), an ex-RCAF B113, was transferred to the RCN on 12 Feb 1944, for W/T Calibration service.  On 16 Jun 1945 she was still listed as providing W/T Calibration.  She was returned to her owners in 1946.

Attendant (Auxiliary Vessel D2, then Harbourcraft HC 33.  HC 33 was listed as a boom attendant vessel in Sydney, NS.  She entered into service on 6 Jun 1940 and was removed on 14 Sep 1945. 

HMCS Bras d’Or (DND Photo)

HMCS Bras d’Or (auxiliary minesweeper), former lightship No. 25.  The New York ship owner for whom this trawler was ordered at Sorel went bankrupt soon after her launching in 1919, and she and five sisters were sold incomplete.  She was completed in 1926 for service with the Department of Marine and Fisheries as Lightship No. 25.  Requisitioned on 15 Sep 1939 as an auxiliary minesweeper and renamed HMCS Bras d'Or, she patrolled the Halifax approaches from 1939 to 1940.  She joined the St. Lawrence patrol in Jun 1940, based at Rimouski, and on Jun 10 intercepted and seized the Italian freighter Cap Noli.  On the night of 18-19 Oct 1940, while following a Roumanian freighter Ingerner N. Vlassopol in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, HMCS Bras d'Or disappeared.  No trace of her or her crew was found.

HMCS Cedarwood (auxiliary)

HMCS Dundalk (auxiliary)

HMCS Dundurn (auxiliary)

HMCS Eastmore (auxiliary)

HMCS Fleur de Lis (auxiliary)

HMCS French (auxiliary)

HMCS Jalobert (auxiliary)

HMCS Laurier (auxiliary)

HMCS Laymore (auxiliary)

HMCS Macdonald (auxiliary)

HMCS Macsin (auxiliary)

HMCS Marvita (auxiliary)

HMCS Mastodon (auxiliary)

HMCS Mont Joli (auxiliary)

HMCS Moonbeam (auxiliary)

HMCS Murray Stewart (auxiliary)

HMCS Nitinat (auxiliary); HMCS Norsal (auxiliary)

HMCS Preserver (auxiliary)

HMCS Provider (auxiliary)

HMCS Rayon d’Or (auxiliary)

HMCS Reo II (auxiliary)

HMCS Ross Norman (auxiliary)

HMCS Sankaty (auxiliary)

 (DND Photo)

Sankaty (a.k.a. HMCS Sankaty, a.k.a. Charles A. Dunning) was a propeller-driven steamer purchased in 1940 for ferry service with Northumberland Ferries of Prince Edward Island, but before begining service she was requisitioned by the RCN for service as a minelayer during the Second World War.  She was commissioned on 24 Sep 1940 at Halifax, where she also served as a maintenance vessel.  After the war ended, she was paid off on 18 Aug 1945.  She was renamed Charles A. Dunning, and served from 1946 until 1964 in the waters between Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island and Caribou, Nova Scotia.  During this period her capacity was twenty-three cars and four trucks.  She was sold for scrap in 1964, but sank en route to Sydney, Nova Scotia on 27 Oct 1964.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3567289)

RCN ratings with a mine aboard the minelaying vessel HMCS Sankaty off Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 1941.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3567291)

RCN ratings with a mine aboard the minelaying vessel HMCS Sankaty off Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 1941.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3567295)

RCN ratings with a mine aboard the minelaying vessel HMCS Sankaty off Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 1941.

HMCS Shulamite (auxiliary)

HMCS Standard Coaster (auxiliary)

HMCS Star XVI (auxiliary)

HMCS Sunbeam (auxiliary)

HMCS Vencedor (auxiliary)

HMCS Venosta (auxiliary)

HMCS Venture II (auxiliary)

HMCS Viernoe (auxiliary)

HMCS Whitethroat (auxiliary)

Fisherman’s Reserve

HMCS Allaverdy (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS B.C. Lady (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Barkley Sound (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Billow (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Bluenose (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Camenita (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Canfisco (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Cape Beale (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Cancolim (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Capella (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Chamiss Bay (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Combat (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Comber (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Crest (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Dalehurst (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Departure Bay (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Early Field (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Ehkoli (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Fifer (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Flores (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Foam (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Howe Sound I (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Joan W. II (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Johanna (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Kuitan (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Leelo (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Loyal I (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Loyal II (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Maraudor (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Margaret I (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Meander (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Merry Chase (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Mitchell Bay (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Moolock (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Moresby II (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Nenamook (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Ripple II (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS San Tomas (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Santa Maria (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Seiner (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Signal (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Smith Sound(Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Spray (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Springtime V (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Stanpoint (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Surf (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Takla (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Talapus (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Tordo (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Valdes (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Vanisle (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS West Coast (Fisherman’s Reserve); HMCS Western Maid (Fisherman’s Reserve)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3515987)

HMCS Leelo.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2922325)

HMCS Margaret.

Patrol and Torpedo Boats

HMCS Santa Maria (patrol boat); HMCS San Thomas (patrol boat); HMCS CMTB-1 (torpedo boat); HMCS S-09 (torpedo boat)

(RCN Photo, E-1331)

HMCS Santa Maria.

Training schooner, HMCS Venture

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399223)

HMCS Venture on the right, HMS Seaborn on the left, 19 Aug 1940.