Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 1931–1949, Destroyers (A, C, D, E, F, G, and H Class)

Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Warships (HMCS) Commissioned 1931–1949,

Destroyers, A, C, D, E, F, G, and H Class

Data currrent to 6 July 2019.

Destroyers, A, C, D, E, F, G, and H Class

The RCN entered the Second World War with six destroyers in 1939, HMCS Saguenay (HO1/D79/179) (A class destroyer); HMCS Skeena (D59) (A class destroyer) were the first two, built to Canadian specifications.  In 1937 and 1938 they were joined by HMCS Fraser (H48) (C class); HMCS St. Laurent (H83) (C class); HMCS Restigouche (H00) (C class); and HMCS Ottawa (H60) (C class), which were purchased by the RCN from the RCN.  HMCS Assiniboine (I18) (C class destroyer) joined the RCN shortly after the war broke out in 1939.

HMCS Margaree (H49) (D class) joined the RCN in 1940, followed in 1943 and 1944 by HMCS Chaudière (H99) (H class destroyer); HMCS Gatineau (H61) (E class destroyer); HMCS Kootenay (H75) (D class destroyer); HMCS Qu’Appelle (H69) (F Class destroyer); HMCS Ottawa (H31) (G class destroyer) - the 2nd to carry its name during the war;  and HMCS Saskatchewan (H70) (F class).

HMCS Saguenay (HO1/D79/179) 

 (Bob Senior Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (H01) entering Willemstad Harbour, Netherlands Antilles, 1934.  HMCS Saguenay and her sister, HMCS Skeena, were the first ships built for the RCN.  HMCS Saguenay was built by Thornycraft, England for the cost of £670,000.  Her hull was strengthened to withstand ice pressure which made her ideal for deployments in Newfoundland waters.  She was commissioned on 22 May 1931, at Portsmouth and made her maiden arrival at Halifax on 3 Jul 1931.  On 5 Jan 1935, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Vancouver departed Esquimalt for exercises in the Kingston, Jamaica area with HMCS Champlain and HMCS Saguenay.  In Jan 1938, HMCS Saguenay once again sailed south on a Spring Cruise with port visits at in Bermuda; Puerto Culebra, Costa Rica; Talara, Peru; Acapulco, Mexico; and Panama and San Diego, California.  With the outbreak of the Second World War she escorted local convoys until late Sep 1939, when she was assigned to the America and West Indies Station, and based at Kingston, Jamaica.  On 23 Oct 1939, in the Yucatan Channel, she intercepted the German tanker Emmy Friederich, which scuttled herself.  She returned to Halifax in mid-Dec 1939 to resume local escort duty until 16 Oct 1940, when she sailed for the UK to join EG 10, Greenock.  On 1 Dec 1940, while escorting convoy HG.47, she was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Argo, 300 miles west of Ireland.  With her bows wrecked and 21 dead, HMCS Saguenay made Barrow-in-Furness largely under her own power, and was under repairs until 22 May 1941.  She left Greenock on 23 May 1941, and arrived on 7 Jun 1941 at St. John's, where she joined the NEF, which was then forming.  From Jun 1941 to Jan 1942 she escorted convoys to Iceland.  From Jan 1942 to Jun 1942 she was assigned to WS convoys.

WS convoys were iron ore carriers traveling between Bell Island (located in Conception Bay Newfoundland, just north of St. John's) and Sydney, Nova Scotia.  The Dominion Oil and Steel Company (DOSCO) at Sydney, Cape Breton, NS, owned the iron ore mines on Bell Island at Wabana, and the Steel Mills at Sydney NS.  At that time they were producing one third of Canada's total steel output.  Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War,, Germany was their biggest foreign customer for iron ore.  The letters 'W' (for Wabana) and 'S' (for Sydney) were assigned to convoys between the two locations.  (For Posterity's Sake)

From 19 Apr 1942 to 02 Nov 1942 she was assigned to the Newfie - Derry run (convoys from St. John's, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland).  During the months of Sep - Nov 1942, U-boat activity increased off Newfoundland.  On 4 Sep 1942 a U-boat sank 2 ore carriers at their loading docks at Wabana.  On 14 Oct 1942, the ferry Caribou was sunk with the loss of 137 lives.  On 2 Nov 1942 (in broad daylight) 2 more ore carriers were sunk at the moorings at Bell Island and the ore carrier PML27 was torpedoed shortly after leaving Bell Island.  With the increase in sinkings, an increase in escort vessels was made to the WS convoys and HMCS Saguenay was re-assigned to the WS convoys.  On 15 Nov 1942 HMCS Saguenay was escorting convoy WS13.  At a distance of approximately 12 miles South of St. John's and 50 miles South East of Cape Spare, HMCS Saguenay was struck in the stern by the freighter SS Azra.  Depth charges from HMCS Saguenay were dislodged overboard and exploded beneath both ships.  The HMCS Saguenay had her stern blown off and the Azar her bow.  Damage to the Azar was sufficient to cause her to sink at the site.  The HMCS Saguenay stayed afloat and took Azar's crew members onboard.  The collision occurred within sight of Cape Spear near the entrance to St. John's harbour and the naval command center at HMCS Avalon dispatched an RCN Tug (possibly W 47) to tow the damaged HMCS Saguenay to the graving dock in St. John's harbour.  Once in the graving dock, the stern was sealed to enable the ship to be towed to the ship yards at Saint John, NB.  After further repairs at Saint John, NB, she was then taken to Cornwallis in Oct 1943, to serve as a training ship.  Paid off 30 Jul 1945, she was sold for scrap in 1945 to International Iron and Metal in Hamilton, Ontario and was broken up in either 1946, or 17 Jul 1948.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399179)

HMCS Saguenay (HO1) (A class destroyer), Montreal, 1934.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399174)

HMCS Saguenay (HO1) (A class destroyer), Montreal, 1932.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399173)

HMCS Saguenay (HO1) (A class destroyer), Montreal, 1932.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (HO1), ca 1934.

 (Bob Senior Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (D79), Miami, Florida, April 1935.

 (Bob Senior Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (D79) and HMCS Champlaine, Miami, Florida, April 1935.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3576681)

HMCS Saguenay (HO1/D79/179) Depth Charge Thrower, 30 Oct 1941.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (D79)

 (Bob Senior Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (D79) in the Panama Canal, Jan 1938

 (Gary Medford Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (D79), viewed from HMCS Sackville (K181).

 (Peter Hanlon Photo)

HMCS Saguenay (I79), with a disruption paint scheme.

HMCS Skeena (D59) 

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Skeena (D59) (A class destroyer).  Commissioned at Portsmouth on 10 Jun 1931, she arrived at Halifax with HMCS Saguenay on 3 Jul 1931 and proceeded to Esquimalt the following month.  On 24 Jan 1932 HMCS Skeena and HMCS Vancouver provided protection to British assets and civilians in El Salvador at the request of the British Consul in San Salvador following the outbreak of a peasant uprising.  A landing party was briefly sent ashore at Acajutla, but the situation there improved and the sailors saw no combat, although the two ships remained in the area until the end of the month.  On 5 Jan 1935, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Vancouver departed Esquimalt for exercises in the Kingston, Jamaica area with HMCS Champlain and HMCS Saguenay.  HMCS Skeena returned to Halifax in Apr 1937.  In 1938, HMCS Skeena, HMCS Fraser, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS St. Laurent paid a port visit to San Diego as part of the spring training cruise.  The East and West ships rendezvoused at the Panama Canal for joint exercises.  When war broke out, HMCS Skeena was engaged in local escort duties until ordered to the UK.  On her arrival at Plymouth, on 31 May 1940, she was assigned to Western Approaches Command taking part in the evacuation of France and escorting convoys in British waters.  On 23 Nov 1940, while escorting convoy SC.11, HMCS Skeena rescued 6 survivors from the torpedoed merchant ship SS Bruse.  She returned to Halifax on 3 Mar 1941, for refit, then joined Newfoundland Command, Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF).  In Apr 1943, she became a member of EG C-3.  During this period she saw continuous convoy duty and on 31 Jul 1942, while escorting convoy ON.115, shared with HMCS Wetaskiwin in the sinking of U-588.  In May 1944, she was assigned to EG 12 for invasion duties, and was present on D-Day.  On 8 Jun 1944, HMCS Skeena was attacked by U-953 (Oblt Karl-Heinz Marbach).  The Gnats (acoustic torpedoes) exploded in the ship's wake with no damage to the ship.  HMCS Skeena participated in operation "Dredger" against German escort vessels at the U-boat meeting points off Brest and southward.  During the night of 5/6 Jul the 12th EG, comprised of HMCS Qu'Appelle, HMCS Saskatchewan, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Restigouche, attacked three German patrol boats off Brest: V715 was sunk but not before hitting HMCS Qu'Appelle and HMCS Saskatchewan many times with small calibre gunfire.  That Sep 1944 she was transferred to EG 11.  On the night of 24/25 Oct 1944, HMCS Skeena was wrecked in a storm.  She was anchored off Reykjavik, Iceland and dragged her anchor and grounded in 50-foot (15 m) waves off Viðey Island with the loss of 15 crewmembers.  Her hulk was written off and sold to Iceland interests in June 1945; she was then raised to be broken up.  Her propeller was salvaged and used in a memorial near the Viðey Island ferry terminal.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Skeena (D59) (A class destroyer).

 (Bob Senior Photo)

HMCS Skeena (D59), entering Willemstad Harbour, Netherlands Antilles, 1934.

 (David Chamberlain Photo)

HMCS Skeena (D59).

 (Roger Litwiler Photo)

HMCS Skeena (159).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Skeena (159) aground on Viðey Island.  HMCS Skeena was anchored off Reykjavik, Iceland on the night of 24/25 Oct 1944, when a storm caused her to drag her anchor.  She grounded in 50-foot (15 m) waves off Viðey Island with the loss of 15 crewmembers.  Her hulk was written off and sold to Iceland interests in June 1945; she was then raised to broken up.  Her propeller was salvaged and used in a memorial near the Viðey Island ferry terminal.

HMCS Fraser (H48) 

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Fraser (H48) was a C-class destroyer initially built for the Royal Navy and commissioned as HMS Crescent in the early 1930s.  HMCS Crescent was sold to the RCN in late 1936 and renamed HMCS Fraser.  She was stationed on the west coast of Canada until the beginning of the Second World War when she was transferred to the Atlantic coast for convoy escort duties.  The ship was transferred to the United Kingdom in May 1940 and helped to evacuate refugees from France upon her arrival in early June.  HMCS Fraser was sunk on 25 June 1940 in a collision with the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Calcutta while returning from one such mission.

"Shortly after 8:30 p.m. 12 miles due west of Pointe de la Coubre light at the Gironde River mouth, HMS Calcutta's bows sliced into HMCS Fraser's starboard side, cutting through to the centre line of the destroyer and stopping inside the crushed wheelhouse.  HMCS Fraser's bow broke off at the forecastle while the aft portion, engines still going astern in obedience to the order which sought to avoid the collision, moved quickly off the cruiser's port side."

"HMCS Fraser went to the bottom in the early hours of 26 June 1940, becoming Canada's first naval loss of the Second World War.  Rescue efforts by the Restigouche and Calcutta, and by the officers and men of the Fraser themselves saved many, but 45 of her ship's company were lost.  Most of those who survived went down four months later, on 23 October with HMCS Margaree."  (Daily Colonist 28 Jun 1957)

 (Don Gorham Photo)

HMCS Fraser (H48) on 22 Jun 1940, shortly before her loss.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM54-S4-: Bo P282.2)

HMCS Fraser (H48), with one of her four QF 4-7-inch Mk. IX main guns being serviced by one of her sailors, ca 1940.

 (Bob Macklem Photo)

HMCS Fraser (H48)

HMCS St. Laurent (H83)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3724153)

HMCS St. Laurent (H83) (C class), 15 Aug 1941.  HMS Cygnet was a C-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the early 1930s.  After the ship commissioned on 9 Apr 1932, she was assigned to the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of the Home Fleet.  She spent a lot of time in dockyard hands during her first two years of service.  She was repaired at Devonport in Nov 1932 - Jan 1933, Mar - May 1933, July - Aug 1933 and Nov 1933 - Jan 1934 before deploying to the West Indies with the Home Fleet between Jan and Mar 1934.  The ship required more repairs upon her return in Apr - May 1934 and then a refit from 25 Jul to 31 Aug 1934.  HMS Cygnet was detached from the Home Fleet during the Abyssinian Crisis, and deployed in the Red Sea from Sep 1935 to Apr 1936.  She returned to the UK in Apr 1936 and refitted at Devonport between 20 Apr and 18 June 1936 before resuming duty with the Home Fleet.  In Jul - Aug 1936 she was deployed for patrol duties off the Spanish coast in the Bay of Biscay to intercept shipping carrying contraband goods to Spain and to protect British-flagged shipping during the first stages of the Spanish Civil War.  Together with her sister HMS Crescent, HMS Cygnet was sold to Canada on 20 Oct 1936 for a total price of £400,000.  She was refitted again to meet Canadian standards, including the installation of Type 124 ASDIC, and handed over on 1 Feb 1937.  The ship was renamed as HMCS St. Laurent and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 17 Feb 1937.  HMCS St. Laurent was assigned to Halifax, Nova Scotia and arrived there in May 1937.  She remained there for a year before she was transferred to Esquimalt in 1938.  In the summer of 1938, HMCS Skeena, HMCS Fraser, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS St. Laurent paid a port visit to San Diego as part of the spring training cruise.  HMCS St. Laurent was stationed on the west coast of Canada when the Second World War began and shortly thereafter she returned to the east coast, arriving at Halifax on 15 Sep 1939, and for several months escorted convoys on the first leg of the transatlantic journey.  HMCS St. Laurent left Halifax for the UK on 24 May 1940, and on arrival at Plymouth on 31 May 1940, was assigned to Western Approaches Command, playing a brief role in the evacuation of France.  On 2 Jul 1940, she rescued 860 survivors of the torpedoed liner Arandora Star.  She returned to Halifax on 3 March 1941, for refit, on completion of which she joined Newfoundland Command as a mid-ocean escort, serving continuously for the following three years . In Apr 1943, she became a member of EG C-1.  During this period "Sally" assisted in the destruction of two U-boats: U-356 on 27 Dec 1942, while escorting convoy ONS.154; and U-845 on 10 Mar 1944, while with convoy SC.154.  In May 1944, she was transferred to EG 11 for invasion duties, remaining with the group on patrol and support duties until the end of Nov 1944, when she returned to Canada for major repairs at Shelburne, NS.  She afterward remained in Canadian waters as a member of Halifax Force and after VE-Day was employed in transporting troops from Newfoundland to Canada.  Paid off on 10 Oct 1945, she was broken up at Sydney, NS, in 1947.

 (Penny Duncan Photo)

HMCS St. Laurent (H83) (C class).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399121)

HMCS St. Laurent (H83) (C class), 15 Aug 1941.

 (RN Photo)

HMCS St. Laurent (H83) (C class), as HMS Cygnet.

 (Brian Carpenter Photo)

HMCS St. Laurent (H83) (C class).

HMCS Restigouche (H00)

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3207420)

HMCS Restigouche (H00) (C class), 1940.  Built by the Naval Dockyard, Portsmouth, UK, she was commissioned on 2 Jun 1932 as HMS Comet.  She was purchased at the same time as HMCS Ottawa and commissioned as HMCS Restigouche at Chatham, UK, on 15 Jun 1938.  Like her sister, she arrived at Esquimalt 7 Nov 1938, and left for Halifax 15 Nov 1939.  She performed local escort duties from that port until 24 May 1940, when she left for Plymouth,  Upon arriving there on 31 May 1940 HMCS Restigouche was assigned to Western Approaches Command.  On 11 Jun 1940, HMCS Restigouche took part in the evacuation of St. Valery and came under shore fire.  While assisting in the evacuation of the French ports she rescued survivors of HMCS Fraser.  She left Liverpool at the end of August for a brief refit at Halifax, returning to the UK in Jan 1941.  In Jun 1941, "Rustyguts" was allocated to Newfoundland Command, and in Apr 1943, became a member of EG C-4, in the interval toiling ceaselessly as a mid-ocean escort.  On 13 Dec 1941, she suffered storm damage en route to join convoy ON.44, and extensive repairs were carried out at Greenock.  From 12 Aug 1943 to 17 Dec 1943, she underwent refit at Jarrow-on-Tyne, England.  She was allocated to EG 12 in May 1944, for invasion duties, including D-Day, and afterward carried out Channel and Biscay patrols from her base at Plymouth.  HMCS Restigouche participated in operation "Dredger" against German escort vessels at the U-boat meeting points off Brest and southward.  During the night of 5/6 Jul the 12th EG, whihc included HMCS Qu'Appelle, HMCS Saskatchewan, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Restigouche, attacked three patrol boats off Brest: V715 was sunk but not before hitting HMCS Qu'Appelle and HMCS Saskatchewan many times with small calibre gunfire.  She returned to Canada in Sep 1944, for a major refit at Saint John, NB and Halifax, and upon completion proceeded to Bermuda for working up.  Returning to Halifax on 14 Feb 1945, she performed various local duties, and after VE-Day was employed for three months bringing home military personnel from Newfoundland.  Paid off on 5 Oct 1945, she was sold for scrap in 1945 to Foundation Maritime and was broken up in Halifax the next year.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4821061)

HMCS Restigouche (H00) (C class), 1940.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950930)

HMCS Restigouche (H00) (C class), May 1942.

 (CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, Photo VR1994.38.15)

HMCS Restigouche (H00), 11 Aug 1940.  One of her four 4.7-inch Mk. IX guns traversed to port.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Restigouche (H00), torpedo launch!

 (Roger Clarke Photo)

HMCS Restigouche (H00).

 (Diane Brown Photo)

HMCS Restigouche (H00) in drydock, Liverpool, UK.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950925)

HMCS Restigouche (H00) (C class), May 1942.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4950926)

HMCS Restigouche (H00) (C class), May 1942.

HMCS Ottawa (H60)

(RCN Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H60), C-class destroyer.  Built by the Naval dockyard, Portsmouth, UK, for the RN, she was commissioned on 2 May 1932 as HMS Crusader.  She was purchased by the RCN and commissioned as HMCS Ottawa on 15 Jun 1938 at Chatham, in the UK.  She arrived at Esquimalt 7 Nov 1938 and was initially deployed on the Canadian Pacific Coast before the Second World War, but was transferred to Halifax three months after the war began.  Though assigned to the RN's America and West Indies Station, she remained based at Halifax as a local escort to eastbound convoys.  She left Halifax for the Clyde 27 Aug 1940, and on arrival was assigned to EG 10, Greenock, until the formation of Newfoundland Command in Jun 1941. Ottawa then shifted her base to St. John's and was employed as a mid-ocean escort from Jun 1941 onward, joining EG C-4 in May 1942.  Together with the British destroyer HMS Harvester, she sank the Italian submarine Comandante Faa' Di Bruno in the North Atlantic in November 1941.  She served as a convoy escort during the battle of the Atlantic until she was torpedoed and sunk sunk by the German submarine U-91 on 13 September 1942, while escorting convoy ON.127.  She suffered the loss of 116 officers and men.

From the war diary of  Joseph Ambrose Walter Lees: "The Ottawa got it on the 13th, there were only 69 survivors out of a crew of 175, plus 50 that they had picked out of the water.  She was hit in the mess deck and in the boiler room.  She broke in two.  The halves stood on end and went straight down."

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H60).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3305629)

HMCS Ottawa (H60) and HMCS Assiniboine (I18), Halifax, 19 Aug 1940.

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H60), ratings playing chess on deck, Botwood, Newfoundland, 22 Jun 1940.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3398976)

HMCS Ottawa (H60) and HMCS Assiniboine (I18), Halifax, 19 Aug 1940.

 (Brian Dobing Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H60) with a 3-inch AA gun in lieu of her rear torpedo tube mount and 'Y' gun removed.

 (Don Smith Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H60), St. John's, Newfoundland, ca 1942.

 (Don Smith Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H60) departing Halifax, ca 1942.

HMCS Assiniboine (I18)

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) (C class destroyer).  Completed for the RN in 1932 as HMS Kempenfelt, she was transferred to the RCN at Devonport in the UK on 19 Oct 1939 and commissioned as HMCS Assiniboine I18.  She arrived in Halifax on 19 Nov 1939.  Assigned to the America and West Indies Station, she left for Jamaica on 5 Dec 1939 to carry out Caribbean patrols.  While so employed, HMCS Assiniboine assisted in the capture of the German freighter Hannover in the Mona Passage and towed her into Kingston, Jamaica.  She returned to Halifax on 31 Mar 1940, and was employed there as a local escort until 15 Jan 1941, when she sailed for the UK to join EG 10, Greenock.  With the formation of Newfoundland Command in Jun 1941, "Bones" was allocated to it for mid-ocean escort service.  While thus employed with convoy SC.94, on 06 Aug 1942, she rammed and sank U-210, necessitating repairs at Halifax from 29 Aug to 20 Dec 1942.  Not long after her return to service, while on passage to Londonderry on 02 Mar 1943, she attacked a U-boat with depth charges set too shallow, causing serious damage to her stern.  Repairs were effected at Liverpool from 7 Mar to 13 Jul 1943, when she joined EG C-1 of MOEF.  In Apr 1944, she returned to Canada for refit at Shelburne, NS, and on 1 Aug 1944 arrived at Londonderry to become a member of EG 12 and, a few weeks later, EG 11.  In Dec 1944 she was loaned to EG 14, Liverpool, and remained with it until VE-Day.  She returned to Canada in Jun 1945, and, after brief employment as a troop transport, was paid off 8 Aug 1945.  On 10 Nov 1945, en route for scrapping at Baltimore, HMCS Assiniboine broke her tow and was wrecked near East Point, PEI.  Her remains were broken up on the wreck site in 1952.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3566830)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) (C class destroyer), 1 Nov 1940.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3399942)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) (C class destroyer), 1 Nov 1940.

 (Author Photo)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) attacking U-210 during the Battle of the Atlantic, artwork by Tom Forrestall. 

On 6 Aug 1942, while on escort duty with convoy SC-94 on the foggy Grand Banks, HMCS Assiniboine spotted the German submarine U-210 on the surface.  For the next seven hours she pursued the U-boat using every resource at her disposal to attack and destroy the U-boat.  The battle was fierce; at one point the two combatants were so close that the Canadian Destroyer could only use its .50 calibre machine guns and small arms.  The U-boat scored numerous hits with its 20-mm gun causing a fire abreast the starboard side of the bridge superstructure, and killing one and wounding 13 seamen.  Finally, as U-210 attempted to dive, the Destroyer successfully rammed the submarine just behind the conning tower, forcing it to surface.  HMCS Assiniboine then rammed U-210 again, sending it to the bottom in two minutes.  All but six of the U-boat crew were recovered.  Six members of HMCS Assiniboine's company received medals for their heroism during this engagement, and fourteen others were Mentioned in Dispatches.

In 2004, Tom Forrestall, a world-renowned Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based painter, was commissioned to paint a mural that would highlight the valour and tenacity of the Royal Canadian Navy as a tribute to the Battle of the Atlantic.  The incident selected was this engagement between the River Class Destroyer HMCS Assiniboine and the German Type VII-C submarine U-210.  This artwork hangs in an honoured place in the Wardroom, an integral part of the CFB Halifax Officers’ Mess complex.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) attacking U-210, 6 August 1942.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) ramming U-210  6 August 1942.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3566952)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) signalmen, 1940.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3566434)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) QF 2-pounder pom-pom Mk. VIII, V.S.M. (Vickers, Sons & Maxim LL) Automatic Gun, 10 July 1940.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3566440)

HMCS Assiniboine (I18) QF 2-pounder pom-pom Mk. 1, V.S.M. (Vickers, Sons & Maxim LL) Automatic Gun, being fired on 10 July 1940.

HMCS Margaree (H49) 

 (RN Photo)

HMCS Margaree (H49) was a D-class destroyer commissioned as HMS Diana for the Royal Navy on 21 Dec 1932,  entering naval service in 1932.  HMS Diana was transferred to the RCN in 1940 and renamed HMCS Margaree.  She was serving on the China Station when the war broke out, and transferred to the Mediterranean for a short time before returning to Britain to join the Home Fleet.  In May 1940, she took part briefly in the Norwegian campaign and in mid-Jul 1940 commenced refit at Albert Docks, London.  There she was transferred to the RCN to replace the lost HMCS Fraser, commissioning as HMCS Margaree on 6 Sep 1940.  On 20 Oct 1940 she left Londonderry for Canada with a five-ship convoy, OL.8, and two days later was lost in collision with the freighter MV Port Fairy.  143 of her ship's company were lost, 86 of them survivors of HMCS Fraser. 

 (IWM Photo, FL17599)

The British flagged MV Port Fairy was a refrigerated ship built in 1928 and weighed 8,337 gross registered tons.  Sailing in fast convoy OL8 from Liverpool to Canada on 22 October 1940, MV Port Fairy collided with the Canadian destroyer HMCS Margaree in rough seas about 300 miles (483 km) west of Ireland.  HMCS Margaree sank quickly; her captain, four officers and 136 crew were lost.  MV Port Fairy rescued 34 of the survivors.  Her next port of call was Bermuda, at which she called in November, 1940, landing the six officers and 28 enlisted men which she had rescued from the stern portion of HMCS Margaree before it sank.  Men were either killed outright on the forward section or survived intact on the aft section.  Two men perished whilst climbing up the side of the rescuing Port Fairy when they fell and were crushed between the ships.  The survivors rescued by Port Fairy were returned to Canada by 13 November.  Four of the surviving officers became rear admirals or commodores, and the Port Fairy survived the war.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Margaree (H49)

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Margaree (H49), D-class destroyer. 

HMCS Chaudiere (H99)

 (CFB Esquimalt Military Museum Photo)

HMCS Chaudiere (H99).  Commissioned on 23 Oct 1936 as HMS Hero, she saw extensive service in the Second World War, including the second Battle of Narvik, Apr 1940; the evacuation of Greece and Crete, Apr and May 1941; and the Syrian invasion, Jun 1941.  As a unit of the Mediterranean Fleet, she also took part in the Second Battle of Sirte in Mar 1942, and, in May 1942 and October 1942, shared in the sinking of two U-boats.  In Apr 1943, she returned to the UK for a major refit at Portsmouth, and was converted to an escort destroyer before being transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy on 15 Nov 1943, becoming HMCS Chaudiere.  In Jan 1944, she became a member of EG C-2,  Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF), and on 6 Mar 1944, shared in the destruction of U-744.  In May she was assigned to EG 11, Western Approaches Command, for invasion support duty, and was present on D-Day.  On 20 and 28 Aug 1944, she assisted in the sinking of U-984, west of Brest, and of U-621 off La Rochelle.  During the next three months she was employed in patrol and support duties in the North Atlantic, Bay of Biscay, and English Channel.  She returned to Halifax at the end of Nov 1944 for repairs, and a major refit begun at Sydney two months later was still incomplete on VE-Day.  HMCS Chaudiere was paid off 17 Aug 1945 to reserve at Sydney, and broken up by Dominion Steel at Sydney in 1950.

 (Robert Chasse Photo)

HMCS Chaudière (H99) in RCN service, ca Jul 1945.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3201926)

HMCS Chaudiere (H99) gun crews, 7 Jan 1944. 

 (Lana James Photo)

HMCS Chaudiere (H99), coming alongside, Londonderry, UK.

HMCS Gatineau (H61)

 (Roger Clarke Photo)

HMCS Gatineau (H61).  Completed for the RN in 1934 as HMS Express, she saw strenuous war service with the RN.  She was the second last ship to leave Dunkirk, having made six trips and evacuated 3,500 troops.  On 31 Aug 1940, while laying a defensive minefield off the Dutch coast, she was herself extensively damaged by a German mine.  Repairs were carried out at Hull, UK, which took more than a year, and included fitting a complete new fore end.  She went to the Far East late in 1941, and on 10 Dec 1941 was on hand to rescue nearly 1,000 survivors of HMS Prince of Wales, sunk by Japanese bombs off Malaya.  After long service with the Eastern Fleet she returned to Liverpool in Feb 1943, for refit, and in the process was transferred to the RCN.  She was commissioned there as HMCS Gatineau on 3 Jun 1943, and joined EG C-3, MOEF. On 06 Mar 1944, while escorting convoy HX.280, she assisted in the sinking of U 744. That May she transferred to EG 11, Londonderry, for invasion duties, and was present on D-Day.  She proceeded  to Canada in Jul 1944, for a major refit at Halifax, then sailed in Mar 1945, for workups at Tobermory.  No longer needed after VE-day, she returned to Canada in Jun 1945 and two months later went round to the west coast.  She was paid off 10 Jan 1946, into reserve at Esquimalt, and is believed to have been scuttled at Royston, BC, in 1948, as part of a breakwater.

 (IWM Photo, FL 11685)

HMCS Gatineau (H61) in RN service as HMS Express.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Gatineau (H61).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Gatineau (H61).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Gatineau (H61) in RCN service, ca 1943.

HMCS Kootenay (H75)

(IWM Photo, FL 11211)

HMCS Kootenay (H75) (D class destroyer).  Built at Southampton, England, for the RN, she was commissioned on 4 Apr 1933 as HMS Decoy, and at the outbreak of the war was with the 21st Destroyer Flotilla, East Indies Fleet.  The flotilla was transferred later that month to the Mediterranean and in Jan 1940, to the South Atlantic.  HMS Decoy was reassigned in May 1940, to the Mediterranean Fleet, and on 13 Nov 1940 was damaged by bombs at Alexandra, requiring ten weeks' repairs at Malta.  While in the Mediterranean she took part in the evacuation of Greece and Crete, and in the supply run to Tobruk.  Then assigned to the Eastern Fleet in Jan 1942, she returned to Britain in Sep 1942 for a major refit at Jarrow-on-Tyne.  There, on 12 Apr 1943, she was transferred to the RCN as HMCS Kootenay, and after working up at Tobermory, was assigned to EG C-5, MOEF.  In May 1944, she became a member of EG 11 and was present on D-Day.  In succeeding months she carried out patrols in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay, and while thus engaged took part in the sinking of U-678, 6 Jul 1944, south of Brighton; U-621, 18 Aug 1944, off La Rochelle; and U-984, 20 Aug 1944, west of Brest.  She sailed for Shelburne, NS, in mid-Sep 1944, for a major refit, returning to the UK in the spring of 1945.  Following workups at Tobermory she operated out of Plymouth until the end of May, then returned to Canada, where she made six round trips as a troop transport between Newfoundland and Quebec City.  She was paid off into reserve at Sydney on 26 Oct 1945, and in 1946 sold for scrapping.

 (Steve Rowland Photo)

HMCS Kootenay (H75) (D class destroyer).

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3520751)

HMCS Kootenay (H75) (D class destroyer), firing Hedgehog depth charges during the action in which Escort Group 11 sank the German submarine U-621, 18 August 1944.  HMCS Ottawa is visible in the background.

HMCS Qu’Appelle (H69)

HMCS Qu’Appelle (H69), in her previous colours as HMS Foxhound.  Commissioned in the RN on 06 Jun 1935 as HMS Foxhound, she was a member of the 8th Flotilla, Home Fleet, on the outbreak of war, and on 14 Sep 1939, shared in the sinking of U-39 off the Hebrides - the first U-boat "Kill" of the war.  In Apr 1940, she took part in the second Battle of Narvik, and in Nov 1940 was transferred to Force 'H' at Gibraltar.  On 18 Jun 1941, she shared in the sinking of U-138 west of Cadiz, and she took one convoy to Malta.  From Jan 1942 to May 1943, she served with the Eastern Fleet, then transferred to West Africa Command, Freetown.  In Sep 1943, she returned to the UK for an extensive refit on the Humber, and on 8 Feb 1944, was commissioned in the RCN there as HMCS Qu'Appelle . She served on D-Day with EG 12 and on 8 Jun 1944, HMCS Qu'Appelle was attacked by U-953 (Oblt Karl-Heinz Marbach).  The Gnats (acoustic torpedoes) exploded in the ship's wake with no damage to the ship.  After D-Day she took part in Biscay and Channel patrols, latterly with EG 11. HMCS Qu'Appelle participated in operation "Dredger" against German escort vessels at the U-boat meeting points off Brest and southward.  During the night of 5/6 Jul the 12th EG, comprising of HMCS Qu'Appelle, HMCS Saskatchewan, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Restigouche, attacked three patrol boats off Brest: V715 was sunk but not before hitting HMCS Qu'Appelle and HMCS Saskatchewan many times with small calibre gunfire.  She arrived at Halifax for the first time on 29 Nov 1944, and proceed to Pictou, NS, for refit.  Completing this refit on 31 Mar 1945, she served as a troop transport between Greenock and Halifax from Aug to Oct 1945.  She was paid off on 11 Oct 1945 to serve as a stationary training ship attached to the Torpedo School at Halifax.  Removed from service in Jun 1946, she was transferred to War Assets Corporation for disposal on 14 Apr 1947.  Added to the disposal list on 12 Jul 1946, she was sold later that year for breaking up at Sydney, NS.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Qu’Appelle (H69).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Qu’Appelle (H69) in RCN service.

HMCS Ottawa (H31)

 (IWM Photo, 8308-29)

HMCS Ottawa (H31).  Commissioned in the RN on 6 Jun 1936 as HMS Griffin, she took part in the evacuation of Namsos, Norway, in May 1940 before transferring in August to Force 'H' at Gibraltar and in Nov 1940  to the 14th Destroyer Flotilla in the Mediterranean.  She subsequently took part in the evacuation of Greece and Crete, embarking 720 troops on one trip from Suda Bay.  She also escorted a relief convoy to Malta.  Transferred to the Eastern Fleet in Feb 1942, she returned to the UK in Oct 1942 for major refit at Portsmouth and Southampton, toward the end of which, on 20 Mar 1943, she was commissioned at Southampton as HMCS Griffin.  On 10 Apr 1943, despite the objections of her captain, she was renamed HMCS Ottawa.  She joined EG C-5, based at St. John's as a mid-ocean escort, but was removed from this duty in May 1944, to take part in the invasion with EG 11.  During post-invasion patrols in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay she took part with Kootenay in the destruction of three U-boats.  Ottawa returned to Canada in Oct 1944, for refit at Saint John, NB.  On 11 Mar 1945, HMCS Stratford, returning from Bermuda, was involved in a collision with HMCS Ottawa in the Halifax approaches, receiving extensive damage to her fo'c's'le.  Ottawa remained in Canadian waters for the duration of the war.  After the end of the European war in May 1945 she was used to bring Canadian troops home until she was paid off on 1 Nov 1945, at Sydney.  She was broken up in Aug 1946.

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H31).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H31).

 (Bob Macklem Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H31).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Ottawa (H31).

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70) 

 (IWM Photo, FL 13249) 

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70) (F class).  Commissioned in the RN on 27 Apr 1935 as HMS Fortune, she was serving with the 8th Flotilla, Home Fleet when the war broke out, and took part in the Norwegian campaign and the occupation of Iceland in May 1940.  She also shared in the sinking of U-27, U-44, and the Vichy French submarine Ajax.  On 10 May 1941, while escorting a Malta convoy, she was badly damaged by bombs and spent six months under repairs at Chatham, UK.  In Feb 1943, following two years' service with the Eastern Fleet, Fortune returned to the UK for major refit at London, and there on 31 May 1943, was transferred to the RCN as HMCS Saskatchewan.  She was assigned to EG C-3, MOEF, until May 1944, then transferred to EG 12 for invasion duties.  On 7 Jun 1944, she was attacked by U-984 (Oblt Heinz Sieder) but the torpedo exploded in the cat gear, causing no damage to the ship.  HMCS Saskatchewan participated in operation "Dredger" against German escort vessels at the U-boat meeting points off Brest and southward.  During the night of 5/6 Jul the 12th EG, comprising of HMCS Qu'Appelle, HMCS Saskatchewan, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Restigouche, attacked three patrol boats off Brest: V715 was sunk but not before hitting Qu'Appelle and Saskatchewan many times with small calibre gunfire.  She proceeded to Canada in Aug 1944, to refit at Shelburne, NS, returning to the UK in Jan 1945, first as a unit of EG 14, and then of EG 11.  She returned to Canada the month after VE-Day and, after employment as a troop transport, was paid off 28 Jan 1946, at Sydney and broken up.

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70) (F class) in RCN service.

 (RCSCC Bowmanville Photo)

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70) (F class) in RCN service.

 (Diane Brown Photo)

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70).

 (Ann Haver Photo)

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70).

 (Ann Haver Photo)

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70).

 (RCN Photo)

HMCS Saskatchewan (H70).

Destroyers (Wickes Class and Clemson Class), are listed on a separate page on this web site.

Destroyers (Tribal Class, V Class, and C 1943 Class), are listed on a separate page on this web site.