Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 1950–1989, Escort Maintenance Ships (Cape Class), Icebreaker (Wind Class), Surveyor, Diving Support Ship and Yard Diving Tenders

RCN 1950–1989, Escort Maintenance Ships (Cape Class), Icebreaker (Wind Class), Surveyor, Diving Support Ship and Yard Diving Tenders

Data current to 23 June 2020.

Escort Maintenance ships (Cape Class)

HMCS Cape Breton (ARE 100); HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101)

HMCS Cape Breton (ARE 100)

 (DND Photo via CFB Esquimalt Naval Museum)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100 was an RCN Cape-class escort maintenance ship.  She was originally built for the Royal Navy as HMS Flamborough Head in 1944.  She was transferred to the RCN in 1952, and commissioned on 31 Jan 1953 as the second ship to bear the name Cape Breton.  She served operationally from 1953 to 1964, when she was laid up. 

She served at Halifax until 25 Aug 1958 as a repair ship and training establishment for technical apprentices.  Converted to an escort maintenance ship at Esquimalt, HMCS Cape Breton was commissioned there on 16 Nov 1959 for service on the West coast.  On 10 Feb 1964, HMCS Cape Breton was paid off into reserve and subsequently functioned as a towed mobile support facility and accommodation vessel at Esquimalt, until replaced by a shore building in 1993.  Sold to the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia, she was sunk as a sport-divers’ wreck on 20 Oct 2001 off Snake Island, near Nanaimo.

 (City of Vancouver Archives,  Walter E. Frost Photo, AM1506-S3-3-: CVA 447-3803)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100, dockside, 19 Aug 1961.

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100.

 (IWM Photo, FL 13145)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100 as HMS Flamborough Head ca 1945.

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100, departing Esquimalt Harbour, BC, ca Sep 1962. 

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100

 (Grant Sinclair Photo)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100 leaving Pearl Harbor, Nov 1963.

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cape Breton ARE 100.

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101)

 (Claus Mathes Photo)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101).  Built by Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd., Vancouver, as a modified Fort type cargo ship, HMS Beachy Head was launched at Vancouver in 1944. After the war, she was turned over to the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1947 as repair ship Vulkaan.  In 1949 she was returned to the RN and resumed her original name until 1952, when she was transferred to the RCN.  She lay alongside Halifax for some years, providing supplementary workshop and classroom facilities until HMCS Cape Breton was transferred to the west coast in 1958.  After refit at Saint John, HMCS Cape Scott was commissioned (ARE 101) on 28 Jan 1959, to serve at Halifax.  In February 1965, HMCS Cape Scott transited the Panama Canal after visiting Peru and Easter Island enroute to Halifax.  She was paid off into reserve on 1 Jul 1970, and re-designated Fleet Maintenance Group (Atlantic) in 1972.  She was sold when the group moved ashore in 1975 and left under tow in 1978 to be broken up in Texas.

 (Claus Mathes Photo)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101).

 (Don Gorham Photo)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101). 

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101). 

 (DND Photo)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101). 

 (Jim Brannen Photo)

HMCS Cape Scott (ARE 101).

Miscellaneous vessels

Wind-class icebreaker

HMCS Labrador (AW 50)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951063)

HMCS Labrador (AW 50), Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1956.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951034)

HMCS Labrador (AW 50), Piasecki HUP-3 helicopter, RCN (Serial No. 116623), 247, Oct 1955.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4951035)

HMCS Labrador (AW 50), Piasecki HUP-3 helicopter, RCN (Serial No. 116623), 247, Oct 1955.

Surveyor

HMCS Cedarwood (AGSC 539)

Diving support ship

HMCS Cormorant (ASL 20) (II)

 (Janet Lawrence Photo)

HMCS Cormorant (ASL 20) (II).  Built at Cantiere Navale Apunia, Marine-Carrara, Italy in 1965, she was the former Italian-flag stern trawler Aspa Quarto.  She was purchased for Maritime Command in Jul 1975, and converted principally at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, Quebec, to her new purpose.  She was commissioned there 10 Nov 1978.  She served as mother ship to SDL-1 (Submersible Diver Lockout), a mini-sub capable of reaching a depth of 2000 feet, and which has been extensively used to chart the bottom of Halifax harbour.  Between 23 Aug and 05 Oct 1989, HMCS Cormorant, along with CFAV Quest, was deployed to Canada's eastern High Arctic waters, conducting defence research in Baffin Bay, Lancaster Sound and Davis Strait.  In the course of the operation, dubbed NORPLOY 89, she visited Canada's northernmost Inuit community, Grise Fjord, on Ellesmere Island.  Her SDL-1 also found and filmed the Breadalbane, crushed and sunk by ice off Beechey Island in 1853 while searching for John Franklin's lost Northwest Passage expedition.  During this deployment she holed her bow on pack ice.  Her crew made emergency repairs and she was able to return to Halifax and repairs were effected on the syncrolift.

During her career she was used for a variety of purposes ranging from retrieval of illegal drug caches; covering vents in the sunken barge Irving Whale to recovering the bell from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  HMCS Cormorant had among her complement the first women to be assigned to a Canadian naval vessel.  She was paid off on 2 July 1997.  Initially sold  to United States owners for diving operations, she remained docked in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, rusting away.  The Cormorant was purchased at auction by Neil Hjelle in September 2009 to be refit and used for research in the Mediterranean and Middle East.  As of Mar 2015, HMCS Cormorant still lay idle and deteriorating at Bridgewater, NS.

Yard Diving Tenders

CFAV Raccoon (YDT 10)