History, Legacy, Honours and Awards

History of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship HAIDA

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  • HMCS HAIDA is a 2,745 ton Tribal class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy that began her life in 1943 escorting convoys from the British naval port of Scapa Flow on the dreaded Murmansk Run to Russia.
  • In 1944, HMCS HAIDA joined the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, a mixed force of British, Canadian and Polish warships operating out of Plymouth England to clear enemy shipping off the French coast in anticipation of the D-Day landings. During this period, HMCS HAIDA achieved lasting fame by destroying more enemy tonnage than any other warship in the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • She then returned to the frigid North Atlantic protecting supply ships en route to Russian Arctic ports. In 1945 she participated in her final World War Two mission the liberation of Norway.
  • During the Korean War, HMCS HAIDA enhanced an already proud history with two tours of duty off the Korean Peninsula blockading Communist supply lines, protecting aircraft carriers and train busting destroying enemy supply trains and being credited with destroying two and a half locomotives.
  • Named after the Haida First Nation of British Columbia, HMCS HAIDA continued in faithful service to Canada until 1963 when she became what she is today, a living memorial to all who served on her and to Canada’s naval ships and sailors everywhere.
  • Thirteen of her sisters were sunk during the Second World War and today only HMCS HAIDA remains- the last of the original twenty-seven Tribal class destroyers left in the world.

The Legacy of HMCS HAIDA, National Historic Site

  • HMCS HAIDA is a Tribal class destroyer built in late 1942 in England (maximum speed up to 36.5 knots).
  • Total of 27 Tribal Class destroyers were built between 1937 to 1945 (Other destroyers were scraped).
  • HMCS HAIDA is the only tribal class destroyer left in the world.
  • Served during the WWII, the Korean War and tour of NATO keeping peace in the World.
  • The most decorated Canadian ship (1943-1963) receiving many awards and decorations.
  • Two tours of Korea in 1952-1954 as a fighting destroyer (she is known as a train buster).
  • Designated as the National Historic Site of Canada operated by Parks Canada (Hamilton, Ontario).

On April 29, 1944, HMCS HAIDA (G63) and HMCS ATHABASKAN (G07) were patrolling the English Channel preparation for the D-Day Landings.

HMCS ATHABASKAN (G07) was struck by enemy torpedoes and sank with the loss of 128 sailors. HMCS HAIDA (G63) pursued and destroyed the enemy ship and returned to rescue 47 of Athabaskan’s crew. An additional 85 Athabaskan crew were rescued by the enemy and were liberated from a POW camp in May, 1945.

HMCS HAIDA became the first Canadian (and the first in the Commonwealth) Warship to be commissioned by our new Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth ll on March 1952 and became HMCS HAIDA (215).

HMCS HAIDA (215) served two tours on duty in the Korean War before being retired from service in 1963 and being placed on public display in Toronto, Ontario and relocated to Hamilton in 2003 near HMCS STAR.

Each year, on April 29th, HMCS HAIDA ASSOCIATION; HMCS ATHABASKAN (G07) ASSOCIATION and Friends of HMCS HAIDA hold a solemn Memorial Service to remember those lost at sea on April 29, 1944.

Awards and Decorations

Distinguished Service Order:Commander H.G. DeWolf
Distinguished Service Cross:Commander H.G. DeWolf
Captain H,G. DeWolf
Lieutenant R.M. Hesslam, RCNVR
Lieutenant C. Mawer, RCNVR
Conspicuous Gallantry MedalAble Seaman M. Kerwin, RCNVR
Distinguished Service MedalChief Petty Officer G/M. D. Abbolt
Chief Petty Officer D. Moon
Chief Ordinance Artificer M. Pederson
Stoker Petty Officer H.d. Richards
Leading Seaman M. White
Able Seaman P.P. Wispinski
Mention in DespatchesCommander H.G. DeWolf
Lieutenant J.C.L. Annesley
Lieutenant (E) H.B. Bolus
A/Lieutenant J.Coates
Lieutenant P. Frewer, RCNVR
Lieutenant R.M. Heslam, RCNVR
Lieutenant D. Jefferys, RCNVR
Lieutenant C. Mawer, RCNVR
Lieutenant R. Phillips
Gunner T.L.T. Jones
Yeoman of Signals A.J. Andrews
Petty Officer R.E. Armstrong
Chief Petty Officer C. Aveling
Chief Petty Officer R.A. Barker
Engine Room Artificer C. Boutilier
Leading Seaman J.L. Brechan
Stoker First Class T.f. Cuthbert, RCNVR
Able Seaman J.W. Dance
Leading Seaman J.R. Finch
Chief Petty Officer R.C. Hockley
Able Seaman R.H. MacLeod
Able Seaman K.G. MacWhrter
Able Seaman J. Manning
Signalman G.H. Mannix
Leading Radar Mechanic J.L. Taylor, RNVR
Able Seaman M. Williams, RCNVR
Petty Officer Telegraphist W.J.H. Wilson
Acting Petty Officer A.J. Worall
HMCS Commanding Officers
1. Commander H.G. DeWolf , C.B.E., D.S.O. D.S.C., R.C.N. 30 August, 1943 to 18 December, 1944
2. Lieutenant-Commander R.P. Welland , D.S.C., R.C.N. 19 December, 1944 to 2 September, 1945
3. Lieutenant-Commander F.B. Caldwell, R.C.N. March, 1947 to 11 December, 1947
4. Lieutenant-Commander A.F. Pickard, O.B.E., R.C.N. 12 December, 1947 to 15 May, 1949
5. Lieutenant- Commander E.T.G. Madgwick, R.C.N. 16 May, 1949 to 12 January, 1950
6. Commander R.A. Webber, D.S.C., R.C.N. 13 January, 1950 to 31 December, 1951
7. Commander Dunn Lantier, R.C.N. January, 1952 to 28 October, 1953
8. Captain J.A. Charles , C.D., R.C.N. 29 October, 1953 – 15 December, 1954
9. Commander Victor Browne, C.D., R.C.N. 16 December, 1954 to 10 July, 1956
10. Commander H.R. Beck, C.D., R.C.N.11 July, 1956 to 6 April, 1958
11. Commander John Husher, C.D., R.C.N. 7 April, 1958 to 2 September, 1960
12. Commander G.S. Clark, C.D., R.C.N. September, 1960 to 2 August, 1961
13. Commander D.C. Rutherford, C.D., R.C.N. 3 August, 1961 to 19 July, 1962
14. Commander W.H. Atkinson, D.S.C., C.D., R.C.N. 20 July, 1962 to 22 September, 1963
15. Lieutenant-Commander D.K. Gamblin, C.D., R.C.N. 23 September, 1963 to 11 October, 1963

Korea 1952
Distinguished Service CrossCommander D. Lantier
Mention in DespatchesPetty Officer R. Smith