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Tag: Cold War Destroyers

Tin-Can Canucks: Now on Sale

The long wait is over!

Tin-Can Canucks is officially on sale. Available through CreateSpace & Amazon you can find it online–and hopefully on the shelves of a book store near you.

The book’s foreword is by Vice-Admiral M.F.R. Lloyd, CMM, CD who is the current Chief of the Naval Staff and Commander of the Royal Canadian navy. It covers the history of the destroyer-type warship in the Canadian Navy from 1915 to 2016.

You can get your copy through these vendors:

Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from GoodReads
Buy from CreateSpace
Buy from Amazon
 For more information, see TinCanCanucks.com

 

Cheers,

Sean

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Yukon

(Save the featured image–from ShipSpotting.com, see below–photos and associated captions are from For Posterity’s Sake)

This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks.  As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress.  These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.

HMCS Yukon Specifications

Length: 366’
Beam: 42’
Draft: 13’ 6″
Displacement: 2380 tons

Laid Down: 25-10-1959
Launched: 27-7-1961
Commissioned: 25-5-1963
Paid Off: 3-12-1993

Armament: 4 x 3”/50 HA/LA guns, 2 x Limbo ASW mortar, homing torpedoes

HMCS Yukon

HMCS YUKON circa 1975 Courtesy of Robert Berbeck

The first Canadian warship to carry the name, HMCS Yukon was built by Burrard Dry Dock Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia.  When she was commissioned she was the third of the Mackenzie-class to enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy.

She sailed from the west coast to Halifax on July 27th, 1963 and would operate out of that port for the next 17 months.  On January 5th, 1965 she returned to Esquimalt to exchange crews with fellow Cadillac Destroyer HMCS Ottawa, which had been ordered to transfer to Halifax.

Cartoon about a collision between HMCS Yukon and USS Kitty Hawk.

Yukon, sister ship HMCS Mackenzie, and the supply ship HMCS Provider left Esquimalt on May 4th 1970, bound for Japan.  The pair of Mackenzie-class destroyers arrived in Hakodate on May 22nd, while their compatriot Provider went instead to Yokosuka.  During their deployment they undertook exercises with naval units from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.  The three Canadian ships also visited the ports of Kobe, Osaka, and Sasebo before returning home to Vancouver Island.[1]

After undergoing a mid-life refit in February of 1975, Yukon was transferred to Training Group Pacific where she took up the role of instructional vessel for Maritime Surface and Sub-surface (MARS) Officers.  She underwent her DELEX life extension refit at Barrow Yarrow Inc. in Esquimalt staring May 28th, 1984, and had her hull and machinery repaired to bring her up to as close to as new vessel as practicable.  The DELEX also saw replacement of sensor equipment no longer supported or maintained with more up to date equipment, and the addition of a set of lightweight ASW torpedo tubes.[2]  Yukon returned to service on January 16th, 1985.

The next year, she was one of three Canadian warships to visit Australia in celebration of the Royal Australian Navy’s 75th Anniversary.

Yukon today. Dive photos of the former HMCS Yukon at Mission Bay in 2013
Courtesy of Photographer: Michael Kazma © 2013
Copyright Owner: Michael Kazma / Shark Chums

Paid off on December 3rd 1993, Yukon was eventually sold to the San Diego Oceans Foundation.  On April 25th, 1999 she was towed from Vancouver, bound for San Diego where it was intended to sink her as a diver’s wreck on July 15th.  She would sink at the intended site a day early however, due to rough weather.[3]

[1]  (Barrie & Macpherson, 1996) p. 57

[2]  (Lynch, Twilight of the St Laurents, 1990) p. 189

[3]  (MacPherson & Barrie, Ships of Canada’s Naval Forces: 1910-2002, 2004) p. 259

Featured Image Via:

ShipSpotting.com
© Chris Howell

 

Cheers,

Sean

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Athabascan (II)

This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks.  As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress.  These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.

HMCS Athabascan (II)Specifications

Length: 377’
Beam: 37’ 6”
Draft: 11’ 2”
Displacement: 1927 tons

Laid Down: 15-5-1943
Launched: 4-5-1946
Commissioned: 20-1-1948
Paid Off: 21-4-1966

Armament: 6 x 4.7” LA guns, 2 x 4” HA guns, four 21” torpedo tubes, 4 x 2pdr , 1 x 12pdr 6 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns

Built by Halifax Shipyard Ltd., she was the last of the Canadian-built Tribals to complete, and the last Canadian Tribal to commission, entering the RCN in 1948—three years after the end of the war she had been designed to fight. After commissioning she took her time on trials and work ups before departing for her west coast station on May 15th 1948.  Due to an outbreak of poliomyelitis[1] Athabascan was quarantined upon her arrival in Esquimalt on June 29th.  This outbreak had resulted in the death of one crewman while on passage from Halifax.

Once the quarantine was lifted Athabascan and her sister HMCS Cayuga undertook a serious exercises and showed the flag along Canadian and American west coasts.  While in Esquimalt harbor in November of 1948 she was bumped by a fire tender, which caused some buckled hull plates.  She undertook a winter Caribbean cruise between January and May of 1949, after which she made further port calls in California and Alaska.  Between mid-September 1949 and mid-March 1950 Athabascan was in dockyard hands to be refitted for a training role.  This saw the replacement of her 4.7-inch twin gun mounting in Y position replaced with a pair of Squid anti-submarine mortars.  She also had her Action Information Center enlarged, and a pair of depth-charge throwers removed—although she retained her aft depth charge rail.  The intention was to have Athabascan join the Canadian Special Service Squadron on a cruise of European waters, but the outbreak of the Korean War saw the termination of the cruise on June 25th.

Athabascan and Cayuga were joined by HMCS Sioux and the trio escorted the cruiser HMCS Ontario from Esquimalt on their deployment to Korean waters.  After making calls at Pearl Harbor, Kwajalein and Guam, the Canadian ships arrived at Sasebo, Japan on July 30thAthabaskan’s deployment saw her undertake various duties including cruiser escort, interdiction of small costal transport craft, and gunfire support, including acting in support of the Inchon landings.  She grounded on December 4th while covering the Chinnampo evacuation, the damage causing subsequent engine issues.

After a period of maintenance and R&R in Hong Kong, she undertook inshore patrol and screening of the Colossus-class carrier HMS Theseus for much of February and March before taking up station on the Korean east coast.  She departed the war zone on May 2nd bound for refit in Esquimalt.

Upon completion of the refit she sailed from Esquimalt on October 29th for her third tour in Korean waters.  Taking up her assigned roles of screening and patrolling the first week of November, save for a brief respite in Hong Kong in May of 1953 she remained in Korean waters until the ceasefire on June 27th 1953. Athabascan remained on station until the peace was established; rescuing the crew of a downed helicopter and a Vought Corsair fighter in August and standing by to assist the stranded tanker Tongshu in October.

Athabascan arrived back in Canada for conversion to an anti-submarine destroyer escort  on December 11th, 1953 staying in dockyard hands until October 1954.  Like other Canadian Tribals she emerged armed with a pair of twin 4-inch gun mounts forward and a twin 3-inch/50 mounting aft alongside a pair of Squid anti-submarine mortars and four torpedo tubes.  Her anti-aircraft fit included four 40mm Bofors single mounts.  She also received a lattice foremast to support her new radar and radio antennas.  While on trials in December of 1954 she responded for a call for assistance by the oceanographic survey vessel Cedarwood which was in danger of foundering.

The first of October 1955 she grounded on Spanish Bank off Vancouver and had to be towed off by the tug Glendon—luckily she suffered only minor damage to her sonar dome.

Between 1955 and 1958 she undertook patrol duties off the Canadian west coast, including an unsuccessful submarine hunt off the British Columbia coast in June of 1957.

In January of 1959 Athabascan and Cayuga departed Esquimalt to join their fellow Tribal-class destroyers in forming an all-Tribal east coast squadron.  Arriving in Halifax on the 16th of February the two destroyers swapped crews with east coast St. Laurent-class destroyers HMCS Saguenay (II) and HMCS St. Laurent (II)—the crew of Athabascan assigned to Saguenay for the return voyage back to Esquimalt where Saguenay and St. Laurent would then be stationed.  In May of that year Athabascan was one of the escorts for HMY Britannia which was carrying Queen Elizabeth II to Canada for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. [2]

On September 29th 1962 Athabascan responded to a request for help from a ditched Lockheed Super Constellation airliner, rescuing 48 people but later that year her tour of European ports was cut short by the Cuban Missile Crisis in October. The crisis saw the deployment of twenty-two anti-submarine surface vessels, two submarines, the carrier Bonaventure, all of “Bonnie’s” air wing as well as shore based  Grumman Trackers and Canadair Argus patrol aircraft.  Supported by the RCN’s axillaries and commanded by Vice Admiral K.L. Dyer the Canadian deployment on “Cubex” allowed for anti-submarine coverage of the majority of the Canadian and US east coasts while the USN’s blockade of Cuba drew American vessels award from their own coasts. [3]

In March of 1964 Athabascan undertook the rescue of 18 survivors from the stern of the Liberian-flagged tanker Amphailos which had foundered in the mid-Atlantic.

Athabascan was then paid off into reserve and used as a source of spares and equipment before finally being placed on the disposal list.  She departed Halifax under tow in July of 1969, bound for La Spezia, Italy to be broken up.[4]  She was the last of the Canadian Tribals to commission, and the last to be taken out of active service.  With her demolition, only her half-sister HMCS Haida remained—and by 1969 Haida was a museum ship on the Toronto waterfront.

[1]  (English, Afridi to Nizam: British FleetDestroyers 1937 – 43, 2001) p. 50.  This illness is more commonly known as Polio and is caused by the poliovirus, which is generally transferred by contaminated water.

[2]  (English, Afridi to Nizam: British FleetDestroyers 1937 – 43, 2001) p. 50

[3]  (German, 1990) p. 272

[4]  (English, Afridi to Nizam: British FleetDestroyers 1937 – 43, 2001) p. 51

Assiniboine Underway in 1982

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Assiniboine (II)

This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks.  As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress.  These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.

HMCS Assiniboine (II)Specifications

Length: 366’
Beam: 42’
Draft: 13’ 2″
Displacement: 2263 tons

Laid Down: 19-5-1952
Launched: 12-2-1954
Commissioned: 16-8-1956
Paid Off: 14-12-1988

Armament: 4 x 3”/50 HA/LA guns, 2 x Limbo ASW mortar, homing torpedoes

When Marine Industries Ltd. of Sorel, Quebec delivered HMCS Assiniboine (II) to the Royal Canadian Navy it was the first post-war warship built by that yard for the RCN which subsequently commissioned her the 16th of August 1956. Her arrival in Halifax on the 25th saw her assigned to the Third Canadian Escort Squadron.[1]  She, her squadron-mates and ships from the First Canadian Escort Squadron undertook a goodwill tour of North Europe ports in October and returned back in Halifax in mid-November.

With sister HMCS Margaree (II), Assiniboine took part in an International Naval Review at Hampton Roads, Virginia in June of 1957.

HMCS Assiniboine in swell

DND photo, courtesy of RCNA Peregrine.

She was transferred to Esquimalt in January of 1959 where she became part of the Second Canadian Escort Squadron.  She hosted Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip in mid-July when they travelled from Vancouver to Nanaimo, British Columbia.

In 1962 she underwent conversion to a destroyer helicopter escort (DHH) which saw her after end remodeled to include a flight deck and hangar.  The single stack was split in two each of which was outboard of the helicopter hangar.  To make room for the flight deck the aft 3-inch/50 mount and the Limbo anti-submarine mortars were removed.  Assiniboine was the first of her class to undergo conversion; much of the work was done by the Victoria Machinery Depot Company of Victoria, British Columbia.  The remainder of the work was undertaken by HMC Dockyard Esquimalt.

HMCS Assiniboine and Sea King Helicopter

This photograph shows two major postwar Canadian naval technology developments: operating large helicopters from relatively small ships, and the variable depth sonar. (courtesy http://www.warmuseum.ca/)

June 28, 1963 she recommissioned and departed for Halifax in September.  There she had the “Beartrap” rapid helicopter haul down equipment installed and became the trials vessel for this system.  In that capacity she spent two years chasing storms around the North Atlantic, purposely hunting for poor weather in which she could trial the “Beartrap” system.  Ultimately the trials were successful and the “Beartrap” became a common fitting on all future Canadian destroyers and frigates.[2]

In January 1975 she rendered assistance to the freighter Barma, rescuing her crew after the freighter began to take on water some 185 miles off Boston.

Assiniboine was selected for the Destroyer Life Extension Refit (DELEX) which she undertook entering dock at the Canadian Vickers yard in Montreal on April 23rd, 1979.  She returned to service in mid-November.

In June of 1981, Assiniboine was leading four other vessels NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT) out of Halifax harbour when she grounded on Point Pleasant Shoal in heavy fog.  It took several tugboats to get her free.  Her participation in a NATO exercise was thus canceled while she underwent a damage inspection and repairs.[3]

Assiniboine Limbo Well in 1956

Limbo well of HMCS Assiniboine in a photo dated October 1956. (Courtesy Rick E. Davis)

In 1984 she was assigned to escort the Tall Ships Race from Bermuda to Halifax during the early summer.  When the British sailing vessel Marques sank, Assiniboine took up a prominent role in the search for survivors.  She would receive the Chief of Defence Staff Unit Commendation for her efforts, becoming only the second ship in the RCN to receive it.

She returned to Halifax in July of 1984 having discovered fractures in her upper deck stringers and plating.  She entered dry-dock for repairs on July 17th at Marine Industries Ltd.’s Sorel shipyard—her birthplace—for a ten month refit.  This stretched out to seventeen months due to a strike at the shipyard.[4]

HMCS Assiniboine was decommissioned on December 14th, 1988, and taken out of service the following January.  After being surveyed post-decommissioning it was discovered that her steaming plant was in excellent condition, and as she was of similar configuration of the remaining steam-powered destroyers, it was decided to use her as the alongside steam training vessel, replacing HMCS St.Croix (II).[5]

She served as a floating classroom for technicians at the Fleet School for 6 years before being handed over to Crown Assets for disposal.  She subsequently sank in the Caribbean Sea while under tow to the breakers.  In 32 years while under commission she had sailed some 700,000 nautical miles.

[1]  Wartime RCN ships built by Marine industries’ Sorel yard included Flower-class corvettes Arrowhead, Bittersweet, Dunvegan, Fennel, Sherbrooke, Sorel, Calgary, Fredericton, Kitchener, La Malbaie, and Regina as well as Bangor-class minesweepers Brockville, Esquimalt, Transcona, and Trois-Rivières.  They would later build the  hydrofoil HMCS Bras d’Or in 1968 with their last ship for the Canadian Navy being the frigate HMCS Calgary which was commissioned in 1995.

[2] Known in other navies as a Helicopter Hauldown and Rapid Securing Device (HHRSD) the “Beartrap” was developed by the RCN’s Experimental Squadron VX-10 in conjunction with Fairey Aviation in the 1960s.

[3]  (Cleaves, 1981)

[4]  (Barrie & Macpherson, 1996) p. 19

[5]  (Lynch, Twilight of the St Laurents, 1990) p. 192

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