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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2003

HMCS HAIDA (G 63) -  Tribal-class Destroyer including Convoy Escort Movements

HMCS Haida (Navy Photos, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

TRIBAL-Class Fleet destroyer ordered from Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle on 5th April 1944 with three others of the same Class for service in the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship was laid down on 29th September 1941 after delays due to the increased load on repair facilities in British shipyards after the disastrous operations of Norway and the evacuations from ports in Holland, Belgium and France. The ship was launched on 25th August 1942 by Lady, Laurie, who was the Lady Mayoress of London and had been born in Canada. The names chosen for the four ships were those of Canadian Tribes and in this case that of a remarkable group of the Skittagetan linguistic family whose originally occupied villages on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada. During build the hull structure was stiffened and amongst other changes made radar outfits for warning of surface targets and for fire-control were installed. Build was completed on 18th September 1943 and the ship commissioned for service in the Home Fleet


Battle Honours


ARCTIC 1943-45 - ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944 - NORMANDY 1944 - BISCAY 1944  - KOREA 1952-3


H e r a l d i c   D a t a

Thunder Bird, all black, with two heads, wings unfolded and above wavy black.

 (Note: This not the formal heraldic description because the details are not included in the official record of Royal Navy Heraldic crests. The Thunder Bird is a  fabulous creature included in legends of the I laida Indians. Known as the Thunder River Bird it was believed to create thunder with lightning flashing from its eyes and in this case to signify the thunder of the warship guns across the sea.) It is likely that approval may have been given by the RCN since WW2.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information,  go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



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Contractors trials.


30th - Commissioned for service.




17th - Visited by Mr Vincent Massey, Canadian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.


18th - Build completion and commenced acceptance trials.

 On completion of trials took passage from Forth estuary to Scapa Flow for work-up.




Worked-up with Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow.


14th - On completion deployed with HM Destroyers JANUS, VIGILANT, HARDY, IROQUOIS (RCN) and US destroyer USS CORRY to provide cover for replenishment of Spitzbergen garrison (Home Fleet Operation FQ).


16th - On completion of FQ provided cover for passage of five minesweepers and six motor launches to North Russia (Home Fleet Operation FR. Note: HM Cruiser LONDON and US Cruiser AUGUSTA were also deployed in covering force. The convoy comprised Lease Lend warships destined for service with the Russian Northern Fleet and were manned by Russian crews. Close Escort was provided by nine Home Fleet destroyers.)


23rd - Detached from cover role and returned to Scapa Flow.


25th - Escorted HM Aircraft Carrier FORMIDABLE off Cape Wrath for passage to Scapa Flow




2nd - Deployed with HM Destroyers ONSLOW, VENUS, Norwegian destroyer STORD, US destroyers CAPPS and HONSON as screen for HM Battleship ANSON, HMS FORMIDABLE and HM Cruiser JAMAICA to provide cover for transit of Russian Convoy RA54A which was returning from Kola Met (Home Fleet Operation FT. Note. For details of all Russian Convoy operations, see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R.A Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R. Woodman and CONVOY! by R Woodman.)


8th - Detached from RA54A with covering force and returned to Scapa Flow.


18th - Deployed with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORWELL, OBDURATE, HMCS HURON and HMCS IROQUOIS as Ocean Escort for Convoy JW54A during passage to Kola Inlet.


19th - HMS OBDURATE withdrawn from Close Escort due to defect and returned to Scapa Flow.


24th - Detached from JW54A with Close Escort on arrival.


26th - Joined return Convoy RA54B with same ships as Close Escort for passage to UK.




5th - Detached from RA54B and returned to Scapa Flow with Close Escort.


22nd - Deployed with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORWELL, SCOURGE, HMCS HURON and HMCS IROQUOIS as Close Escort for Russian Convoy JW55 during passage to Kola Inlet.


25th - Close Escort reinforced by HM Destroyers MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER, OPPORTUNE and VIRAGO in view of the threat of attack by German Battleship SCHARNHORST. (See above references. Note: The German warship was engaged and sunk by ships of Home Fleet providing cover for the passage of this convoy and two others in the Arctic.)


Under sustained attacks by aircraft and submarines.


29th - Detached with ships of Close Escort on arrival of JW55B at Kola inlet.


31st - Deployed as Close Escort for passage of return Convoy RA55B to UK with same ships.



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3rd - Under submarine attacks.


7th - Detached from RA55B with Close Escort and returned to Scapa Flow.


10th - Transferred with HMCS IROQUOIS for detached service and took passage to Plymouth to join Plymouth Command for duty in English Channel.


13th - Deployed at Plymouth.


19th - Carried out patrol off French coast for interception of coastal convoy traffic (Operation TUNNEL Series.)


20th - Returned to Plymouth.




2nd - Carried out further TUNNEL Operation.


3rd - Returned to Plymouth.


4th - Recalled for duty in Home Fleet and took passage to Scapa Flow with sister ships HMCS IROQUOIS and ATHABASKAN.


5th - Arrived at Scapa Flow for Home Fleet screening duties.


10th - Deployed with HMCS IROQUOIS and ATHABASKAN as part of destroyer screen for HM Battleship ANSON and French battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers BELFAST and HMS NIGERIA during anti-shipping strike off Norwegian coast.


12th - Returned to Scapa Flow after only secondary shore targets had been attacked by aircraft.


13th - Released from Home Fleet duties and returned to Plymouth.


15th - On arrival at Plymouth joined HM Destroyers TARTAR and HMCS ASHANTI of 10th Destroyer Flotilla with HMCS IROQUOIS and ATHABASKAN. (Note: This Flotilla was deployed as Force 26.)


18th - HMCS IROQUOIS withdrawn for Flotilla and took passage to Canada for refit Replaced by HMCS HURON.


20th - Nominated for service with Flotilla (Operation NEPTUNE.)


 Took part in preparatory exercises for NEPTUNE.




NEPTUNE exercises in continuation.


11th - Took part in Exercise FOX in preparation for NEPTUNE.


24th - Took part in Exercise MUSKRAT 2 in preparation for NEPTUNE. (Note: For details of preparations and execution of Operation NEPTUNE see OPERATION NEPTUNE by K Edwards, LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO) and BRITISH INVASION FLEETS by J de Winser.)


30th - Joined HM Destroyers BRISSENDEN and TANATSIDE with HMCS HURON to take part in preparatory exercise as screen for HM Cruisers BLACK PRINCE and GLASGOW which were deployed to provide naval gunfire support during these landings (Exercise BEAVER).




NEPTUNE preparatory exercises in continuation.


12th - Took part in large scale combined exercise with HMCS HURON and HMS TARTAR in sea area west of the Needles and deployed as part of screen for major warships deployed off assault area (Exercise TROUSERS).


19th - Deployed with HM Destroyers TANATSIDE, WENSLEYDALE, MELBREAK and ASHANTI to cover minelaying operation by 10th Motor Launch Flotilla off lle de Bas (Operation HOSTILE 26, part of Operation MAPLE.).


21st - Deployed with HMS ASHANTI to provide cover during further MAPLE minelay off Ile de Vierge by HM Minelaying Cruiser APOLLO (Operation HOSTILE 29).


22nd - Deployed with HMS ASHANTI and HMCS ATHABASKAN to cover further minelay off Isle de Vierge by HMS APOLLO.


25th - Deployed with HMS BLACK PRINCE, HMS ASHANTI, HMCS ATHABASKAN and HURON as Force 26 for an operation in Tunnel Series to intercept coastal traffic in Bay of Biscay.


26th - Under fire from shore batteries during patrol off French coast. Intercepted three ELBING Class German destroyers, T24, T27 and T29 which were on passage for minelay and for cover of coastal convoy. Engaged enemy ships with surface gunfire after initial radar detection. Force 26 attacked by torpedoes from Germany destroyers which failed to hit any ship of Force 26. During this engagement Force 26 ships fired torpedoes and engaged with main armament. Although torpedo attack failed, T29 was sunk by gunfire north of Ile de Bas in position 48.53N 3.35W. 135 of the enemy ship's company were killed. The other two ships withdrew. Returned to Plymouth with Battle Ensigns flying. This was the first destroyer sunk by an RCN ship. (Note: During entry into Plymouth HMS ASHANTI and HMCS HURON were involved in collision and both ships had to be taken out of service with Force 26 for repair.).


Deployed for support of Operation TIGER and carried out patrol in Channel to prevent approach by enemy E-Boats. None were intercepted. (Note: During following night E-Boats attacked one of the TIGER convoys sand sank several ships with heavy loss of life. See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY)


Sailed from Plymouth for further TUNNEL Operation with HMCS ATHABASKAN.


27th - No convoy attacks were made and ships returned to Plymouth.


28th - Sailed from Plymouth with HMS ATHABASKAN to provide cover for minelaying operation off Ile de Bas by two motor torpedo boats and eight motor launches (Operation HOSTILE 26. Note: This was part of MAPLE IE, See Naval Staff History (Mining).).


29th - During patrol NE of minelayers, warned of presence of enemy ships on passage between St Malo and Roches Douvres. Ordered to intercept with HMS ATHABASKAN and obtained radar contact. Engaged two ELBING Class destroyers with main armament and enemy turned towards coast under smoke and fired torpedoes. Obtained hits on destroyer T24 and pursued T27 which after being hit was hit and set on fire before running ashore at Pontuasval, Brittany. During initial stage of the engagement HMS ATHABASKAN was hit by two torpedoes and sank in position 48.43N 4.31W after a heavy explosion on board. Minelay operation cancelled and ship took part in rescue of survivors from sister ship. (Note: 42 personnel were rescued and another 85 made Prisoners of War. Six men miraculously were able to return to UK in a motor boat and were rescued by an RAF launch late in the day. 127 of the ships company of HMCS ATHABASKAN lost their lives).


Return passage was covered by HM Destroyers OFFA and ORWELL. Arrived at Plymouth with saddened ship's company after loss of HMCS ATHABASKAN as well as some of her own crew missing.




Deployed with Flotilla for NEPTUNE exercises.


4th - Took part in Exercise FABIUS east of the Isle of Wight. (See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY.)


6th - On release from FABIUS returned to Plymouth for duties in Plymouth Command.


15th - Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Destroyer TARTAR to provide cover for minelay by HMS APOLLO in area west of Ushant. Opened fire on HMS APOLLO during operation due to communications error (Operation HOSTILE 32. See Naval Staff History). Operation was abandoned.


16th - Deployed for repeat of HOSTILE 32 west of Ushant with same ships. Possible interception by three ELBING Class destroyers did not materialise.


20th - Deployed with HMS BELLONA, HMS TARTAR and HMS HURON to cover minelay by HMS APOLLO north of Ushant (Operation HOSTILE 33).


22nd - Deployed with HMS TARTAR and HMS HURON to cover minelay off Ile de Vierge by HMS APOLLO (Operation HOSTILE 34).


25th - Deployed with HMS TARTAR and HMS HURON to cover minelay NW of Ushant by HMS APOLLO (Operation HOSTILE 40. Note: This was the last minelay in the MAPLE III Series.).




Deployed for support of Operation NEPTUNE based at Plymouth. (Note: Not attached to either Task Force and required for interception of any enemy warships attempting to approach transit routes for Assault Convoys.)


4th - Operation postponed 24 hours.


5th - Sailed from Plymouth with Flotilla for patrol north of Channel Islands


6th to 8th - Interception duties in continuation. Transferred to new patrol line east-west from 49.30N 5.00W to 49.30N 6.00W on orders from CinC Plymouth who anticipated a movement of enemy destroyers in attempt to attack invasion traffic. Reconstituted as Force 26. Change of patrol line ordered and took passage to 15 miles off Brittany coast. Distance from coast altered by CinC to 20 miles offshore because of mine dangers. Commenced sweep between Ile de Bas and Ile de Vierge.


9th - Radar contact made and Force 26 ships closed to investigate. Four ships were T24, an ELBING Class destroyer, Z32 and Z24, both NARVIK Class destroyers and ZH1, the Ex Dutch destroyer TJERK HEDDES captured after fall of Holland in May 1940. Enemy ships altered course and fired torpedoes which were avoided. Engaged with HMS TARTAR, HMS ASHANTI and HMCS HURON with main and secondary armament at close range. During the action Z32 was serious damaged and eventually ran ashore on Ile de Bas. ZH1 was sunk by gunfire and two torpedoes from HMS ASHANTI. Z24 and T24 although badly damaged were able to escape. HMS TARTAR sustained some damage and had 17 casualties including four killed. Returned to Plymouth with ships of Force 26 after a successful action which did much to ensure safe passage of allied convoys to the beachhead.


12th - Sailed from Plymouth with HMCS HURON to carry out diversionary operation to the south of the Channel Island and east of Roches Dourves. (Note: This was to be in association with planned air attacks.)


13th - Special party which had been embarked carried out W/T transmissions to suggest possible landings on west coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula. Returned to Plymouth on release.


14th - Deployed at Plymouth for patrol in English Channel to intercept any attempts to interfere with convoys to and from beachheads.


24th - Took passage with HMS ESKIMO to provide cover for ant-submarine operation by ships of 1st Escort Group and Coastal Command aircraft in area south of Lands End. Diverted to position NW of Ushant where aircraft had sighted a surfaced submarine. Carried out depth charge attack on a submarine which had dived after air attack. U971 forced to surface after two hours and engaged with both main armament and close range weapons from both ships. Hits on conning tower started fire and crew abandoned the sinking submarine. (For details see HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR Volume II by C Blair and U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.) 53 survivors were rescued.


Landed prisoners at Falmouth and returned to Plymouth. Taken in hand for routine docking and maintenance.




12th - On completion resumed duties with Flotilla.


13th - Deployed with HMS TARTAR and Polish destroyer BLYSKAWICA for offensive sweep off approaches to Lorient, still in German hands and from which evacuation by sea was expected.


14th - Returned to Plymouth after unsuccessful patrol. Sailed for further interception patrol off Lorient with same ships.


15th - Carried out attack on convoy sinking one mercantile and damaging two others.


16th to 31st - Plymouth deployment for interception patrols in continuation.




5th - Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA, HMS TARTAR, HMS ASHANTI, HMCS HAIDA, HMCS IROQUOIS and ORP BLYSKAWICA for interception patrol in Bay of Biscay as Force 26.


6th - Intercepted evacuation convoy with several escorts near Ile d'Yeu. During the engagement by ships of Force the explosion of a shell being loaded into Y Gun caused ten casualties, two of which were fatal. Some damage was sustained. (Note: In this action German minesweepers M2286 and M486, Patrol Boat V414 and a launch were sunk. Many hundreds of soldiers being evacuated lost their lives. Despite the accident, ship remained with Force 26 and took part in an attack on a second convoy between Bellisle and Quiberon Bay the result of which was inconclusive. Force 26 ordered to withdraw before daylight and return to Plymouth.


7th - Under repair by HM Dockyard, Devonport.


9th - Funeral of the two members of ships company killed in the accident.


22nd - On completion resumed duties with Flotilla.


30th - Deployed with HMCS IROQUOIS for escort of French cruiser JEANNE D'ARC for passage in SW Approaches from Algiers to Cherbourg.


31st - Met JEANNE D'ARC which had members of the French Provisional Government on board and escorted ship to her destination




Deployed at Plymouth and nominated for refit in Canada on release from service in 10th Destroyer Flotilla.


6th - Deployed with HM Destroyer KELVIN for support of French Resistance group to prevent escape of German military personnel from Brest. Whilst off Les Sables informed of approach of craft carrying Germans attempting to get to La Rochelle. Two vessels were captured by HMS KELVIN but one sank under tow by ship. Valuable documentation and other equipment were then given to French group.


8th - Returned to Plymouth to prepare for passage to Canada.


22nd - Sailed for Canada after an address by the CinC Plymouth Command to thank ship for her distinguished service whilst serving under his command.


29th - Arrived at Halifax.


October to December


Under refit


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Completed post refit trials in Canadian waters and took passage to Plymouth.


11th - Arrived at Plymouth.


12th - Taken in had for installation of improved radar and modifications to existing fit by HM Dockyard, Devonport. (Note: For details of development and use of radar in the Royal Navy see RADAR AT SEA by D Howse.)




Dockyard work in continuation.


22nd - On completion prepared to resume service in 17th Destroyer Flotilla, Home Fleet.


24th - Carried out trials on radar equipment and took passage to Scapa Flow for work-up.


28th - Worked-up with Home Fleet based at Scapa Flow.




On completion joined Flotilla for Home Fleet duties.


19th - Joined HM Destroyers ONSLOW, SERAPIS, ZEST and IROQUOIS (RCN) for HM Escort Aircraft Carriers PREMIER, SEARCHER, QUEEN and HM Cruiser BELLONA deployed as Force 1 to cover air minelaying off the coast of Norway. (Operation CUPOLA - See Naval Staff History (Mining).)


21st - Returned to Scapa Flow with ships of Force 1 on completion.


24th - Joined HM Destroyers ONSLOW, SERAPIS, CARYSFORT, ZEALOUS and IROQUOIS (RCN) as screen for HM Escort Aircraft Carriers SEARCHER, NAIRANA, QUEEN and PUNCHER deployed as Force Two for air strikes on shipping off the coast of Norway (Operation PREFIX I).


26th - In absence of shipping, aircraft carried out attacks on shore targets.


28th - Attacks made on shipping by carrier aircraft which destroyed two Me109 for the loss of a BARRACUDA aircraft from HMS PUNCHER (Operation PREFIX II).


29th - Returned to Scapa Flow with ships of Force Two.




Home Fleet deployment with Flotilla in continuation.


7th - Detached for special operation and took passage to Greenock.


8th - Joined seven submarine chasers at Greenock for escort during their passage in the NW Approaches to join Russian Convoy JW66 forward passage to Kola Inlet (Operation ROUNDEL).


15th - Arrived at Skaalfjord, Faeroes after delay by extreme weather conditions which had forced ships to seek shelter in both Loch Ewe and later at Thurso. Took passage to join destroyers ZEPHYR, ZODIAC, ZEALOUS, ZEST, OFFA, HURON (RCN), IROQUOIS (RCN) and Norwegian STORD as escort for JW66 with cruiser BELLONA, and escort carriers VINDEX and NAIRANA. Sloop CYGNET, and corvettes ALNWICK CASTLE, BAMBOROUGH CASTLE, FARNHAM CASTLE, HONEYSUCKLE, LOTUS and OXLIP of 7th Escort Group were also part of the close escort. Frigates of 19th Support Group in support for anti-submarine operations.


22nd - Rescued pilot of aircraft from HMS VINDEX which had crashed during take-off.


25th - Detached from JW66 with Close Escort on arrival at Kola Inlet. (Note: Ships of escort carried out anti-submarine attacks in entrance to Kola Inlet to ensure safe departure of convoy.)


29th - Joined return convoy RA66 on departure from Kola Inlet. (Note: During anti-submarine operations outside Kola Inlet before departure of RA66, U307 and U286 were sunk by ships of 19th Support Group, but frigate GOODALL was torpedoed and sunk by U968. Some survivors were rescued. See above references for details.)




Nominated for return to Canada on release from service with RN.


8th - Detached on arrival of RA66 at Greenock. VE Day! Returned to Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships.


16th - Deployed with HM Cruiser BERWICK and HMCS HURON for visit to Trondheim.


17th - Arrived at Trondheim to a tumultuous reception with subsequent outstanding hospitality.


23rd - Passage from Trondheim.


24th - Arrived at Scapa Flow.


25th - Sailed from Scapa Flow for passage to Greenock with HMCS HURON.


26th - At Greenock with HMCS HURON and IROQUOIS.




4th - Took passage from Greenock for Halifax with her two sister ships.


10th - Arrived at Halifax to a resounding welcome.




Under refit including tropicalisation to suit service in the Pacific.




After VJ Day ship was nominated for reduction to Reserve status



P o s t   W a r   N o t e s


HMCS HAIDA re-commissioned for service in 1947 and served with distinction in support of United Nations in the Korean War .as part of the Commonwealth contribution. She remained in the Far East for 1 8 months after the end of hostilities in Korea. Apart from refit periods between 1954 and 1962 the ship was operationally deployed by the RCN including service in support of NATO. By 1962 it became evident that the ship was no longer suitable for active duty and was Paid off on 11th October 1963. Her final disposal was not determined until 1964 when she was purchased for use as a Museum Ship and taken to Toronto where she now lays as a permanent naval memorial and marine museum. This is a most fitting end to a ship which played an active part in two 20th Century conflicts and in this way pays due tribute to the magnificent service and sacrifice by personnel and ships of the Royal Canadian Navy.






by Don Kindell


This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above






Date Convoy Sailed

Joined Convoy as Escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date Convoy Arrived








RA 054A





JW 054A





RA 054B





JW 055B





RA 055B





JW 066





RA 066








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 5/7/11
further editing is required