The Canadian Navy of Yesterday & Today
Photo Gallery

Destroyers of the RCN

WWII - 1965

From the time of the first Tribal Class deliveries from Britain in WWII to the final evolvement of the Canadian designed and built ST. LAURENTs as seen in the ANNAPOLIS Class, destroyer design in the RCN changed dramatically. Here is a look at this evolution in pictures.

Destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy
(click on the photos to view bigger images) 

During WWII, four of the Royal Navy's new Tribal class destroyers were aquired by the RCN. This photo shows IROQUOIS as she would have appeared during WWII. Commissioned in 1942, IROQUOIS went on to have a distinguished career serving in both WWII and the Korean War. Note the tripod mast, the three 4.7" twin mounts (two forward, one far aft) and the 4" twin mount aft. Of these first four ships, HMCS ATHABASKAN was the only one to be sunk. One of this class, HMCS HAIDA, exists today as a museum in Toronto, Ont.  DND photo.

Similiar to the British built Tribal class ships in service with the RCN, the ships built post-WWII in Halifax, NS, had the same main armament when built. The newer ships tended toward a light lattice mast over the tripod mast, although HURON and ATHABASKAN of the first batch also had this feature. HMCS CAYUGA is shown here. After the Korean War, all seven remaining Tribal class destroyers were rebuilt as destroyer escorts. DND photo. 

HMCS CAYUGA shown again, this time as a destroyer escort. Note the two 4" twin mounts forward, the 3"/50 twin mount aft, and the heavy lattice mast and new radar. All of the class were paid off in the mid-sixties.  DND photo.

At the end of WWII, the RCN took possession of two V class destroyers. Towards the end of the war, the RCN was also to receive eight new C class destroyers for use in the Pacific, but only two were delivered as the war ended. The two V class ships (ALGONQUIN and SIOUX), were very similiar to the two C class ships (CRESCENT and CRUSADER), and appeared similiar to the photo of HMCS CRUSADER, above. Originally fitted with four 4.5" guns, ALGONQUIN and CRESCENT underwent refits to become what the RN called "fast ASW frigates" where they received one 4" twin mount forward, a Limbo ASW mortar, and homing torpedos. The photo of CRUSADER above can be dated to after the Korean War by the presence of a prototype VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) on the stern. This set was later fitted permanently to CRESENT.  DND photo.

During the 1950s, the first class of ships designed and built in Canada appeared. The first of the ships, HMCS ST. LAURENT, would have appeared similiar to the photo of RESTIGOUCHE above when launched. RESTIGOUCHE, however, was of a later class which bore her name, the main difference being that she had a 3"/70 Vickers gun forward instead of a FMC 3"/50 like the one she bears aft. Also different were a higher bridge to see over the new gun, and bridge and mast wings. Also note the port and starboard Limbo ASW mortars aft of the 3"/50 mount. Another class, the MACKENZIE class, followed the RESTIGOUCHE, and was very similiar in appearance. The ST. LAURENT and her successors would be the backbone of the Canadian Navy until the early 1990s.  DND photo.

HMCS SAGUENAY, shown here, illustrates the changed appearance of the ST. LAURENT class after the DDH conversions. The hangar and flight deck were placed over where the aft 3"/50 previously resided, and held one Sea King helicopter. Also note the addition of a VDS on the stern. SAGUENAY was sunk as a dive park just outside the harbour at Lunenburg, NS, in 1994.  DND photo.

HMCS GATINEAU, shown here, is a good example of the refits carried out on the IMPROVED RESTIGOUCHE class in the 1960s. It was intended that all seven of the ships undergo this conversion, but the cost dictated otherwise, and only four were refitted. These refits included the replacement of the aft 3"/50 gun with an octuple ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) launcher, the removal of one Limbo mortar, the addition of a VDS, and a new lattice mast. A member of this class, HMCS TERRA NOVA, served in the Gulf War after the replacement of the ASROC launcher with two Harpoon SSM quad launchers and a Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapons System) 20mm cannon over the Limbo mortar well.  GATINEAU has been paid off into 'extended readiness' mode, which means that she could be returned to service given enough time (6 months is estimated). TERRA NOVA joined her at the end of July, 1997.  DND photo.

HMCS NIPIGON (shown) and HMCS ANNAPOLIS made up the ANNAPOLIS class, launched in the early 1960s. Both were laid down as shown above, similiar to the ST. LAURENT DDH conversions.  DND photo.

During the 1980s, both NIPIGON and ANNAPOLIS (shown) underwent refits which gave them a lattice mast and new radars, as well as CANTASS towed array systems. Note the closed-in stern, which houses CANTASS. The single Limbo ASW mortar was also removed from the aft end of the ships. NIPIGON is still in service with the Navy, now used primarily as a sonar test platform for the ETASS Mod 5 gear. ANNAPOLIS has essentially been paid off, but remains in 'extended readiness' mode at Esquimalt, reportedly stripped.  DND photo.

Back to the Canadian Navy of Yesterday & Today
This section of the HG&UW site created and maintained by Sandy McClearn.
Copyright © 1997-2003, Sandy McClearn. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction, reuse, or distribution without permission is prohibited.