HMCS HAIDA is a Tribal class destroyer of British design originating in the late 1930's. The Tribals were unique as they were the first destroyers to incorporate twin gun mountings. This enhanced armament made them exceptionally powerful for their size. In all, 27 Tribals were built. There were 16 in the British navy (of which 12 were lost in WW2), 8 in the Canadian navy (of which 1 was lost in WW2) and 3 in the Australian navy. The remainder were scrapped between 1945 and 1965. Out of the approximate 400 warships which comprised the R.C.N. during World War 2, only HAIDA, SACKVILLE and ACADIA survive.
|HMCS HAIDA taken at Plymouth, England on July 4, 1944 by Gilbert Milne. The camouflage scheme is not standard but was common in the 10th Destroyer Flotilla. (RCN Photo)|
Following a refit in Halifax in late 1944, HAIDA rejoined the Fleet in Scapa Flow in early 1945 and spent the rest of the war operating in the Arctic and on the coast of Norway. After the surrender of Germany, the ship was overhauled to operate in the Pacific but the war ended before her conversion was completed. In 1947, HAIDA was recommissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy and worked on the East Coast and in the Arctic. In November 1949, HAIDA was doing maneuovers off the coast of Bermuda when an American B-29 bomber went down. She was first on the scene and lowered her seaboat once again to rescue the downed airmen. As a result, the ship's company received many letters of congratulations. The co-pilot of the aircraft was originally from Texas and for this reason, HAIDA's crew were bestowed with certificates naming them 'Honourary Texans'.
The ship operated with the Atlantic Fleet in the post-war years and in 1950 she was taken out of service for modernization and conversion to an Anti-Submarine escort with Squid mountings on her quarterdeck and improved ASDIC (sonar). HAIDA was recommissioned at a ceremony held in Halifax on a cold and snowy day in March of 1952. At that time, HAIDA became the first Canadian ship commissioned under a Queen, thus became known as "Her Majesty's Canadian Ship". After trials and workups were completed, she sailed almost immediately for Korea. HAIDA did two tours in Korean waters between 1952-54, on both occasions circumnavigating the globe. After Korea, the ship served in the Canadian Atlantic Fleet working mostly with NATO forces until she was paid-off and taken out of service in 1963.
The ship was going to be sold for scrap but a group of Torontonians,
recognizing that this was the most famous ship in the Canadian Navy, raised
enough money in the private sector to buy the vessel and have her towed
to Toronto. At the beginning of August 1965, she opened to tourists at
the foot of York Street - a naval museum, maritime memorial and Sea Cadet
|HAIDA at the Canadian National Exhibition sometime around the summer of 1969. (Photo by Colin Blackburn)|
From the late 1960's until 2002, the ship was used as a Sea Cadet Camp. It consisted of weekend Sea Cadet training in the Spring and Fall with the cadets living and eating aboard. Unfortunately, this practice was no longer possible once the ship was berthed in Hamilton.
The ship is an internationally recognized Naval Museum and Canadian Historic Site. The historic significance of H.M.C.S. HAIDA was officially recognized in 1990 when the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada dedicated a brass plaque summarizing her history. The plaque is permanently located in the ship.
The current configuration of the ship represents her conversion to a destroyer escort between 1949 and 1951. The forward 4.7 inch guns were replaced with 4 inch guns. The after 4" inch gun was replaced with a 3 inch 50 calibre gun. The after 4.7 inch mounting and the depth charge racks were removed and the Squid anti-submarine mortars installed. The 20 mm Oerlikons were replaced with the single 40 mm Bofors guns. The two pounder pom pom was removed and replaced with the Mark 34 radar fire control system when HAIDA went to Korea in 1952 and 1954. There have been additions and changes to the radars and sonars since the major conversion.
for All Tribals
|Summary of HAIDA'S
WW II Actions
ENGLISH CHANNEL 1944
KOREA 1952 - 1954
Credits and Contributors:
1) Colin Blackburn <acblack(at)shaw.ca>