|HAIDA's badge courtesy of web page www.readyayeready.com|
Haida's badge symbolizes her relationship with Canada's West Coast Indian tribe, after whom the ship took her name. A remarkable group, the Haida Indians originally occupied thirty-nine villages on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia.
Among the many legends of the Haida Indians is one concerning a fabulous creature known as the Thunder River Bird. The Haida's believed that it was this bird flapping its wings which caused thunder, and that lightning flashed from its eyes. The Thunder Bird is invariably depicted with two heads. In the badge designed for Haida, a two-headed Thunder Bird is shown floating above the water. Its wings are unfolded as if they were flapping, to signify that the guns of Haida thunder across the seas.
From time to time, people call me wanting to donate artifacts or items
of kit that are considered unique, rare, or special. It's always fun to
hear about how these potential donors acquired these items or why they
saved them all these years.Recently, an Internet surfer named George
Howard from Hurst, Texas came across HAIDA's Web site and contacted me
via e-mail offering to return an item that was removed from the ship by
a former crew member he knew. He described the item as a HAIDA crest. Thinking
that it was one of the many copies that have been made of HAIDA's current
crest, I politely replied that I was grateful that he had contacted me
and offered its return but that we have many such crests and they had been
in steady supply for some time. In fact, we even sell them in our Gift
Shop. I suggested that he keep it and display it on his fireplace mantel
as he had indicated he would do if we were not interested in its return.
In my reply, I asked if it was a round crest showing a two headed bird.
George came back to me saying that it was nothing like the crest I had
described and went on to identify it as more of a rectangular shape with
three maple leaves acorss the top below the word HAIDA and then three diagonal
sections below that the first with a dove-like bird, the second with a
hawk-like bird and the third with a beaver or squirrel. I quickly sent
him another e-mail message saying that the crest he had described was HAIDA's
original unofficial crest used during WWII and YES we'd love to have it!
Many of HAIDA's wartime crew clearly remember seeing a seaman sitting
at a mess deck table designing the crest one cold night at sea in 1944.
His name was Albert N. Rowley V-5999. On a paper which survived all these
years, there was an explanation written about the badge design in Rowley's
The badge is split into three sections. "The HAIDA Tribe was divided into two families - (1) RAVEN and (2) EAGLES noted for hunting the SEA OTTER for their hides, oil for their lamps and its meat". Although not indicated in Rowley's notes, a former HAIDA crew member indicated that the lines in behind the Otter represented the Northern Lights which could be seen during the convoys to Murmansk.
In Canada, ships badges were not officially sanctioned until 1946. However, an advisory group was established at Naval Service Headquarters in 1940 to recommend appropriate heraldic crests for Canadian ships. Due to the high number of ships entering service in such a short time, the committee was dissolved in March 1943 and the design of these crests was turned over to the captain of each ship. Many creative designs were developed by ships companies for their ships as a result.
Some of these badges incorporated Disney characters, while others incorporated more heraldic features, which related to their namesake. Some were creative references to the sound of the ships name such as a playing card hand of 5 aces for HMCS BADDECK or the famous representation of a crowned lady, falling on her backside into a puddle for HMCS WETASKIWIN (wet-ass-queen). Not a lot is known about why HAIDA's unofficial crest incorporates the images seen here. Perhaps they are taken from important images of HAIDA Indian culture. Any WWII HAIDA crew out there who can provide more info on the crest are encouraged to let us know.
(HAIDA's old badge image courtesy Julie Dunn)
|A variant of the WWII badge.(From the collection of E.G. Piccioni)|
The two WWII badges depicted here are not actually different - just two different interpretations.
One is gold wire and the other is felt. Because badges were not officially sanctioned, it could be left open to interpretation by whoever was making it. The differences are minor and basically represent the same meaning.
|In February 1959, HMCS HAIDA and HMCS NOOTKA were visiting Bermuda. One night, while returing to NOOTKA via HAIDA, a sailor from NOOTKA dropped HAIDA'S cast metal badge over the side as a prank. In 1975, the Canadian Naval Liason Officer in Bermuda received the following message from the British cable ship Sentinel: "Diver third engineer, M.H. Rennie, while working on ocean bed of Bermuda found ship's plaque Haida." Maritime Command in Halifax arranged to return the badge to HAIDA, with help from the Royal Navy.|
|Many offspring of navy ratings had the honour of being christened
aboard ship when the opportunity presented itself. It is a Navy tradition
that goes back to the days of sailing ships. The bell would be disconnected
from its mounting, turned upside down and filled with holy water. The chaplain
would then perform the baptism ceremony. Upon completion of the service,
the blest water was poured over the side of the ship into the sea.
HAIDA has continued this since the ship is still afloat and we wish to perpetuate naval traditions. The following names are inscribed on Haida's Bells:
Large, original bell - H.M.C.S. HAIDA 1943
Names engraved on back, port side of bell:
Small bell - H.M.C.S. HAIDA 1943
SARA A. WILCOX
Names engraved on back, starboard side of bell:
JUDITH ANNE BUTCHART
1) Brian J Piccioni <bjpiccioni(at)gmail.com>
2) Carla Morse <Carla.Morse(at)pc.gc.ca>
3) Michael Eisen, Parks Canada