This was the Officer's living and dining room where they ate their meals, relaxed and entertained guests. The activities of the wardroom mess were supervised by the Executive Officer who was also the President of the Mess. The Captain was not a member, nor did he have access to the Wardroom. He was however, invited in for movies, social and mess dinners. The system was very effective as the Captain remained detached from the officers so they could relax without being under his constant scrutiny.
During World War II, when HAIDA'S sister ship H.M.C.S. ATHABASKAN was sunk, the Wardroom was used as the area for treating the survivors. Today, the Wardroom is the place where guests and dignitaries are entertained when they visit and for a rental fee, it's available for private functions.
|It is believed that this is the original Wardroom table that was
cut down in the 1950-52 refit. Normally it accomodated 12 officers, not
including the CO, who ate in his Cabin except for formal Mess Dinners.
Dinner was about the only time that all, or most, would sit down at the same time. The Officers were not always there for every meal, as there would be one or two on watch while at sea. Breakfast seating was in waves as not everyone got up at the same time. The head of the table, next to the Squid Hoist (at the left side of this photo) was the XO's seat, and the EO had the spot to his left. No one sat in these spots even when the the XO and EO wern't there.
Everyone else sat randomly, although the Electrical Officer and the Supply Officer had favourite seats. The others wouldn't normally occupy them unless they had finished their meal and left the table. When in Halifax, all officers were normally there only for lunch. However, lunchtime in any port usually involved some drinking so not everyone was necessarily at the table at the same time. (Photo by Jim Brewer)
Starboard side view of Wardroom looking slightly towards aft. In 2006, the Wardroom deck was restored to its authentic Korean war-era colours using the old 9"x 9" linoleum format. The two glass tables are not authentic Wardroom furniture. Normally there would not be any glass enclosed, framed photos displayed on the bulkheads of a working ship. (Photo by Jerry Proc)
This photo titled 'Entertaining Black Watch Pipers prior to Mess Dinner, HMCS HAIDA' was taken in HAIDA'S Wardroom sometime between 1956 and 1958. The occasion was the Military Tattoo held in Hamilton, Bermuda. (A.W. Driega Collection, HMCS HAIDA Archives)
The Wardroom went through many different variations in colour and furniture coverings over the years. At one point the coverings were all white! There were many instances where the officers painted the bulkhead with images. In the Al Driega photo above, the deck was carpeted and the scuttle with covered with a black, floral patterned curtain. Sometimes the deck was carpeted. Other times, tiles were the norm.
Pat Barnhouse served as HAIDA's Electrical Office in the 1960-61 time period. He recalls one amenity in the Wardroom and that was a TV set which sat in an opening between the Wardroom (starboard, front side bulkhead) and one of the Officers cabins. There was no installed antenna system for the TV. Officers experimented with all sorts of jury rigs such as rabbit ears and metal clothes hangers. None of these schemes were very successful. TV, could not of course, be viewed once the ship was outside the line of sight distance to the TV transmitter. There was no radio in the Wardroom. Instead, the primary source of entertainment was the Sound Reproduction Equipment (SRE) system and supplemented with movies.
Another item to note is the location of the Officers Quarters and bunks:
* The Captain had his own private bunk in his Day Cabin .
* The XO had his own cabin and bunk in Wardroom Flats.
* There were four double bunk cabins in wardroom flats with two officers per cabin.
* The Engineer's cabin had one bunk.
* In Ship's Office flats, there were six bunks. Three were removed when HAIDA was berthed at Ontario Place. Now there are only three to be seen.