A NOOTKA was already in service with the RCN when the Tribal was laid down. The first of the name was a 696 ton Basser Class coal burning trawler named after Nootka Sound in British Columbia. The old ship was eventually sold and became a mercantile tug. Commissioned on 7th August 1946 at Halifax, NOOTKA served as a training ship on the east coast and the Caribbean until her conversion to a destroyer escort in 1949 and 1950. A minor calamity occurred on 1st April 1949 when NOOTKA was refuelling at sea. The quick release coupling on the hose accidently released itself and a fountain of high pressure oil sprayed all over the ship from the 293 radar antenna to the waterline and including the Chief Stoker and the Engineering Officer. There was so much of it to clean up that NOOTKA used up all of her cotton waste and had to get more from MAGNIFICENT. After completing more exercises, she was paid off on 15th August 1949.
During her conversion to an escort destroyer, NOOTKA'S 4.7 inch guns were replaced with 4 inch mountings by February 1950. It was decided that she should be further altered. The 'Y' mounting was removed altogether and two triple-barelled Mark IV Squids were installed. After some trials, she returned to port for additional alterations in order to fit two Boffin gun mounts. These were single 40mm Bofors on a twin 20mm Oerlikon powered mounting. Earmarked for Korean duty, she transited the Panama Canal in December 1950 for the first of two tours of duty in that theatre of war. Returning to Halifax via the Mediterranean at the end of 1952, she became the second RCN ship to circumnavigate the globe. HMCS QUEBEC was the first. During 1953 and 1954 she underwent further conversion and modernization, afterward resuming her original training duties.
HMCS NOOTKA after her conversion to a destroyer escort. What a graceful sight to see a Tribal steaming at high speed. (HMCS HAIDA Archives Photo 997.004.002)
March 1961 saw HAIDA, HURON and NOOTKA battling through an icy gale to help search for a Nova Scotian fisherman who encountered difficulties in the Atlantic. Her evaporator pump, turbo-generator and sonar gear gave trouble in spite of regular and extensive refits. NOOTKA was one of the very few Canadian ships involved in the Cuban crises in 1962. Robin Cox, who served in Nootka at the time, recalls the following " I can remember the night we sailed, as there was a Force 8 gale blowing and we had to lay off Shelburne, Nova Scotia to pick up a VIP who may have been an American. As the leading seaman of the watch, I had to take the motor cutter in to pick him up and that was in 25 foot waves. When we got back, our C.O. Commander Murphy and a fly boy took us up to his cabin for a tot. That gale was with us most of the trip down the eastern seaboard. Our patrol area was the northern tip of Cuba and to my knowledge we never boarded any Russian ships".
In 1963, with HAIDA, she toured the Great Lakes in the course of a summer's cruising. NOOTKA'S last series of exercises found her in Bermuda. While berthing at the jetty, the wind pushed her hard up against the jetty while berthing and she sustanied some damage. A temporary concrete patch allowed her to return home. She was de-comissioned at Halifax on 6th February 1964 and broken up at Faslane Scotland the following year.
The Nootka, for which the ship is named, are North American Indians who traditionally lived along the seaward coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Outstanding sea hunters as well as fishermen and woodworkers, the Nootka and a few neighboring imitators were the only tribe to harpoon humpback and California gray whales using 35 foot whalers. Whale oil was an important product, but the prestige of whaling was far more important.
TOURS OF DUTY
1st Tour of Duty
Left Halifax - Nov 25/50
Arrived Sasebo, Japan - Jan 14/51
First Action - Jan 25/51
Left Yokosuka, Japan - July 25/51
Arrived Esquimalt - July 31/51
Arrived in Halifax for refit - Aug 21/51
2nd Tour of Duty
Left Halifax - Dec 30/51
Arrived Sasebo - Feb 12 /52
Arrived Halifax - Dec 17/52