For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


They made the Ultimate Sacrifice


Wayne John Olan


Able Seaman, 63372-H, RCN / C.A.F. (Navy)


Born: 05 May 1946, Orillia, Ontario


Died: 20 Feb 1969 at sea off San Juan, PR


Book of Remembrance


OLAN, Wayne John, AB, 63372-H, C.A.F., Lost at sea - 20 Feb 1969, HMCS ASSINIBOINE - Son of George Douglas and Patricia Olan of Ottawa, ON; husband of Nancy Annabelle Olan (nee Webb) of Brampton, ON. Wayne Olan joined the RCN on 18 May 1965 in Ottawa, ON.


Ships served in:




LOST AT SEA - LSWU OLAN - Submitted by Nigel Whiteley


HMCS Assiniboine was en route to the customary exercises off San Juan PR when we encountered a particularly nasty patch of weather, the uppers were piped in and out of bounds over a period of a day and a half. At one juncture, a group of hands gathered near the funnel, starboard side for a bit of fresh air. A larger wave than the rest struck the ship starboard side forward and, aided by a strong wind, curled over the upper deck, and picked the four or five hands and washed them aft and outboard as the water drained away.


All managed to grab guardrails, superstructure, torpedo tubes and whatever to save themselves. They soon realized that LS Olan, a WU and Ship’s Diver, was not there with them. The Man Overboard was sounded and the ship was brought around with great difficulty due to the storm. Several sightings were thought to have been made but nothing certain. Emergency stations confirmed that LS Olan was not on board. 


We continued to search for almost five hours, but as the storm was causing damage to the ship, and as it was known that he was not wearing a life jacket, prospects of finding him were remote at best, the search was called off. 


On our return to Halifax a week or so later, the squadron sailed through the area where LS Olan had last been seen. CDR Gordon L Edwards, the CO, asked that the squadron stop for 15 minutes to allow the ship’s company to mark the loss. These pictures show the sequence of events. As we had no opportunity to acquire a wreath or floral tribute ashore, the wreath was constructed by members of the ship’s company by materials available onboard.



(1) Ship's company musters aft   (2) 2 - Cdr Edwards waits for ships in company to stop

(3) Cdr Edwards conducts a memorial service for LSWU Wayne John Olan   (4) 4 - Wreath made by ship's company for LS Olan



In Service of Canada - RCN Peacetime Casualty Index