For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project



Source: Flickr photo collection of Ron Bell

HMCS Hepatica K159


Laid down: 24 Feb 1940

Launched: 06 Jul 1940

Commissioned: 12 Nov 1940

Transferred to the RCN: 15 May 1941

Commissioned: 15 May 1941

Paid off: 27 Jun 1945

Returned to the RN: 27 Jun 1945

Fate: Broken up in 1948


Commissioned in the RN on 12 Nov 1940, at Quebec City, HMS Hepatica arrived at Halifax on 17 Nov 1940 and left on 18 Dec 1940 with convoy HX.97, armed with a dummy 4-inch gun. The real thing was installed, and other deficiencies remedied, at Greenock, completing on 06 Mar 1941. After working up in Apr 1941, she joined EG 4, Greenock. On 15 May 1941 she was transferred to the RCN and commissioned as HMCS Hepatica K159. In Jun 1941, after brief service as a U.K.-Iceland escort, she was assigned to NEF for the rest of the year, escorting convoys between Iceland at St. John's. Late in Jan 1942, she escorted SC.64, the inaugural "Newfie-Derry" convoy, and for the next three months served on that run. In Jun 1942 she joined the Tanker Escort Force, operating from Halifax, for one round trip to Trinidad and the, late in Jul 1942, joined Gulf Escort Force as a Quebec-Sydney convoy escort. In Oct 1942 she was reassigned to Halifax Force, escorting Quebec-Labrador convoys and, in Dec 1942, to WLEF. She was to serve with WLEF for the remainder of the war, from Jun 1943 as a member of EG W-5 and from Apr 1944, with W-4. During this period Hepatica had to extensive refits from 11 Feb to 01 Apr 1943 and 20 Mar to 08 Jun 1944 both at New York. The latter refit included the lengthening of her fo'c's'le, and was followed by three weeks' workups in Bermuda. She left St. John's 27 May 1945, as escort to HX.358, and on 23 Jun 1945 was handed over to the RN at Milford Haven. She was broken up at Llanelly, Wales, in 1948.


(Note: Although the place and date of fo'c's'le extension for HMCS Hepatica (K159) as listed on 8 Jun 44, at New York, NY, was obtained from official records, photographic evidence seems to prove this wrong. It is more likely that Hepatica's fo'c's'le extension was completed between Feb-Apr 43 at New York, NY. Source: RCN News Magazine)


Photos and Documents          Film footage of HMCS Hepatica


Commanding Officers

Lt Charles Copelin, RCNR - 12 Nov 1940 - 31 Oct 1941

LCdr Thomas Gilmour, RCNR - 01 Nov 1941 - 11 Apr 1943

Lt Henry Ernest Lade, RCNR - 12 Apr 1943 - 05 Sep 1943

Lt John Alexander Ferguson, RCNR - 06 Sep 1943 - 04 Nov 1944

Lt Eric MacPherson Lutes, RCNVR - 05 Nov 1944 - 26 Jun 1945


     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Anderson, Helgi George Ingveldur


Banfield, Fred


Commissioning crew

Bockus, Donald Roland





Cunningham, Daniel







Fram, Joseph







Lamothe, Émile







Mogensen, Frank


Served in Hepatica 15 Nov 1941 - 07 Dec 1941 as an A/LS, RCN






Ormsby, Chuck


Pulsifer, Walter Howard


Drafted to Hepatica 01 Mar 1944 as Skpr, RCNR





Radford, Russel


Robinson, William Edward


Ronan, Arthur





Former Crew Members

Collier, Arthur Gordon, Lt, RCNVR - 29 Jan 1944


Dessaulles, Pierre Leman, Lt, RCNVR - 19 Apr 1943


Hansen, Svend


Leonard, William Girvin, Lt, RCNVR - 15 Apr 1943

McCombe, William, Lt, RCNVR - 29 Jan 1944


Pierce, Stanley, Lt, RCNR - 14 Apr 1943


Roach, Emmett Bernard, Slt, RCNVR - 06 Mar 1945

Roswell, Harry Cecil, A/Lt, RCNVR - 25 Jun 1944


Smith, Walter Joseph McBraine, RCNVR - 17 Feb 1945


Williams, Frank Robert, A/Lt, RCNVR - 09 Feb 1945


Wilson, Donald James, Slt, RCNVR - 30 Mar 1942


Photos and Documents


HMCS Hepatica K159

Courtesy of Gordon Lees

HMCS Hepatica K159

Courtesy of Gordon Lees

Two unknown crew members in front of the gunshield art on HMCS Hepatica K159 at Halifax

From the collection of Sid Dobing

Courtesy of Brian Dobing

HMCS Hepatica K159

Note that her bow has a bit of dent in it

From the collection of Robert Macklem

Courtesy of Kelly Macklem