For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS IROQUOIS G89 / 217
The first of the Canadian Tribals to commission, she did so at Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 30 Nov 1942. Iroquois was assigned to the 3rd Flotilla, Home Fleet, but proved to have structural flaws and was not fully operational until 30 Jan 1943. On a quick round trip to Canada in Mar 1943 she incurred weather damage that kept her under repairs at Plymouth until early Jun 1943, following which she was employed on Gibraltar convoys. In Jul 1943 three troopships she was escorting to Freetown were attacked by German aircraft 300 miles off Vigo, Spain, and two were sunk, Iroquois rescuing 680 survivors from the Duchess of York. Iroquois then spent several months escorting Russian convoys. In Feb 1944, she arrived at Halifax for a refit, returning to Plymouth early in Jun 1944 to join the 10th Flotilla for invasion duties. After D-Day she carried out patrols in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay, and for some months escorted capital ships and troopships in U.K. coastal waters. She rejoined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow in Mar 1945. On 16 Apr 1945, HMCS Haida G63, HMCS Huron G24 and HMCS Iroquois G89 departed Clyde with convoy JW.66 for Kola Inlet; arriving at Kola Inlet on 25 Apr 1945. They departed Kola Inlet for Clyde with convoy RA.66 on 29 Apr 1945. On 29 Apr 1945 HMCS Haida G63 and HMCS Iroquois were G89 attacked by U-427 (Oblt Karl-Gabriel Graf von Gudenus). The attack resulted in near misses by U-427. They arrived at Clyde on 08 May 1945. Following D-Day, she sailed to Oslo as an escort to Crown Prince Olaf, who was returning to liberated Norway. Shortly afterward she visited Copenhagen, whence she escorted the German cruisers Prinz Eugen and Nurnberg to Kiel for their formal surrender. On 04 Jun 1945 she left Greenock with Haida and Huron, arriving at Halifax on 10 Jun 1945. The end of the Pacific war brought a halt to her tropicalization refit, and Iroquois was paid off on 22 Feb 1946. The following year she began a long refit and on 24 Jun 1949, was re-commissioned as a cadet training ship. Iroquois completed 3 tours of duty in the Korean theatre. During her first tour, on October 2, 1952, Iroquois was making a daylight interdiction bombardment on a coastwise stretch of the main North Korean railway line when she received fire from the shore battery. A shell hit “B” gun deck and killed LCdr Quinn and AB Baikie instantly. AB Burden was critically wounded and died several hours later.
The following members of Iroquois were wounded in action on 02 Oct 52: Adam, Aimee, A.B., Berggrenn, Waldo, A.B., Dynna, Gilbert, A.B., Fortin, Emilien, MiD, P.O., Gaudet, Joseph, A.B., Jamieson, Gerald, DSM, P.O., Jodoin, Edwin, A.B., Moslin, Edward, P.O., Riley, Eugene, A.B., Wrigley, Walter, A.B. (Source: Korean Veterans Association of Canada)
HMCS Iroquois' tours in Korea
1st Tour: Departed Halifax: 21 Apr 1952 // Arrived in Op Area: 12 Jun 1952 // Departed Op Area: 26 Nov 1952 // Arrived in Halifax: 08 Jan 1953
2nd Tour: Departed Halifax 29 Apr 1953 // Arrived in Op Area: 18 Jun 1953 // Departed Op Area: 01 Jan 1954 // Arrived in Halifax: 10 Feb 1954 *
3rd Tour: Departed Halifax: 01 Jul 1954 // Arrived in Op Area: 22 Aug 1954 // Departed Op Area: 26 Dec 1954 // Arrived in Halifax: 19 Mar 1955 *
* Returned to Canada via the Suez Canal thus circumnavigating the globe.
Following her Korean tours, she returned to her training role. On 30 Jul 1962, the RCN sent the 3rd Destroyer Escort Squadron (Atlantic), under Capt. Gordon Edwards, on a good will / work up tour. The squadron consisted of HMCS Sioux 225, HMCS Huron 216 and HMCS Iroquois 217 (as flagship). The ships sailed from Halifax NS to Bermuda and then on to Jamaica, arriving on 05 August 1962. The squadron joined a large fleet of naval vessels already assembled, as all Royal Navies and the United States Navy, had sent "good will" ships of various classes to Jamaica. In essence, it served to form one of the largest allied fleets to be assembled since WW II, and spent six days in Jamaica celebrating their independence from Briton which occurred on 06 Aug 1962. The squadron then sailed back to Bermuda before heading to Prince Edward Island to par-take in their official Lobster Festival. From PEI the squadron returned to Halifax for fuel and provisions, and again departed for Bermuda. From Bermuda it was onto Trinidad & Tobago to take part in their independence celebrations.
Shortly after entering the Caribbean Sea, the fresh water evaporator broke down and the Admiralty in Halifax was advised, and a replacement requested. This was easier said than done. HMCS Iroquois was a WWII Tribal class Destroyer, built in the UK in 1941. Although some spares were on hand in Halifax, an evaporator was not one of them. A request was sent to the Royal Navy in Britain, and they in turn advised that they could supply. When Iroquois reached Port of Spain, she received the replacement evaporator. The unit was brought onboard, still packed in its original crate. There was the usual adornment of numbers and code letters printed on the wooden crate. What caught everyone's eye however was the name printed on the crate in block letters "HMS HOOD" Apparently not all of the spares for Hood were disposed of. The unit was identical and fitted nicely, but not everyone was happy. Some of the older members of the crew (veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic) saw it as an "omen". They predicted it was the end of the Iroquois. Iroquois departed Port of Spain and headed for Bermuda again.
From Bermuda, the Squadron proceeded to Newfoundland where on 12 Sep to 17 Sep 1962, the Squadron took part in the 67th annual meeting of the National Council of the Navy League of Canada. (Click here to read more on the visit). While at St. John's, the squadron's actives included onboard entertainment of local dignitaries, day cruises for members of HMCS Avalon, HMCS Cabot and RCSCC Terra Nova and open house to the general public. Prior to leaving port Iroquois was advised to wear our "Paying off Pennant" upon leaving harbour, as this was to be her last port of call. On 24 Oct 1962, Iroquois was paid off at Halifax and placed in operation reserve (Moth balled) Point Edward Naval Station, Cape Breton N.S. She was broken up at Bilbao, Spain, in 1964.
She never sailed again ... OMEN?
Photos and Documents (below)