For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


HMCS Nipigon 266

Exercise Ocean Safari 1985


Laid down: 05 Aug 1960

Launched: 10 Dec 1961

Commissioned: 30 May 1964

Paid off for DELEX refit: 27 Jun 1983

Re-commissioned: 22 Aug 1984

Paid off for refit: 30 Aug 1988

Re-commissioned: 16 Feb 1990

Paid off: 01 Jul 1998

Fate: Sunk as an artificial reef ON 22 Jul 2003.


Built by Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Nipigon was commissioned on 30 May 1964 with the wife of the then Governor-General Georges P Vanier DSO MC & Bar CD, Madame Pauline Vanier, as her sponsor. She arrived in Halifax for the first time on 07 Jun 1964 serving most of her career with the Atlantic Fleet.


On 18 Oct 1965, a fire broke out aboard the ship, causing the death of three crew; no official cause for the explosion and subsequent fire has ever been given. 


At approximately 2030 hours on 18th October 1965, while at sea, two explosions occurred in 12 Mess on H.M.C.S. Nipigon. The force of these explosions blew the locked cover off a tank containing JP 5 helicopter fuel causing a flash fire in the Mess. The compartment directly above the Mess contained ammunition. At the time of the explosions there were eleven men in 12 Mess, one of which was Leading Seaman White. Although burned about the face and hands when 'escaping from the Mess, Leading Seaman White rushed to the Quartermaster's lobby to inform the lifebuoy sentry of the explosions in order that Command could be informed. He then returned to the area of the Mess to assist where needed but when advised that one man who appeared to be unconscious had not escaped from the Mess, immediately 'donned a set of breathing equipment and re-entered the Mess. The Mess at this time was filled with fumes from the JP 5 fuel and heavy black smoke. Freeing the unconscious man Leading Seaman White, with the assistance of Able Seaman Gray who had just entered, carried the man to the foot of the hatch and then searched all bunks to ensure no one else was trapped. Then - with the assistance of the Able Seaman and other crew members, brought the man up to the mortar well on the deck above. Leading Seaman White then assisted the damage control parties in flooding the JP 5 fuel tank with sea water and the removal of smouldering material. Although burned by the initial flash fire, Leading Seaman White alerted Command, re-entered the fume and smoke filled Mess to rescue a comrade, and did excellent work in a dangerous area which contained an open JP 5 fuel tank adjacent to stored ammunition before obtaining medical attention for himself. This fine display of courage in the face of serious injury or possible death, is a credit not only to Leading Seaman White, but also his ship and the Canadian Forces. LS White was awarded the British Empire Medal for Gallantry for his actions.


During her service she was primarily used as a training ship. On 07 Nov 1971, while operating off Bermuda, HMCS Nipigon's Sea King lost power on her engines and crashed into the sea at about 2200 hrs. There was a loss of three crew who were never recovered. Only the navigator was found by rescue crew. Seas were heavy with no moon and a strong wind. (Click here to read the RCN Memories entry on the loss of Nipigon's 3 aircrew).


On September 10, 1979 while underway at sea, a gasket from a steam line heated at 850o ruptured in the boiler room of the destroyer. PO Marsh ordered all personnel to evacuate the immediate area and remained at the boiler room console to carry out the emergency shut-down procedures. Outside, the main power had failed, semi-darkness made any action most difficult, confusion and a sense of danger were evident, but CWO McIntosh proceeded without hesitation through the escape hatch, although the heat was intolerable. He reached the console with difficulty and both he and PO Marsh with only ventilation fans keeping the steam from smothering them, calmly and correctly took appropriate action to minimize machinery damage and restore safety. CWO John McIntosh and PO Patrick Marsh voluntarily exposed themselves to grave danger to ensure the safety of the ship and prevent possible loss of life on board. Both CPO McIntosh and PO Marsh were awarded the Star of Courage for their actions.


On 27 Jun 1983, she was paid off for her DELEX refit at Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co., Ltd., Lauzon, Que. She was re-commissioned on 22 Aug 1984. On 28 Apr 1985 HMCS Nipigon provided SAR assistance to fishing vessel Lady Marjorie. The crew was rescued and vessel sunk by gunfire from HMCS Nipigon. The Crown was subsequently sued by vessel owners - an out of court settlement was reached. On 22 Feb 1987 HMCS Nipigon's helo assisted in the rescue of the crew from the burning tug Gulf Gale  off Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. On 19 May 1993 HMCS Nipigon departed Halifax with HMNZS Endeavour and HMNZS Canterbury for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic ceremonies off the coast of Wales and Liverpool. On 14 Jun 1995 HMCS Nipigon's crew members along with DFO enforcement officers boarded the Spanish trawler Patricia Nores and found 11 tonnes of turbot in excess of amounts recorded in the ship's log.


She was paid off on 02 Jul 1998 and sold for use as an artificial reef. She was sunk in the St. Lawrence River north-east of Rimouski, Quebec on 22 Jul 2003.


RCN Memories:     Three Shipmates Remembered - The Crash of HMCS Nipigon's Sea King


Photos and Documents          Ship's company photos          Commissioning Book          The Ship's Bell


Commanding Officers

Cdr Roy Donald Saxon, DSC, RCN - 30 May 1964 - 19 May 1966

Cdr John Burleigh Chapleau Carling, RCN - 19 May 1966 - 11 Sep 1967

Cdr R.F. Choat, RCN - 11 Sep 1967 - 19 Aug 1968

LCdr O.S. Chorneyko - 19 Aug 1968 - 04 Feb 1969

Cdr Robert Campbell Brown - 04 Feb 1969 - 31 Aug 1970

LCdr Leo I. MacDonald - 31 Aug 1970 - 29 Sep 1970

Cdr A.H. Brookbank - 29 Sep 1970 - 19 Jun 1972

Cdr David Austin Avery - 19 Jun 1972 - 10 Apr 1974

Cdr James Douglas Sine - 10 Apr 1974 - 23 May 1975

Cdr Francis Henry Stephen Hope - 23 May 1975 - 01 Sep 1976

Cdr H.L. Davies - 01 Sep 1976 - 15 May 1978

Cdr Richard Clifford Waller - 15 May 1978 - 12 Jun 1980

Cdr Dale Edward Gibb - 12 Jun 1980 - 19 Jul 1982

Cdr Wilfred Gourlay D. Lund - 19 Jul 1982 - 02 Apr 1984

Cdr Hans Werner Hendel - 02 Mar 1984 - 15 Jul 1986

Cdr Duncan Edward (Dusty) Miller - 15 Jul 1986 - 05 Oct 1987

Cdr E.J. Lerhe - 05 Oct 1987 - 06 Jan 1989

Cdr M.A. Wylie - 06 Jan 1989 - 12 Jul 1989

Cdr S.C. Doucette - 12 Jul 1989 - 21 Jun 1991

Cdr K. Steve White - 21 Jun 1991 - 16 Jul 1993

LCdr C.L. Mofford - 16 Jul 1993 - 18 Aug 1993

LCdr E.P. Deslauriers - 18 Aug 1993 - 02 May 1994

Cdr M.P. Palmer - 02 May 1994 - 18 Jan 1996

Cdr G.A. Prudat - 18 Jan 1996 - 21 Aug 1997

Cdr J.D. Penman - 21 Aug 1997 - 01 Jul 1998


     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     

DICK Allan Edward

Lt(N), C.A.F.

killed - 07 Nov 1971

Sea King crash

McCREA, John Osborne Ross

Cpl, C.A.F.

killed - 07 Nov 1971

Sea King crash

OSTAFICIUK, Lawrence Michael

Lt, C.A.F.

killed - 07 Nov 1971

Sea King crash

PERRIER, Patrick Allen

OS, 55237, RCN

died - 18 Oct 1965

PITT, Thomas S.


died - 23 Oct 1965

READE, Roderick Eric

AB, 54826-H, RCN

died - 19 Oct 1965

ZENKNER, Andrew Nigel


Lost at sea 1979





     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Barfoot, Clayton Gordon Crozier


Bass, Gary Allen


Bednarz, Andrew Mark


Biles, H.A.


Blake, Douglas Craig

KIA 03 May 2010 

Killed by an IED near Kandahar

Boucher, Guy, J.R.


Brown, Arthur Stanley


Budge, Daniel Gilbert


Burnett, Mark




Cain, Edward Peter


Caisse, Joseph Andre Richard


Served in Nipigon as a LSSW

Campbell, Tony Charles


Cherrington, Keith


Served in Nipigon Jun 1968 - Dec 1969 and Aug 1972 - Dec 1978

Clark, F. Gordon


Chorneyko, Oleh


Coady, Francis Earl Matthew


Cormier, Bernard Paul


Cormier, Clarence Noel


Curleigh, Colin M.


Served in Nipigon in 1966

Currie, David Wayne


D'Andrea, Joseph Duncan


Dalton, Albert Patrick


Davies, Harold Lindsay


Decker, Clemeth George


Denman, Richard Douglas


Served in Nipigon in 1965. Was onboard when the explosion occurred

Dicks, Norman Thomas


Dohan, John Chester


Doucette, Raymond Joseph Frank


Doyle, Adrian Francis


Dubois, Bernard







Easterbrook, Herbert


Elliott, Ronald Edwin


Foster, Clive F.

Fowler, David John


Free, Ronald


Furlotte, Richard Wilfred







Gault, John Edwin


Gibb, Dale E.

Grace, Adrian Joseph


Gray, John D.

Harris, Kenneth Harry


Commissioning crew as a PO1

Harrison, Arthur Vincent


Hart, William Edgar


Served in Nipigon as a C2BN

Howard, Thomas James





Irvine, Matthew Shane







Kelly, Frederick Walter


Kennedy, Terence Alan


Served in  Nipigon 12 Jan 1981 - 09 Mar 1981

Lawlor, Patrick


Lees, Joseph Clifford


Served in Nipigon 30 May 1964 - 16 May 1966

Linscott, John David


Lloyd, James Morgan







MacDonald, John MacLeod


MacDonald, Leo I.


6th Commanding Officer

MacLean, Owen K,


Only survivor of the crash of Nipigon's Sea King 07 Nov 1971

MacLeod, Andrew Reid


Matchem, Clarence Calvin


Served in Nipigon Aug 1976 - Sep 1978 and Jul 1979 - Dec 1982

McComb, Gerald E.C.


McCulley, Stanley James


Mielke, Gordon Arnold


Served in Nipigon as CPO2, Bos'n, Buffer

Mifflin, Frederick John


Served in Nipigon in 1964 as Lt, RCN

Miller, Duncan E.

Millard, Calvin Keith


Served in Nipigon 1969-1970 as Sonar Dept. section head

Mohr, Richard Walter


Morgan, Edward James


Morris, Arthur


Served in Nipigon in 1965

Mowat, Robert A.L.


Murray, Douglas


Myles, Thomas


Nicholson, Douglas


Noyes, John Herbert



O'Brien. Joseph M.


O’Leary, Paul Cameron


Commissioning crew as an ABSG

O'Sullivan, James J.C.

Orr, Donald Gerard


Ouellet, Rene Joseph


Patterson, Donald Victor


Pirie, Edward Downie


Served in Nipigon in 1975 as CERA

Power, Leonard M.


Pringle, James C.




Reid, Donald Lorimer


Robertson, Ronald Albert






Saunders, Oliver M.

Sherret, William David


Sinderly, Peter J.P.

Smith, Richard Lionel


Served in Nipigon in 1978

Spalding, James Dixon


Served in Nipigon in 1965 as Lt, RCN, OpsO

Springall, Gerald Joseph


Strybosch, Ingmar D.

Tait, Frederick Thomas


Tessier, Yves Georges


Thompson, John

Trafford, Gerald Raymond







Venne, L. Joseph







Waller, Harold Taylor


Weir, James Neil


Whalen, David Bertram


Wilwand, Robert E.

Wiper, W. Douglas

Wiper, Stephen D.

Wong, Ping Zunn






Former Crew Members

Bakody, David, P1ERA


Bell, Michael, AirDet - 1977-1978


Brooks, John


Brown, Donald (Buster) - ATT FM HMCS Skeena - May-Jul 1981


Dawe, Charlene, OS, Stwd


Gallagher, Jean, Cook

Kloosterman, Steve, HT - 1977-1980


Lake, Belinda - 1990 - 1992


Lapierre, Brian, ET, RCN / C.A.F.


Larcheveque, Richard, OBSV/AESOP - 1981-1982 (aircrew)


Linton, Stacey, PTE(T), Stwd


Marsh, Patrick Garfield, P2ER, SC

McGean, Darren, Pte, Stwd


McIntosh, John Lorne, C1ERA, MMM, SC, CD


Olsen, Darren Mark


Pinnell, Terry, Lt - Sep 1976 - Jan 1979


Ruff, Eric


Tremblay, Gilbert (Gigi), OS-LSEW - 28 Mar 1978 - 01 Dec 1981


Photos and Documents


HMCS Nipigon 266 Ship's Company Dance - 1965

Dance held after the trip to Holland

Some pers in the photo: P2 Mark Trembley and his wife; the wardroom stewards and their wives; and William (Bill) Starr, Cdr Saxon's Steward

Courtesy of William Starr


Two Newspaper articles from the Picton Gazette, Picton, Ontario on the death of AB Thomas S. Pitt, OS Patrick Perrier, and AB Roderick Reade.

Courtesy of Terrie Robinson

HMCS Nipigon - date unknown

Courtesy of Jim Brannen

HMCS Nipigon 266 Ship's Company Dance - 1966

Dance held after the Southern cruise.

Some pers in the photo: P2 Mark Trembley and William (Bill) Starr, Cdr Saxon's Steward

Courtesy of William Starr

John Le Forte (centre) on fo'c's'le of HMCS Nipigon 266

Courtesy of John Le Forte




Picnic on the flight deck of HMCS Nipigon in 1982.  The 3rd photo shows the after-picnic clean-up.

Courtesy of John Knudsen


HMCS Nipigon iced-up

50th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic

Fleet Review Anchorage Diagram

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Engine room of HMCS Nipigon 266

Source: Canadian Naval Alumni page on Facebook

Headstone in memory of Nigel Zenkner, lost at sea - 1979

Courtesy of Steve Ewert

HMCS Nipigon conducting a RAS with USS Iowa (BB61) while part of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic (SNFL) 1985

Quarterdeck part ship hand on HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Crossing the Line on HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of John Le Forte

HMCS Nipigon 266

Courtesy of John Le Forte

HMCS Nipigon 266 inboard of HNoMS Bergen F301

Courtesy of John Le Forte

HMCS Nipigon's NATO '93 T-shirt

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Bridge of HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Below decks HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Below decks HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Mess deck lockers on HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of John Le Forte

1 mess - HMCS Nipigon 266

Courtesy of John Le Forte

Quarter deck of HMCS Nipigon 266

Courtesy of John Le Forte

LSSW Frank (last name not known) with OSSW Charlene Dawe in the Wardoom Pantry of HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

LSSW Frank (last name not known) with OSSW Charlene Dawe in the Wardoom Pantry of HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Pte SW Stacey Linton with Pte SW Darren McGean in the Wardroom with the 2nd Sick Bay lights over the Wardroom Table on HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Pte(T) SW Stacey Linton on HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

HMCS Nipigon breaking the ice during Fishpat 92

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

HMCS Nipigon breaking the ice during Fishpat 92

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Roche Perce from the ocean side Fish Pat 92 (The never ending Fish Pat, we did something like 186 days fish pat that year)

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Roche Perce - Fish Pat 92

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

The Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark

Photo taken from HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Sgt SW Clem Licayao playing Golf while the ship was at Ultra Quiet State as we were towing the array

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba MCpl SW Mitch Cormier, of HMCS Nipigon

"I got pics to prove that I was there."

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

HMCS Nipigon 266 at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Hangar of HMCS Nipigon

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

Emergency Landing of the Dutch Helo during NATO 91

Courtesy of Mitch Cormier

The fishing vessel Lady Marjorie, shortly before being sunk by gunfire from HMCS Nipigon

The fishing vessel Lady Marjorie on fire after being hit by shells from HMCS Nipigon

Letter to crew of HMCS Nipigon 266 for their professionalism during an Sea King flight emergency

Courtesy of Jeff Eastham

Newspaper article on HMCS Nipigon's final sail past

Courtesy of John Leforte

Former HMCS Nipigon being towed out of Halifax Harbor on Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001, enroute for Rimouski, Quebec, to be sunk as an artificial reef

Courtesy of John Floyd

The End is Near


Former HMCS Nipigon, Rimouski, Quebec, summer 2003

Sunk warship to be artificial reef

Newspaper article on the sinking of the former HMCS Nipigon as an artificial reef near Rimouski, Quebec.

Courtesy of Terrie Robinson