Armed Merchant Cruiser





Laid down: 1929

Launched: 1930

Acquired by RCN: 19 Dec 1939

Commissioned: 28 Dec 1940

Paid off: 11 Jun 1945

Fate: Sold in 1947 to commercial use. Broken up in 1951


Formerly a three-funnelled Canadian National Steamships liner, she was purchased on 19 Dec 1939, and after very extensive conversion commissioned at Halifax on 28 Dec 1940, as an armed merchant cruiser. After working up at Bermuda in Jan and Feb, 1941 PRINCE DAVID was assigned to the RN's America and West Indies Station for the rest of the year. That December she was transferred to Esquimalt and in May, 1942, after refit at Esquimalt and Vancouver, joined Esquimalt Force. During her refit, scenes from the 1942 film Commandos Strike at Dawn were filmed using PRINCE DAVID and Nenamook. From Aug to Nov she served under USN control in the Aleutian campaign. She then resumed her former duties out of Esquimalt until the beginning of Mar 1943, when she was paid off for conversion to an infantry landing ship. The rebuilding, which took place at Esquimalt and Vancouver, was completed that December, and shortly after re-commissioning she left for the U.K. via Cristobal and New York. Upon arrival in the Clyde in Feb 1944, PRINCE DAVID joined Combined Operations Command, and landed troops in Normandy on D-Day. In Jul she left for the Mediterranean to take part in Operation "Dragoon," the invasion of southern France, on 15 Aug. She was extensive service in the Mediterranean until damaged by a mine on 10 Dec 1944, off Aegina Island, Greece. Repaired at Ferryville, North Africa, she left in Mar 1945, to refit at Esquimalt, but saw no further service was was paid off on 11 Jun 1945. Charlton Steam Shipping Co. purchased PRINCE DAVID in Sep 1946. By Feb 1947 PRINCE DAVID was in Britain undergoing conversions to her superstructure for passenger service. Renamed Charlton Monarch, she entered the immigrant trade and ran from Britain to Australia. PRINCE DAVID seemed to be predisposed to striking underwater hazards: in 1932 as CNSS PRINCE DAVID she spent six months hard aground on the North-East Breaker at Bermuda; in 1941, she was aground again in Bermuda; during her Alaskan tour, she struck an uncharted piling; and in the Mediterranean an exploding mine opened a 17-foot (5 m) hole in her plates. These events, plus the pre-war years of neglect, may have contributed to her early end. She lasted only 6 years and was broken up at Swansea in 1951.



Photos and Documents          Ship's Company Photos          The Ship's Bell          The Three Princes - The Legion Magazine



Commanding Officers


Cdr. W.B. Armit, RCNR - 28 Dec 1940 - 24 Mar 1941

Cdr. Kenneth Frederick Adams, RCN - 25 Mar 1941 - 01 Dec 1941

Capt. V.S. Godfrey, RCN - 02 Dec 1941 - 18 Mar 1942

A/LCdr. Thomas Douglas Kelly, RCNR - 19 Mar 1942 - 16 Apr 1942

Capt. Valentine Stuart Godfrey, RCN - 17 Apr 1942 - 17 Apr 1942

Cdr. Thomas Douglas Kelly, RCNR - 18 Apr 1943 - 01 May 1943

Cdr. Thomas Douglas Kelly, RCNR - 23 May 1943 - 14 May 1945

LCdr Charles Archibald McDonald, RCNR - 14 May 1945 - unk

Cdr. Thomas Douglas Kelly, RCNR - unk - 11 Jun 1945



     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     


COWE, James W.


died - 07 Mar 1944


Ck (S),  RCNVR

died - 14 Jul 1941



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Aldred, Leslie

Allin, George E.

Barron, Ian J.

Beddoe, Charles E.

Bell, Russell B.

Benjamin, Carman L.

Bernard, Pierre Y.

Bird, Frederick

Blakelock, John C.

Bonner, Frederick A.

Borland, Lewis B.

Brown, Kenneth E.

Buckingham, R. George

Cameron, J. Robert

Campbell, Alexander H.

Carter, Kenneth

Champion, James P.

Clark, William R.

Cleghorn, Kenneth W.

Cleland, Peter

Collins, James C.

Cox, John D.

Doyle, Donald F.

Drysdale, Jack A.

Dubowski, Steve J.

Duff, Stewart J.

Eames, Howard C.

Edwards, Wilbert D.

Emberton, Ivor

Evans, Jim

Fee, Roland A.B.

Fick, Walter C.

Flesher, Richard A.

Gardner, William C.

Geddes, William L.

Gillard, George L.

Godfrey, Valentine S.

Gorsline, John

Gosnell, Henry W.

Hadden, George

Helis, Joseph F.

Henry, Philip

James, William S. G.

Johnston, Benjamin A.

Kaufman, James O.

Kinch, George F.

King, Charles W.

Kingsley, Harry

Kobelt, Charles A.

Koruna, William

Lawrence Frank W.

Love, Walter M.

MacAvoy, Gerald W.

Martin, Thomas W.

Mason, Charles R.

Matthews, James R.

McCarthy, Daniel

McCready, William R.

Newman, Ernest M.

Nordin, Walter

Ross, Clifford H.

Roxton, W. Arnold 

Smith, Thomas B.

Snowdon, Jason B.

Sutherland, Pius J.

Tassell, Allan

Tice, Jack N.

Turnbull, Frederick J.

Turner, Grant L.

Van't Haaff, George E.

Welsh, William

Whinton, Norman E.

Woodcock, Richard A.

Wright, Elmer J.




Former Crew Members


Arnison, Alfred Boden, A/LCdr (E), RCNR - 10 Jul 1940 (stand by)


Berry, Verne Harrington, SLt (El) (R), RCNVR - 18 Mar 1944


Beveridge, John Cyril, A/Lt, RCNVR - 21 Feb 1944


Carmichael, Angus Hector, Skpr, RCNR - 09 Jun 1941


Carter, Roderick Chrysler, A/LCdr, RCNVR - 08 Jun 1943


Chown, Edwin George, Lt, RCNVR - 04 May 1942


Crowhurst, Kenneth Guy, Lt, RCNVR - 17 Jul 1944


Denyer, Harry George, Lt, RCNR - 09 Jun 1941


Fairweather, Robert Gordon Lee, Paym/SLt, RCNVR - 18 Jul 1942


Graham, Donald Ferguson, A/Lt, RCNVR - 21 Feb 1944

Gibson, Bryce, RCNVR 


Gilmer, George Robert Edward, Lt, RCNVR - 08 Jun 1943


Hatfield, Byron Maxwell, Paym/SLt, RCNVR - 17 Jun 1941


Heyward, Lefty - Dec 1940


Hudson, George Frederick Willoughby, Lt, RCNR - 19 Mar 1942


Hunter, Robert, Skpr/Lt, RCNR - 13 Apr 1945


Jamieson, Robert Douglas, SLt (E), RCNVR - 18 Apr 1944


Kirkland, William Reid, Lt, RCNR - 17 Jun 1941


Lang, Hector Craig, SLt, RCNVR - Jan 1942


Lee, Eric Hammon, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 10 Jul 1942


McBeath, John David, Lt, RCNVR - Jan 1944

McClure, William Gerald, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 30 May 1945


McDermid, Edgar Sydney, Lt, RCNVR - Jan 1942


McGee, Thomas D'Arcy, Lt, RCNVR - 13 Apr 1942


Patterson, William Carroll, SLt (E), RCNVR - 12 Jun 1941


Rhodes, Harry, Ch/Skpr, RCNR - 29 Jun 1942


Sillett, Alfred Samuel Edgar, A/Paym/LCdr, RCNR - 01 Mar 1942


Smith, Angus


Southam, Robert Wilson, Lt, RCNVR - 08 Jun 1943


Sullivan, Richard, Lt (E), RCNR - 27 Jul 1940


Turner, Thomas, Cd/Shpt, RCNVR - 21 May 1945


Turner, William John McCrae, Lt, RCNVR - 01 May 1942



Photos and Documents


Remnants of HMCS PRINCE DAVID's commissioning pennant


Source: Wikipedia

PRINCE DAVID's A-gun. 6 February 1942

Citation: From my father's scrapbook, RCN

Source: Wikipedia - British Columbia Public Domain photographs

Unknown sailor splicing a wire cable on HMCS PRINCE DAVID

Luxury Liner Now Invasion Ship

Newspaper article on HMCS PRINCE DAVID converted to Landing Ship

The Halifax Chronicle 28 Feb 1944

Research by / Courtesy of George Newbury

Gun crew sunbathing on "Y" gun of the infantry landing ship HMCS PRINCE DAVID, Italy, Jul 1944

Source: LS Donovan J. Thorndick / Canada. Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / PA-143809

A second section of infantrymen preparing to go ashore from HMCS PRINCE DAVID off Bernières-sur-Mer, France, 06 Jun 1944

Source: Wikipedia

HMCS PRINCE DAVID, LSI (M) configuration and 4 LCAs

Source: Wikipedia


Source: Wikipedia  Credit: Canadian National Steamship Company, Limited Image No.: CN001685 CSTMC/CN Collection

HMCS PRINCE DAVID in the Panama Canal zone

Source: Wikipedia


Original source unknown

Courtesy of Dale Davies


RCN Photo # PD-653


RCN Press Release photo

From the collection of Laurence (Larry) Fricke

Courtesy of Linda Carleton


Photographer unknown

From the collection of Roy T. Cardy

Courtesy of Dennis Cardy


Photographer unknown

From the collection of Roy T. Cardy

Courtesy of Dennis Cardy


From the collection of George Huntbatch

Courtesy of Ross Huntbatch

Landing craft from HMCS PRINCE DAVID enters Piraeus Harbour, Greece, boarded by joyous Greeks


A.A. Cruiser HMCS PRINCE DAVID fights off German bombers in convoy battle


From the collection of J. Vincent Wesley, CPO, RCNVR


Courtesy of Marilynn Taylor


HMCS PRINCE DAVID Has Face Lifted Again - Feb 1944


From the collection of François Messier, AB, RCNVR


Courtesy of Denis Messier

Article on LCdr Robert Carter, RCNVR as XO of HMCS PRINCE David - dated 10 Jun 1944


From the collection of John A. Rickard, AB, RCNVR


Courtesy of John H. Rickard






Record of Ship's movements


20 Dec 1943 - 01 Mar 1945


From the collection of Jim Evans L/Sto, RCNVR


Courtesy of Ron and Barbara Simpson







(WW16) Airing the signal flag on HMCS PRINCE DAVID - LAC PA211364

(WW17) Capt T.D. Kelly, RCNR, CO, HMCS PRINCE DAVID - LAC PA211365

(WW18) Capt. Norris, RN Combined Ops. Specialist. Sailed on PRINCE DAVID as CO of a group LSI (M) Invasion of South/France July ’44 later killed in mine explosion on beach Yugoslavia.” - LAC PA143812

(WW20) Bob Hicks, PO Tel and PO Sig William Welsh, HMCS PRINCE DAVID 29 Oct 1944 - LAC PA211360  






(WW21) Crowded jetty at Ajaccio [sic].” “Loading Senegalese troops in Adjaccio [sic] for S/France invasion July ’44." - LAC PA143834  (WW22) July/44 PRINCE DAVID Med officer works on German “E” boat crew who were sunk and taken prisoner during S/France invasion; prisoners brought to PRINCE DAVID for medical treatment.”

(WW23) “PRINCE DAVID landing craft exercising S/France" - LAC PA211357

(WW24) PRINCE DAVID and PRINCE HENRY in Adjacco [sic.] - LAC PA211359  (WW26-WW27) 






(WW26-WW27) HMCS PRINCE DAVID in dry dock at Ferryville, North Africa for repairs after striking a mine - LAC PA142894, PA211363, PA211363

(WW29) Sailors on HMCS PRINCE DAVID - Aug 1944 - LAC PA211358

(WW30) Looking forward from the signal bridge on HMCS PRINCE DAVID - LAC PA211350







(WW31) William Welsh (centre) having birthday cake in mess aboard HMCS PRINCE DAVID, Portsmouth Harbour before D-Day on 05 Jun 1944

(WW32) Capt. Kelly addresses ship's company on HMCS PRINCE DAVID on D-Day - LAC PA211353

(WW33) HMCS PRINCE DAVID'S battle ensign on D-Day - LAC PA143815

(WW34) HMCS PRINCE DAVID anchored off Omaha Beach. There is a signalman on the flag deck holding on to a halyard - LAC PA211354

(WW35) LCT loaded with troops on D-Day - LAC PA211352




(WW36) "D-Day, after initial landings, this LCT came along side PRINCE DAVID with badly wounded cases and requested that we take them back with us to U. K.” - LAC PA141521


From the collection of William Welsh, Sig

Courtesy of Kyle Daun









(GG03) Lea Gillard (left) with unidentified officer on HMCS PRINCE DAVID circa Jan 1944

(GG04) On the bridge of HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG05) Sketch of ship's badge for HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG06) Unidentified PO.QR 2c on HMCS PRINCE DAVID








(GG08) Skit night onboard HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG09) Lea Gillard (2nd from left) with in his cabin on HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG10) Lea Gillard holding service on HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG11) Lea Gillard with PRINCE DAVID officers ashore in Greece

(GG12) Lea Gillard with PRINCE DAVID officers ashore in Athens, Greece







(GG13) A boxing match on HMCS PRINCE DAVID - Padre Lea Gillard on right; Dr. John Beggs as referee

(GG14) Cdr Thomas D. Kelly addressing the PRINCE DAVID's crew

(GG15) soldiers boarding the landing craft on HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG16) Soldiers in one of PRINCE DAVID's landing craft

(GG17) Ashore in unknown location.  Padre Lea Gillard front row in naval uniform







(GG18) Unidentified (Square Rig) Petty Officer onboard HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG19-GG20) Inspection of PRINCE DAVIDS's crew by visiting Rear-Admiral

(GG21) Unidentified Chief Petty Officer placing a shell in the magazine rack on HMCS PRINCE DAVID

(GG22) Medical procedure being performed on the ship's mascot on HMCS PRINCE DAVID by Dr. John Beggs.







(GG22) Capt. Norris, RN Combined Ops. Specialist. Sailed on P.D. [Prince David] as C.O. of a group LSI (M) Invasion of South/France July ’44 later killed in mine explosion on beach Yugoslavia  Photo PA143812 from Library and Archives Canada

(GG23) Ammunition boxes being loaded on to PRINCE DAVID's landing craft LCA 1115

(GG24) Unidentified sailor touching up the Maple Leaf on one of PRINCE DAVID's LCAs

(GG25) Lea Gillard (right) with Lt. Col. US Army Engineers - 05 Jul 1944  




Some of HMCS PRINCE DAVID'S crew ashore in Athens - circa fall of 1944 - both taken in front of the Parthenon. These photos were printed as post cards but were not sent.

(GG26) Rev. Lea Gillard 2nd from right

(GG27) L-R: Jacko Killeen, Ottawa; Keith Brason, Calgary; “me”, no name given; Charles Joyce, Port Credit; Tom Emerson, Moose Jaw; and, Qui Guiele (?), the guide


From the collection of Rev. Lea Gillard, Chaplain, RCN / RCN(R)


Courtesy of Charles Quinn