For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

HMCS SKEENA H01 / D59 / I59

HMCS Skeena D59

 

Source: The Crow's Nest virtual museum

 

Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1939-44,   Normandy  1944,   Biscay  1944

 

 

Laid down: 14 Oct 1929

Launched: 10 Oct 1930

Commissioned: 10 Jun 1931

Fate: Wrecked on 25 Oct 1944

 

Commissioned at Portsmouth on 10 Jun 1931, she arrived at Halifax with Saguenay on 03 Jul 1931 and proceeded to Esquimalt the following month. On 24 Jan 1932 HMCS Skeena and HMCS Vancouver provided protection to British assets and civilians in El Salvador at the request of the British Consul in San Salvador following the outbreak of a peasant uprising. A landing party was briefly sent ashore at Acajutla, but the situation there improved and the sailors saw no combat, although the two ships remained in the area until the end of the month. On 05 Jan 1935, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Vancouver  departed Esquimalt for exercises in the Kingston, Jamaica area with HMCS Champlain and HMCS Saguenay. Skeena returned to Halifax in Apr 1937. In the 1938, HMCS Skeena, HMCS Fraser, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS St. Laurent paid a port visit to San Diego as part of the spring training cruise. The East and West ships rendezvoused at the Panama Canal for joint exercises. When war broke out, Skeena was engaged in local escort duties until ordered to the U.K. On her arrival at Plymouth, on 31 May 1940, she was assigned to Western Approaches Command taking part in the evacuation of France and escorting convoys in British waters. She returned to Halifax on 03 Mar 1941, for refit, then joined Newfoundland Command, Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF). In Apr 1943, she became a member of EG C-3. During this period she saw continuous convoy duty and on 31 Jul 1942, while escorting convoy ON.115, shared with Wetaskiwin in the sinking of U 588. In May 1944, she was assigned to EG 12 for invasion duties, and was present on D-Day. On 08 Jun 1944, HMCS Skeena was attacked by U-953 (Oblt Karl-Heinz Marbach). The Gnats (acoustic torpedoes) exploded in the ship's wake with no damage to the ship. HMCS Skeena participated in operation "Dredger" against German escort vessels at the U-boat meeting points off Brest and southward. During the night of 5/6 Jul the 12th EG, comprising of Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, Skeena and Restigouche, attacked 3 patrol boats off Brest: V715 was sunk but not before hitting Qu'Appelle and Saskatchewan many times with small calibre gunfire. That Sep 1944 she was transferred to EG 11. On the night of 24/25 Oct 1944, Skeena was wrecked in a storm. She was anchored off Reykjavik, Iceland and dragged her anchor and grounded in 50-foot (15 m) waves off Viđey Island with the loss of 15 crewmembers. Her hulk was written off and sold to Iceland interests in June 1945; she was then raised to broken up. Her propeller was salvaged and used in a memorial near the Viđey Island ferry terminal.

 

RCN Memories:     The Loss of HMCS Skeena

 

Photos and Documents          HMCS Skeena - by Lt(N) Chris Baker CD

 

Commanding Officers

Cdr Victor Gabriel Brodeur, RCN - 10 Jun 1931 - 24 May 1932 (H01)

Cdr George Clarence Jones, RCN - 25 May 1932 - 14 May 1934 (H01)

Cdr John Eric Wodehouse Oland, DSC, RCN - 15 May 1934 - 07 Jan 1936

Cdr Howard Emmerson Reid, RCN - 08 Jan 1936 - 24 Mar 1937

Capt V.G. Brodeur, RCN - 25 Mar 1937 - 22 Apr 1938

Cdr Harold Taylor Wood Grant, RCN - 23 Apr 1938 - 30 Nov 1939

LCdr Ernest Patrick Tisdall, RCN - 01 Dec 1939 - 09 Mar 1940

Lt Herbert Sharples Rayner, RCN - 10 Mar 1940 - 01 Apr 1940

LCdr James Calcutt Hibbard, RCN - 02 Apr 1940 - 10 Dec 1941 (D59)

Cdr Harry Kingsley, RCN - 11 Dec 1941 - 19 May 1942

A/LCdr Kenneth Lloyd Dyer, DSC, RCN - 20 May 1942 - 04 Jan 1943 (I59)

Lt Jean Rosaire Roland Belanger, RCNVR - 05 Jan 1943 - 28 Feb 1943

A/LCdr Eric Eversley Garratt Boak, RCN - 01 Mar 1943 - 20 Nov 1943

LCdr Patrick Francis Xavier Russell, RCN - 21 Nov 1943 - 25 Oct 1944 (I59)

 

     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     

APOSTOLOS, Archie

Stwd, V44615, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

BLAIS, Joseph Frederic Andre

LS, V4777, RCNVR

MPK - 25 Oct 1944 

COOK, Desmond Bert William

Cook (S), V51070, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

DAVIDSON, Gordon

AB, V55130, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

ELLIS, Melvin Newton

AB, V50983, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

FLEMMING, Leo Joseph

AB, A1141, RCNR

MPK - 04 Feb 1941 

GABOUREL, Lloyd Austin

AB, V63956, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

HANCOCK, Ralph Gardiner

L/Sig, V13220, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

JANOS, Joseph Frank

AB, 4408, RCN

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

JOHNSTON, Joseph Neil

AB, V44249, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

PRESSNER, Edward Julian

Stwd, V/45330, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

SEATH, Ritchie Oulton

Coder, V23611, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

SILK, James Ernest

LS, V19493, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

STEWART, Kenneth William

AB, V36475, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

UNGER, Abraham

AB, V39733, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

 

WATSON, Leonard

AB, V46243, RCNVR

killed - 25 Oct 1944 

 

 

     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten

A-B

Adams, John Cameron

MPK - 29 Apr 1944

while serving in

HMCS Athabaskan G07

Aldred, Frank Edward

_____-2010

Anderson, Harold

1920-2008

Anslow, John R.B.

____-2009

Ashdown, James Harry

____-2009

Bak, Boley Hubert

1915-2012

Beesley, John Spickett

1926-2001

Survived the grounding/wreck of Skeena

Braun, Wilhelm

1925-1993

Survived the grounding/wreck of Skeena

Bromley, William Arthur

1904-1998

Browne, Randall William

1917-1975

Served in Skeena 18 May 1940 - 02 Dec 1941

Bushen, Lee Palmer

____-2009

 

 

 

 

C-D

Caines, Eric

____-1985

Calder, William Allen

MPK - 22 Oct 1940

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

Cameron, Dugald

____-____

Campbell, William Franklin

Killed - 06 Feb 1943

while serving in

HMCS Louisburg K143

Chipman, William Pennock

____-2009

Clarke, John James Ashworth

1919-2015

Cock, Peter John Bligh

1918-2011

Corbin, William Harold

MPK - 22 Oct 1940

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

Cosh, Digby Rex Bell

Died: 24 Jun 1944

Davey, Arthur Cecil Montague

1902-____

Déry, Stanislas

1912-2001

DeWolf, Henry George

1903-2000

Drafted to Skeena H01 on 03 Jul 1933 as Lt, RCN

Donald, Colin Degge

1899-1974

Served in Skeena in 1932 as LCdr, RCN, XO

Doyle, Peter Maurice

1919-2003

Drake, Bert

____-1997

Dunbar, Hugh C.

____-____

Dyer, Kenneth Lloyd

1915-2000

11th Commanding Officer

 

 

 

E-F

Erickson, Leonard

1913-1991

Freeman, David Henry

1912-2001

Froats, Donald MacRae

MPK - 13 Sep 1942

while serving in

HMCS Ottawa H60

 

 

G-H

German, Donald Ross

____-2008

Grant, Harold Taylor Wood

1899-1965

6th Commanding Officer

Green, Robert MacDonald

1917-2008

Groos, Harold Victor William

1912-1987

Grubb, Frederic Ernest

1910-1985

Guest, Albert A.

____-1950

Guillet, Burton

____-2009

Hanington, Daniel Lionel

1921-1999

Drafted to Skeena 30 May 1941 as Midshipman, RCNVR

Hann, Peter M.J.

Served in Skeena 01 Aug 1941 - 12 Dec 1941 as a Stwd / L/Stwd, RCN

killed - 20 Sep 1943

while serving in

HMCS St Croix I81

Hartlen, Wolfred Gerald

Served in Skeena 03 Jun 1939 - 08 Apr 1940 as an OS, RCN

MPK - 16 Apr 1943

while serving at

HMCS Stadacona

Heard, Trevor Frederick

1921-2008

Served in Skeena 1941-1941 as a ship's writer

Henbrey, John Eldon

1923-2018

Hewitt, Arthur Robert

1909-1999

Served in Skeena in 1933 as a Tel, RCN

Hibbard, James Calcutt

1908-1996

9th Commanding Officer

Holland, Cedric Mathewson

1908-1993

Served in Skeena in 1935

Holms, William Boyd Love

____-1989

Served in Skeena in 1937 as XO

Houghton, Frank Llewellyn

1897-1981

Served in Skeena in 1931 as 1st Lt

Hutton, Jack

Served in Skeena 10 Jun 1931 - 31 Dec 1932 and 27 Nov 1937 - 20 Spr 1938 as a Sig, RCN.

Commissioning crew

killed - 20 Sep 1943

while serving in

HMCS St Croix I81

 

 

I-J

Ivancic, Milorad

____-2007

Jones, George Clarence

1895-1946

2nd Commanding Officer

 

 

 

K-L

Kelly, Fraser Jellett

1885-1942

Kingsley, Harry

1900-1976

10th Commanding Officer

Kirkpatrick, James Ralph Hilborn

____-1997

Kovac, Peter

____-2009

Lake, William Alvin

____-____

Lay, Horatio Nelson

1903-1988

Drafted to Skeena H01 10 Jun 1931 as Lt, RCN

Learmonth, Kenneth William

____-2009

Leatherbarrow, Joseph Rene

____-2008

Survived the grounding/wreck of Skeena

Lipscombe, George

1899-1979

Love, Alan Tannahill

____-1995

Love, Edward Ernest McLeod

1918-2002

Drafted to Skeena I59 26 Feb 1944 as Paym/Lt, RCNVR

 

 

 

 

M-N

MacDonald, Duncan Hector

1920-2016

Survived the grounding/wreck of Skeena

MacFarlane, George Richard

1922-2000

MacGillivray, John

1909-1988

Drafted to Skeena 24 May 1940 as Lt (E), RCN, Engineering Officer

Mackie, Gordon Alexander

1922-2014

Macklin, Franklin George

MPK - 25 Jun 1940

while serving in

HMCS Fraser H48

Mann, Clement Cecil Wallace

1911-2005

McConney, Allan Edward

1921-2002

McTaggart, David Alexander

MPK - 22 Oct 1940

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

Medford, Kenneth Alleyne

1917-2010

Mills, Leslie

1919-2011

Mitchell, William Wallace

Served in Skeena 03 Dec 1941 - 18 Sep 1942 as an AB, RCN

killed - 20 Sep 1943

while serving in

HMCS St Croix I81

Montgomery, Robert G.

1925-2017

Mossop, Hudson

____-2004

Newton, Arthur G.

____-2007

 

O-P

Paige, Leslie Arthur Coope

____-1952

Parnell, George F.

Served in Skeena 13 Oct 1936 - 07 Oct 1938 as a Sto 1c, RCN

killed - 20 Sep 1943

while serving in

HMCS St Croix I81

Parsons, Edward John

____-2006

Survived the grounding/wreck of Skeena

Pinkney, John William

1922-2010

Plomer, James

____-1986

Served in Skeena in 1939 as Lt, RCNVR

Ponder, Harold Russell

MPK - 22 Oct 1944

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

Powell, Joseph Henry

____-1950

Priske, Sydney Robert

Served in Skeena 24 Jun 1938 - 15 Jun 1939 as an OS / AB, RCN

killed - 20 Sep 1943

while serving in

HMCS St Croix I81

Pullen, Hugh, Francis

1905-1983

Served in Skeena in 1934 as Lt, RCN, Gunnery Officer

 

Q-R

Rayner, Herbert Sharples

1911-1976

8th Commanding Officer

Reid, Howard Emmerson

1897-1962

4th Commanding Officer

Reid, John Donald

1919-2012

Riley, John Derek

1922-2018

Roy, Joseph Wilton Rouer

MPK - 22 Oct 1940

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

 

S-T

Steinhoff, Leighton

1924-2007

Spencer, Brian Roff

1907-1961

Served in Skeena in 1939 as LCdr (E), RCN

Tisdall, Ernest Patrick

1906-1965

7th Commanding Officer

 

 

W-X

Watson, Horace William

Served in Skeena 21 Apr 1938 - 22 Nov 1939 as an OS / AB, RCN

killed - 20 Sep 1943

while serving in

HMCS St Croix I81

Webb, Frederick Arthur Henry

____-1992

Webb, Valentine Gordon

MPK - 22 Oct 1940

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

Wight, Allan Ernest

MPK - 22 Oct 1940

while serving in

HMCS Margaree H49

 

 

U-Boats Sunk

U-588 (Kptlt Viktor Vogel) sunk on 31 Jul 1942 by HMCS Wetaskiwin K175 and HMCS Skeena I59 in position 49-59 N, 36-36 W. No survivor from crew of 46.

 

Former Crew Members

Adams, Kenneth (Ken) Frederick, Lt, RCN - 25 Mar 1931 (Stand by) / 10 Jun 1931 (H01)

 

Baker, Archibald Howard, Gnr, RCN - 10 Jun 1931 (H01)

 

Barlow, Frank Ernest, Gnr (T), RCN - 30 Jun 1941 (I59)

 

Bault, Henry Stanley Donald, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Mar 1944

 

Benson, "Squeek", Sig - c1939

 

Bichan, William James, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Mar 1944

 

Boak, Eric Eversley Garratt, Lt, RCN - 02 Apr 1940

 

Boyd, James, Slt, RCNVR - Jan 1942

 

Browne, Arthur Dalzell, Lt, RCNVR - 14 Jun 1944

 

Cairns, Thomas Gillone, A/Lt, RCNVR - 19 Feb 1940

 

Chance, Peter Godwin, Slt, RCNVR - 08 Apr 1943

 

Charrier, Georges Joseph    The Memory Project

 

Clarke, Alfred William, Wt (E), RCN - 21 Apr 1938

 

Clarke, N. - Dec 1940

 

Corner, Alfred Rogers 

 

Davidson, Andy

 

Earnshaw, Eric Phillip, Lt, RCN - 10 May 1943

 

Fiddler, John, AB - Dec 1940

 

Freeman, Arthur George, Gnr (T) - 21 Apr 1938

 

German, Don (I59)

Godard, Earle Trevor, Lt (E), RCNVR - 13 Apr 1944

 

Groos, Harold (Harry) Victor William, Slt, RCN - 01 Jun 1935 (H01)

 

Haddon, Phillip Edwin, Lt, RCN - 21 Apr 1938

 

Haverfield, John Aimery Garnault, Slt, RCNVR - 04 Mar 1943

 

Horam, John Shaw, Lt (E), RCNR - 01 Jul 1941

 

Houghton, Frank Llewellyn, LCdr, RCN - 10 Jun 1931 (H01)

 

Howe, Alex, AB - Dec 1940

 

Hurley, Ed (I59)

 

Jackson, William McKie, Cd/Gnr (T), RN - 24 Feb 1935

 

Knowlton, John Grant, LCdr (E), RCN - 19 Jun 1935

 

Lewis, John Albert, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 01 Apr 1944

 

Mahoney, Lewis Daniel, Lt, RCNVR - 17 Apr 1942

 

Maidman, Ted (I59)

 

McKenzie, Robert Bradshaw, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 06 Apr 1942

 

Mitchell, John Arthur, Slt, RCNR - 04 Apr 1941

Murdoch, Robert (Bob) Waugh, Lt, RCN - 26 Mar 1940

 

Oake, Chesley Maxwell, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 07 May 1940

 

Padget, Robert Loren, Lt (E), RCNVR - 22 Mar 1944

 

Parsons, Ed (I59)

 

Plant, Frank Oatley, Slt, RCNVR - 25 May 1942

 

Rigg, David Edward, A/Gnr (T), RCN - 27 Jun 1942 (I59)

 

Rodwell, Frank Ernest, Wt/Mech, RCN - 08 Apr 1941

 

Roberts, John Douglas, Lt, RCNVR - 04 Feb 1943

 

Roy, Joseph Wilson Rouer, LCdr, RCN - 03 Jul 1944 (H01)

 

Rutherford, Clark Anderson (Larry), Lt, RCN - 10 Mar 1940

 

Seabrook, Archibald William, Gnr (T), RN - 28 May 1934 (H01)

 

Smith, Warren Van-Hoose, Slt (E), RCNVR - 13 May 1943

 

Stephens, George Leslie, Cdr (E), RCN - 10 Jun 1931 (H01)

 

Sunderland, Ean Victor Pearce, Slt, RCN - 21 Jul 1944

 

Turnbull, Alexander Reginald, Gnr (T), RCN - 15 May 1931 (Stand by) / 10 Jun 1931 (H01)

 

Webber, Reginald Amand, Lt, RCN - 21 Apr 1938

 

Willcox, Frank, Lt, RCNVR - 10 Mar 1941

 

Willson, William Herbert, Slt, RCN - 14 May 1940 / Lt, RCN - 01 Mar 1943

 

Photos and Documents

 

HMCS Skeena entering Willemstad Harbour, Netherlands Antilles, 1934

In the winder of 1934, HMCS Skeena, HMCS Saguenay, HMCS Champlain and HMCS Vancouver took part in Winter exercises off South America.

From the collection of James A. Senior

Courtesy of Bob Senior

HMCS Skeena D59's original band, Manzanillo, Mexico

Courtesy of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum

HMCS Skeena I59

"Spent 3 weeks on Skeena on loan from Donnacona"

(Photo from a postcard)

From the collection of Kenneth Medford

Courtesy of Gary Medford 

Admiral's barge departs HMCS Skeena circa 1937

From the collection of John James Ashworth Clarke

Courtesy of Eric Clarke

HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena sail for the Coronation Review for King George the VI - 1937

From the collection of James A. Senior, RCN

Courtesy of Bob Senior

Crossing the Line certificate from HMCS Skeena 04 Feb 1938

Courtesy of Peter Manninen

HMCS Skeena transits the Panama Canal

From the collection of John James Ashworth Clarke

Courtesy of Eric Clarke

HMCS Skeena D59 in the Barbados

From the collection of John James Ashworth Clarke

Courtesy of Eric Clarke

HMCS Skeena bites into a wave off the Azores

From the collection of John James Ashworth Clarke

Courtesy of Eric Clarke

HMCS Skeena I59

From the collection of Ivan Chamberlain

Courtesy of Dave Chamberlain

Signals department on HMCS Skeena - circa 1939

"Squeek" Benson - front right

From the collection of Thomas Carson

Courtesy of June Copley

Peter Meek and John Pinkney on HMCS Skeena during WW2

Courtesy of the Battle of the Atlantic Society Canada's Naval Memorial Trust Collection

 Lt Peter Chance with his bride on HMCS Skeena on their wedding day, Sep 1941

A convoy see from HMCS Skeena - 1943

DND photo 166889-A4

World Wide Gum, Marine Series, 1944

 

#98 HMCS Skeena

HMCS Skeena hard aground on Vidoy Island

Photo taken by a RN sailor May 1945.

Announcement of the loss of HMCS Skeena D59 From a Prince Edward Island newspaper

From the collection of John Acorn

Courtesy of Barry Acorn

Casualty list for HMCS Skeena from the Globeand Mail, 18 Nov 1944

Note:  LS Blais, Joseph Frederic Andree is missing from this list

Newspaper article on the loss of HMCS Skeena from the Globe and Mail May 17, 1945

Newspaper article on the loss of HMCS Skeena from the Hamilton Spectator, May 16, 1945

FUNERAL SERVICE FOR THOSE WHO DIED ON HMCS SKEENA

 

(The following is an excerpt from HMCS Skeena - by Lt(N) Chris Baker CD)

 

The funeral for the Skeena dead was carried out on October 28th, 1944, 3 days after loss of the ship. The men were buried with full naval honours in the war section of the Fossvogur Cemetery in Reykjavik.

 

The US Army provided wooden coffins to the Canadians, however the British Naval Authorities refused their use. Wood was a scarce commodity in Iceland and was not going to be wasted. The bodies were wrapped in the naval white ensign and carried to the graveside by members of the Skeena crew. The oldest among the dead was 30, the youngest 19. Most of the men were in their twenties.

 

Over 500 personnel, made up of men from the St Laurent, Qu'Appelle and other Canadian ships in Reykjavik, attended the service. Services were read and a firing party discharged their salute. Last post and reveille were sounded. It has been written that this was the most impressive funeral ever seen in Iceland.

 

The cross that marks the graves of HMCS Skenna's dead in Fossaberg Cemetery - Fossaberg, Iceland - December 1945

 

Crow's Nest newspaper - Aug 1945

HMCS Skeena aground on Vidoy Island. Deemed unsalvageable she was eventually sold to an Icelandic company in June 1945 and later broken up.

Cemetery where HMCS Skeena's casualties were buried. Date - 1990s (approx)

 

Memorial to HMCS Skeena D59, Vidoy Island, Iceland

Requiem for a gallant fighter 

 

From the Toronto Star by George Gamster
www.thestar.com
15 Feb 2004

Crossing the Esquator Certificate - 1938

From the collection of Hugh C. Dunbar

Courtesy of Jeanie Dubberley

John (Jack) Ewing, RCNVR, RCN

 

RCNVR - 1936-1945

RCN Executive Branch

HMCS Skeena, HMCS Columbia

 

Dad, John ("Jack") F. Ewing joined the RCNVR Gunnery Branch at HMCS York (Toronto) in 1936. He served aboard Skeena during the Canal Cruise in 1937. In 1939, he was on the initial draft out of Toronto and went aboard the old Yankee four-stacker, I-49, HMCS Columbia. He took a bad fall on an icy deck in 1942 and his back prevented any further sea duty. He ended up as the Gunnery Chief at Cornwallis. Just before the end of the war, they tried to promote him to office rank, but he refused, saying it was better to be the big fish in a small pond than a small fish in the ocean. A short time later, they promoted him anyway to Sub. Lt. and that's how he ended in 1945. He was out for a short time, then rejoined the RCN (Executive Branch) and was Staff Officer at various Reserve units (York, then Griffon in Port Arthur), before becoming the Seamanship Officer at Stad. Then it was back to York for a second tour there and finally retirement as Lieut. He did one final cruise aboard Swansea as UNTD Cadet Officer.

Courtesy of Bill Ewing

 

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