Brief History of HMCS Skeena 1931-1944
Namesake of RCSCC Skeena, Port Hope ON, founded 1941
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
HMCS Skeena commissioned at Portsmouth England on 10 Jun 1931, she arrived at Halifax with HMCS Saguenay on 03 Jul 1931 and proceeded to Esquimalt BC 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. HMCS 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, England 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 HMCS 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, HMCS 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 Viðey Island Iceland 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 Viðey Island ferry terminal and dedicated to the crew in 2006.
Commanding Officers - HMCS Skeena 1931-1944
Cdr Victor Gabriel Brodeur, RCN - 10 Jun 1931 - 24 May 1932
Cdr George Clarence Jones, RCN - 25 May 1932 - 14 May 1934
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
Cdr Harry Kingsley, RCN - 11 Dec 1941 - 19 May 1942
A/LCdr Kenneth Lloyd Dyer, DSC, RCN - 20 May 1942 - 04 Jan 1943
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
Lest we Forget
They died, not in battle but in the tempest shock,
In the midnight in the snow.
As heroically as men in armed conflict die, at sea or in the air
Or on some distant shore.
Hail to the brave! The brave that are no more.
( Issac Unger, brother of Ab Unger, Author of "Skeena Aground" )