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HMCS Haida National Historic Site of Canada

Haida at War

Just what did Haida do?

Everything she was ever asked to do.

Haida was a fighting ship, and it didn't matter what came at her: destroyers, armed trawlers, submarines, even trains. Haida and her crews distinguished themselves in every theatre of war and peace in which they played a part. The goal was always the same – to defend or exemplify Canada. And Haida was a happy ship, a lucky ship. In twenty years of service, she only lost two men.

Haida was commissioned into the RCN on August 30th, 1943. She began her career escorting supply convoys to Murmansk, in Russia, above the Arctic Circle. Convoys were run in winter, when there is almost constant darkness, to make it more difficult for the German Lufftwaffe to spot them and direct submarine wolfpacks to attack. Haida and her men earned their first battle honour for this Arctic service, during which the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst was sunk.

In January 1944, Haida and her sister Tribals, Athabaskan and Huron, were transferred to Plymouth, for manoeuvres in the waters of the English Channel. Preparations for D-Day were in full swing, and the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, which they joined, was busy clearing enemy ships from the Channel. The next few months were perhaps Haida 's finest, although they were marked by tragedy, too.

Firing guns
Firing guns
© Photo courtesy of Parks Canada

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