Unit History: HMCS Haida
HMCS Haida (G63) is a Tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1943-1963. Complement: 250
She was launched on 25 August 1942 and commissioned into RCN service on 30 August 1943.
Haida worked with the Royal Navy in Arctic Russia that fall, providing convoy escort for relief of the Spitsbergen garrison into Kola and Murmansk.
On 10 January 1944, she was reassigned to the 10th Destroyer Flotilla at Plymouth and took part in the Operation Tunnel sweeps in the Bay of Biscay. Haida was damaged by the German Elbing-class torpedo boat T-29 on the night of 25-26 April but pressed the attack and sank the T-29 in what was Haida’s first victory.
Haida took part in Operation Hostile sweeps on 28-29 April in company of HMCS Athabaskan (G07). Athabaskan was torpedoed by another Elbing, the T-24, with the loss of 128 crew while 83 became prisoners of war and Haida recovered 44 survivors. Haida is credited with attacking yet another Elbing that night when she forced the T-27 aground and set it afire with shelling; it was later sunk by rockets fired from Beaufighters the following day.
Haida continued the Operation Hostile sorties in company of sistership HMCS Huron (G24) during the months leading up to Operation Overlord. On the 8-9 June, Haida was part of Task Force 26 which is credited with sinking the destroyers ZH1 and Z32. On 24 June, Haida is credited with helping HMS Eskimo and aircraft in sinking U-971. On 15 July, Haida and two other vessels with the 10th Destroyer Flotilla intercepted a group of German ships at Lorient. The battle saw two trawlers UJ1420 and UJ1421 destroyed, one merchant ship sunk and two others left afire.
On 5-6 August, Haidas now-famous luck continued while engaged in an Operationa Kenetic sweep. A shell exploded in one of the turrets and started a fire, killing two and injuring eight but not seriously damaging the ship.
Haida departed Western Europe on 22 September for Halifax, Nova Scotia, arriving to a tumultuous welcome on 29 September. She returned to Scapa Flow in mid-January 1945 after refitting to receive new radar sensors. She was declared operational again on 19 March and escorted aircraft carriers in minelaying operations off Granesund, Norway and assisted in attacks on shipping in Trondheim from 24-28 March. On 7 April, Haida escorted seven anti-submarine warfare vessels from Greenock, Scotland destined for Soviet use at Vaenga.
Haida experienced one of the last RCN engagements of World War II when she escorted convoy JW66 in its return to the United Kingdom from Vaenga. The convoy was attacked and Haida and Huron received near-misses from torpedoes fired by U-boats. In the skirmish, two U-boats were sunk, along with the frigate HMS Goodall, and the convoy escaped in a snowstorm. Haida and Huron returned to Scapa Flow on 6 May and was assigned to relief operations at Trondheimfiord, Norway on 17 May.
Haida was in mothballs for approximately 1 year but was prepared for reactivation in 1947 and underwent a refit for updated armament and sensors. While in refit, fire gutted the wheelhouse and boiler tubes burst later during speed trials. She returned to the fleet, still carrying the famous pennant G63, in May 1947.
Haida and her sister ship HMCS Nootka (R96) participated in exercises between the RCN’s Atlantic Fleet and the United States Navy and Royal Navy over the next several years. Haida was involved in assisting during the grounding of HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21) off Port Mouton on 4 June 1949. That December, Haida was downgraded to a Depot and Accommodation Ship in Halifax.
The launch of the Korean War on 25 June 1950 saw Haida once again activated for war duty. She was converted to a destroyer escort and began refit in July 1950 which saw various new armaments and sensors and communications systems. She was recommissioned on 15 March 1952 and carried the pennant DDE 215. She departed Halifax on 27 September for Sasebo, Japan, arriving ther