Virtual Tour: HMCS Haida National Historic Site

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Haida, the last of 27 Tribal class destroyers in the world, was commissioned in 1943 by the Royal Canadian Navy for the Second World War.

HMCS Haida National Historic Site (2015) by Scott MunnParks Canada

A twenty year career

The ship’s career spanned twenty years, including World War II, the Cold War, and the Korean War. 

Originally commissioned with the pennant number G63, the ship was converted after the Second World War to a destroyer-escort, (DDE) and now bears the new pennant number 215.

From 1943 to 1945, during the Second World War

HMCS Haida sunk or damaged more surface enemy tonnage than any other Canadian ship to this day. The ship earned battle honours for its service in the Arctic, the English Channel, the invasion of Normandy, and the Bay of Biscay.

From 1952 to 1954

HMCS Haida patrolled Korean waters during the Korean War and afterwards. Awarded a fifth battle honour, HMCS Haida joined the Trainbusters Club, an exclusive club of UN ships. 

How many gauges can you find in the Engine Room?

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The Trainbusters Club

To join, a ship had to shoot down the locomotive and supply of an enemy train; HMCS Haida destroyed 2.5 trains. Following the Korean War, the ship joined the RCN’s anti-submarine fleet, where it remained until retirement.

Can you spot the muffins being prepared in the galley?

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HMCS Haida original commissioning crew (1944-05-22) by UnknownParks Canada

The crew

Life onboard the ship was characterized by isolation and camaraderie.

The ship could be at sea for days, weeks, or months at a time. A sailor might wait weeks for a letter or months for leave to visit home. 

How many crew members worked in Radio Room 1?

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Sailor aboard HMCS Haida in World War II, Frank Dobson, 1944, From the collection of: Parks Canada
Cleaning the Ship, Unknown, 1943/1945, From the collection of: Parks Canada
Loading Torpedoes on HMCS Haida, Unknown, 1944, From the collection of: Parks Canada
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   The crew numbered between 225 to 245 men: the captain, 14 other officers, sailors, stokers, mechanics, sparkers (radio operators), signallers, coders, cooks, stewards, and other specialists. The ship operated 24 hours a day – sailors had to feed the boilers, receive communications, polish brass, cook meals, practice drills, and complete countless other tasks to keep the ship and crew in top form. 

HMCS Haida National Historic Site in Hamilton (2015) by Scott MunnParks Canada

HMCS Haida was decommissioned in 1963. The ship was saved from the scrap yard by HAIDA Inc. - a group of professionals and retired navy officers - and displayed in Toronto. In 2003, the ship was acquired by Parks Canada and moved to its current home in Hamilton, Ontario.

The crew gave up much by serving aboard HMCS Haida. Crew members sacrificed the comforts of home, did not see friends and family for long periods of time, and risked their lives in combat.

What would drive you to make similar sacrifices?

HMCS Haida National Historic Site of Canada

Credits: Story

HMCS Haida National Historic Site on the Parks Canada website

Credits: All media
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