HMCS Athabaskan (G07)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMCS Athabaskan.
Hmcs athabaskan g07.jpg
HMCS Athabaskan, date unknown.
Career (Canada)
Name: Athabaskan
Namesake: The First Nations peoples who share the Athabaskan language
Ordered: 5 April 1940
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong, High Walker Yard, Newcastle-on-Tyne; England
Laid down: 31 October 1940
Launched: 15 November 1941
Commissioned: 3 February 1943
Out of service: 29 April 1944
Identification: Pennant number: G07
Motto: "We fight as one"
Honours and
awards:
Arctic 1943-44, English Channel 1944[1]
Fate: Torpedoed in the English Channel, 29 April 1944
Badge: On a field argent, a North American Indian mounted bareback upon an Indian pony, holding a red bow and arrow in the "ready" position
General characteristics
Class & type: Tribal-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,850 long tons (1,880 t) (standard)
2,520 long tons (2,560 t) (full)
Length: 377 ft (115 m) length overall
Beam: 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Installed power: 44,000 shp (33,000 kW)
Propulsion: 2 × Parsons steam turbines
3 × Admiralty 3-drum boilers
2 × shafts
Speed: 36 kn (67 km/h; 41 mph)
Range: 5,700 nmi (10,600 km; 6,600 mi) at 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Capacity: 524 short tons (475 t) fuel oil
Complement: 190 (219 as leader)
Armament: 6 - 4.7 in LA -QF guns (3×2), 2 - 4 in HA guns (1×2), 4 - 2-pounder AA guns (1×4), 12 - 20mm AA guns (6×2), 4 × 21-inch torpedo tubes (1×4), 1 - depth charge rack, 2 - depth charge throwers.

HMCS Athabaskan was the first of three destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy to bear this name. It was a destroyer of the Tribal class, that served in the Second World War. She was named for the First Nations peoples who make up the Athabaskan language group. She was torpedoed in the English Channel and sunk in 1944.

Athabaskan was ordered 5 April 1940 as part of the 1940-1941 building programme.[2] She was laid down in the United Kingdom on 31 October 1940 by Vickers Armstrong of Newcastle upon Tyne and constructed in consort with Parsons engine works. She was launched on 18 November 1941 and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 3 February 1943.[2]

The motor cutter of HMCS Haida, which was used to rescue survivors of the sinking of Athabaskan

Service history[edit]

Athabaskan was heavily damaged by a Henschel Hs 293 glider bomb during an anti-submarine chase off Cape Ortegal, in the Bay of Biscay, on 27 August 1943. HMS Egret was sunk in the same incident.[2] Athabaskan was lost in the English Channel the night of 29 April 1944. She was torpedoed by the German torpedo boat T-24. Her commanding officerLieutenant Commander John Stubbs — was killed in action after declining rescue by Haida to swim back for more crew members. 128 crew lost their lives in the sinking; in 2004, the Canadian Navy provided a brass plaque to be laid on the wreck to commemorate the loss. The expedition found more information about the sinking but did not clarify the actual cause. The wreck is in a shattered condition spread over the sea bed.

There does exist some speculation that Athabaskan was in fact lost to a friendly fire incident after being accidentally torpedoed by a British motor torpedo boat, or that she suffered some sort of catastrophic internal explosion in number one boiler room. However, due to the poor condition of the wreck after some 60 or so years of lying in strong currents, as well as the poor record-keeping and incomplete logs of other ships in the area at the time of her sinking, neither of these theories have yet been confirmed.[citation needed]

Athabaskan Island, near Bella Bella on the Central Coast of British Columbia, was named in memory of Athabaskan.[3]

École John Stubbs Memorial School near Victoria, British Columbia is named for Lieutenant Commander John Stubbs.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Official Linneages: Volume 2, Part 1: Extant Commissioned Ships". Department of National Defence. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "HMCS Athabaskan (i) (G07)". uboat.net. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Athabaskan Island". BC Geographical Names. http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/bcgnws/names/27864.html.

References[edit]

  • Brice, Martin H. (1971). The Tribals. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0245-2. 
  • English, John (2001). Afridi to Nizam: British Fleet Destroyers 1937–43. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-95-9. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°43′N 4°32′W / 48.717°N 4.533°W / 48.717; -4.533