HMCS Caribou (S12)

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Name: Caribou
Operator: Royal Canadian Navy
Builder: Defoe Shipbuilding Company, Bay City, Michigan
Launched: 1928
Commissioned: 27 May 1940
Decommissioned: 20 July 1945
Identification: pennant number: S12/Z25
Notes: Formerly Elfreda, sold for commercial use 1946
General characteristics
Class and type: Armed yacht
Displacement: 306 tons
Length: 142 ft (43 m)
Beam: 23 ft (7.0 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h)
Complement: 40
Armament: 1 x 12-pounder

HMCS Caribou was an armed yacht that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Originally named Elfreda while in private use as a personal yacht, after her commissioning and renaming, she was used as a patrol and training vessel on the east coast. Following the war the ship was sold for commercial use.

Service history[edit]

Elfreda was built by Defoe Shipbuilding Co. at Bay City, Michigan and launched in 1928. After failing to acquire any British vessels at the outset of the Second World War for auxiliary purposes, the Royal Canadian Navy discreetly searched the American market for suitable ships. However, American law prevented the sale of ships for possible use in the war to any of the belligerents. The Canadian Navy, requisitioned unsuitable Canadian yachts and had their respective owners go the United States and buy those ships the Navy wanted as replacements. Once the ships arrived in Canada, the navy then returned the original yachts and requisitioned the new ones.[1] Elfreda was one such ship and was acquired by the Royal Canadian Navy in 1940.

Renamed Caribou and commissioned at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 27 May 1940 with the pennant number S12, later Z25, the ship sailed to Quebec City for conversion to an armed yacht. There one 12-pounder naval gun was installed forward. Upon her return to Halifax following the conversion, the vessel was employed as a guard ship at the entrance to Bedford Basin.[2]

In August 1941, Caribou underwent a refit. After returning to service in November, she was used as a patrol vessel. On 19 November 1941 the ship had a serious galley fire that sent her back to harbour until February 1942. In March 1942 the ship was re-assigned to the patrol force operating out of Saint John, New Brunswick. She remained with the force until 31 July 1942 when the vessel returned to Halifax for inspection and was found unfit.[2]

Caribou was then assigned to harbour duty as a training ship as part of HMCS Cornwallis. She remained in this capacity until September 1943 when she moved first to Saint John as a training ship. The ship finished the war as a training ship at Digby, Nova Scotia. She was paid off on 20 July 1945 and sold for commercial use in 1946.[2]


  1. ^ Macpherson & Barrie, p.204
  2. ^ a b c Macpherson & Barrie, p.205