HMCS Iroquois (G89)

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HMCS Iroquois
Iroquois underway
Name: Iroquois
Namesake: Iroquois people
Ordered: 5 April 1940
Builder: Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle-on-Tyne
Laid down: 19 September 1940
Launched: 23 September 1941
Commissioned: 30 November 1942
Decommissioned: 22 February 1946
Identification: G89
Recommissioned: October 1951
Decommissioned: 24 October 1962
Identification: DDE 217
Honours and
  • Atlantic 1943
  • Arctic 1943–45
  • Biscay 1943–44
  • Norway 1945
  • Korea 1952–53[1]
Fate: Scrapped 1966
General characteristics
Class and type: Tribal-class destroyer
  • 1,959 long tons (1,990 t) tons standard
  • 2,519 long tons (2,559 t) deep load
Length: 377 ft (115 m)
Beam: 37.5 ft (11.4 m)
Draught: 11.2 ft (3.4 m)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 3 Admiralty 3-drum type boilers, 2 Parsons geared steam turbines, 44,000 shp (33,000 kW)
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h)
Complement: 259 (14 officers, 245 ratings)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 type 268 radar
  • 1 type 271 radar
  • 1 type 291 radar
  • 1 × Mk.III fire control director with Type 285 fire control radar
  • 1 type 144 sonar
  • 1 type 144Q sonar
  • 1 type 147F sonar

HMCS Iroquois was a Tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and Korean War. She was named for the Iroquois First Nations. Iroquois was the first ship to bear this name and the first ship of the class to serve with the Royal Canadian Navy.[2]

Design and description[edit]

The Tribals were designed to fight heavily armed destroyers of other navies, such as the Japanese Fubuki class .[3] Canada chose the design based on its armament, with the size and power of the Tribal class allowing them to act more like small cruisers than as fleet destroyers.[4] Iroquois was among the first batch of Tribal-class destroyers ordered by the RCN in 1940–1941. They were ordered with modified ventilation and heating systems for North Atlantic winter service. Design modifications were made after deficiencies were noted in Iroquois, the lead ship of the Canadian Tribals.

Iroquois, as one of the British-built Tribal-class destroyers, was 335 feet 6 inches (102.26 m) long between perpendiculars and 377 feet (115 m) long overall with a beam of 36 feet 6 inches (11.13 m) and a draught of 13 feet (4.0 m). As built, the destroyer displaced 1,927 long tons (1,958 t) standard and 2,745 long tons (2,789 t) at deep load.[3][5] Iroquois had a complement of 14 officers and 245 ratings.[5]

The destroyer was propelled by two shafts driven by two Parsons geared turbines powered by steam created by three Admiralty-type three drum boilers. This created 44,000 shaft horsepower (33,000 kW) and gave the ship a maximum speed of 36.5 knots (67.6 km/h; 42.0 mph). The destroyers could carry 505–516 long tons (513–524 t) of fuel oil.[3]

As built, Iroquois was fitted with six quick firing 4.7-inch (119 mm) Mk XII guns placed in three twin turrets, designated 'A', 'B' and 'Y' from bow to stern.[note 1] The turrets were placed on 40° mountings with open-backed shields.[3] The ship also had one twin turret of QF 4-inch (102 mm) Mk XVI guns in the 'X' position.[3][5] For secondary anti-aircraft armament, the destroyer was equipped with four single-mounted 2-pounder "pom-pom" guns. The vessel was also fitted with four 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes for Mk IX torpedoes.[3]

Service history[edit]

Iroquois was ordered on 5 April 1940 as part of the 1940 shipbuilding programme.[6] The destroyer was laid down on 19 September 1940 by Vickers-Armstrong at Newcastle on Tyne in the United Kingdom and launched 23 September the following year.[2] Iroquois was originally laid down as Athabaskan. However, due to bomb damage, she and her sister had their names switched in order to ensure Iroquois commissioned first.[7] She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Newcastle on Tyne on 30 November 1942. The destroyer was not completed until 30 January 1943.[2]

Following her completion, Iroquois began sea trials, suffering storm damage near the Faroes, which included a bent keel and required repairs. Further trials continued in the North Sea until May 1943 when she departed for Plymouth.[8] From there the destroyer was used as a convoy escort on Gibraltar convoys. On 11 July, three Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors from Kampfgeschwader 40 attacked a troop transport convoy west of Oporto in the Bay of Biscay. Iroquois was attacked by the aircraft, missing the destroyer with bombs 200 yards (180 m) astern.[9] The German aircraft hit SS California and SS Duchess of York which were abandoned.[10] Iroquois rescued 628 survivors from Duchess of York.[2] On 19 July an event termed "incident" in official reports took place where according to the inquiry afterwards, a large section of the ship's company refused to perform their duties.[11][12] Iroquois was among the destroyers deployed to cover escort forces attacking U-boats in the Bay of Biscay from 12 June to 2 August 1943.[13]

Northern operations[edit]

Following her return to the UK, Iroquois was assigned to escort convoys heading to the Soviet Union over the following months. From 1–11 October, Iroquois and the destroyers Huron and Onslaught transported supplies to Murmansk for the escorts that remained there in the summer.[14] Beginning in November, Iroquois provided support to Russian convoys, beginning with convoy JW 54A from Loch Ewe on 18–24 November and convoy RA 54B from Molotvsk on 28 November.[15] In late December, Iroquois escorted the convoy JW 55B. It came under air attack on 23 December, but was unscathed.[16] The convoy sailed as a lure for the German battleship Scharnhorst, which was sunk by British forces on 26 December.[17] On 31 December, the warship was among the escort for RA 55B which departed Kola Inlet on 31 December and reached Loch Ewe on 8 January without loss.[16]

English Channel and the end of the war[edit]

In February 1944, she sailed to Halifax to undergo a refit that would keep her out of action until early June.[2][18] She returned to the UK and was assigned to the 10th Destroyer Flotilla in preparation for the Invasion of Normandy. After D-day, she carried out patrols of the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay.[2] During this period, Iroquois took part in many operations, including Kinetic, the objective of which was to eliminate the German navy all along the French Atlantic ports, taking part in three actions, including the Battle of Audierne Bay in August 1944.

On 5 August 1944, a force comprising the cruiser Bellona and the destroyers Tartar, Ashanti, Haida and Iroquois engaged and sank the German minesweepers M 263 and M 486 and the patrol boat V 414, coastal launch Otto from a German convoy north of Île d'Yeu.[19] Iroquois was responsible for the sinking of two of the vessels.[20] On 14 August, Iroquois joined the destroyer Ursa and cruiser Mauritius to attack a German force of Les Sables d'Olonne and sank Sperrbrecher 157; they also badly damaged M 275 and ran M 385 aground. On 22–23 August Mauritius, Ursa and Iroquois sank V 702, V 717, V 720, V 729 and V 730 of Audierne.[19] The destroyer continued patrolling the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel until October 1944, when she transferred to Scapa Flow.[21]

Iroquois rejoined the Home Fleet in March 1945 at Scapa Flow.[2] The ship was part of the screening force for aircraft carriers on 19 March and again on 24 March, which were performing air strikes along coastal Norway.[22] She then escorted one more convoy to the Soviet Union.[2] On 16 April, Iroquois departed as part of the escort of JW 66.[23] From 29 April-2 May, Iroquois participated in the last convoy battle of the war as part of the escort for convoy RA 66. Iroquois and Haida were just missed by torpedoes in an attack by U-427. They in turn pursued the submarine in which by the end of the engagement, 678 depth charge explosions were counted without sinking the submarine.[24] Iroquois remained in British waters until the German surrender.[25]

Following the capitulation, Iroquois was part of Crown Prince Olav's return to Norway after its liberation. She then sailed on to Copenhagen where she was an escort to the German cruisers Prinz Eugen and Nürnberg until their formal surrender.[2][26] The destroyer returned to Canada and began a tropicalization refit that was halted upon the surrender of Japan. Iroquois was then paid off on 22 February 1946.[2]

Cold War service[edit]

Beginning in 1947, Iroquois underwent conversion to a destroyer escort, the first of her class to undergo the alterations. The changes involved her 4.7-inch main armament which were replaced with 4-inch guns in the 'A' and 'B' turret positions; in the 'X', a twin 3-inch (76 mm)/50 calibre gun mount was installed and in the 'Y' site, two Squid anti-submarine mortars were located.[note 2] Other alterations included an aluminum lattice with new radar.[27][28] Iroquois was equipped with Type 275, SPS-10, SPS-6, Type 293 and 262 radars and Type 140 and 174 sonars.[28] She emerged from her refit on 24 June 1949 and was recommissioned as a training ship.[2]

Iroquois served off Korea during the Korean War, commanded by William Landymore.[29] She served three tours, the first from 12 June until 26 November 1952. It was during this time that on 2 October 1952, the ship was hit by enemy shore batteries, killing 3 and wounding 10. These were the only Royal Canadian Navy casualties in the war.[30] Her second tour lasted from 18 June 1953 until 1 January 1954 and the third took place later that year, from 22 August to 26 December 1954.

She returned to her training role and remained as such until 1962. Iroquois was paid off at Halifax on 24 October 1962 and laid up at Sydney. In 1966 the vessel was taken to Bilbao, Spain and broken up in September.[2][31]

Ship's badge[edit]

The ship's badge is described as a blazon or, the head of an Iroquois brave, couped at the base of the neck, properly coloured and wearing two eagle feathers in his hair and a gold ring pendant from the ear.[1] During the Second World War and up to 1948 when official badges were created for the Royal Canadian Navy, Iroquois had an unofficial crest. This crest consisted of an Iroquois brave, red, drawing a bow on a black background. Below the warrior was the ship's motto "Ongwanonsionni" which translates as "Relentless in pursuit". Above the warrior was a ship's crown.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark XII = Mark 12. Britain used Roman numerals to denote Marks (models) of ordnance until after World War II.
  2. ^ The 50 calibre denotes the length of the gun. This means that the length of the gun barrel is 50 times the bore diameter.


  1. ^ a b "Volume 2, Part 1: Extant Commissioned Ships". Department of National Defence. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Macpherson and Barrie, p. 62
  3. ^ a b c d e f Chesneau, p. 40
  4. ^ Tucker, p. 26
  5. ^ a b c Macpherson and Barrie, p. 59
  6. ^ "HMCS Iroquois (G89)". Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Boutiller, p. 107
  8. ^ Schull, pp. 188–190
  9. ^ Schull, p. 191
  10. ^ Rohwer, p. 262
  11. ^ Boutiller, p. 236
  12. ^ Schull, p. 192
  13. ^ Rohwer, p. 257
  14. ^ Rohwer, p. 279
  15. ^ Rohwer, p. 286
  16. ^ a b Rohwer, pp. 292–93
  17. ^ Schull, p. 198
  18. ^ Schull, p. 250
  19. ^ a b Rohwer, p. 347
  20. ^ Schull, p. 349
  21. ^ Schull, p. 359
  22. ^ Schull, p. 401
  23. ^ Rohwer, p. 410
  24. ^ Rohwer, p. 412
  25. ^ Schull, p. 405
  26. ^ Rohwer, p. 416
  27. ^ Boutiller, p. 322
  28. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley, p. 41
  29. ^ Milner, p. 1173
  30. ^ "Land of the Morning Calm: Canadians in Korea 1950–1953". Historical Calendar – 1952. Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  31. ^ Colledge, p. 320


  • 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 0-905617-95-0. 
  • Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922—1946. Greenwich, UK: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7. 
  • Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) [1969]. Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  • Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen; Budzbon, Przemysław, eds. (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947—1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7. 
  • Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910—2002 (Third ed.). St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing. ISBN 1-55125-072-1. 
  • Milner, Marc (1988). "Landymore, William Moss". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Edmonton, Alberta: Hurtig Publishers. 2. 
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939—1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Revised & Expanded ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2. 
  • Schull, Joseph (1961). The Far Distant Ships: An Official Account of Canadian Naval Operations in the Second World War. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. 
  • Tucker, Gilbert Norman (1952). The Naval Service of Canada, Its Official History – Volume 2: Activities on Shore During the Second World War. Ottawa: King's Printer. 

External links[edit]