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Name: Reo II
Owner: Royal Canadian Navy
Launched: 1931
Acquired: 30 July 1940
Commissioned: 23 January 1941
Decommissioned: 19 October 1945
Identification: A33
Fate: sold 1946, scuttled 24 February 1985
General characteristics
Class and type: Auxiliary minesweeper
Displacement: 129 tonnes
Length: 96.1 ft (29.3 m)
Beam: 17.5 ft (5.3 m)
Draught: 7.5 ft (2.3 m)
Speed: 9 kn (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Complement: 4/32

HMCS Reo II (A33) was a former rum-running vessel turned military vessel from Meteghan, Nova Scotia. Built in 1931, the ship was used for rum running for five years until Prohibition ended, and was turned into a coastal freighter.[1] She was commissioned during World War II by the Royal Canadian Navy as an auxiliary minesweeper.[2] Declared surplus in 1945, she was sold off in 1946. Reo II ended up in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia under the care of the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society. In 1984 Reo II was deemed unfit for repair, and was scuttled off Halifax in 1985.


CG-100, a typical patrol boat used during prohibition

Reo II was designed specifically with rum running in mind. The ship was built with a low silhouette and was painted grey in order to avoid detection from the US and Canadian Coast Guard.[1] The ship was 96.1 ft (29.3 m) long, and could hold 129 tonnes of cargo.[2]

Rum running[edit]

During Prohibition, Reo II was used for five years as a supply vessel for illegal liquor and spirits. Under direction of its captain, Aubrey Blackburn, the ship made countless trips along the North Atlantic Coast. The usual trip saw Reo II leave Nova Scotia for St. Pierre, where she would load up on goods. She then travelled down the United States to various drop off points, and returned to Nova Scotia.[1] Reo II often visited other ports in Nova Scotia, such as Halifax and Lunenburg.[3] After Prohibition ended, Reo II was used as a coastal freighter.[1]

Cargo List for Reo II’s Second-last trip during prohibition[1]

700 cases Dougherty pints

  • 280 cases Lincoln Inn pints
  • 250 cases Golden Wedding
  • 100 cases Lincoln quarts
  • 50 cases Ambassador quarts
  • 40 cases Robbie Burns reputed quarts
  • 25 cases Noilly pints
  • 150 cases Four Aces pints
  • 100 cases Weston Imperial quarts
  • 75 cases Weston reputed quarts
  • 200 cases Pikeville pints
  • 225 cases Old Crow pints
  • 675 cases Guggenheim pints
  • 100 cases Jessie Moore pints
  • 50 cases Deluxe Bourbon pints
  • 10 cases Deluxe Bourbon quarts
  • 100 cases Stewart Rye pints
  • 15 cases Blue Grass pints
  • 15 cases Glenmore pints
  • 25 cases Early Times quarts


Reo II was chartered by the Royal Canadian Navy on 30 July 1940, but was not commissioned until 23 January 1941.[4] Identified under the pennant number A33, [5] she served the Navy mainly as an auxiliary minesweeper in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, but also as an examination vessel and coil skid towing vessel.[1] She ended her Naval duties on 19 October 1945, when she was declared surplus and was then sold in 1946.[4]

Post war[edit]

In 1970, Reo II was purchased by the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society, who placed her on display at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. She remained there until 1984, when marine architects determined that the boat was not fit for repair. Reo II was taken from her mooring at the museum on 24 February 1985, and was towed out to sea roughly 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Halifax where the ship was scuttled at an explosive dumping ground.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lawlor, Allison (2009). Rum-Running. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing. pp. 42–45. 
  2. ^ a b Macpherson and Burgess 1981, p. 220.
  3. ^ Hennigar, Ted R (1991). The-Rum-Running-Years. Hantsport: Lancelot Press. p. 130. 
  4. ^ a b Macpherson and Burgess 1981, p. 150.
  5. ^ Macpherson and Burgess 1981, p. 122.