HMCS St. John's (FFH 340)

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KLB FFH340.jpg
Career (Canada)
Namesake: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Builder: Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd., Saint John
Laid down: 24 August 1994
Launched: 26 August 1995
Commissioned: 24 June 1996[1]
Homeport: CFB Halifax
Motto: Avancez (Advance)
Honours and
Arabian Sea [2]
Fate: Active in service
General characteristics
Class and type: Halifax-class frigate
Displacement: 3,995 tonnes (light)
4,795 tonnes (operational)
5,032 tonnes (deep load)
Length: 134.2 m (440 ft)
Beam: 16.5 m (54 ft)
Draught: 7.1 m (23 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × LM2500 Gas turbines
1 × SEMT Pielstick Diesel engine
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 9,500 nmi (17,600 km; 10,900 mi)
Complement: 245 (including air detachment)
Armament: 24 × Honeywell Mk 46 torpedoes
16 × Evolved Sea-Sparrow SAM
8 × RGM-84 Harpoon SSM
1 × 57 mm Bofors MkII gun
1 × 20 mm Vulcan Phalanx CIWS
6 × .50 Caliber machine guns
Aircraft carried: 1 × CH-124 Sea King

HMCS ST. JOHN'S (FFH 340) is a Halifax-class frigate that has served in the Royal Canadian Navy since her commissioning in 1996. She is the eleventh of twelve ships in her class which is based on the Canadian Patrol Frigate Project. ST. JOHN'S is named after the city of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, a port city associated with Canadian naval history and heritage, and is the first ship in the Royal Canadian Navy to bear the name.

She was laid down on 24 August 1994 at Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd., Saint John, New Brunswick, and launched on 26 August 1995. She was officially commissioned into the RCN on 26 June 1996 in St. John's, and carries the hull classification symbol 340.

She is assigned to Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) and her homeport is in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


ST. JOHN'S serves on Canadian Armed Forces' missions protecting Canada's sovereignty in the Atlantic Ocean and enforcing Canadian laws in its territorial sea and exclusive economic zone. ST. JOHN'S has been deployed on missions throughout the Atlantic Ocean, to the Indian Ocean; specifically the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea on anti-terrorism operations, to the north as far as Grise Fjord and to the Caribbean where she played a vital role in helping to stop the flow of illicit drugs to North America.

Commanding Officers[edit]

  • 10 Jul 14 - present: Commander R.J. McLay
  • 27 Jun 12 - 10 Jul 14: Commander D. Campbell
  • 21 Dec 10 - 27 Jun 12: Commander J. Clarke
  • 6 Jun 09 - 21 Dec 10: Commander R.J. Clark
  • 11 Jul 08 - 6 Jun 09: Commander B.A. Costello
  • 3 Jan 07 - 11 Jul 08: Commander B.W. Santarpia
  • 19 Jun 04 - 3 Jan 07: Commander E.P. Deslauriers
  • 17 Oct 03 - 19 Jun 04: Commander I. A. Paterson
  • 14 Jul 03 - 17 Oct 03: Commander M. A. G. Norman
  • 7 Dec 01 - 14 Jul 03: Commander B. Ryan
  • 24 Jun 00 - 7 Dec 01: Commander M. G. Langford
  • 15 Jan 99 - 24 Jun 00: Commander C.L. Mofford
  • 7 Jul 97 - 15 Jan 99: Commander R. Davidson
  • 12 Dec 95 - 7 Jul 97: Commander R.S. Edwards

Command Team Biographies[edit]

Commanding Officer: Cdr R.J. McLay[edit]

Commander Rory McLay was born in London, Ontario in May 1973.[3] The majority of his formative years were spent north of Kingston in Verona, Ontario, as well as North Bay and London. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston in 1996 with a degree in English Literature and received his commission as a Regular Force Naval Officer.

He completed training in 1997 and moved to Halifax, NS, and was posted to HMCS Halifax as a Bridge Watchkeeper. While aboard HALIFAX, he was a part of OPERATION PERSISTENCE, the recovery operation for Swissair Flight 111. Shortly after, he was attach posted to HMCS ST. JOHN'S to participate in NATO’s Standing Naval Force – Mediterranean, including UN operations off the coast of former Yugoslavia. Upon achieving his professional qualification, he trained as an Above Water Warfare Officer and subsequently served aboard HMC Ships Toronto and Iroquois.

During the summer of 2001, Commander McLay was selected as Staff Officer to the Deputy Commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic, a NATO position under the Commander of the US 2nd Fleet in Norfolk, Virginia. Commander McLay then returned to Halifax, where he completed the Operations Room Officer Course in 2004 and was subsequently posted to HMCS Vancouver in Esquimalt, BC, as the Operations Officer until 2006.

Upon completion of his sea tour, Commander McLay was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander and posted to Ottawa, ON, to work in the Directorate of Capability Planning under the Chief of Force Development. In 2007, he deployed to Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan as Chief Joint Visits Bureau under the Regional Command (South) Divisional HQ. Upon return to Ottawa, he worked in Force Development before being posted to the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM). While there, he divided his time between the J7 International Training Section and as Staff Officer to the Commander, allowing him to re-visit Afghanistan and other overseas operations.

Commander McLay returned to HMCS HALIFAX in 2011; this time to assume duties as Executive Officer (XO). During this time, he also sailed with HMCS Ville De Québec as XO on multiple occasions, rounding out his sea-time between the two ships. Upon completion of his XO tour, Commander McLay was promoted to his current rank and posted to Ottawa to work at NDHQ as part of the Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) group. As the Operational Requirements Manager for the Canadian Surface Combatant, he was tasked to ensure the next generation of ships to replace Canada’s frigates and destroyers are properly equipped to meet all future challenges. On 10 July, 2014, Commander McLay assumed command of HMCS ST. JOHN'S , a ship that was integral to his formative years as a junior officer.

Executive Officer: LCdr P.H.G. Sproule[edit]

The son of a Canadian army officer, LCdr Peter Sproule was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and grew up on bases around Canada and overseas. He enrolled in the Naval Reserves in 1992, before transferring to the Regular Force a year later in order to attend the Royal Military College of Canada.

As a junior officer he completed his naval training in Halifax on board HMC Ships Terra Nova and Fredericton before moving to the West Coast. There he sailed twice in HMCS Ottawa, first as the Underwater Warfare Officer and Deck Officer, and later as the Weapons Officer and Combat Officer. He has three operational deployments including STANAVFORLANT in 2000, Op APOLLO in 2002 and Op ALTAIR as part of the USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group in 2006/07.

He has completed numerous staff and command positions ashore, including Squadron Commander at RMC, instructor of tactics at the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School, staff officer with the current operations branch of the Strategic Joint Staff in Ottawa, and Commanding Officer of the Canadian Detachment at the US Naval Ocean Processing Facility, Whidbey Island. He is a graduate of both the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, Ontario, and the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. LCdr Sproule currently lives in Cole Harbour with his wife and two daughters.

Coxswain: CPO1 Michel Dionne[edit]

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Michel (Mike) Dionne was born in Lévis, QC in August 1969. He is the second last of 9 children and grew up in the Bas St-Laurent region of Eastern Quebec on the shore of the St-Lawrence River. After completing High School in Trois-Pistoles, QC, he joined the Programme de Techniciens de la Marine (PFTM) in 1986 and graduated in Marine Engineering from the Institut Maritime du Quebec (Rimouski) in 1989. He served on both coasts in the following ships: HMCS ANNAPOLIS, COWICHAN, FUNDY, MONTREAL, HALIFAX, VILLE DE QUEBEC and finally in CHARLOTTETOWN as the Chief Engineer from May 2005 to July 2008. This last sea tour had him deploy on OP ALTAIR Roto 3 in the Persian Gulf from November 2007 to May 2008.

Chief Petty Officer Dionne served in multiple shore positions within the Directorate of Military Careers (DMil C), Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre (CFRC) Ottawa, Naval Reserve Division HMCS DONNACONA in Montreal, Fleet maintenance Facility Cape Scott in Halifax, and Director Maritime Fleet Management (DMFM) in Ottawa where he was promoted to his current rank in July 2010. Subsequently, Chief Dionne served as Director General Maritime Engineering Program Management (DGMEPM) Unit Chief until July 2012. From DGMEPM, he was posted to the Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston for one year where he completed a Certificate of General Military Studies under the Non-Commissioned Member Professional Development Program (NEPDP) before going back to NDHQ to serve as the Royal Canadian Navy Honours and Recognition Chief under the Director General Personnel and Training (D Nav P&T) until July 2014 where he was selected for his current position as Coxswain of HMCS ST-JOHN’S.

Chief Petty Officer Dionne continued with his studies through a distance learning program after leaving RMC and graduated with a Bachelor of Military Arts and Sciences (BMASc) in May 2014.

Chief Petty Officer Dionne has many hobbies that include a love of hockey (playing and watching) and any other kind of sports. He loves the outdoors and will eagerly tackle just about any do-it-yourself projects around the house that occasionally get him in trouble. He has two daughters, Lisa who currently attends Carleton University and plans to become a teacher, and Stephanie who completed High School in 2014 and plans to become a Chef.

Recent activity[edit]

In July 2010, ST. JOHN'S took part in the International Fleet Review at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Queen Elizabeth II inspected a Guard of Honour on board to mark the centennial of the Royal Canadian Navy, and as part of Canada Day celebrations.[4]

In August 2011, ST. JOHN'S participated in the multinational six-week arctic sovereignty Operation Nanook. During the operation, ST. JOHN'S visited several northern communities and participated in search-and-rescue and disaster response exercises in company with HMCS SUMMERSIDE and HMCS MONCTON as well as American and Danish ships.[5][6]

ST. JOHN'S deployed on Operation Caribbe from 3 October to 14 November 2011, Canada’s contribution to an ongoing U.S.-led, multinational effort to interdict drug trafficking in the international waters of the Caribbean Basin and eastern Pacific Ocean. During her deployment, she helped recover a drug cargo from a scuttled self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessel. The recovery effort included the deployment of the FBI laboratory’s technical dive team, which conducted dive operations on the scuttled SPSS from United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Cypress. More than 6,700 kg (14,800 lb) of cocaine was recovered from the vessel. The drugs, destined for distribution in North America, had an estimated street value of US$180 million.[7] During this deployment, the Joint Interagency Task Force South based out of Key West, Florida, coordinated the joint efforts in allowing the US Coast Guard to make 38 arrests, and seized a total of 10,902 kg (24,035 lb) of cocaine and 1,144 kg (2,522 lb) of marijuana, equating to more than US$223 million.[8]

In 2012 ST. JOHN'S again participated in Op Nanook as well as another Op Caribbe.

In the summer of 2013 the crew of ST. JOHN'S conducted a replacement in place of the crew of HMCS Toronto in Kuwait City, Kuwait. TORONTO was in the middle of a deployment on Operation ARTEMIS in support of CTF 150. ST. JOHN'S began her mid-life refit in June 2013.

Deployment history[edit]

Community involvement[edit]

ST. JOHN'S has a history of supporting local charities in Halifax as well as charities in Newfoundland and Labrador. The ship's company created the “Run the Rock”, a fundraising run across Newfoundland by a team of sailors. Since its inception in 1996, members of the ship’s company have raised C$600,000 for the Children’s Wish Foundation of Newfoundland through this event. In the Run the Rock 2014 fundraiser, crew members raised over 81 thousand dollars, the most successful year in the event's history.[9]


St. John's in the News[edit]


  1. ^ National Defence and the Canadian Forces (2012) Official Lineages, Volume 2: Ships. Retrieved from
  2. ^ "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Prime Minister of Canada. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  3. ^ "Executive Officer (XO) LCdr Rory McLay". Royal Canadian Navy. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. 
  4. ^ "The Queen tours Canada and celebrates the centenary of the Canadian Navy". The Daily Telegraph. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ships to leave St. John’s on arctic sovereignty mission Friday". The Telegram. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Yates, Julian (19 September 2011). "Operation NANOOK 2011: interoperability among Arctic nations" (PDF). Trident (Maritime Forces Atlantic). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Crews congratulated for role in multinational drug bust". Toronto Sun. 14 January 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "HMCS ST. JOHN'S Supports Counter-narcotic Operation". Canada News Centre. 14 January 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "HMCS STJOHNS - About the Ship". Royal Canadian Navy. Archived from the original on 2012-08-05. Retrieved 16 October 2012.