Her Majesty's Canadian Ship

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The designation Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) (in French Navire canadien de Sa Majesté [NCSM]),[1][2] is applied as a prefix to surface ships in the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Joint Operations Command. The similar designation of Her Majesty's Canadian Submarine is applied to submarine vessels.[3]


In the reign of a king, the designation changes to His Majesty's Canadian Ship; the French version of the title remains unchanged in this instance. The title is derived from Her Majesty's Ship (HMS), used in the United Kingdom. The person who is monarch of Canada is also equally and separately the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Various Commonwealth realms use derivative variations to designate their warships, such as Her Majesty's Australian Ship (HMAS) and Her Majesty's New Zealand Ship (HMNZS).


After the formation of Naval Service of Canada in 1910, warships were given the prefix HMCS with the "C" representing Canadian as a way to differentiate Canadian from British warships. It was initially the only concession the British Admiralty made following the formation of the Canadian naval service.[4] HMCS Rainbow was the first ship with the HMCS designation after being transferred from the British Royal Navy to Canada, commissioned on 4 August 1910.[5] HMCS Haida became the first Canadian ship commissioned under a Queen during March 1952.[6]

Many RCN shore facilities also bear the designation, such as HMCS Trinity, HMCS Chippawa, HMCS Discovery, HMCS Stone Frigate, and all Royal Canadian Sea Cadets summer training centres, such as HMCS Quadra. Shore maintenance and mooring facilities bear the name Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard (HMC Dockyard) (in French L’arsenal canadien de Sa Majesté (Arsenal CSM)).[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Royal Canadian Navy - Links". Royal Canadian Navy. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  2. ^ "National Defence Act" (in French). Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada. 1985. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  3. ^ "HMCS Victoria Conducts Diving Operations off the Coast of Vancouver Island". Archived from the original on 2013-05-24.
  4. ^ Milner, p. 22
  5. ^ Johnston et al., p. 234
  6. ^ "HMCS Haida". hmcshaida.ca. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Royal Canadian Navy - Infrastructure and Environment". Minister of National Defence. 13 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Royal Canadian Navy - CFB Halifax". Minister of National Defence. 16 January 2006. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2012.


  • Johnston, William; Rawling, William G.P.; Gimblett, Richard H.; MacFarlane, John (2010). The Seabound Coast: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867–1939. 1. Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 978-1-55488-908-2.
  • Milner, Marc (2010). Canada's Navy: The First Century (Second ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-9604-3.