For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar


Percy Cyril Frost (Dan) Danby, C.D.


Lieutenant (E), O-17853, RCN


Born: 01 Oct 1918, Boston, Lincolnshire, England


Died: 26 Apr 2020, Ottawa, Ontario


DANBY, Percy C. F. (Dan) - Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. Psalm 107:23-24

Percy passed away peacefully from natural causes in hospital in Ottawa on April 26, 2020. He was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England. He was the cherished husband of Mabel Wallwork (nee Daye) and of the late Marguerite "Peggy" (nee Proctor), his wife of sixty years and the mother of his children. He was a loving father to Laurence (Gail) and Angela (John); grandfather to Candace (Michael) and Curtis (Michele), and great-grandfather to Jordan, Allison, and Willem. In his later years, he also came to love and to be loved by Mabel's large family; he was "Grand-Dan" to the little ones.

Percy contracted the "Spanish" flu as an infant in 1918. And as a centenarian in a retirement residence in 2020, he managed not to contract COVID-19. He liked the idea that two serious virus pandemics one hundred years apart had failed to take him out.

As a young man, Percy completed an apprenticeship in steam locomotive technology and developed a love of trains. He joined the Royal Navy in 1938, signing on for the regular 12-year stint. He became an engine room artificer (ERA), a very skilled naval trade. When Britain declared war in 1939 he was serving on the HMS Resolution, which carried the gold from Britain's treasury to Canada for safekeeping.

In early 1940, he was assigned to the H-class destroyer HMS Hotspur. Hotspur was part of a small destroyer group that was engaged in the First Battle of Narvik on April 10, 1940 in northern Norway. The ship was badly damaged in the battle and had to limp to Skelfjord in the Lofoten Islands to shelter and make repairs before she could return to Britain. Percy was part of a small technical team that stayed with the ship. For several weeks his new bride and his family in England knew only that he was missing. (As one of the last living survivors of that battle, Percy was very proud to be awarded the Norwegian War Medal in a touching ceremony at the Ambassador's residence in Ottawa in 2018.)

Still on Hotspur, Percy was sent to the Mediterranean in the summer of 1940. He was aboard in October when the ship sustained heavy damage ramming and sinking the Italian submarine Lafole off the north coast of Morocco.

In late May 1941, Percy was on HMS Sheffield, the cruiser ordered to shadow the German battleship Bismarck after it had been damaged in an aerial attack by the Royal Navy. Sheffield was almost sunk when she was attacked by a flight of "friendly" torpedo bombers sent to finish off Bismarck. They mistook Sheffield in the fog for the German battleship. As Percy explained, he was spared thanks to defective torpedo detonators and deft evasive manoeuvring.

Percy spent the last few years of the war as a Chief Petty Officer (ERA) fitting up and testing new warships, and delivering many of them back and forth across the North Atlantic as part of Lend-Lease. In the postwar years he served on ships doing marine surveys in British home waters.

In 1951, Percy transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and moved his young family to Halifax. He received his commission as a Lieutenant (Engineer) in 1955. He served in the Canadian navy for 18 years, including several stints at Defence HQ, before retiring in 1969.

After his "retirement" he and Peggy moved to Florida, where he worked for a further 12 years, mostly for a Florida electric power company. They enjoyed many years of tropical weather, golf and lasting friendships. They moved back to Canada around 1983. They enjoyed the family cottage and wintered in Florida for many years. Peggy passed away in 2000.

Percy met Mabel when he was 83 years old. They had a happy marriage of almost 20 years, looking out for each other and enjoying the companionship. They recently moved to the Ravines retirement residence, where Percy made many new acquaintances and became a fixture singing in the dining room during meals. He loved music and was full of song.

Percy was a good man. And, as anyone who knew him will attest, he is now in heaven and likely getting it organized and shipshape in a proper naval manner. (Ottawa Citizen 02 May 2020)


Ships served in: (Royal Navy)





Ships served in: (Royal Canadian Navy)

HMCS NIOBE - Appointed to Niobe for Course or Training in the RN as an A/Commissioned Engineer (A/Cmd Eng) (seniority 27 Jun 1955) (Navy List Jul 1956)

HMCS SAULT STE MARIE - Appointed to Sault Ste Marie 24 Sep 1956 as a Cmd Eng, RCN, Engineer Officer (Navy List Jul 1957)

NAVAL HEADQUARTERS OTTAWA - Appointed to Naval HQ Ottawa, Staff of Deputy Assistant Chief of Naval Technical Services (Ships) for New Construction Ships 14 Oct 1957 as a Cmd Eng, RCN (Navy List Jan 1958).  Appointed Lt (E) (Star) (seniority 01 Apr 1959) (Navy List Jul 1959) Seniority backdated to 14 May 1957) (Navy List Jul 1960)

SUPLANT - Appointed to SUPLANT, Marine Engineering Department 07 Aug 1961 as a Lt (E), RCN (Navy List Oct 1961)

HMCS ALGONQUIN - Appointed to Algonquin 30 Mar 1962 as a Lt (E), RCN, Engineer Officer (Navy List Apr 1962).  Appointed to Algonquin, Training and Transient 19 May 1964 as a Lt (E), RCN (Navy List Oct 1964)

CANADIAN FORCES HQ OTTAWA - Appointed to CFHQ Ottawa, Staff of Director General Postings and Career 14 May 1957 as a Lt (E), RCN (Navy List Apr 1965). Appointed to Staff of Directorate of Personnel Requirements Control 01 Jun 1964 as a Lt (E), RCN (navy List Oct 1965)



Crossed the Bar Index