River Class Frigate




From the collection of Ron Critchley

Courtesy of Diana Brown

Click on the above photo to view a larger image


Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1943-45



Laid down: 05 May 1942 as HMCS Verdun


Launched: 10 Nov 1942

Commissioned: 09 Nov 1943

Paid off: 23 Jan 1946

Fate: Sunk as a breakwater in 1948


Laid down as HMCS Verdun, in honour of Verdun, Quebec, her name was changed to HMCS DUNVER to avoid confusion with HMS Verdun, already in commissioned.  She was the first frigate launched for the RCN, and was commissioned at Quebec City on 11 Sep 1943. and arrived at Halifax on 03 Oct 1943, having escorted a Sydney-Halifax convoy en route. After working up at Pictou she was allocated to EG C-5, and served continuously on North Atlantic convoys until Oct 1944. In July 1944 she had been Senior Officer's ship while escorting HXS.300, the largest convoy of the war with 167 merchant ships. In Oct 1944, she commenced refit at Pictou, completing on 27 Dec 1944, and in Apr, 1945, joined EG 27, based at Halifax, for the rest of the European war. In Jun 1945 she went to the west coast for tropicalization, but this was discontinued in Aug 1945 and she was laid up at Esquimalt. Paid off 23 Jan 1946, DUNVER was sold and her hull expended as part of a breakwater at Royston, B.C., in 1948.


Note: HMCS HESPELER and HMCS DUNVER were credited with the sinking of U-484.  However, post war analysis credits the sinking of U-484 to HMS Portchester Castle and HMS Helmsdale.


In 2008, purported unpublished diary entries of a HESPELER sailor posted on a SUBSIM Radio Room online forum seem to support the Canadian claim: “(9/9/44) we left at 0015 and two hours later picked up a contact and went to ‘action stat.’ We dropped one pattern and nothing happened. The second caused explosions. Nothing the third. Fourth caused explosions and the fifth brought something up which the DUNVER said was a sub. We secured at 4:30 a.m…. (9/10/44) Tons of oil, wreckage, and bodies about.”


In a 2013 article in Starshell, the Naval Association of Canada magazine, retired navy commander Fraser McKee credits the Canadian ships with the sinking, noting the RN disputes the sinking “but without any better claim than the RCN’s.”



Photos and Documents          Hometown support for HMCS DUNVER


"Sink the Bastard" - Friendly Fire in the Battle of the Atlantic          Through The Camera's Lens - Scenes from on board HMCS DUNVER



Commanding Officers


LCdr W. Woods, OBE, RCNR - 11 Sep 1943 - 06 May 1944

Lt Wilfred Davenport, RCNR - 07 May 1944 - 09 Aug 1944

A/Cdr George Hay Stephen, RCNR - 10 Aug 1944 - 24 Aug 1944

A/LCdr W. Davenport, RCNR - 25 Aug 1944 - 26 Mar 1945

A/Cdr St. Clair Balfour, RCNVR - 27 Mar 1945 - 26 May 1945

LCdr Charles P. Balfry, DSC, RCNR - 27 May 1945 - 02 Sep 1945 



     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     


COLE, Cyril E.


Killed - 08 Apr 1945



died - 11 Mar 1945



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten




Former Crew Members


Beatty, William Earl, Lt, RCNVR - 15 Feb 1944


Blacklock, George, Lt (E), RCNVR - 17 Feb 1945


Bush, Orval Ferguson, SLt, RCNVR - 26 Mar 1943


Cass, Ronald William, Lt (El) (R), RCNVR - 08 May 1944


Kerr, John Roland, Surg/Lt, RCNR - 07 May 1944


MacDonal, John Fyfe, Lt, RCNVR - 27 Mar 1945


Goodwin, Geoffrey Lionel, Lt (SB) (Temp), RCNVR - 27 Jan 1944


Keeley, James Allen, A/Lt (E), RCNVR - 01 Feb 1945

McGibbon, Gordon Armitage, SLt (E), RCNVR - 28 Jan 1943 


Pleasants, Ernest Stanley Nelson, Skr/Lt, RCNR - Jan 1945


Rowsome, Garth Herbert, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Apr 1944


Savignac, Julien, Lt, RCNVR - 06 Jun 1944


Stronach, John Alexander, Lt (S), RCNVR - 28 Apr 1945


Taylor, William MacGregor, A/LCdr, RCNVR - 31 Mar 1944


Walsh, Duncan Campbell, Midshipman, O-75890, RCNVR - 11 Sep 1943 for training. Appointed SLt eff 11 Sep 1943 (Navy List Jul 1944)


Woolley, John Thomas, Lt, RCNVR - 27 Mar 1945



Photos and Documents


Notice of death for Able Seaman Cyril Edward Cole


Source: Through The Camera's Lens - Scenes from on board HMCS DUNVER

HMCS DUNVER K03, showing off her Barber Pole, doing a light line transfer circa 1944


From the collection of Glendon Oliver

HMCS DUNVER K03 pulling away after a light line transfer, circa 1944


From the collection of J.T. Williams


Courtesy of Jim Williams

Newspaper article on the sinking of U-484 by HMCS HESPELER and HMCS DUNVER

Original source unknown

Courtesy of John Berard


Postwar analysis credits two Royal Navy warships for the sinking of U-484. 

Newspaper article on two brothers, AB R.J. Devost serving in HMCS DUNVER and AB M.E. Devost serving in HMCS SEA CLIFF


From the collection of Robert Joseph Devost


Courtesy of Carmen (Devost) Friedrick


Murray Westgate, Signal Officer, HMCS DUNVER


From the collection of Hector Trotter


Courtesy of Colin Trotter



DND / RCN Photo



From the collection of William (Bill) Dougall, LTO (LP), RCNVR


Courtesy of Grant Dougall



Source: Canadian Virtual Military Museum on facebook