For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

HMCS LABRADOR 50

Then CGS LABRADOR

Then CCGS LABRADOR

HMCS Labrador

From the collection of Larry Zbitnew, LCdr, RCN

Click on the above photo to view a larger image

 

Laid down: 18 Nov 1949

Launched: 14 Dec 1951

Commissioned: 08 Jul 1954

Paid off: 22 Nov 1957

Transferred to the Department of Transport

Fate: Broken up in 1989

 

Laid down in the Marine Industries shipyard in Sorrel, Quebec, in January, 1949, she was 369 feet long, 63 feet, 6 inches at the beam, and displaced 6,490 tons. Powered by six 2,000 horsepower diesel engines, she was capable of 16 knots. Deep-drafted and round-bottomed, with big screws tucked away well below the plimsoll line out of reach of tumbling surface ice, she was fitted with retractable stabilizing fins and heeling tanks on the port and starboard sides capable of pumping water from side to side at the remarkable rate of 40,000 gallons a minute, allowing her to roll in pack ice. With a crew of 225 officers and men and three helicopters, the Labrador was not simply an ice-breaker. She was commissioned to patrol northern waters and show the flag, conduct hydrographic and scientific surveys and provide a rescue and salvage service.  On 23 Jul 1954 she sailed from Halifax on her maiden voyage and became the first warship to negotiate the Northwest Passage and, returning to Halifax on 21 Nov 1954 via the Panama Canal, the first to circumnavigate North America. In 1955 Canada and the USA began construction on the DEW line and HMCS Labrador's task was to chart and clear the passage in the Foxe Basin area so that equipment and supplies could be taken ashore by landing craft. In 1956, Labrador returned to the Arctic and during her time there aided the American ice breaker Edisto and getting a supply convoy from the Foxe Basin to the Bellot Strait. During this transit, the Edisto, which had become icebound and broke a screw, was rescued by HMCS Labrador. In Mar/Apr 1957, HMCS Labrador made a rare trip across the Atlantic and visited Portsmouth, Oslo and Copenhagen to show the flag. In the fall of 1957 three US Coast Guard Cutter, Storis, Bramble and Spar, were transiting the Northwest Passage. Due to the uncertainty of having a clear passage through the Bellot Strait, HMCS Labrador rendezvoused with the US squadron on the western end of the Bellot Strait, which turned out to be ice free, and escorted them through. Due to cost cutting measures for the RCN, Labrador was paid off for refit on 22 Nov 1957 and transferred to the Department of Transport. After that she was primarily used as an icebreaker in the St. Lawrence and embarked scientists for summer studies in the Arctic. She was sold for scrap in 1987 and broken up in 1989.

 

Commanding Officers

Capt Owen Connor Struan Robertson, GM, RCN - 08 Jul 1954 - 29 Oct 1955

Cdr J.M. Leeming, RCN - 29 Oct 1955 - 30 Nov 1955

Capt Owen Conner Struan Robertson, GM, RCN - 01 Dec 1955 - 12 Feb 1956

Capt Thomas Charles Pullen, RCN - 13 Feb 1956 - 03 Nov 1957

Cdr C.A. Law, DSC, RCN - 04 Nov 1957 - 22 Nov 1957

  

     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     

 

- Book of Remembrance entry     - Grave or burial information

KING, Harold Bruce

PO1, 13567-H, RCN

died - 18 Jan 1957, Montego Bay, Jamaica 

 

     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten

A-B

Armstrong, Terence

1920-1996

Served on Labrador in 1954 as a civilian scientist

Astles, Harold Kenneth

1922-2006

Brown, Norman Leslie

1922-2011

Bull, William F.

1934-2016

Burnett, Gerald Clarke

1935-2003

C-D

Cavenagh, Orfeur John Alan

1925-2015

Croal, James Patrick

____-2007

 

 

 

E-F

Elliott, Ronald Edwin

____-2011

Fairney, Daniel Hugh

1916-2011

Fallen, Edward A.

____-2002

Fisher, Douglas Carl

1900-1990

 

G-H

Garvey, Donald Kenneth

____-2004

 

 

 

 

I-J

Irvine, Thomas Arthur

1924-2008

 

 

 

 

K-L

Kerley, Alfred Horace

____-2004

Served in Labrador as Lt (E), RCN, Engineering Officer

Kidd, Derek John

1922-2016

Served in Labrador as Medical Officer

Lees, Joseph Clifford

1937-2007

Served in Labrador 31 May 1955 - 05 Jun 1956

 

 

M-N

Maciver, Donald Angus

1920-2013

Markham, William Edwin

1920-2014

Marshe, Gerald Ian

1932-2011

McAvoy, James Ross

1934-2013

McIvor, Robert Gordon

1935-2014

Mitchell, Edward Stanley

1926-2009

Muncaster, Douglas Albert

1925-2008

Norton, Neil St. Clair

1928-2010

 

 

O-P

Pullen, Thomas Charles

1918-1990

4th Commanding Officer

 

 

 

 

Q-R

Robertson, Owen Conner Struan

1907-1994

1st Commanding Officer

Rodgers, Carl Herbert

1922-1999

 

 

 

S-T

Sharp, John Mason

1933-2010

Shea, Ronald

____-2010

Smith, Robert Neville Gowers

1925-2001

 

 

Y-Z

Zbitnew, Leonard Thomas

1933-2015

 

 

 

 

 

Former Crew Members

Malott, Fred

 

 

 

Photos and Documents

 

Links

Captain T.C. Pullen, RCN: Polar Navigator by Graham Rowley

Navigator and hydrographer charted the Northwest Passage

Personal photo gallery of Carl H. Rodgers

 

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