For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

 

HMCS LABRADOR 50

 

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.

 

Photos and Documents          Ship's Company Photos

 

Captain T.C. Pullen, RCN: Polar Navigator by Graham Rowley          Navigator and hydrographer charted the Northwest Passage

 

Commanding Officers

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

Cdr John McWhannell 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     

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

Ashcroft, Hugh C.

Astles, Harold Kenneth

1922-2006

Brown, Norman Leslie

1922-2011

Bull, William F.

1934-2016

Burnett, Gerald C.

 

 

 

 

C-D

Cardiff, William

1936-2013

Cavenagh, Orfeur John Alan

1925-2015

Clarkson, Henry L.

Croal, James P.

 

E-F

Elliott, Ronald Edwin

____-2011

Fairney, Daniel Hugh

1916-2011

Fallen, Edward A.

____-2002

Fisher, Douglas C.

Foster, Gordon Douglas

1927-2015

G-H

Garvey, Donald Kenneth

____-2004

Richardson, Harry Hewat

1930-2018

 

 

 

I-J

Irvine, Thomas A.

 

 

 

 

K-L

Kenyon, Richard M.

Kerley, Alfred Horace

____-2004

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

Kidd, Derek John

1922-2016

Served in Labrador as Medical Officer

Law, C. Anthony F.

Leeming, John McW.

Lees, Joseph C.

 

 

 

 

M-N

MacArthur, Archie

Macaskill, Neil J.

Maciver, Donald Angus

1920-2013

Manzer, Robert B.C.

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 C.S.

Rodgers, Carl Herbert

1922-1999

Russell, Harold B.A.

 

 

S-T

Sharp, John Mason

1933-2010

Shea, Ronald

____-2010

Smith, Robert Neville Gowers

1925-2001

Thompson, John

 

Y-Z

Zbitnew, Leonard Thomas

1933-2015

 

 

 

 

 

Former Crew Members

Carson, Dennis - Supply Officer (CCGS Labrador)

Malott, Fred

 

 

Photos and Documents

 

HMCS Labrador

Courtesy of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, photo number VR993.147.12

HMCS Labrador and HMCS Wallaceburg in an ice field - date and location unknown

Courtesy of the CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum, photo number 2004.471.102

HMCS Labrador 50 in heavy seas off Bermuda - date unknown


HMCS Labrador 50 in heavy seas off Bermuda, date unknown

From the collection of Larry Zbitnew, LCdr, RCN

Courtesy of Dennis Cardy

HMCS LABRADOR 50

 


 

HMCS LABRADOR - 1954 - 1956

AM67

AM68

AM69

AM70

AM71

AM72

(AM67) RCMP vessel Alexandra Fiord 7302

 

AM73

AM74

AM75

AM76

AM77

AM78

(AM76-AM78) Sled dogs onboard HMCS LABRADOR

 

AM79

AM80

AM81

AM82

AM83

AM84

(AM80) HMCS LABRADOR's Helo  (AM84) Local vessel named "MONTE CARLO"

 

AM85

AM86

AM87

AM88

AM89

AM90

(AM86-AM87) Supplies being transferred from LABRADOR to smaller craft for local Eskimos  (AM89) Sailor from LABRADOR by sled dog pen with Polar bear hide  (AM90) HMCS LABRADOR's boat - HMCS POGO

 

AM91

AM92

AM93

AM94

AM95

AM96

 

AM97

AM98

AM99

AM100

AM101

AM102

(AM97) Archie MacArthur on left  (AM98) Franklin Expedition grave  (AM102) Iceberg in the Hudson Strait - 1948

 

AM103

AM104

AM105

AM106

AM107

AM108

(AM103) Iceberg - 09 Sep 1948  (AM104) Iceberg - Wakeham Bay 09 Sep 1948  (AM105) HMCS LABRADOR's helo  (AM107) USCGC EASTWIND W279 coming alongside HMCS LABRADOR  (AM107) USCGC EASTWIND W279 alongside HMCS LABRADOR  (AM108) Walrus on an ice flow

 

AM109

AM110

(AM109-AM110) Archie MacArthur on HMCS LABRADOR - 1954

 

Map of HMCS LABRADOR's 1954 Arctic Operations

 

The LABRADOR'S map may be viewed in the following size formats listed below.  Scans courtesy of Neil Kenny

 

10 MEG    -    23 MEG    -    35 MEG    -    65 MEG

 

Labrador returns home

Halifax Mail Star 18 Nov 1955

  

The Worlds Most Expensive Defence System

The Star Weekly, Toronto, 17 Sep 1955

 

From the collection of CPO1 Archie MacArthur, RCN

 

Courtesy of Colleen Coons

 


 

HMCS LABRADOR 1955-1957

 

RM01

RM02

RM03

RM04

RM05

(RM01) Robert Manzer, RCN c1955  (RM02) Cd Bos'n Robert Manzer on HMCS LABRADOR  (RM03) HMCS LABRADOR  (RM04) LABRADOR crew ashore in the Eastern Arctic  (RM05) HMCS LABRADOR alongside in Halifax

 

RM06

RM07

RM08

RM09

(RM06) Chipping ice off HMCS LABRADOR  (RM07) Robert Manzer on HMCS LABRADOR, Eastern Arctic Mar 1957  (RM08-RM09) Robert Manzer on shore somewhere in the Eastern Arctic

 

From the collection of Robert Manzer, Lt*, RCN

 

Courtesy of Bob Manzer, Cdr, RCN, ret'd

 


 

LZ01

LZ02

LZ03

LZ04

LZ05

LZ06

(LZ01) HMCS Labrador 50  (LZ02) HMCS Labrador transiting an ice field - DND/RCN photo. Neg # LAB 2525  (LZ03) HMCS Labrador transiting an ice field - ship's helo hovering off bow - DND/RCN photo. Neg # LAB 2524  (LZ04) HMCS Labrador 50  (LZ05) Bell 47 Helo crash - DND/RCN Photo. Neg # 2458  (LZ06) HMCS Labrador (foreground) and a US LSD (either USS Fort Mandan or USS San Marcos) In Aug - Sep 1956, HMCS Labrador assisted the US icebreaker Edisto in escorting a convoy westward through the Northwest Passage from Foxe Basin to the Bellot Strait - the Fort Mandan and San Marcos were part of that convoy.

 

LZ07

LZ08

LZ09

LZ10

LZ11

LZ12

On 04 Sep 1957, HMCS Labrador rendezvoused with USCGC Storis (W38) USCGC Bramble (W 392) and USCGC Spar (W 403). These photos were taken during that rendezvous and the following transit of the Bellot Strait. The following link is to a write up of the voyage of the 3 US Coast Guard Vessels - Across the top of the World

 

(LZ07) USCGC Storis W38 coming alongside HMCS Labrador 50  (LZ08) (L-R) USCGC Spar, USCGC Bramble, USCGC Storis, HMCS Labrador  (LZ09) USCGC Spar, USCGC Bramble (middle) and USCGC Storis (furthest from camera)  (LZ10) USCGC Storis W38, USCGC Bramble and USCGC Spar being lead through the Bellot Strait by HMCS Labrador. Photo taken from the flight deck of HMCS Labrador  (LZ11-LZ12) Convoy proceeding through the Bellot Strait led by HMCS Labrador. Photos taken from Labrador's helo.

 

Song - Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers (on youtube)

 

LZ13

LZ14

(LZ13) Unknown event on HMCS Labrador, possibly Crossing the Line Ceremony.  Note the officer with the rather large straight razor  (LZ14) HMCS Labrador in Europe, spring 1957 - port unknown

 

From the collection of Larry Zbitnew, LCdr, RCN

 

Courtesy of Dennis Cardy

 


 

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