For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


Then Israel Immigrant Vessel VIOLETTE (1947)

Then Israeli Navy Vessel MIVTAKH (1952)

Then Sinhalese navy Vessel MAHASENA (1959)

HMCS Orkney K448


Battle honours and awards:  Gulf of St. Lawrence:  1944,   North Sea  1945



Laid down: 19 May 1943

Launched: 18 Sep 1943

Commissioned: 18 Apr 1944

Paid off: 22 Jan 1946

Sold: 1947

Acquired by Israeli Navy: 1952

Sold: 1959 to Sri Lankan Navy

Commissioned: 04 May 1959

Paid off: 1964

Fate: Sold for scrap on 31 May 1964

Originally to be named HMCS Yorkton to commemorate Yorkton, Sask., she was named HMCS Orkney to avoid confusion with the USS Yorktown what was already in commission. Laid down in Esquimalt, she was built by Yarrows Ltd. Commissioned on 14 Apr 1944, at Victoria, Orkney arrived at Halifax 08 Jun 1944. After working up in Bermuda she returned to Halifax in Aug 1944 to join EG 16, but was transferred as Senior Officer's ship to EG 25 at Londonderry, sailing late in Oct 1944 with eastbound convoy HX.317. She remained on duty in U.K. waters until 13 Feb 1945 when she collided with SS Blairnevis which sank with no loss of life. Orkney proceeded to Dunstaffnage, Scotland, for repairs. At the time of the accident, Orkney was part of Escort Group 25, which was engaged in escorting merchant shipping into Liverpool. The weather the time of the accident was foul with heavy rain that further reduced visibility. Blairnevis was a new merchant ship, loaded with valuable bauxite. She had to be grounded to avoid her sinking and blocking the swept channel in the Mersey River estuary. Following the collision, Orkney's repairs lasted until Apr 1945. Following a week's workups at Tobermory, Orkney returned briefly to 'Derry, then sailed late in May 1945 for home and tropicalization refit at Louisbourg. This was completed on 20 Oct 1945, after which she served locally until paid off 22 Jan 1946, to reserve in Bedford Basin. Following service in WWII, Orkney was disarmed & laid up in Bedford Basin shortly after the end of the war & purchased in early 1947. She was moved to a ship breaker's yard in Brooklyn, NY where she was stripped down to the upper deck. Refitted to carry as many  passengers as possible she joined the sixty-two other vessels operated by "Haganah" to smuggle illegal Jewish immigrants to Palestine. With the creation of the state of Israel on 14 May 1948, Violette was was laid up. In 1952, she was re-acquired by the Israeli Navy, and re-armed as a warship. She was then re-commissioned as the Mitvach K28, and for some time afterward, with former HMC Ships Hallowell (Misnak) and Strathadam (Misgav) were the largest ships in the Israeli Navy. In 1959, Mitvach was sold to the then- Royal Ceylon Navy and served as Mahasena until 1964 when she was paid off and sold to a Hong Kong ship breaker on 31 May 64.


Commanding Officers

Lt Gordon Leslie MacKay, RCNR - 18 Apr 1944 - 24 Jun 1944

A/Cdr Victor Browne, RCNVR - 25 Jun 1944 - 28 Mar 1945

Cdr James Majoribanks Rowland, DSO & Bar, RN - 29 Mar 1945 - 21 May 1945

Lt N.J. Castonguay, RCNVR - 22 May 1945 - 02 Sep 1945

Lt Harry Romeyn Beck, RCN - 19 Oct 1945 - 22 Jan 1946

Cdr Rajah Proctor 04 May 1959 (HMCyS Mahasena)


     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Anglin, Crawford Sydney


Drafted to Orkney 19 Apr 1944 Surg-Lt, RCNVR

Beck, Harry Romeyn






Chasse, Marcel


Served in Orkney 25 Jun 1944 - 07 Aug 1945 as an OS/AB Tel






Friend, James Thorpe

Killed 11 Apr 1945 on HMCS Strathadam

Served in Orkney 19 Apr 1944 - 12 Feb 1945 as Ord. Tel (T.O.)






Gibson, James Edward


Guay, Alphonse


Served in Orkney as a Steward

Hogarth, Robert





Kirchin, Clifford William







Plant, Charles Graham







Sample, William Kenneth


Schuck, S.J.


Smith, John





Webb, Cecil Thomas







Former Crew Members

Arthur, Reg - 1944


Bayliss, LS


Blakey, Kenneth Bertrand, Lt, RCNVR - 27 Mar 1944 (Stand by) / 18 Apr 1944


Bradford, Peter, Lt, RCNVR - 30 Mar 1944 (Stand by) / 18 Apr 1944


Brown, Alan Michael Stuart, A/Lt, RCNVR - 27 Jul 1944


Brown, Victor, A/LCdr, RCNVR - 18 Apr 1944


Carnduff, Stewart, AB


Castonguay, Nelson Jules, Lt, RCNVR - 15 Mar 1944 (Stand by) / 18 Apr 1944 / 22 May 1945, XO


Christianson - 1944


Cory, William Wallace, Lt, RCNVR - 01 Jun 1945


Cote, Leslie, AB


Davies, Stew - 1944


Dudney, Chief E.A.


Durning, L., Engineroom Artificer


Fitchett, George William, Lt, RCNVR - 13 Feb 1945


Fraser, R., AB

Gray, Stwd


Guay, Alphonse Joseph, Stwd


Harding, William R., Chief, Cox'n


Herrington - 1944


Hollett,, C.E.R.A.


Hynes, PO, Buffer (Chief Bos'ns Mate)


Johnston, William Arnold, Lt, RCNVR - 04 Apr 1944 (Stand by) / 18 Apr 1944


Koytch, Sam - 1944


MacAulay, Donald, Lt (E), RCNR - 18 Apr 1944


MacKay, George Leslie, Lt, RCNR - 18 Apr 1944


Meehan, James Francis, A/Wt (E), RCNVR - 23 Jun 1945


Marostica, Al, L/Writer - 1945


Mork, A., AB


Moxam, Scotty - 1944 


Page, Michael Henry Elyy, A/Lt, RCNVR - 24 Mar 1944 (Stand by) / 18 Apr 1944


Pearson, Stwd

Plager, AB


Quimbee, Ernie - 1944


Sanborn, K., AB


Scott, L/Stwd


Slater, Anthony Herbert Murray, Lt, RCNR - 05 Jul 1944


Shedden, Al, PO


Stansfield, David, Paym/Lt, RCNVR - 04 Jul 1944


Stevens, PO LSO


Swanee, Rivers, AB


Taylor, Stwd


Timelin, Chief Stoker


Trotman, A., Lt


Walford, Robert Gordon, Slt (E), RCNVR - 08 Mar 1944 (Stand by) / 18 Apr 1944


Ward, Stoker


Watson, AB


Wilkes, AB - 1945


Photos and Documents



Personal photo gallery of James Thorpe Friend

Ship's company photos for HMCS Orkney