For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project




HMCS Saguenay D79

Source: Flickr photo collection of Ron Bell


Battle honours and awards:  Atlantic  1939-45



Launched: 11 Jul 1930

Commissioned: 21 May 1931

Paid off: 30 Jul 1945

Fate: Broken in 1946


Saguenay and her sister, Skeena, were the first ships built for the RCN. Saguenay was built by Thornycraft, England for the cost of £670,000. Her hull was strengthened to withstand ice pressure which made her ideal for deployments in Newfoundland waters. She was commissioned on 22 May 1931, at Portsmouth and made her maiden arrival at Halifax on 03 Jul 1931. On 05 Jan 1935, HMCS Skeena and HMCS Vancouver departed Esquimalt for exercises in the Kingston, Jamaica area with HMCS Champlain and HMCS Saguenay. In Jan 1938, Saguenay once again sailed south on a Spring Cruise with port visits at in Bermuda; Puerto Culebra, Costa Rica; Talara, Peru; Acapulco, Mexico; and Panama and San Diego, Calif. With the outbreak of the Second World War she escorted local convoys until late Sep 1939, when she was assigned to the America and West Indies Station, and based at Kingston, Jamaica. On 23 Oct 1939, in the Yucatan Channel, she intercepted the German tanker Emmy Friederich, which scuttled herself. She returned to Halifax in mid-Dec 1939 to resume local escort duty until 16 Oct 1940, when she sailed for the U.K. to join EG 10, Greenock. On 01 Dec 1940, while escorting convoy HG.47, she was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Argo 300 miles west of Ireland. With her bows wrecked and 21 dead, Saguenay made Barrow-in-Furness largely under her own power, and was under repairs until 22 May 1941. She left Greenock on 23 May 1941, and arrived on 07 Jun 1941 at St. John's, where she joined the NEF, which was then forming. From Jun 1941 to Jan 1942 she escorted convoys to Iceland. From Jan 1942 to Jun 1942 she was assigned to WS convoys.


[Historical note: WS convoys were iron ore carriers traveling between Bell Island (located in Conception Bay Nfld - just north of St. John's) and Sydney, Nova Scotia. The Dominion Oil and Steel Company (DOSCO) at Sydney, Cape Breton, NS, owned the iron ore mines on Bell Island at Wabana, and the Steel Mills at Sydney NS. At that time they were producing one third of Canada's total steel output. Prior to the WW II, Germany was their biggest foreign customer for iron ore. The letters 'W' (for Wabana) and 'S' (for Sydney) were assigned to convoys between the two locations.]


From 19 Apr 1942 to 02 Nov 1942 she was assigned to the Newfie - Derry run (convoys from St. John's, NFLD to Londonderry, Ireland). During the months of Sep - Nov 1942, U-boat activity increased off Newfoundland. On 04 Sep 1942 a U-boat sank 2 ore carriers at their loading docks at Wabana. On 14 Oct 1942, the ferry Caribou was sunk with the loss of 137 lives. On 02 Nov 1942 (in broad daylight) 2 more ore carriers were sunk at the moorings at Bell Island and the ore carrier PML27 was torpedoed shortly after leaving Bell Island. With the increase in sinkings, an increase in escort vessels was made to the WS convoys and Saguenay was re-assigned to the WS convoys. On 15 Nov 1942 HMCS Saguenay was escorting convoy WS13. At a distance of approximately 12 miles South of St. John's and 50 miles South East of Cape Spare, HMCS Saguenay was struck in the stern by the freighter SS Azra. Depth charges from HMCS Saguenay were dislodged overboard and exploded beneath both ships. The Saguenay had her stern blown off and the Azar her bow. Damage to the Azar was sufficient to cause her to sink at the site. The Saguenay stayed afloat and took Azar's crew members onboard. The collision occurred within sight of Cape Spear near the entrance to St. John's harbour and the naval command center at HMCS Avalon dispatched an RCN Tug (possibly W 47) to tow the damaged Saguenay to the graving dock in St. John's harbour. Once in the graving dock, the stern was sealed to enable the ship to be towed to the ship yards at Saint John, N.B.. After further repairs at Saint John, N.B., she was then taken to Cornwallis in Oct 1943, to serve as a training ship. Paid off 30 Jul 1945, she was sold for scrap in 1945 to International Iron and Metal in Hamilton, Ontario and was broken up in 1946. (note: another ref has her sold on 17 Jul 1948 and broken up.)


Commanding Officers

Cdr Percy Walter Nelles, RCN - 22 May 1931 - 06 Jun 1932

Cdr Leonard Warren Murray, RCN - 07 Jun 1932 - 22 May 1934 (D79)

Cdr Ronald Ian Agnew, RCN - 23 May 1934 - 05 May 1936

Cdr William James Robert Beech, RCN - 06 May 1936 - 29 Jun 1938

LCdr Frank Llewellyn Houghton, RCN - 30 Jun 1938 - 07 Jul 1939

LCdr G.R. Miles, RCN - 08 Jul 1939 - 21 Apr 1941

Lt Phillip Edwin Haddon, RCN - 22 Apr 1941 - 07 Apr 1942

A/Cdr Dickson Carlisle Wallace, RCNR - 08 Apr 1942 - 14 Jan 1943

Lt John William McDowall, RCN - 15 Jan 1943 - 11 Mar 1943

Lt J.H. Ewart, RCNVR - 14 Oct 1943 - 17 May 1944

Lt Wesley Coburn Hawkins, RCNVR - 18 May 1944 - 06 Oct 1944 (I79)

A/Lt William Errol Hughson, RCNVR - 07 Oct 1944 - 15 Apr 1945

Lt Keith Peter Blanche, RCNVR - 16 Apr 1945 - 30 Jul 1945


     In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice    

     Lest We Forget     


- Book of Remembrance entry     - Grave or burial information

BAKER, William Stych

OS, V5561, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

BENNETT, Harry MacDonald

AB, 3519, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

BROWN, Paul Albert

AB, 3119, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

COOK, Albert Carlton

OS, V7669, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 


OS, V5657, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

DOIRON, Elmer Joseph

OS, V1213, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

DOUGAN, Harold Edward


killed - 01 Dec 1940 

GORING, William

AB, V5796, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

GOUGEON, Joseph Roger

AB, 3479, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

HARE, Harvey William


killed - 01 Dec 1940 

LE GARE, Hector

AB, A2084, RCNR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

LYNCH, Budd Frederick

A/Victualling PO, 40613, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 


AB, V5309, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

MORRISON, David Adamson

OS, V7587, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 


OS, 3585, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

ROSS, Duncan Boston


MPK - 15 Nov 1942 


AB, 2996, RCN

MPK - 01 Dec 1940 

SPENCER, Frederick

OS, V16051, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

STRICKLAND, Stanley George

AB, A1657, RCNR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

SWEENEY, Charles Henry

LS, 2164, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

TWEEDIE, John Samuel David Dickson

OS, V7417, RCNVR

killed - 01 Dec 1940 

TYNDALL, William David

OS, 3607, RCN

killed - 01 Dec 1940 






     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Albion, Thomas Grimshaw


Anderson, Harold


Audette, Louis de la Chesnaye


Drafted to Saguenay I79 on 17 Jul 1940 as A/Lt, RCNVR, Gunnery Officer

Bernard, Pierre Yves


Blinkhorn, William


Bond, Walter


Browne, Randall William


Served in Saguenay 06 Dec 1939 - 22 Jan 1940

Bryson, Weldon Parker


Served in Saguenay in 1936 as Chief Stoker

Budge, Patrick David


Drafted to Saguenay on 03 May 1936 as Gnr (T), RCN



Caldwell, Frank Birch


Served in Saguenay in 1939 as Lt, RCN

Chipman, William Pennock


Clark, Roland


Dafoe, Clarence Frederick


Dennison, Foster Keith


Déry, Stanislas


Dowling, Archibald William


Dowling, Herbert Edward


Drake, Bert


DRAPER, Herbert Lorimer

killed - 21 Jul 1943

HMCS The Pas

Dunbar, Hugh C.


Dyer, Kenneth Lloyd


Served in Saguenay in 1938 as Lt, RCN





Ewart, John Hamilton


Drafted to Saguenay 24 Aug 1943 Lt, RCNVR, Addl.

10th Commanding Officer

Fell, John Atkinson


Ferris, Leonard Rowland


Was on Saguenay when she was torpedoed 01 Dec 1940

Freeman, Russell


Froats, Donald MacRae

See HMCS Ottawa


Grant, Harold Taylor Wood


Haslan, Frederick J.


Hope, Adrian Mitchell


Served in Saguenay in 1931 as LCdr, RCN

Houghton, Frank Llewellyn


5th Commanding Officer

Hughson, William Errol


12th Commanding Officer


Ireland, Stanley A.


Jefferson, Frank Harvey


Served in Saguenay in 1931 as an Engineering Commander, RCN

Johnson, Ira Freeman





Keeler, Morton


Keep, John Percy


Kelly, Fraser Jellett


Kelly, John Richard

See HMCS Fraser

Kingsley, Harry


Served in Saguenay as LCdr

Kirkpatrick, James Ralph Hilborn


Lambert, Joseph Frederick


Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay

Lane, Robert L.


Levens, Reginald


Lipscombe, George


Lipton, John Francis


Wounded when Saguenay was torpedoed 

Little, Vernon Earle






Mainguy, Edmond Rollo


Served in Saguenay in 1934 as 1st Lt.

McMahon, Johnston Alsenas


Miles, George Ralph


Drafted to Saguenay D79 on 07 May 1936 as LCdr, RCN

Mosher, Thomas G.


Murray, Leonard Warren


2nd Commanding Officer


Perdue, Joseph Henry


Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay

Piers, Desmond William


Porteous, William Walter


Served in Saguenay in 1934 as Engineering Officer

Powell, Joseph Henry


Pullen, Hugh, Francis


Drafted to Saguenay on 30 Jun 1936 as Lt, RCN, Gunnery Officer

Pulley, John







Reinhart, Edgar Frank


Robertson, Owen Conner Struan


Served in Saguenay in 1932 as NavO

Rollinson, Frederick M.





Senior, James Albert


Served in Saguenay Jun 1933 - Dec 1935 as L/Sto, RCN and Jun 1936 - Jul 1939 as Sto P.O., RCN

Shellnutt, Ernest George


Stone, George Alfred


Strugnell, Roger William


Taylor, George Wilfred


Taylor, Hugh


Was a LS on Saguenay when she was torpedoed on 01 Dec 1940

Tizard, John






Waller, James


Was on Saguenay when she was torpedoed on 01 Dec 1940

Watkins, Harry

See HMCS Margaree

Webber, Reginald Amand





Young, Thomas William

See HMCS Ottawa

Was on Saguenay when she was torpedoed on 01 Dec 1940








Former Crew Members

Allen, Douglas Haig, Sto - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Archibald,, Godfrey Thomas Alfred Sissener, Lt, RCNVR - 26 May 1942


Beck, William, War (E), RCNR - 05 Feb 1945


Bidwell, Rogeer Edward Shelford, LCdr (T), RCN - 23 May 1932


Blais, Joseph Daniel Albert, A/Paym/Lt, RCNVR - 08 Jul 1940


Branch, Charles C/Sto - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Brooking, William, CERA - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Browne, Lt, Submarine Detecting Officer - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Buckley, AB - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Campbell, Torpedoman - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Carson, William, Sto PO - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Charrier, Georges Joseph 


Clarke, Herbert - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Cooper, Rex Harrop, Lt, RCNVR - 02 Jul 1942


Curry, Angus Downey Mathwin, Cdr, RCN - Jan 1933


Davidson, Geoffrey Huntley, Lt, RCN - 17 Apr 1940


Dryer, Kenneth (Ken) Lloyd, Slt, RCN - 01 Jun 1938


Finter, Lloyd - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Francois, John Eugene, Lt, RCNR - 26 May 1942

Gardiner, William Douglas Haig, Slt, RCNVR - 10 Apr 1942


Gearing, Dan, Torpedoman - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Godfrey, Valentine (Val) Stuart, LCdr, RCN - 22 May 1931


Grant, Harold Taylor Wood, LCdr, RCN - 22 May 1931


Hancock, John, LS - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Hansen, Jack Henry, Midshipman, RCNR - 23 May 1940


Hart, Robert Shaw, Lt, RCNVR - 05 Mar 1942


Hope, Adrian Mitchell (Bommer), LCdr, RCN - 03 Apr 1931 (Stand by) / 22 May 1931


Howe, Lawrence, L/Sto - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Jefferson, Frank Harvey, Cdr (E), RCN - 22 May 1931


Leal, Reginald, PO - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Learmonth, Charles Mohn, Surg/Lt, RCNVR - 06 Apr 1942


MacDonnell, Malcolm M. - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Macklin, Francklin.George - 1938


Martin, Victor 


McCullough, Eddie, Sto - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


McDowall, John William, Lt, RCN - 26 May 1942


McEuen, Charles Stuart, Surg LCdr, RCNVR - 28 Jul 1941


Moen, Arlo Maitland Marcel, Radio Operator


Moffat, William Purves, Lt, RCNVR - 12 Mar 1940


Moore, Dinty - 1938

Myers, J.F., LS - 1940  (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Nieuwstad, Pieter Cornelius, Lt (E), RCNR - Jan 1942


Owsianski, C., Sto - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Paterson, George Alexander, A/Wt (E), RCN - 16 Apr 1943


Pierce, D., AB - Dec 1940


Protheroe, George Edward, Gnr (T), RCN - 27 May 1940


Robbins, Joseph C (Ginger), PO - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Roberts, John (Johnny) William, Slt, RCN - Jan 1942


Rye, Harold, PO (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Saunders, Cook's Assistant - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Savory, John Alfred, Lt (E), RCNVR - 05 Feb 1943


Schurman, Percy (Tiny), Sto PO - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Sherlock, F.M. - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Shilston, George, Gnr (T), RCN - 22 May 1931


Spencer, Brian Roff, Lt (E), RCN - 15 Mar 1932


Tisdale, Ernest Patrick (Pat), Lt (G), RCN - 20 Jun 1934


Tulk, Augustus, Lt (E), RCNR - 14 Feb 1944


Uss, L/Tel - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Walkley, James, Sto PO - 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Warwick, Ralph Berton, Lt, RCNVR - 15 Feb 1940


Williams, Richard, PO, RCN - 1940


Wright, Harold Hutchins, Lt (E), RCNVR - 07 May 1940 (Survived the torpedoing of Saguenay)


Photos and Documents


RCN Memories

In memory of a veteran - John Francis Lipton, DSM



HMCS Saguenay provides the Royal Guard at the Unveiling of the Vimy Memorial, 1936

Personal photo gallery of Ira Freeman Johnson

Personal photo gallery of James Albert Senior

Personal photo gallery of Stanislas Déry

Personal photo gallery of Thomas G. Mosher

Personal photo gallery of Vernon E. Little

Ship's company photos for HMCS Saguenay

The Memory Project - Arlo M. Moen

The Memory Project - Georges Joseph Charrier