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by Lt Cdr Geoffrey B Mason RN (Rtd) (c) 2001

HMCS IROQUOIS (G 89) -  Tribal-class Destroyer
including Convoy Escort Movements 

Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

HMCS Iroquois (Photo Ships, click to enlarge) return to Contents List 

TRIBAL-Class Fleet destroyer ordered from Vickers Armstrong, Newcastle on 5th April 1940 with three others of the same Class for service in the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship intended to be named ATHABASKAN was laid down on 19th September 1940 after delays due to air raid damage in the shipyard, to the increased load on repair facilities in British shipyards after the disastrous operations of Norway and the  evacuations from ports in Holland, Belgium and France. The ship was launched as HMCS IROQUOIS on 23rd September 1941,  the name of  a Canadian Tribe. During build radar outfits for warning of surface targets and for fire-control were installed. She was the first of the four RCN TRIBAL Class destroyers to enter service and ship commissioned in November 1943 before completion of her build on 10th December 1942.


B a t t l e   H o n o u r s


ATLANTIC 1943 - ARCTIC 1943-45 - BISCAY 1944  - KOREA 1952-3


C r e s t

 None is recorded in the official Record of Heraldic Crests

for the Royal Navy as this ship belonged to Canada.



D e t a i l s   o f   W a r   S e r v i c e


(for more ship information,  go to Naval History Homepage and type name in Site Search)



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30th - Commissioned for service in Home Fleet.




12th - Build completion and commenced Acceptance trials.



1 9 4 3




Defects found during Acceptance trials made good.


30th - On completion took passage to Scapa Flow.




Sustained significant structural damage in adverse weather conditions during work-up and took passage to build shipyard for additional stiffening and damage repair.




Nominated for passage to Canada for inspection by Royal Canadian Navy Constructors and shipyard representatives. Sustained further structural damage during passage to Halifax. Taken in hand and docked for repair work and inspections. (Note: The need for additional stiffening in future warship construction by Canadian shipyards was made evident during the examinations.)




Took return passage to UK for operational service. Nominated for service in Plymouth Command.


24th - Sustained further weather damage.


On arrival taken in hand for repair by HM Dockyard Devonport.




Under repair. On completion deployed for convoy defence on UK-Gibraltar route.




Deployed based at Plymouth for anti-submarine operations in Bay of Biscay (Operation MUSKETRY. Note: Ship was part of a Support Group for these operations with HMCS ATHABASKAN, and Polish destroyer ORP ORKAN as screen for HM Escort Aircraft Carrier ARCHER to provide cover against attacks by German destroyers during MUSKETRY.




9th - Deployed with HM Destroyer DOUGLAS and HM Frigate MOYOLA as escort for troopship convoy during passage to Gibraltar. (Note: It may be assumed that ship was detached from MUSKETRY for this duty, or that she detached from support duties for escort of these ships.)


11th - Under air attacks by He177 aircraft using Hs293 Radio Controlled bombs (but see following) which hit ss CALIFORNIA and ss DUCHESS OF YORK in position 41.18N 41.24W, 300 miles of Vigo, Spain despite AA defence from the escorts. Both ships ships sank after extensive fires. A third ship mv PORT NAPIER survived the attacks. Took part in rescue of 628 men from the two troopships.


12th - Passage to Casablanca with mv PORT FAIRY which was damaged in further air attacks.


Update on this Attack, with thanks to Tim Gates, 4 Apr 2012:

The convoy, consisting of the troopships SS DUCHESS OF YORK and SS CALIFORNIA, plus the merchant vessel MV PORT FAIRY, left the Clyde at 0800 hrs on July 8th 1943. At the Orsay rendezvous they were joined by DOUGLAS and MOYOLA. On the morning of the 10th July IROQUOIS (ex Plymouth) joined the escort 350 miles SW of the Scillies.

All went well till the evening of the 11th July when, 350 nautical miles W of Porto in Portugal and commencing at 2110 hrs, the convoy was attacked by three FW200 Condors based at Merignac near Bordeaux. Only conventional high-explosive bombs were used in the attack which lasted 30 minutes. The story that He177 aircraft deploying Hs292 radio-controlled bombs were used in this attack is supported by absolutely no contemporary or other evidence but has proved very persistent despite this. All those who were there speak only of 3 x FW200 aircraft. This is corroborated by contemporary Luftwaffe records which have been investigated by Chris Goss, a serving RAF officer and well known historian of wartime avaiation - I could even tell you the names of the German crew of the FW aircraft that were involved.

Several hours after the attack, CALIFORNIA and DUCHESS OF YORK, both blazing fiercely, were sunk by torpedoes fired by DOUGLAS. PORT FAIRY was unscathed and headed for Casablanca (though she was attacked next day - but that is another story). Survivors from CALIFORNIA and DUCHESS OF YORK were picked up by escort vessels and taken to Casablanca where they arrived on the morning of 13th July. At the start of the air attack on the evening of the 11th, Gibraltar dispatched HMS SWALE to give help. She arrived on the scene at 2235 hrs, ie after the attack had finished, and was ordered to escort PORT FAIRY to Casablaca after helping to pick up survivors.

15th - Rescued an officer and five ratings, sole survivors from U506 which had been sunk by US LIBERATOR aircraft on 12th July. (Note: During return passage to Plymouth an insignia from the officers uniform was stolen which resulted in disciplinary action. Stoppage of shore leave after arrival caused significant disorder and the commanding officer had a heart attack and was taken ashore. See AFRIDI TO NIZAM by J English and U-BOATS DESTROYED by P Kemp.)


Deployed at Plymouth


19th - Carried out support of anti-submarine operations with Polish destroyer ORP ORKAN and HMCS ATHABASKAN and sailed from Plymouth for anti-submarine operations after the disorder problems resolved. (See above Note.)


After return transferred to Scapa Flow for Home Fleet screening duties. Involved in collision with HM Trawler KINGSTON BERYL in Irish Sea during passage to Scapa Flow. Repair of damage arranged in commercial shipyard at Troon, Ayrshire.




2nd - Taken in hand for repair.


25th - On completion resumed passage to rejoin Home Fleet.


26th - On arrival nominated for work-up prior to deployment in defence of Russian convoy.




Work-up in continuation. On completion resumed operational service with Home Fleet for local escort and patrol duties.




1st - Deployed with HM Destroyers ONSLAUGHT and HURON (RCN) to take replenishment stores and mail to North Russia for warships which had been based there during summer months (Operation HOLDER).


11th - Returned to Scapa Flow from Kola Inlet..


14th - Joined HM Destroyers JANUS, VIGILANT, HARDY, HAIDA (RCN) and US destroyer USS CORRY as escort for HM Battleship ANSON to provide cover for replenishment of Spitzbergen garrison (Home Fleet Operation FQ).


16th - On completion of FQ provided cover for passage of five minesweepers and six motor launches to North Russia. (Home Fleet Operation FR. Note: HM Cruiser LONDON and US Cruiser AUGUSTA were also deployed in covering force. These Lease Lend warships were destined for service with the Russian Northern Fleet and manned by Russian crews. Close Escort was provided by nine Home Fleet destroyers.)


23rd - Detached and returned to Scapa Flow.




Home Fleet duties in continuation.


18th - Deployed with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORWELL, OBEDIENT HURON (RCN) and HAIDA (RCN) as Ocean Escort for Convoy JW54A during passage to Kola Inlet.


19th - HMS OBEDIENT withdrawn from Close Escort due to defect and returned to Scapa Flow.


24th - Detached from JW54A with Close Escort on arrival.


26th - Joined return Convoy RA54B with same ships as Close Escort for passage to UK. (Note: For details of all Russian Convoy operations see CONVOYS TO RUSSIA by R. A. Ruegg, THE RUSSIAN CONVOYS by B Schoefield, ARCTIC CONVOYS by R. Woodman and CONVOY! by R Woodman.)




5th - Detached from RA54B and returned to Scapa Flow with Close Escort.


22nd - Deployed with HM Destroyers IMPULSIVE, ONSLAUGHT, ONSLOW, ORWELL, SCOURGE, HMCS HURON and HMCS HAIDA as escort for Russian Convoy JW55 during passage to Kola Inlet.


25th - Close Escort reinforced by HM Destroyers MATCHLESS, MUSKETEER, OPPORTUNE and VIRAGO in view of the threat of attack by German Battleship SCHARNHORST. See above references. (Note: German warship was engaged and sunk by ships of Home Fleet providing cover for passage of this convoy and two others in the Arctic.)


Under sustained attacks by aircraft and submarines


29th - Detached with ships of Close Escort on arrival of JW55B at Kola inlet.


31st - Deployed as Close Escort for passage of return Convoy RA55B to UK with same ships.



1 9 4 4




3rd - Under submarine attacks.


7th - Detached from RA55B with Close Escort and returned to Scapa Flow.


10th - Transferred with HMCS HAIDA for detached service and took passage to Plymouth to join Plymouth Command for duty in English Channel.


13th - Deployed at Plymouth.


19th - Carried out patrol off French coast for interception of coastal convoy traffic (Operation TUNNEL Series.)


20th - Returned to Plymouth.




Nominated for return to Canada for refit.


2nd - Carried out further TUNNEL Operation.


3rd - Returned to Plymouth.


4th - Recalled for duty in Home Fleet and took passage to Scapa Flow with sister ships HMCS HAIDA and HMCS ATHABASKAN.


5th - Arrived at Scapa Flow for Home Fleet screening duties.


10th - Deployed with HMCS HAIDA and HMCS ATHABASKAN as part of destroyer screen for HM Battleship ANSON and French battleship RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers BELFAST and HMS NIGERIA during anti-shipping strike off Norwegian coast (Operation POST HORN)


12th - Returned to Scapa Flow after only secondary shore targets had been attacked by aircraft.


13th - Released from Home Fleet duties and returned to Plymouth


15th - On arrival at Plymouth joined HM Destroyers TARTAR and HMS ASHANTI of 10th Destroyer Flotilla with HMCS HAIDA and HMCS ATHABASKAN. (Note: This Flotilla was deployed as Force 26.)


18th - Under torpedo attack by submarine which was avoided by prompt action after sonar detection.


19th - On return to Plymouth replaced by HMCS HURON in Flotilla  and took passage to Canada


26th - Arrived at Halifax and taken in hand for refit.


March to May


Under refit (Note: Lattice foremast was fitted to replace original tripod type for installation of aerial outfit for new radar installation of new radar on return to UK before resuming service.)




On completion of Post Refit Trials took passage to Liverpool for fit of centimetric warning radar outfit. (Note: This was probably Type 276, later changed to Type 293 when new aerial was available. Ship did not therefore take part in support operations during allied landings in Normandy. See LANDINGS IN NORMANDY (HMSO).)


8th - Arrived at Liverpool and taken in hand for fit of radar.


30th - On completion sailed from Liverpool to Scapa Flow.




Deployed at Scapa Flow for trials.


17th - Commenced work-up for operational service with Home Fleet ships at Scapa Flow.


30th - Took passage to Plymouth to rejoin 10th Destroyer Flotilla for patrol duties in Bay of Biscay and Channel.




5th - Deployed with HM Cruiser BELLONA, HMS TARTAR, HMS ASHANTI and HMCS HAIDA for interception patrol in Bay of Biscay as Force 26.


6th - Intercepted evacuation convoy with several escorts near Ile d'Yeux.  (Note: In this action German minesweepers M286 and M486, Patrol Boat V414 and a launch were sunk. Many hundreds of soldiers being evacuated lost their lives. Whilst taking part in this engagement there was an accident in HMCS HAIDA but despite this serious incident that ship remained with Force 26.) Took part in an attack on a second convoy between Bellisle and Quiberon Bay the result of which was inconclusive. Force 26 ordered to withdraw before daylight and return to Plymouth


8th - Flotilla deployment for interception operations in continuation.


14th - Deployed with HM Cruiser MAURITIUS and HM Destroyer URSA for offensive patrol off coast of Brittany as Force 27.


15th - Carried out attack on convoy off Sables d'Olonne with ships of Force during which German Minesweeper M385 was hit and became a total loss after being beached. A Sperrbrecher (157), Torpedo Boat T24, Minesweeper M275 and a coaster were also damaged. (Note: The enemy ships included an aircraft repair Ship (RICHTOFEN).). Took passage to Plymouth after the action.


23rd - During later patrol off Audierne with same ships carried out attack on coastal convoy sinking patrol boats V702, V717, V720, V729 and V730 (Note: These ships were identified by post-war analysis.)


30th - Deployed with HMCS HAIDA for escort of French cruiser JEANNE D ARC for passage in SW Approaches from Algiers to Cherbourg.


31st - Met JEANNE D ARC which had members of the French Provisional Government on board and escorted ship to her destination.




5th - Arrived at Cherbourg with French cruiser


8th - Deployed as escort for rms QUEEN MARY taking Prime Minister to Quebec Conference with US President during Atlantic passage. (Note: Detached later near Azores and returned to Plymouth for routine Boiler Cleaning.)


On completion resumed Channel duties based at Plymouth.




Transferred to Scapa Flow for Home Fleet screening duties.


November to December


Resumed service in Channel based at Plymouth for interception patrols and convoy escort.



1 9 4 5


January to February


Western Approaches duties in continuation.




Rejoined Flotilla for Home Fleet duties.


19th - Deployed with HM Destroyers ONSLOW, SERAPIS, ZEST and HAIDA (RCN) as screen for HM Escort Aircraft Carriers PREMIER, SEARCHER, QUEEN and HM Cruiser BELLONA deployed as Force 1 to cover air minelaying off the coast of Norway (Operation CUPOLA – See Naval Staff History (Mining).)


21st - Returned to Scapa Flow with ships of Force 1 on completion.


24th - Joined HM Destroyers ONSLOW, SERAPIS, CARYSFORT, ZEALOUS and HAIDA (RCN) as screen for HM Escort Aircraft Carriers SEARCHER, NAIRANA, QUEEN and PUNCHER deployed as Force Two for air strikes on shipping off the coast of Norway (Operation PREFIX I).


26th - In absence of shipping aircraft carried out attacks on shore targets.


28th - Attacks made on shipping by carrier aircraft which destroyed two Me109 for the loss of a BARRACUDA from HMS PUNCHER (Operation PREFIX II).


29th - Returned to Scapa Flow with ships of Force Two.




Home Fleet deployment with Flotilla in continuation.


3rd - Deployed with HM Destroyers ZEALOUS and ZEST as screen for HM Cruiser DIDO for attacks on Norwegian coast shipping and identified as Force 3 (Operation FOX CHASE).


4th - Took part in attacks on convoy with ships of Force. (Note: Some sources describe result as indeterminate but post war records suggest two of the mercantiles were damaged.)


15th - Deployed with HM Destroyers ZEPHYR, ZODIAC, ZEALOUS, ZEST, OFFA HURON (RCN), HAIDA (RCN) and Norwegian destroyer STORD as escort for JW66 with HM Cruiser BELLONA, HM Escort Aircraft Carriers VINDEX and NAIRANA. In addition, HM Sloop CYGNET, HM Corvettes ALNWICK CASTLE, BAMBOROUGH CASTLE, FARNHAM CASTLE, HONEYSUCKLE, LOTUS and OXLIP of 7th Escort Group were also part of Close escort with Frigates of 19th Support Group in support for anti--submarine operations.


25th - Detached from JW66 with Close Escort on arrival at Kola Inlet. (Note: Ships of escort carried out anti-submarine attacks in entrance to Kola Inlet to ensure safety of convoy.)


29th - Joined return convoy RA66 on departure from Kola Inlet. (Note: During anti-submarine operations outside Kola Inlet before departure of RA66, U 307 and U286 were sunk by ships of 19th Support Group, but HM Frigate GOODALL was torpedoed and sunk by U968, although some survivors were rescued. See above references for details.


After departure came under torpedo attack by U427 which missed. (See HITLER'S U-BOAT WAR, Vol II by C Blair.)




Nominated for return to Canada on release from service with RN.


8th - Detached from RA66 on arrival in Clyde and returned to Scapa Flow with Home Fleet ships.


12th - Joined HM Cruisers DEVONSHIRE, ARIADNE and APOLLO with HM Destroyers SAVAGE, SCOURGE AND Norwegian ARENDAL as escort during passage to Oslo. (Note: Crown Prince Olaf of Norway was embarked in HMS APOLLO for his return to Norway.)


13th - Arrived in Oslo with same ships and took passage to Copenhagen with HMS DEVONSHIRE and HMS SAVAGE to relieve HM Cruiser BIRMINGHAM, HM Destroyers ZEST and ZEPHYR as Guardships following German surrender.


14th - At Copenhagen.


24th - Passage from Copenhagen to Wilhemshaven with HM Cruiser DIDO, HMS DEVONSHIRE and HMS SAVAGE as escort for German cruisers PRINZ EUGEN and NURNBERG. (Note: The two German ships had formally surrendered to the Royal Navy on 22nd May.)


26th - At Wilhemshaven.


30th - Passage to Greenock to join HMCS HAIDA and HMS HURON




At Greenock preparing for return to Canada.


4th - Took passage from Greenock for Halifax with her two sister ships.


10th - Arrived at Halifax to a resounding welcome.




Under refit including tropicalisation to suit service in the Pacific.




After VJ Day ship was nominated for reduction to Reserve status.



P o s t  W a r  N o t e s


HMCS IROQUOIS did not complete her full refit and was used as a Depot Ship for RCN ships in Reserve paid-off on 22nd February 1946. Before recommissioning she was refitted and in June 1949 recommissioned for use as a Cadet Training Ship until again going into Reserve in September that year. She selected for conversion to an A/S Escort and on completion in October 1951 recommissioned.  After preparation for operational service she was deployed  with the Commonwealth contribution to the UN naval forces and completed two tours of duty in the Far East. the last of which ended in March 1955. Apart from periods under refit she remained part of the Active Fleet and took part in NATO Exercises until Paid-off at Halifax in October 1962. She was retained in Operational Reserve before being put on the Disposal List and sold to a Spanish shipbreaker for demolition at Bilbao in 1966..


Special Note


More information, especially in respect of design and build of this Class is given in AFRIDI TO NIZAM  by J English.






by Don Kindell


This convoy list has not been cross-checked with the text above






Date Convoy Sailed

Joined Convoy as Escort

Convoy No.

Left convoy

Date Convoy Arrived








SL 132MK





JW 054A





RA 054B





JW 055B





RA 055B





AT 179A





TA 179A





TA 181





AT 183





AT 187A





MKS 084G





JW 066





RA 066








(Note on Convoys)


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revised 10/4/12
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