Grenada 1974

International Operation Name: N/A

International Operation Dates:  N/A

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Caribbean

Location:  Grenada

Canadian Operation Name: (Grenada 1974)

Canadian Operation Dates: 1974/01/30 – 1974/02/08

Mission Mandate:

To evacuate Canadian and foreign nationals from Grenada if the security situation deteriorated.

Mission Notes: 

In May 1973, Great Britain announced that Grenada would be receiving full independence in February 1974. Upon hearing the announcement, trade unions, civic organizations and the churches in Grenada feared that Chief Minister Eric Geary would install himself as dictator. Geary had already shown a penchant for bullying, including using a private band of thugs, known as the Mongoose Gang. With these fears in mind, civic organizations and churches formed the “Committee of 22”.

On 1 January 1974, the Committee of 22 called a national strike, followed by a protest march on 21 January. The police violently broke up the march in what was to become known as “Bloody Monday”. One demonstrator was killed and many more wounded. The lone fatality was Rupert Bishop, father of Maurice Bishop, leader of the opposition party - “New Jewel Movement”.

In this atmosphere of uncertainty about future violence, the Canadian Government planned for the potential for an evacuation of Canadian citizens. HMCS Annapolis had been scheduled to attend the Independence Celebrations. On 30 January she proceeded to Barbados with the Commander Canadian Destroyer Squadron 5 embarked (CANCOMDESRON 5). Arriving in Barbados on 2 February, the ship was placed under the direction of the Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. H. Smith, to be used as the situation dictated. Here, the ship’s landing party spent several days in refresher training.

Annapolis proceeded to Grenada on 5 February, with Mr. Smith and the First Secretary onboard. The ship arrived in St.George, Grenada on the eve of Independence Day. The streets were silent and littered with broken glass and garbage as a result of rioting and strikes. On Independence Day, half the ship’s personnel were granted leave from 1300 to 1800, with delegations attending a few celebrations ashore. Outside the area of the celebrations, everything was quiet.

On 7 February, the ship’s Commanding Officer, CANCOMDESRON 5 and Mr. Smith attended the formal ceremony at Government House after which there was a reception onboard Annapolis for some government officials and their families. The ship departed St. George at 1500, arriving in Barbados at 2355, at which point Mr. Smith and the First Secretary disembarked. Annapolis then proceeded to a rendezvous with HMCS Assiniboine, with both ships anchoring near Bejuia Island. As the situation in Grenada remained quiet, and Canadian citizens appeared to be safe, the two ships weighed anchor at 1800, 8 February and sailed for Roosevelt Roads. 

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