HMCS Caribou

There have been three units named Caribou in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Caribou (1st of name) (S12 / Z25) / Armed Yacht

HMCS Caribou S12 / Z25

Launched in 1928 as Elfreda, HMCS Caribou was one of several American yachts discretely acquired and refitted for the RCN despite strict American neutrality and regulations preventing the sale of vessels for belligerent purposes.

She was commissioned into the RCN in spring 1940 at Halifax, and left the following day for Quebec City for conversion and arming. On completion of this in mid-November 1940, she returned to Halifax and was employed until August 1941 as guard ship at the entrance to Bedford Basin. Early in October 1941, following refit, she had her first taste of patrol duty, but a serious galley fire on 19 November put her out of action until February 1942 while repairs were made at Lunenburg. In March she was transferred to Saint John, New Brunswick Force. On 31 July she arrived at Halifax for survey and was declared unfit for active patrol duty. Relegated to training service at HMCS Cornwallis, she had been transferred to Saint John in the same capacity by September 1943 and in April 1944 to Digby again. She remained there until the war’s end, was paid off on and sold for commercial use the following year.


HMCS Caribou (2nd of name) / Naval Reserve Division

HMCS Caribou

Badge of HMCS Caribou

HMCS Caribou was commissioned as the second naval division in the then-new province of Newfoundland. This Caribou was not named for the first HMCS Caribou, but for the SS Caribou, a Newfoundland Government ferry that had been torpedoed and sunk in the Cabot Straight on 14 October 1942. HMCS Caribou was located in Corner Brook, NL, on the Bay of Islands on the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast, the new division was in a natural setting for afloat training. Although initial support was encouraging, especially the donation of a portion of the Bowater paper mill warehouse (the vice-president of which was a former officer in the RCNVR). It soon proved difficult to sustain sufficient interest to keep the division viable.


Caribou (3rd of name) (PCT 57) / Orca-class Patrol Training Vessel

Caribou PCT 57

Intended as a modern replacement for the YAG-300 class training tenders, the Orca-class (designated Patrol Craft Training) operate year round in BC coastal waters, principally as training vessels. While not specifically assigned an operational role, these vessels patrol coastal waters reporting suspicious activity, pollution infractions, and fishing violations. They are also frequently tasked for search and rescue operations, providing assistance to boaters in distress, and representing the RCN by appearing in local festivals and maritime events. Caribou was the third Orca constructed.


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