HMCS Earl Grey

There has been only one vessel named Earl Grey in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Earl Grey / Icebreaking Ferry

HMCS Earl Grey

This powerful yacht was built in 1909. She was designed by Charles Duguid, Chief Naval Architect for the Department of Marine and Fisheries, for the Prince Edward Island winter passenger service. She was luxuriously appointed and acted as the vice-regal yacht several times. In July 1912 she was commissioned into the RCN for the first time to take her namesake, Governor General the Earl Grey, to Bermuda.

Her next and equally short service as HMCS Earl Grey came in October 1914. The Russians were looking for an icebreaker to help keep the port of Arkangel’sk open. The Russians had had their eye on the Lady Grey, but requested the Earl Grey, possibly a mistake. Earl Grey was taken to Murmansk by an RCN crew to be turned over to the Imperial Russian Navy, who renamed her Kanada.

After the Russian Revolution, she remained in service as the Fedor Litke. She made the first transit of a Northern Sea Route in a single season in 1934, and was used for scientific work after the Second World War. As late as 1955 she reached 83° 11’ North Latitude, 658.2 km from the North Pole. She was broken up in 1959, and the maritime museum in Moscow preserves her wheelhouse.


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