HMCS Grilse

There have been two vessels named Grilse in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Grilse (1st of name) / Torpedo Boat Destroyer

HMCS Grilse

Built in 1912 as the yacht Winchester, she was purchased in the US in June 1915, fitted with a torpedo tube, and commissioned as a torpedo boat. At 30 knots, she was the fastest ship in the RCN at the time. Since she was unsuited for winter service in Canadian waters, Grilse left Halifax on 11 December 1916 for the Caribbean and was nearly lost in a storm. She turned up at Shelburne, NS, three days later.

After several months’ refit, Grilse resumed her patrol duties until she was paid off after the end of the war. An effort was made to sell her in 1920, but no adequate bid was received. During 1921-22, she was attached to a youth training establishment in Halifax dockyard. In 1922 she was sold to Solomon Guggenheim, who renamed her Trillora, and was still in his possession when, on 21 September 1938, she foundered in a hurricane on Long Island, NY.


HMCS Grilse (2nd of name) (71) / Balao-class Submarine

HMCS Grilse 71

During and after the war it had been the custom of the RN to provide “tame” submarines for anti-submarine training in Nova Scotia waters. By 1961, with a growing fleet of new anti-submarine ships based at Esquimalt, it had become desirable to have a submarine stationed there as well.

USS Burrfish was borrowed and commissioned as HMCS Grilse at New London, CT.  Burrfish, launched in 1943, had carried out six war patrols in the Pacific between 1944 and 1945. Converted to a radar picket submarine, she resumed service with the USN, including three tours with the Mediterranean Fleet from 1950 to 1956. Following productive service with the RCN, she was paid off and returned to the USN. On 19 November 1969, she was expended in a training exercise, destroyed by a Mk 46 torpedo dropped by helicopter off San Clemente Island.


Page details

Date modified: