HMCS Kootenay

There have been 2 vessels named Kootenay in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Kootenay (1st of the name) (H75)

This “D” Class destroyer was completed in 1933 as HMS Decoy, and at the outbreak of the war was with the 21st Destroyer Flotilla, East Indies Fleet. Decoy was reassigned in May 1940 to the Mediterranean Fleet, and on November 13 was damaged by bombs at Alexandria, requiring a 10-week repair at Malta. She took part in the evacuation of Greece and Crete, and in the supply run to Tobruk, Lybia. On April 12, 1943, she was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as Kootenay, and after working up at Tobermory, Scotland, was assigned to Escort Group C-5, Mid Ocean Escort Force. She was present on D-Day. In succeeding months, she carried out patrols in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay, and took part in the sinking of the German submarines U-678, U-621 and U-984. She sailed for Canada, in mid-September 1944 for a refit, returning to the United Kingdom in the spring of 1945. Following workups at Tobermory, she operated out of Plymouth, England, until the end of May, then returned home, where she made 6 round trips as a troop transport between Newfoundland and Québec City. She was paid off into reserve at Sydney, Nova Scotia on October 26, 1945, and in 1946 was sold for scrapping.

HMCS Kootenay (2nd of the name) (258)

First of the Restigouche class destroyer escorts to be launched, Kootenay was commissioned on March 7, 1959. After working up, she was transferred to the east coast. She was one of 2 Canadian warships escorting HMY Britannia, when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth opened the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. On October 23, 1969, while in European waters, she suffered a gearbox explosion that killed 9 crewmembers and injured 53 others. It was the Royal Canadian Navy's worst-ever peacetime accident. While she was under repairs, it was decided to convert her to an Improved Restigouche Escort, in which guise she was re-commissioned on January 7, 1972. Transferred to the west coast, she arrived in Esquimalt, British Columbia, on February 12, 1973, where she was assigned to the Second Squadron. From June 3 to 7, 1990, Kootenay visited Vladivostok as part of a Canadian Task Group, the first to do so since the Second World War. In the summer of 1994, she took part in enforcing United Nations sanctions against Haiti. Her final trip found her off Cape Horn during a 2-month naval exercise called UNITAS. On December 18, 1995, she was paid off and, on November 6, 2000, towed out of Esquimalt to be sunk as an artificial reef off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Motto: “We are as One”

Battle honours

  • Atlantic 1943-1945
  • Normandy 1944
  • English Channel 1944
  • Biscay 1944

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