HMCS St. Laurent

There have been two vessels named HMCS St. Laurent in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS St. Laurent (1st of name) (H83)

The “C” Class destroyer HMS Cygnet was purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy and commissioned at Chatham, England on 17 February 1937 as HMCS St. Laurent. She arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 8 April, and later sailed for Esquimalt, British Columbia. Shortly after war was declared, she returned to the east coast and, for several months, escorted convoys on the first leg of their transatlantic journey. On 24 May 1940, she was assigned to Western Approaches at Plymouth, United Kingdom, playing a brief role in the evacuation of France. On 2 July 1940, she rescued 860 survivors from the torpedoed liner Arandora Star.

In 1941, HMCS St. Laurent joined Newfoundland Command as a mid-ocean escort. During this period, “Sally”, as she was nicknamed, assisted in the destruction of two U-boats: U-356 and U-845. In May 1944, she was transferred to Escort Group 11 for invasion duties. She then returned home for major repairs, and remained in Canadian waters as a member of Halifax Force. Following Victory in Europe-Day, she was employed in transporting troops from Newfoundland to Canada. HMCS St. Laurent was paid off on 10 October 1945 at Sydney, Nova Scotia and broken up in 1947.

HMCS St. Laurent (2nd of name) (205)

First of the trend-setting class of "Cadillacs," the destroyer HMCS St. Laurent was commissioned on 29 October 1955. In February of 1956, she proceeded to the United States Trials Centre at Key West, Florida for three months' evaluation, after which she visited Washington and then the United Kingdom, and during the latter excursion escorted HMY Britannia on a state visit to Sweden.

On 2 February 1960, HMCS St. Laurent, by then stationed on the west coast, departed Esquimalt with two of her sister ships on a two and a half month Pacific cruise, visiting Long Beach, Pearl Harbour, Yokosuka, Okinawa and Hong Kong. She was later test-fitted with Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) prior to being converted to a destroyer helicopter. Re-commissioned on 4 October 1963, she returned to the east coast.

HMCS St. Laurent and her sister ships dominated the Canadian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare role during the Cold War. Paid off on 14 June 1974, the ageing ship remained in Halifax as a source of spare parts for her sisters. On 1 January 1980, she left under tow for Brownsville, Texas to be broken up, but on the 12th foundered in a gale off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Motto: “Ever on Guard”

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