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HMCS Athabaskan (R79)
HMCS Athabaskan AWM P05890.060.jpeg
HMCS Athabaskan circa. August 1951 - February 1952, probably in Korean waters.
Career (Canada) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.png
Name: HMCS Athabaskan
Namesake: HMCS Athabaskan (G07)
Ordered: 1940
Builder: Halifax Shipyards
Laid down: 15 May 1944
Launched: 4 May 1945
Commissioned: 12 January 1947
Identification: Pennant number: R79, later DDE219
Motto: "We Fight as One"
Nickname: Athabaskan II
Honours and
awards:
Korea 1950-53
Fate: Sold for scrapping, 1969
General characteristics
Class & type: Tribal-class destroyer
Displacement: 1,850 tons (standard),
2,520 tons (full)
Length: 377 ft (114.9 m)
Beam: 37.5 ft (11.4 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: 3 x Admiralty 3-drum boilers, steam turbines, 2 shafts, 44,000 shp
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h)
Range: 5,700 nautical miles (10,600 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
524 tons oil
Complement: 190 (219 as leader)
Armament:

8 - 4 in L/45 QF Mk.XVI guns, 4 x twin mounting HA Mk.XIX
1 x twin 40 mm Bofors mount Mk.V
4 x single 40 mm Bofors mount Mk.III
1 x tubes for 21-inch (530 mm) torpedoes Mk.IX

1 x rack, 2 x throwers for depth charges

HMCS Athabaskan was the second destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy to bear the name "Athabaskan", after the many tribes throughout western Canada that speak Athabaskan family languages. Both this ship and the original HMCS Athabaskan were Tribal-class destroyers and thus this one became known as Athabaskan II.

Built too late to see action in the North Atlantic, Athabaskan served in the Korean War and played an important role in Canadian postwar naval reform following a crew protest in 1949.

Construction[]

Athabaskan was built at Halifax Shipyards in May 1945, one of four Tribal-class destroyers built in Halifax during World War II.

Operational history[]

1949 'mutiny'[]

On 26 February 1949, when the Athabaskan was on fueling stop at Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, ninety leading seamen and below – constituting more than half the ship's company – locked themselves in their messdecks, and refused to come out until getting the captain to hear their grievances.

The captain acted with great sensitivity to defuse the crisis, entering the mess for an informal discussion of the sailors' grievances and carefully avoiding using the term "mutiny" which could have had severe legal consequences for the sailors involved. Specifically, while talking with the disgruntled crew members, the captain is known to have placed his cap over a written list of demands which could have been used as legal evidence of a mutiny, pretending not to notice it.[citation needed]

At nearly the same time, similar incidents happened on HMCS Crescent at Nanjing, China, and on the carrier HMCS Magnificent in the Caribbean, both of whose captains acted similarly to that of the Athabaskan.[1]

Korean War[]

Athabaskan operated during the Korean War, earning the battle honour "Korea 1950-53"

Decommissioning and fate[]

Athabaskan was sold for scrapping in 1969.

Notes[]

  1. Dr Richard Gimblett, Research Fellow with Dalhousie University's Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, "Dissension in the Ranks, 'Mutinies' in the Royal Canadian Navy" [1]

References[]

  • Brice, Martin H. (1971). The Tribals. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0245-2. 
  • English, John (2001ISBN 0-905617-95-0). Afridi to Nizam: British Fleet Destroyers 1937–43. Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society. 


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