HMCS Margaret Brooke

Sub-Lieutenant Margaret Brooke


Sub-Lieutenant Margaret Brooke

An Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) will be named after Margaret Brooke, a Royal Canadian Navy Nursing Sister decorated for gallantry during the Second World War. The actions followed the torpedoing and subsequent sinking of the Newfoundland ferry SS Caribou on October 14, 1942, in the Cabot Strait off Newfoundland.

“Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships are being named after Canadian naval heroes who displayed outstanding leadership and heroism while serving in the navy during wartime,” said Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, who made the announcement April 13, 2015. “It is, in fact, a privilege for our country that Margaret Brooke will lend her name to one of our naval ships, as her courage and self-sacrifice have inspired, and will continue to inspire, generations of Canadian naval personnel for years to come.”

On October 14, 1942, during a crossing of the Cabot Strait off the coast of Newfoundland, the ferry SS Caribou was torpedoed by the German submarine U-69. The ferry sank in five minutes. Fighting for her own survival, Lieutenant-Commander Brooke (who was a Sub-Lieutenant at the time) did everything humanly possible to save the life of her colleague and friend, Nursing Sister Sub-Lieutenant Agnes Wilkie, while both women clung to ropes on a capsized lifeboat. In spite of LCdr Brooke’s heroic efforts to hang on to her with one arm, her friend succumbed to the frigid water.

For this selfless act, LCdr Brooke was named a Member (Military Division) of the Order of the British Empire.

“I am amazed that my actions as a survivor of the sinking of the SS Caribou led the Royal Canadian Navy to my door,” said LCdr Brooke. “I was honoured to learn during a telephone conversation with the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, on April 10, 2015, that a new Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship will carry my name and be known as Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Margaret Brooke.”

In September 2014 Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the forthcoming AOPS would be named to honour prominent Canadians who served with the highest distinction and conspicuous gallantry in the navy. The lead ship was named HMCS Harry DeWolf and the class is known as the Harry DeWolf Class.

The RCN will employ the AOPS to conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canadian waters on all three coasts, including in the Arctic. The AOPS will also be used to support other units of the Canadian Armed Forces in the conduct of maritime-related operations, and to support other government departments in carrying out their mandates, as required.

HMCS Margaret Brooke is now under construction by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia.