Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Iroquois (DDG 280)

HMCS Iroquois

Corporal Shawn M. Kent

HMCS Iroquois (centre forward), HMCS Regina (left) and HMNZS Te Mana sail in a diamond formation in the Arabian Gulf in May 2003 during Operation APOLLO, Canada’s contribution to the international campaign against terrorism following the attacks of September 11, 2001.


First of her class, she was built by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel and commissioned on 29 July 1972.  In 1978, a fairly typical year for the period, she took part in exercises off Portugal, with French units in the Bay of Biscay, and with German units off the coast of Denmark, returning home on 7 July after logging some 14,300 nautical miles.  On 4 December 1983, while on fishery patrol off the Grand Banks, Iroquois answered a SOS from the Panamanian-registered Ho Ming 5, in danger of capsizing owing to shifting cargo.  In gale-force winds, the destroyer’s Sea King took off eleven of the twenty-man crew, the remaining nine being rescued by her Zodiacs. Eighteen of her ship’s company were decorated for their bravery during the episode. She underwent her TRUMP refit between 1 November 1989 and 3 July 1992.  Between 25 September 1993 and 25 April 1994 served with the blockading force off the former Yugoslavia.  She was appointed flagship of Maritime Operations Group 1 (MOG 1) on 17 June 1995.  Maritime Operations Group 1 left Halifax on 22 February 1996 and headed south for exercises, stopping in Grenada where she played host to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and a number of Caribbean heads of state.  August 1998 saw Iroquois replace Athabaskan as flagship of the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic (SNFL).  She returned to Halifax on 15 December.  On 21 March 2000, Iroquois, as a member of a Canadian Task Group, left Halifax and headed south for spring exercises.  While enroute south, news arrived that the bulk carrier Leader L had gone down some 700 kilometres northeast of Bermuda.  The task group was re-directed to offer assistance.  When all was said and done, 13 survivors were picked up along with six bodies, 12 sailors were missing.  Iroquois dropped the survivors and bodies in Bermuda before rejoining the task group.  On 17 October 2001, with Charlottetown and Preserver, Iroquois departed Halifax for the Arabian Sea to support a U.S.- led coalition against international terrorism.

Returning to Halifax on 27 April 2002, in the course of that 193-day deployment, she spent 171 days at sea, 51 of them consecutively, one of the longest continuous patrols in the history of the RCN.  Soon after departing Halifax for a second deployment to the Arabian Sea, on 27 February 2003 she suffered a Sea King crash on deck, fortunately without serious injuries.  Upon arriving in the Arabian Sea, she served as the flagship of the multi-national Task Force 151 March-July 2003.  She made a third deployment to the Arabian Sea as flagship of the multi-national Task Force 150, June-September 2008.  In her last years of service, she performed two major representational voyages: to Baltimore MD in June 2012 for the War of 1812 Bicentennial; and to Liverpool UK in May 2013 for the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Iroquois formally was paid off on 1 May 2015, remaining at Halifax awaiting disposal.


Quick Facts

  • Builder:                 Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Que.   
  • Laid down:            15 January 1969
  • Launched:             28 November 1970
  • Commissioned:     29 July 1972
  • Paid off:                01 May 2015


Commanding Officers

  • Cdr                  D. N. MacGillivray                                29/07/72-24/03/75
  • Cdr                  G. G. Freill                                          24/03/75-04/05/77
  • Cdr                  R. E. George                                       04/05/77-30/06/79
  • Cdr                  E. K. Kelly                                          01/07/79-16/04/81
  • Cdr                  L. G. Mason                                        16/03/81-30/06/82
  • Cdr                  G. L. Garnett                                      30/06/82-13/01/83
  • Cdr                  L. E. Murray                                       18/04/83-04/01/85
  • Cdr                  B. R. Brown                                        04/01/85-25/06/86
  • Cdr                  P. Ballard                                           25/06/86-10/10/88
  • LCdr                G. Romanow                                       15/07/90-05/08/91
  • Cdr                  L. J. Edmunds                                     05/08/91-29/07/94
  • Cdr                  R. Girouard                                         29/07/94-07/07/96
  • Cdr                  A.G. Munroe                                       07/07/96-13/02/98
  • Capt (N)           S.E. King                                           13/02/98-07/07/99
  • Capt (N)           L.D. Sweeney                                     07/07/09-26/01/01
  • Capt (N)           C.L. Mofford                                      26/01/01-28/06/02
  • Capt (N)           P.A. Maddison                                    28/06/02-14/07/04
  • LCdr                R.V. Lambert                                      14/07/04-16/08//05
  • Capt (N)          D.M. MacKeigan                                  16/08/05-29/06/07
  • Capt (N)          B. Ryan                                              29/06/07-09/01/09
  • Cdr                 R. Brisson                                           09/01/09-21/07/10
  • LCdr               J. Allen                                               21/07/10-08/12/10
  • Cdr                 J.M. Hamilton                                      08/12/10-18/01/13
  • Cdr                 M. Coates                                          18/01/13-02/10/14
  • Cdr                 R.J. Watt                                           03/10/14-01/05/15



The first ship in the RCN to bear the name Iroquois was a Tribal-Class destroyer, built in the United Kingdom and commissioned in 1942 (she was a sister ship to HMCS Haida which is preserved as a museum ship in Hamilton, Ontario).  During the Second World War, she saw much action while attached to the British Home Fleet, variously escorting convoys to Gibraltar and to Murmansk (Russia), and in patrolling the Bay of Biscay after the D-Day invasion.  Returning to Canada after the war, she was extensively modified to anti-submarine destroyer-escort standard and re-commissioned in time to perform two tours of duty in the Korean War.  She was paid off in 1962.


Battle Honours

Following RCN tradition, the battle honours earned by the first-of-name Iroquois have been perpetuated by the present ship of that name, which has herself earned a theatre honour for operations in the Arabian Sea.  These honours would all be perpetuated to any future ship of this name.

  • ATLANTIC, 1943
  • ARCTIC, 1943-45
  • BISCAY, 1943-44
  • NORWAY, 1945
  • KOREA, 1952-53




Image Gallery