HMCS Coquitlam

A naval ship on the water.

HMCS Cranbrook sister-ship of Coquitlam

There has been only one vessel named Coquitlam in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Coquitlam (J364)

With the entry of Japan and the United States into the Second World War in 1941, Naval authorities on the west coast were faced with the likelihood of Japanese submarine and mining activities for the first time. It was recognized that the existing steel-hulled Bangor, Suderoy and Fundy Class minesweepers were only partially adequate against magnetic mines, degaussing being difficult and not completely effective. Smaller wooden minesweepers, which could be more easily degaussed, were ordered instead – eight for the west coast and two for the east coast. Coquitlam, one of the ten wooden-hulled Llewellyn Class minesweepers, was built by the Newcastle Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Nanaimo, British Columbia, and was commissioned there 25 July 1944. She was equipped with “double-L” magnetic minesweeping gear. She was employed on the west coast mainly as a patrol vessel, alternating between Esquimalt Force and Prince Rupert Force until the end of 1945.

In 1944 and 1945, her main duties were patrolling Area C, which was comprised of the Chatham Sound, Lucy Islands, Whitly Point, Chismore Passage, Big Bay, as well as small craft examination. Often on these patrols, Massett was the first stop and Coquitlam would deliver stores, personnel, mail etc. Coquitlam would also carry out different training exercises such as machine gun shoots and having the entire ships company exercised with rifles. On 8 May 1945, while berthed at Port Simpson, the crew was invited to take part in a Victory-in-Europe Celebration – the entire crew marched and participated in a memorial service for the men of this town who were lost during the European War.

Coquitlam was paid off 30 November 1945, handed over to the War Assets Corporation 5 December 1945 and sold in 1946 to the Anticosti Shipping Company. A letter dated 21 February 1947, from the shipping company, states that she was converted and renamed Wilcox and would be running from Gaspé, Québec, to Anticosti Island, Québec, carrying bushmen and a small quantity of freight for the Island. In the following years, the company operated her between the ports of Gaspé and Rivière-aux-Renards and the Island and she serviced the salmon fishing camps and lighthouses all around Anticosti.  The Wilcox went aground at Carleton Point, Anticosti Island, on 17 June 1954. Her hull is still there as salvage attempts in 1967 failed. 

There is no known photo of Coquitlam during her naval service; a photo of her sister-ship Cranbrook has been used.

  • Displacement: 228 tons
  • Dimensions: 36.4 m x 6.7 m x 2.6 m
  • Speed: 12 knots
  • Crew: 23
  • Armament: four 12.7-mm machine-guns (2 x II)
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