HMCS Kootenay

A ship on the water.

HMCS Kootenay H75.

There have been two vessels named Kootenay in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Kootenay (1st of the name) (H75)

This “D” Class destroyer was completed in 1933 as HMS Decoy, and at the outbreak of the war was with the 21st Destroyer Flotilla, East Indies Fleet. Decoy was reassigned in May 1940 to the Mediterranean Fleet, and on 13 November was damaged by bombs at Alexandria, requiring a ten-week repair at Malta. She took part in the evacuation of Greece and Crete, and in the supply run to Tobruk, Lybia. On 12 April 1943, she was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as Kootenay, and after working up at Tobermory, Scotland, was assigned to Escort Group C-5, Mid Ocean Escort Force. She was present on D-Day. In succeeding months, she carried out patrols in the Channel and the Bay of Biscay, and took part in the sinking of the German submarines U-678, U-621 and U-984. She sailed for Canada, in mid-September 1944 for a refit, returning to the United Kingdom in the spring of 1945. Following workups at Tobermory, she operated out of Plymouth, England, until the end of May, then returned home, where she made six round trips as a troop transport between Newfoundland and Quebec City. She was paid off into reserve at Sydney, Nova Scotia on 26 October 1945 and in 1946 was sold for scrapping.

A ship travelling on the water.

HMCS Kootenay 258.

HMCS Kootenay (2nd of the name) (258)

First of the Restigouche class destroyer escorts to be launched, Kootenay was commissioned on 7 March 1959. After working up, she was transferred to the east coast. She was one of two Canadian warships escorting HMY Britannia, when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth opened the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. On 23 October 1969, while in European waters, she suffered a gearbox explosion that killed nine crewmembers and injured 53 others. It was the Royal Canadian Navy's worst-ever peacetime accident. While she was under repairs, it was decided to convert her to an Improved Restigouche Escort, in which guise she was re-commissioned on 7 January 1972. Transferred to the west coast, she arrived in Esquimalt, British Columbia on 12 February 1973 where she was assigned to the Second Squadron. From 3 to 7 June 1990, Kootenay visited Vladivostok as part of a Canadian Task Group, the first to do so since the Second World War. In the summer of 1994, she took part in enforcing United Nations sanctions against Haiti. Her final trip found her off Cape Horn during a two-month naval exercise called UNITAS. On 18 December 1995, she was paid off and, on 6 November 2000, towed out of Esquimalt to be sunk as an artificial reef off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Badge of HMCS Kootenay.

Badge of HMCS Kootenay.

Motto: “We are as One”

Battle honours

  • Atlantic 1943-1945
  • Normandy 1944
  • English Channel 1944
  • Biscay 1944
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