Backgrounder – The Legacy of the Protecteur-class Names

On September 12, 2017, the Royal Canadian Navy announced that the future Joint Support Ships (JSS) will be renamed as the Protecteur class as a tribute to the dedication and sacrifices of the generations of sailors who served in the past ships of the former Protecteur-class. This decision enables the new JSS to carry the battle honours of the ships that came before them. The first JSS will take the name HMCS Protecteur, and will be the lead ship of the class, and the second will be named HMCS Preserver.

Providing vital fuel, support and supplies to ships, sailors and civilians on hundreds of missions during and since the Second World War, the previous ship named Protecteur, and the two ships that carried the name Preserver built a rich legacy through a history of duty to Canadians and international peace and order that earned the respect of Canadians, navies and nations around the world.

The two new JSS will carry on this legacy and, in addition to providing fuel and supplies, will possess enhanced communications, radar, and surveillance technology that will enable them to provide support to operations in high-threat environments.

In addition to carrying the battle honours of both ships, the forthcoming Protecteur and Preserver will also preserve the memory of their namesakes by carrying on their respective mottos.

HMCS Protecteur

There has been one ship previously named HMCS Protecteur, an Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ship with the hull number 509, in the RCN. It was commissioned at Saint John in 1969 and served Canada faithfully for 46 years.

Career Highlights

  • 1973: Joined the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic, the first time an Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ship was assigned to this fleet.
  • 1990: Participated in Operation FRICTION, Canada’s contribution to the economic embargo of Iraq following that country’s invasion of Kuwait.
  • 1992: Provided aid to victims of Hurricane Andrew in Florida.
  • 1999: Joined the multinational forces responding to the crisis in East Timor.
  • 2002: Served in Operation APOLLO, Canada's military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism.

Returning to Esquimalt from one such deployment, on February 27, 2014, Protecteur suffered a major engine room fire that disabled the ship, causing her to be towed first into Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and then to Esquimalt, B.C., to be paid off in 2015.

Motto

"Soutien avec Courage" (Support with Courage)

Battle Honours

  • Gulf and Kuwait
  • Arabian Sea

HMCS Preserver

There have been two vessels named Preserver in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

The first Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Preserver, hull number F94, was built in 1941-1942 at Sorel, Que. It served as a depot ship throughout the war off of both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The ship was paid off and sold to the Peruvian Navy in 1946.

The second HMCS Preserver, an Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ship with the hull number 510, was commissioned at Saint John, N.B., in 1969 and served the country with distinction for 47 years.

Career Highlights

  • 1974 and 1975: Served in the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.
  • 1994 and 1995: Served in the multinational force carrying out sanctions against the former Yugoslavia.
  • 1998: Was one of the fleet units that took part in the Swiss Air disaster recovery operation off Nova Scotia.
  • 2001: Along with HMC Ships Charlottetown and Iroquois, served in the Arabian Sea in support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, the US-led response to the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Motto

"Le Coeur de la Flotte" (The heart of the fleet)

Battle Honours

  • Arabian Sea