Backgrounder: The Future HMCS Harry DeWolf Naming Ceremony

Navy News / October 2, 2018


On September 18, 2014, the Government of Canada announced the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) new class would be known as the Harry DeWolf-class. The future Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf is named in honour of the celebrated wartime Canadian naval hero, Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf.

The Harry DeWolf-class will enhance the RCN’s ability to assert Canadian sovereignty in Arctic and coastal Canadian waters, and support international operations as required.

This is the first time in its 108-year history that the RCN is naming a class after a prominent Canadian Navy figure. The remainder in the class will be named to honour other prominent Royal Canadian Navy heroes who served their country with the highest distinction: Margaret Brooke; Max Bernays; William Hall; and Frédérick Rolette.

The Harry DeWolf-class

The Harry DeWolf-class tasks will include, but are not limited to:

  • Conduct presence and surveillance operations throughout Canada’s waters, including in the Arctic;
  • Support Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in sovereignty operations;
  • Participate in a wide variety of international operations, such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, and international security and stability;
  • Contribute to humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief domestically and internationally;
  • Conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) and provide communications relay to other units, as required;
  • Support CAF core missions, including capacity building in support of other nations; and,
  • Support Other Government Departments (OGD) in their ability to enforce their respective mandates.


First Launch: When a ship is moved from shore to water for the first time. The future HMCS Harry DeWolf was successfully lowered into the water, under controlled circumstances.

Naming Ceremony (formerly known as christening): A key milestone in a warship’s service life, this is the formal occasion when the name is bestowed.

Sponsor: A person selected for her or his relationship to the ship’s namesake or role and who typically maintains a long-term relationship with the ship and ship’s company. As the sponsor of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, Madame Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau will break a bottle of sparkling wine on the ship’s bow to bestow good luck and to offer a brief statement or blessing for the ship and ship’s company.

Acceptance: The acceptance of the future HMCS Harry DeWolf will follow a designated number of trials (approximately one-year long). The Harry DeWolf will undergo rigorous, incremental testing to ensure it meets all requirements.

Commissioning Ceremony: The ceremony, steeped in naval tradition, marks the formal acceptance of a warship into active service as part of the Royal Canadian Navy. At this point the vessel is entitled to the designation Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship.

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