Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to be ship’s sponsor of HMCS Harry DeWolf

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Navy News / April 18, 2017

Ms. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has agreed to become the sponsor of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf, the lead ship in the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) upcoming class of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels. The RCN made the announcement on April 18, 2017.

The appointment of a ship’s sponsor is a long and storied naval tradition. The function of a sponsor is to be part of the naming of a ship, typically breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow during its naming or launching ceremony. Sponsors are often prominent women who have served their communities in a variety of capacities. Many sponsors continue their relationship with their ship for many years and remain key stakeholders and supportive members of the RCN family.

“The RCN is extremely pleased that Ms. Grégoire Trudeau has accepted our invitation to act as the sponsor of HMCS Harry DeWolf,” says Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Ms. Grégoire Trudeau is a dynamic spokesperson and leader who has worked tirelessly for causes related to women and children, a perfect fit with the RCN’s focus on the wellbeing of our sailors and their families. We are delighted to welcome her into the RCN family and we look forward to a long relationship.”

Ms. Grégoire Trudeau is a volunteer, speaker, and long-time champion for a variety of important causes such as gender empowerment, mental health, self-esteem, and equality issues relating to women and children. She has raised the profile of many causes that focus on the health and well-being of families.

“I am honoured to serve as the sponsor of HMCS Harry DeWolf," says Ms. Grégoire Trudeau. “Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf was a true Canadian hero who is remembered for his legacy of service, courage, and determination. I am confident that this ship, and all those who serve in it, will continue to build on that legacy – one that all Canadians can be very proud of.

“I have great respect for the men and women who serve in the Royal Canadian Navy, and I’m very eager to meet the sailors and their families,” she continues.

Construction of HMCS Harry DeWolf is now underway by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax. The ship is expected to be launched in a naming ceremony that will involve Ms. Grégoire Trudeau in 2018.

All of the RCN’s commissioned ships have sponsors and many prominent women have served, or are currently serving as sponsors, including Ms. Aline Chrétien, the sponsor of HMCS Shawinigan, and Ms. Mila Mulroney, the sponsor of HMCS Halifax, lead ship of the Halifax Class Canadian Patrol Frigates.

The Harry DeWolf Class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels will be large, ice-capable ships, more than 100 metres long, and designed to conduct a variety of missions in Canada’s coastal and continental waters, including in the Arctic. The vessels will be capable of conducting armed sea-borne surveillance, providing government situational awareness of activities and events in these regions. They will also be able to cooperate with partners in the Canadian Armed Forces and other government departments when and where necessary.

Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf was a decorated naval commander in the Second World War. He took part in numerous Atlantic convoy escort duties, in the rescue and evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk after the fall of France in 1940, and was known as a fearless and bold tactician throughout the war. During his 14 months in command of HMCS Haida, VAdm DeWolf led in the sinking of many enemy ships, earning him a Distinguished Service Order for gallantry, and a Distinguished Service Cross for courage and skill in action against German destroyers. In 1956, upon promotion to the rank of Vice-Admiral, he was appointed Chief of the Naval Staff, a position he served in until his retirement in 1960.