April 29th is getting closer


Laid down: 31 Oct 1940
Launched: 15 Nov 1941
Commissioned: 03 Feb 1943
Fate: Sunk 29 Apr 1944

Commissioned on 03 Feb 1943 at Newcastle-on-Tyne and assigned to the British Home Fleet, Athabaskan left on 29 Mar 1943 to patrol the Iceland-Faeroes Passage for blockade runners. Stress of weather caused hull damage that required five weeks’ repairs at South Shields, U.K., following which, in Jun 1943, she took part in Operation Gearbox III, the relief of the garrison at Spitsbergen. On 18 Jun 1943 she collided with the boom defence vessel Bargate at Scapa Flow, occasioning a month’s repair at Devonport. In Jul and Aug 1943 she was based at Plymouth, carrying out A/S patrols in the Bay of Biscay, and on 27 Aug 1943 was hit by a glider bomb off the Spanish coast. She managed to reach Devonport, where she remained under repair until 10 Nov 1943; returning to Scapa Flow in Dec 1943.

Convoys escorted during WW II

Convoy Desig.
Convoy Departs from
Arrives at
Join as escort
Depart Convoy
Loch Ewe (12 Dec 1943)
Archangel (22 Dec 1943)
15 Dec 1943
21 Dec 1943
Kola Inlet (22 Dec 1943)
Loch Ewe (01 Jan 1944)
23 Dec 1944
28 Dec 1944
WP.SP 18
Milford Haven (23 Jan 1944)
Portsmouth (25 Jan 1944)
23 Jan 1944
25 Jan 1944

In Feb 1944, she rejoined Plymouth Command and was assigned to the newly formed 10th Destroyer Flotilla. On 26 Apr 1944 she assisted in the destruction of German torpedo boat T 29 in the Channel off Ushant, and three days later was sunk by a torpedo from T24 north of the Ile de Bas. Her captain and 128 men were lost, 83 taken prisoner, and 44 rescued by Haida.

The wreckage of HMCS Athabaskan was located near the island of Batz in the English Channel. She was found by Jacques Ouchakoff, a French marine historian in 2002 in 90 metres of water. Ottawa Branch member Paul Bender is devoted to protecting RCN shipwrecks and their contents. As direct result of his work, and petitioning the government of France with respect to Athabaskan, the French government has placed the wreck, which is in French territorial waters, under the protection of the French Heritage Code, which provides legal protection of the wreck and its contents.

6 thoughts on “April 29th is getting closer

    1. In 2009 I didn’t know HMCS Athabaskan had ever existed let alone my wife’s uncle was aboard on April 29th, 1944.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s