Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has officially 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 is extremely pleased that Ms. Grégoire Trudeau has accepted our invitation to act as the sponsor of HMCS Harry DeWolf. 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 well-being of our sailors and their families. We are delighted to welcome her into the RCN family, and we look forward to a long relationship,” said VAdm. Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
The RCN has a long and storied history of appointing a ship sponsor. As a sponsor, Trudeau will be part of the naming of HMCS Harry DeWolf by breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow during its naming or launching ceremony.
All current RCN commissioned ships have sponsors. Some of these sponsors include 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.
Sponsors are often women who have served their community in some capacity. Trudeau was chosen for her work as a volunteer, speaker, and champion of gender empowerment, mental health, self-esteem causes and equality issues relating to women and children.
“I am honoured to serve as the sponsor of HMCS Harry DeWolf. 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 on 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,” said Ms. Trudeau.
Construction of the HMCS Harry DeWolf is currently underway by the Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax. The ship is expected to be launched sometime in 2018.
As an Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel, the HMCS Harry DeWolf, and the other ships of its class, will be large, ice-capable ships more than 100 metres long. The vessels are also said to be capable of conducting armed sea-borne surveillance.
HMCS Harry DeWolf is named after VAdm. Harry DeWolf, a decorated naval commander in the Second World War. He took part in a number of Atlantic convoy escort duties and the rescue and evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk in 1940. VAdm. DeWolf led his sailors in the sinking of many enemy ships during his 14-month command of HMCS Haida, leading him to earn a Distinguished Service Order for gallantry, and a Distinguished Service Cross for courage and skill in action against German destroyers. Later in his career, DeWolf served as Chief of the Naval Staff.
The names of five of the six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels have been announced, and each one is named after a Canadian naval hero: MCS Harry DeWolf, HMCS Margaret Brooke, HMCS Max Bernays, HMCS William Hall, and HMCS Frédérick Rolette.