HMCS Athabaskan - G07

Commissioned in 1943, HMCS Athabaskan was constructed in Britain and never saw Canada during the one year she spent in service. As a Tribal-class destroyer, she had one of the most powerful designs of the era’s destroyers and was one of the heaviest-gunned of the class.
Though known as the “Unlucky Lady” for damage she received during construction, several other incidents in her short career suited the nickname, including attacks, accidents, and her eventual untimely sinking.

On her first mission patrolling the Iceland-Faeroes starting 29 March 1943, she took hull damage from the stress of the weather and needed five weeks repair. On 18 June 1943 she collided with the boom defense vessel Bargate. On 27 August 1943 after a stint of anti-submarine patrols in the Bay of Biscay over the summer, she was hit by a German glider bomber off the Spanish coast. Though she made it to Devonport, repairs kept her there until 10 November 1943 - nearly two and a half months.

In February 1944 she was assigned to the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, with whom she sank the Elbing T-29 (a German torpedo boat) on the 26 April 1944 that year. She would be sunk herself only three days later by Elbing T-24 on 29 April 1944.

The Athabaskan and the Haida were escorting minelayers in the English Channel when HQ Plymouth alerted them of T-24 and T-27 steaming towards them. Though the Haida fired a starshell and both RCN ships opened fire, the Germans fired torpedoes and departed at top speed.
HMCS Haida, unharmed, pursued and gave cover fire, while the Athabaskan was settling rapidly despite damage control. She was then hit by a second torpedo which blew up a magazine and one boiler. The resulting fire could be seen 30 miles away, and the order was given to abandon ship.

In the meantime, the Haida had damaged T-24 to the point of retreat and run T-27 into rocks, an action that would win its Gunnery Director Officer Lt-Cdr. Charles Mawer (a long-time NMA director) a DCS. The Haida returned to the Athabaskan to find it had sunk.
Though it lowered nets and rafts, the wind was blowing the Haida towards a potential minefield. With dawn breaking came the additional threat of Luftwaffe retaliation, and the Haida was forced to leave with only a fraction of the Athabaskan’s crew. 127 men including the captain were lost, 42 were rescued by HMCS Haida, and 85 were taken as German prisoners.

The wreckage of the Athabaskan was found in 2002 by French marine historian Jacques Ouchakoff near L'île de Batz in the English Channel. It has since been put under the protection of the French Heritage Code.

Reference Links:
Government of Canada - HMCS Athabaskan
For Posterity's Sake - HMCS Athabaskan