HMCS Prince David - F89

Formerly a Canadian National Steamships liner, HMCS Prince David was purchased on 19 December 1939, put under extensive conversions and officially commissioned on 28 December 1940 as an Armed Merchant vessel. She was named after David E. Galloway, a vice president of Canadian National Steamships.

She left Halifax on 12 January 1941 for Bermuda with the task of escorting out of the West Indies, where the crew quickly learned of their ship’s tendency to roll. It had done so as a luxury liner but proved problematic and potentially deadly for a gunner. She was placed under the Royal Navy’s America and West Indies Station for the remainder of 1941. 

After Pearl Harbor, the Princes were sent to BC for refitting and stationed in Esquimalt to protect shipping routes and the coastal area. Their presence also had the psychological role of reassuring the public during a turbulent time. During her refit, Prince David participated in the filming of a movie, The Commando’s Strike at Dawn, from 24 – 27 July 1942.

The Prince David and her sisters were also involved in American convoys to the Alaskan Isles and mainland, fearing Japanese invasion. However, their bulk and poor maneuverability forced them to stay with slow convoys despite their capability for high speed in clear waters. She served under USN control in the Aleutian campaign from August to November 1942. 

In March 1943, the Prince David was paid off, and her and the Prince Henry were converted to Infantry Landing Ships for D-Day. Each could carry up to 550 infantry troops. On 6 June 1944, the Prince David carried 418 Canadian and British troops to the landing beaches of Normandy.

After D-Day, Prince David joined Operation Dragoon, taking part in the invasion of Southern France on 15 August 1944. She served in the Mediterranean until she was damaged by a mine off the coast of Greek island Aegina on 10 December 1944. She saw no further service until she was paid off on 11 June 1945. She was purchased by Charlton Steam Shipping Co. in September 1946 and used for shipping by the British until further conversions made her serviceable as a passenger carrier. However, due to her condition from the events of the war and neglect afterwards, and after running aground twice (once in Bermuda and once in Alaska) and striking a mine  in the Mediterranean that blew a 17-foot hole in her hull, she was broken up in 1951 in Swansea.

Reference Links:
Ready Aye Ready - HMCS Prince David
For Posterity's Sake - HMCS Prince David
Government of Canada - Prince Ships Book
Silver Hawk Author - Royal Canadian Navy Armed Merchant Cruisers