Ships sponsor named – Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

Artist’s impression of the Harry Dewolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessel. Photo Credit: Royal Canadian Navy

Artist’s impression of the Harry Dewolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessel. Photo Credit: Royal Canadian Navy


The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has annouced that Sophie Grégoire Trudeau has agreed to become the sponsor of HMCS Harry DeWolf, the lead ship in the RCN’s upcoming class of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships.

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.

Grégoire Trudeau is a volunteer, speaker, and long-time champion for causes such as gender empowerment, mental health, self-esteem, 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,” said Grégoire Trudeau. “I am confident 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.”

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 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 Aline Chrétien, the sponsor of HMCS Shawinigan; and Mila Mulroney, the sponsor of HMCS Halifax, lead ship of the Halifax Class Canadian Patrol Frigates.

About the AOPS

The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships will be large, ice-capable ships, more than 100 metres long, and designed to conduct a variety of missions in Canada’s 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 to assert and enforce Canadian sovereignty, when and where necessary.

Who was DeWolf?

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.

The names of five of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels have been announced to-date, each one named after Canadian naval heroes: HMCS Harry DeWolf, HMCS Margaret Brooke, HMCS Max Bernays, HMCS William Hall, and HMCS Frédérick Rolette.

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