Canada Names Its New AOPS

An Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) will be named after Margaret Brooke, a Royal Canadian Navy Nursing Sister decorated for gallantry during the Second World War.

The actions followed the torpedoing and subsequent sinking of the Newfoundland ferry SS Caribou on October 14, 1942, in the  off Newfoundland.

Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, said:

Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships are being named after Canadian naval heroes who displayed outstanding leadership and heroism while serving in the navy during wartime.

On October 14, 1942, during a crossing of the Cabot Strait off the coast of Newfoundland, the ferry SS Caribou was torpedoed by the German submarine U-69. The ferry sank in five minutes. Fighting for her own survival, Lieutenant-Commander Brooke did everything possible to save the life of her colleague and friend, Nursing Sister Sub-Lieutenant Agnes Wilkie, while both women clung to ropes on a capsized lifeboat. In spite of LCdr Brooke’s efforts to hang on to her with one arm, her friend succumbed to the frigid water.

For this act, LCdr Brooke was named a Member (Military Division) of the Order of the British Empire.

In September 2014 Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the forthcoming AOPS will be named to honour prominent Canadians who served with the highest distinction and conspicuous gallantry in the navy. The lead ship was named HMCS Harry DeWolf and the class is known as the Harry DeWolf Class. As noted, a second ship will be known as HMCS Margaret Brooke, while the other four AOPS names will be announced in the near future.

The RCN will employ the AOPS to conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canadian waters on all three coasts, including in the Arctic. The AOPS will also be used to support other units of the Canadian Armed Forces in the conduct of maritime-related operations, and to support other government departments in carrying out their mandates, as required.

Image: Canadian Navy

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