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HMCS Terra Nova (DDE-259)

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HMCS Terra Nova (DDE-259) was a Restigouche-class destroyer escort of the Royal Canadian Navy from 1959 to 1997.

Service History[edit]

Terra Nova, named for the river in Newfoundland and Labrador, was laid down on November 14th 1952 by the Victoria Machinery Depot Co. Ltd in Victoria, British Columbia. The ship was launched on June 21st 1955 and commissioned on June 6th 1959 with the hull number DDE-259.

Following her commissioning, Terra Nova joined the ceremonies for the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in July 1959.

The following year, in August, with sister ships Gatineau, St. Croix and Kootenay, she took part in the 500th anniversary of Prince Henry the Navigator's death off Lisbon. After work ups, the ship was assigned to the Fifth Canadian Escort Squadron.

In March 1961, the destroyer escort was among the ships that took part in a combined naval exercise with the United States Navy off Nova Scotia.

In March 1965, Terra Nova and Gatineau participated in the search for a Royal Canadian Air Force Canadair CP-107 Argus that had disappeared 60 miles (96.56 kilometers) north of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In May, the ship began her IRE refit. As the first to undergo the conversion, Terra Nova tested the new SQS-505 sonar for several months before the refit was considered completed. In all the conversion took ten months to complete. However Terra Nova's sea trials delayed the conversion program by four years. During this period, the ship first transferred from to the Third Canadian Escort Squadron in January 1966, before being transferred to the west coast as part of the re-ordering of naval forces following the Unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968. She was one of four [Restigouche-class vessels that were transferred to the west coast, to replace the Mackenzie-class destroyers in the Second Canadian Escort Squadron.

The ship returned to duty on May 4st 1971 at Esquimalt, British Columbia.

From January 29th to June 26th 1973, Kootenay and Terra Nova were deployed off the coast of Vietnam as part of the Canadian contribution to the International Commission of Control and Supervision following the end of the Vietnam War.

On February 17th 1976, Terra Nova was one of the escorts for HMCS Eagle's first deployment to Cyprus and again in July where it would take part in defending Cyprus during Turkey's attempted invasion.

In November 1981, cracks were found in the superheater headers of Ottawa. Inspections were ordered for the Restigouche-class vessels, of which Terra Nova was found to have similar issues. The ship was repaired and back in service within six months.

In May 1983, the ship made a four-day visit to China on behalf of the Department of External Affairs.

Terra Nova was taken in hand on November 21th 1983 for her DELEX refit, performed at Esquimalt. She returned to service on November 9th 1984.

On August 20th 1989, Terra Nova along with the destroyer Newfoundland and frigate Halifax took part in a NATO exercise in the Caribbean during which they were involved in catching a go-fast boat loaded with 1,300 pounds (589.67 kilograms) of cocaine near Jamaica.

During the Persian Gulf War, Terra Nova was part of the battlegroup centered around Eagle.

In October 1992, Terra Nova began a refit at Port Weller Dry Dock in St. Catharines, Ontario, reentering service in 1993.

On February 22nd 1994, Terra Nova boarded the private vessel MV Pacifico, seizing 5.9 tonnes (5.8 long tons; 6.5 short tons) of cocaine. That same year, Terra Nova was part of the blockade enforcing United Nations resolutions on Haiti from April 28th to July 18th, rescuing two boatloads of refugees during this tour. She returned to blockade duty from September 7th to October 19th.

On July 11th 1997, Terra Nova was taken out of active service and paid off on July 1st 1998. In 1999, the Canadian government had Terra Nova preserved as a museum ship in St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador.

It would be succeeded in name by a fast sealift ship of the same name.

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