HMCS Wolf – Second World War Armed Yacht

by John MacFarlane 2016


HMCS Wolf (Photo from the MacFarlane collection. )

In 1915 she was built in Neponset MA USA by George Langley & Son Corp. 172 feet. In 1917 she was serving in the USN as the USS Wenonah (SP–165). In 1919 she was transferred to the US Department of Commerce Coast & Geodetic Survey. In 1922 she was transferred to the US Navy for the 13th Naval District on the west coast and in 1928 she was removed from the Navy List.

In 1929 she was owned as a yacht by H.W. Goodall, Santa Barbara CA as Stranger. In 1929c she was owned by Mrs. Marian Huntingdon, San Francisco CA and she later sold the vessel to the RCN.

She was purchased in the name of E.A. Riddell by the Royal Canadian Navy to be used as an armed yacht. She operated simply as Wolf and then in 1940 she was commissioned as H.M.C.S. Wolf a "Canadian Naval Yacht, Armed", on training and patrol duty. In 1940–1945 she was attached to the Esquimalt Defence Force. In 1943 she was serving as an Examination Vessel. In 1945 she was paid–off, sold and she was renamed as the Gulf Stream.

She was armed with a twelve pounder gun mounted on the bow, depth charges, machine guns and a one inch anti–aircraft "pom–pom" gun (for gunnery training purposes). She carried classes of seamen for sea time training in the Juan de Fuca Strait. At the outbreak of War she carried out patrols of the mouth of the Fraser River under the Commanding Officer Auxiliary vessels.

She was declared surplus on May 16, 1945 and sold in 1946 to the Gulf Lines Ltd. of Vancouver BC. In 1947 she was re–engined and re–built for conversion to passenger and small freight trade. On 11/10/1947 she was wrecked off Powell River BC on Dinner Rock resulting in 5 dead.

A/B George R. MacFarlane RCNR

Able–Seaman George R. MacFarlane RCNR 1940. At this time there were no cap tallies for smaller vessels and personnel wore a generic one (ostensibly for security reasons so the name of their ship would not be obvious to enemy agents). This was probably a mask for the lack of dedicated named tallies. (Photo from the MacFarlane collection. )

My father, then Able–Seaman George R. MacFarlane RCNR, served in the Wolf (before and after she was commissioned) from 01/07/1940 to 01/10/1940, as a Quartermaster. He carried on then in HMCS Wolf from 02/10/1940 to 18/10/1940 as Quartermaster and as Sight Setter on the 12 pounder gun under command of Lieutenant J.A. Gow RCNR.

He noted that depth charge racks were constructed and installed (probably by Yarrows Ltd.). When HMCS Wolf (another West Coast–based armed yacht) was only allowed one depth charge for trials. "It misfired", my father stated in a note, "due to the incompetence of whomever installed the primer."

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2016) HMCS Wolf: Second World War Armed Yacht 2016.

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