The WWII Conning Tower Flag off HMCS Iroquois
The WWII Conning Tower Flag off HMCS Iroquois - This flag is fabricated from a very thin but tough cotton weave, in white, red and navy blue. The Union Jack in the upper left corner and the main red naval cross are individual pieces, along with the four white rectangular fields, all are sewn together to form the flag. There is a white reinforcing patch sewn in the lower left corner beside the spine, the hoist sleeve in a thick white canvas and stitched to the body of the flag, with a durable cotton twine fed through it, the twine stitched to the sleeve at its entry points, with rotating metal clips at either end for line attachment. The front of the sleeve is marked "IROQUOIS" in white lettering and stamped "BOAT SWAIN" and "4" in red ink near the top edge. The flag measures 890 mm x 1,620 mm, exhibiting napping and scattered holes throughout, with overall soiling evident, better than fine. Footnote: This flag was brought back to Canada by a veteran of the Second World War, Lieutenant Allan Sargent Raney, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. The flag flew from the conning tower of HMCS Iroquois, the raised platform from which an officer can "conn" the vessel, as in giving directions to the helmsman. Being so high up, the tower gave the conning team good visibility of the entirety of their ship, of ocean conditions and of other vessels. HMCS Iroquois was a Tribal-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War and the Korean War, named for the Iroquois First Nations. She was the first ship to bear the name and the first ship of the class to serve with the Royal Canadian Navy. HMS Iroquois was ordered on April 5, 1940, as part of the 1940 shipbuilding programme. She was laid down on September 19, 1940 by Vickers-Armstrong at Newcastle on Tyne in the United Kingdom and launched on September 23, 1941. HMCS Iroquois was originally laid down as HMCS Athabaskan, however, due to bomb damage, she and her sister ship were forced to switch names. She was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Newcastle on Tyne on November 30, 1942 but was not completed until January 30, 1943. Following her completion, HMCS Iroquois made a trip to Canada and back, suffering storm damage and requiring repairs, this taking until June 1943 at Plymouth, England. After returning to active duty, she was used as a convoy escort on Gibraltar convoys. On one such convoy, while escorting three troopships, they were attacked by three German Focke-Wulf Fw 200 aircraft on July 11, 1943, resulting in two of the troopships being sunk. HMCS Iroquois rescued 628 survivors from SS Duchess of York. That same month, an event termed an "incident" in official reports occurred and according to the inquiry afterwards, a large section of the ship's company refused to perform their duties. Following her return to the United Kingdom, she was assigned to escort convoys heading to the Soviet Union over the following months. In February 1944, she sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to undergo a refit that would keep her out of action until June. HMCS Iroquois returned to the United Kingdom and was assigned to the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, in preparation for the Invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After D-Day, she carried out patrols of the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. During this period, she took part in many operations, including Kinetic, the objective of which was to eliminate the German Navy (Kreigsmarine) all along the French Atlantic ports, taking part in three actions including the Battle of Audierne Bay in August 1944. HMCS Iroquois was often assigned to escort capital ships and troopships, until rejoining the Home Fleet in March 1945 at Scapa Flow, after which she escorted one more convoy to the Soviet Union and remaining part of the Home Fleet until the surrender of Nazi Germany. Following the surrender, she was part of Crown Prince Olav's return to Norway after its liberation and then sailed on to Copenhagen, Denmark, where she was an escort to German cruisers Prinz Eugen and Nürnberg until their formal surrender. HMCS Iroquois returned to Canada and began tropicalization refit, which was halted upon the surrender of Japan and was then paid off on February 22, 1946. Beginning in 1947, HMCS Iroquois underwent conversion to a destroyer escort, the first of her class to undergo the alterations. The changes involved her 4.7-inch main armanent being replaced with 4-inch guns in the "A" and "B' turret positions, and in the "X" a twin 3-inch mount was installed and in the "Y" site, two Squid anti-submarine mortars were situated. Other alterations included an aluminum lattice with new radar. She emerged from her refit on June 24, 1949 and was recommissioned as a training ship. Upon the outbreak of the Korean War, HMCS Iroquois served off the Korean coast, commanded by William Landymore, serving three tours. The first tour occurred between June 12 to November 26, 1952 and it was during this tour, on October 2nd, that the ship was hit by enemy batteries, killing three and wounding ten men. These were the only Royal Canadian Navy casualties of the Korean War. Her second tour lasted a little over six months, from June 18, 1953 to January 1, 1954, while the third tour took place later that year, lasting four months, from August 22nd to December 26th. HMCS Iroquois returned to her training role and remained in that role until 1962, when she was paid off at Halifax on October 24th and laid up at Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 1966, the vessel was taken to Bilbao, Spain and broken up in September.