Full name: Her Majesty's Canadian Ship DONNACONA
Motto: "Hand in Hand"
HMCS DONNACONA, CANADA'S OLDEST NAVAL RESERVE UNIT
The roots of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship DONNACONA extend back to the founding of the Naval Reserve in 1923. In that year, an Act of Parliament authorizes the establishment in Montreal of a half company of the Royal Canadian Volunteer Naval Reserve (RCVNR). Recruitment into the new service was so steady that within a few weeks the original quota of fifty men was quickly filled. Such a reaction prompted the creation of a second half-company, which was French.
Both half-companies merged to form a comprehensive company in 1933, with respective French and English sections.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, the unit is divided again to accommodate the high recruiting intake: NCSM CARTIER for French speakers and HMCS MONTREAL for English speakers. In 1941, the units are merged again, and in November the unit was commissioned by the name of HMCS MONTREAL. In 1943, the division moved to downtown Montreal in former Montreal Winter Club curling rink at 2055 Drummond St. However, at the same time, headquarters had already decided to appoint a frigate under construction at Vickers shipyards in Montreal HMCS MONTREAL. Therefore, a new name for the unit had to be found. The choice finally fell on HMCS DONNACONA, named after the Indian chief of Stadacona, a village visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535. The year of 1944 would be very special for DONNACONA. Under the name of the COMBINES, with the assistance of HMCS ST. HYACINTE, the DONNACONA football team succeeded in winning the Grey Cup in a stunning upset against the Hamilton Flying Wildcats. Even though a disastrous fire inflicted serious damage to the unit in 1948, DONNACONA was improved and received various enhancements to permit it to continue steaming ahead.
Today, the fully bilingual HMCS DONNACONA continues to execute the mission of the Naval Reserve: to provide the Navy with trained and ready personnel to meet Canada's defence objectives in times of peace, crisis and war. With a total strength in excess of 215 men and women, part of the ship's company is also on long-term engagements with the navy at any given time serving the national interest at home and abroad. The remainder attend the unit every Tuesday night to participate in training designed to keep their trade skills sharp.
During the summer of 2007, HMCS DONNACONA moved and held, in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency, a brand new building located in St-Henri in Montreal. The building has been specially designed for the Naval Reserve to enable it to better fulfill its mission and work to serve Canada, hand in hand.
PAO: A/SLt Dunton HMCS DONNACONA