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HMCS Sans Peur Refit and Role

Heroes Remember

HMCS Sans Peur Refit and Role

It was really against the law, international law, to have United States or anybody give Canada warships. So we didn’t have any warships. And So Sans Peur was, that had come from England on a trip with the Duke of Sutherland and he had a bunch of VIPs with him and when he was in Vancouver he got a communication from British Admiralty to get his people back to England and leave the ship there. So that’s exactly what he did. Anyway, it was a beautiful thing. It was just, when I first saw it was in the harbor all white, all white. It was just, it was made for a queen really and it had all these little state rooms and private baths in them and it was just gorgeous. Anyway, the British Admiralty gave it to Canada to use and they took it to, I think it was Vancouver where they did the ship building and they refitted it and it didn’t need any deck reinforcements like all the other ships did because it was all steel. When I got on the ship, I knew that it was destined to go through the Panama Canal and around to Eastern Canada. to be patrol work and training because the ship had been converted to have three or four different types of anti-aircraft guns and depth charges and pom poms they called them and so it was going to be on patrol and at the same time it was going to be used for training because all the ships were... This ship was about the size of a corvette or mine sweeper and most of the corvettes and mine sweepers were being used out on the Atlantic because there were an abundance of Nazi submarines on that coast at the time. So our ship was used for patrol work and training.

Mr. Matheos describes the donation of the Royal Yacht, Sans Peur, to the Canadian navy. He discusses her refit and subsequent role as a patrol and training vessel out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

James Matheos

James Matheos was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on September 9, 1924. He was one of three children. His father, a Greek immigrant, was a restaurateur. Mr. Matheos joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1942, with the intention of “seeing the world.” After training in Victoria, British Columbia he served aboard HMCS Sans Peur, a converted British Admiralty yacht, and spent the war in the dual role of patrolling for U-boats off Halifax, and training naval recruits.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James Matheos
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Battle of the Atlantic
415 Squadron
Ordinary Seaman
Deck Crew

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