Navy ships named after 2 WWII heroes at ceremony in Halifax

Canada’s second and third offshore and arctic patrol vessels were officially named in honor of two Canadians who served in the navy during the Second World War.

The ceremony took place on Sunday at the Halifax Shipyard.

HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Max Bernays will be used for “sovereignty and surveillance operations” and to support other units and departments on all three coasts, according to the Canadian Navy.

HMCS Margaret Brooke, launched in November 2019, is the first Canadian combat ship to be named after a woman.

Lieutenant Commander of the Navy. Brooke was a Royal Canadian Navy Nursing Sister during the war. She was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her bravery after the ferry SS Caribou was torpedoed and sunk in the Cabot Strait in 1942.

She tried to save her friend and fellow nurse, Agnes Wilkie, as they clung to an overturned lifeboat. Wilkie died in the freezing water.

Allyson Brooke said she was grateful that her aunt, Margaret Brooke, knew about the recognition while she was alive. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Brooke received the news of the ship’s name on her 100th birthday in 2015. She was the first living Canadian to receive this honor.

Frosting on the cake

Brooke’s niece, Allyson Brooke, was present for the christening. She said that even though her aunt was not alive to see the ship, knowing that she should be recognized was very important to her.

“It’s kind of the icing on the cake,” Allyson Brooke said.

“What’s really important to me is that she was recognized for her heroism while she was still alive. It would have meant a lot less to me if she hadn’t been alive at the time of the incident. ‘announcement.”

Chief Petty Officer Max Bernays served as coxswain of HMCS Assiniboine during the Second World War.

As the ship came under fire from a German U-boat, the wheelhouse was engulfed in flames. Bernays ordered two junior sailors off while he remained at the helm.

HMCS Assiniboine sank the submarine and Bernays survived. He was awarded the Medal of Outstanding Bravery for his bravery.

Shannon Bernays, Max Bernays’ granddaughter, says he would have been honored. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Her granddaughter, Shannon Bernays, attended the ceremony and said it was a moving and incredible experience.

She said when told the ship would be named after her during a video call, she was overwhelmed.

“He was a quiet man, but he was such a proud man,” Bernays said. “He would be so honored to be here today. To see all of this and to be honored in this way is truly amazing.”

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