Retired Police Officer Returns To Warship He Served On

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair

Writer/Photographer

As a member of Canada’s Navy during World War II, George (Chad) Chadwick served on the HMCS Haida as an engineer before transitioning to policing.

Designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1984, Haida - which sank more enemy surface tonnage than any other Canadian warship and was known as the ‘Fightingest Ship in the Canadian Navy’ - is docked in Hamilton as a museum ship.

On July 7, Chadwick and other members of the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association (TPMVA) visited the museum for a tour of the historic ship.

Group of people climbing up the walkway to board a docked warship
Chadwick boards the Haida for the first time in 77 years Photo: Matthew Scarlino

“It was better than I figured and just excellent,” he said.

After the war ended in 1945, the veteran volunteered to stay on with the Navy and served on the HMCS Haida with a skeleton crew through the following winter.

“The war ended and they decommissioned her,” Chadwick, who also served on HMCS Warrior which was Canada’s first Aircraft carrier, and the HMCS Magnificent and Sioux, recalled. “We had to stay on and put steam up to keep her from freezing because they wanted to use it. I manned the ship with a crew of 30.”

After his military service, Chadwick joined the North York Police Department which in 1957 amalgamated into Metro Toronto Police Service. He served for many years at 41 Division before retiring in 1984.

Retired Staff Superintendent Jack Reid also made the trip to Hamilton. He is the last living Toronto Police member who took leave from the organization to serve in World War II.

Sergeant John Lo Bianco, the Second Vice-President of the TPMVA, organized the day trip.

Group of men stand next to a docked warship
Members of the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association pose with Haida Photo: Matthew Scarlino

“To recognize the 100th anniversary, we decided to honour our surviving World War II veterans and relive history first-hand with them by bringing them back to see the ships they served on,” the Toronto Police Armament Section member said. “It was truly a memorable experience for us to be on the ship with one of our own who served on her at the end of the war.”

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