JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE – Two new Royal Canadian supply ships that will be in service before the end of the decade will be named in commemoration of two of the most pivotal battles of the War of 1812.
The first to be constructed will be known as HMCS Queenston, in reference to the battle that took place in October of 1812 atop Queenston Heights in the Niagara Region.
The second ship will be known as the HMCS Chateauguay, in recognition of the Battle of Chateauguay, which took place on Oct. 26, 1813 near the present-day community of Ormstown, Que.
The names were announced during a ceremony Friday morning under the shadow of Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights.
Canadian Defence Minister and Niagara Falls MP Rob Nicholson, just back from a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, made the announcement and put the news into historical context.
“The names recognize the achievements and sacrifices of those early Canadian soldiers, who fought and died in these critical battles during the War of 1812,” said Nicholson.
“The War of 1812 was a defining moment in our nation’s history that contributed to shaping our identity as Canadians and ultimately our existence as a country.”
Traditionally, the name of the a new class of ships is taken from the first ship constructed. Therefore, the new class of supply ships will be known collectively as the Queenston Class.
Officially, the ships are of a type known as Joint Support Ships.
According to the navy, the new ships will provide at-sea replenishment, including fuel, medical and other supplies, in support of maritime operations. Having modern supply ships is key to maintaining Canada’s ability to deploy its fleet of combat vessels anywhere in the world.
Nicholson, who was named Minister of National Defence this past summer, recently returned from a visit to Canadian troops in Afghanistan and a visit to the frigate HMCS Toronto, which in early October was part of a major heroin drug bust at sea while patrolling in the Arabian Sea region.
The new ships will be built by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd., in North Vancouver, B.C.
They are expected to enter service in 2019-2020.
“Canada’s rich military history is a source of inspiration for the men and women, who currently serve in the Royal Canadian Navy,” Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said in a statement.
“The events surrounding the War of 1812 remind us of the sacrifices of soldiers and sailors who fought for their country during a pivotal moment in Canadian history.”
The estimated cost to build the ships is $2.6 billion.
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