Lieutenant Rolette

The Honorable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, announced on July 16, in Québec City, that an Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) will be named in honor of Lieutenant Frédérick Rolette, a Canadian-born officer and naval hero of various actions, ashore and afloat, during the War of 1812, including command of the ship General Hunter. A parallel announcement was made in Windsor, Ontario, by Jeff Watson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for Essex, close to the sites of many of Lieutenant Rolette’s heroic actions.

Artist’s impression of the Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship
Artist’s impression of the Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship

Just before the outbreak of the War of 1812, Frédérick Rolette was posted to Amherstburg, Ontario, as a Lieutenant in charge of the brig General Hunter. When word of the outbreak of war reached Amherstburg on July 3, 1812, Rolette acted immediately, capturing an American vessel, the Cuyahoga, before the crew became aware that their country had declared war on Britain. This was the first action of the War of 1812 and a significant prize, because onboard the Cuyahoga were American commander General William Hull’s papers and dispatches, providing the British with a great deal of intelligence on American strengths and deployment.


Quick Facts

Lieutenant Rolette was very active in the war, conducting several daring captures of American supply vessels and participating in land battles at the Capture of Detroit, the Battle of Frenchtown, and the skirmish at the Canard River. He was the First Lieutenant (second in command) of the British schooner Lady Prevost at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. When the captain was mortally wounded, he assumed command and fought the ship «with great skill and gallantry» until he himself was severely wounded, burned by an explosion and the ship was a broken unmanageable and sinking wreck.

Construction of the first AOPS will begin in September 2015, with HMCS Harry DeWolf scheduled for delivery in 2018
Construction of the first AOPS will begin in September 2015, with HMCS Harry DeWolf scheduled for delivery in 2018

When the war ended, Lieutenant Rolette returned home to Québec City to a hero’s welcome and was presented with a fifty-guinea sword of honor by its citizens in recognition of his service. Through the research and efforts of the Naval Museum of Québec, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was able to locate the whereabouts and current owner of this sword of honor in order to have it displayed to the public as part of the naming announcement.

In September 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the forthcoming AOPS will be named to honor prominent Canadians who served with the highest distinction and conspicuous gallantry in the Navy. The lead ship was named HMCS Harry DeWolf and the class is known as the Harry DeWolf-Class. Other announced ships’ names in the class include HMCS Margaret Brooke, HMCS Max Bernays, HMCS William Hall and, now, HMCS Frédérick Rolette.

On January 23, 2015, the Government of Canada announced the awarding of the build contract with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. for the construction of up to six Harry DeWolf-class AOPS as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). This contract, valued at $2.3 billion, marks the start of the construction phase under the NSPS. Construction is set to begin in the fall of this year.

The RCN will employ the AOPS to conduct sovereignty and surveillance operations in Canadian waters on all three coasts, including in the Arctic. The AOPS will also be used to support other units of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in the conduct of maritime-related operations, and to support other government departments in carrying out their mandates, as required.

The AOPS are key to the Government of Canada’s ability to deliver on three of our guiding strategies – the Canada First Defence Strategy, the Northern Strategy, and the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The NSPS – the largest procurement sourcing arrangement in Canadian history – is expected to create thousands of high-value jobs in shipbuilding and related industries across the country. The Strategy is about undertaking major ship procurements in a smarter, more effective way – a way that sustains Canadian jobs, strengthens the marine sector and provides the best value for Canadian taxpayers.

New Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship to be named in honor of French-Canadian hero of War of 1812, Frédérick Rolette
New Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship to be named in honor of French-Canadian hero of War of 1812, Frédérick Rolette


Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships

The Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) project will deliver six ice-capable ships, designated as the Harry DeWolf Class, after Canadian wartime naval hero Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf.

The AOPS will be capable of:

  • armed sea-borne surveillance of Canada’s waters, including the Arctic;
  • providing government situational awareness of activities and events in these regions;
  • cooperating with other partners in the Canadian Armed Forces and other government departments to assert and enforce Canadian sovereignty, when and where necessary.

Construction of the first AOPS will begin in September 2015, with HMCS Harry DeWolf scheduled for delivery in 2018.

The announced names of the Harry DeWolf-class ships to date are:

  • HMCS Harry DeWolf
  • HMCS Margaret Brooke
  • HMCS Max Bernays
  • HMCS William Hall
  • HMCS Frédérick Rolette



Displacement 6,440 tonnes
Length 338 feet/103 m
Beam 62.3 feet/19 m
Maximum speed 17 knots/19.5 mph/31 km/h
Cruising speed 14 knots/16 mph/26 km/h
Range at Cruising speed 6,800 NM/7,825 miles/12,593.6 km
Complement 65
International ice classification standard Polar Class 5
Be able to sustain operations up to 4 months
Remain operational 25 years beyond Initial Operational Capability (IOC)

Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship

Harry DeWolf-Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship



Integrated Bridge Navigation System

Modern integrated bridge, from which control of navigation, machinery, and damage control systems can be performed.

Multi-Purpose Operational Space

Where operational planning and mission execution will be coordinated.

BAE Mk-38 Gun

Remote controlled 25-mm gun to support domestic constabulary role.

Enclosed Focsle/Cable Deck

Protects foredeck machinery and workspace from harsh Arctic environment.

Helicopter Capability

Depending on the mission, the embarked helicopter could range from a small utility aircraft right up to the new CH-148 maritime helicopter.


Multiple payload options such as shipping containers, underwater survey equipment, or a landing craft. Ship has a 20-tonne crane to self-load/unload.

Vehicle Bay

For rapid mobility over land or ice, the ship can carry vehicles such as pickup trucks, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), and snowmobiles.

Diesel/Electric Propulsion

Propulsion: Two 4.5 MW main propulsion engines, four 3.6 MW generators.

Retractable Active Fin Stabilizers

Deployed to reduce ship roll for open ocean operations, retracted for operations in ice.

Multi-Role Rescue Boats

Top speed of 35+ knots/40+ mph/65+ km/h, 28 feet/8.5 meters long. Will support rescues, personnel transfers, or boarding operations.

Bow Thrusters

To enable maneuvering or berthing without tug assistance.


Leave a Reply