History of Branch No. 86
On March 3rd 1930, the first meeting of Wetaskiwin Branch No. 86 was held in Blackwell's Boot Shop and the first year's membership numbered 51. Over the years, the Wetaskiwin Legion has lobbied government on veteran's issues such as pension and housing, aided veterans through charitable acts, provided both veterans and the general population of Wetaskiwin with a place for socialization, and sponsored local sports teams. Almost all the branches of the Royal Canadian Legion support Ladies' Auxiliaries comprised of female relatives of Legion members.
The Wetaskiwin Branch No. 86 Ladies Auxiliary was incorporated on November 19, 1947. The main objective of the Ladies Auxiliary is to support the Branch. In fact, the historical motto of the Ladies Auxiliary is "Service". To help the branch, the Ladies Auxiliary provides fellowship with branch members and conducts numerous fundraising events throughout the year. The Ladies Auxiliary is a not-for-profit organization, with all moneys raised donated to Legion functions and supported charities.
History of HMCS Wetaskiwin
HMCS Wetaskiwin (Pennant Number K175) was a Flower-class corvette that served as a convoy escort in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. HMCS Wetaskiwin was the first Pacific coast built corvette to enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy, commissioned at Esquimalt, British Columbia, December 17, 1940.
HMCS Wetaskiwin left Esquimalt for the Atlantic with HMCS Alberni and HMCS Agassiz on March 17, 1941. Enroute they stopped at San Pedro, California for fuel, where a party for them was hosted by actress Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks. The three corvettes arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 13th. On May 23rd HMCS Wetaskiwin left for St John's, Newfoundland, to become one of the founding members of the Newfoundland Escort Force, as a convoy escort on the route between St. John's and Iceland. In June, she escorted he first convoy, HX 130, to Iceland and over the next eight months made six round trips there, with east bound convoys. She remained with this unit until January 1942, when she departed for refit.
In May, she joined Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF) Escort Group C-3, arriving in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on June 5th for the first time with Convoy HX 191. On July 31, 1942, she shared in the sinking of the German submarine U-588 with HMCS Skeena, while escorting convoy ON 115. While with MOEF Group C-3, HMCS Wetaskiwin also participated in two major convoy actions; SC 42 in September 1941 and SC 48 in October 1941.
In mid-January 1943, HMCS Wetaskiwin returned to Liverpool for refit and further repairs in Halifax. She was briefly assigned to MOEF Escort Group A-3 for the battle of Convoy HX 233. In May 1943, when Escort Group A-3 disbanded, HMCS Wetaskiwin was assigned to Escort Group C-5, during which time she participated in the battle for Convoy HX 305. In December 1943 she went to Galveston, Texas, for a long refit, including extension of her forecastle. HMCS Wetaskiwin returned to service in March 1944 and after workups, she rejoined Escort Group C-5. On September 23rd, HMCS Wetaskiwin joined Western Local Escort Group (WLEF) W-7 for the remainder of the war.
HMCS Wetaskiwin was decommissioned on June 19, 1945 at Sorel, Quebec and in 1946 she was sold to the Venezuelan Navy and renamed ARV Victoria. She was discarded and sold for scrapping in 1962.
We are very proud to have a mural of the HMCS Wetaskiwin adorning the south wall of the Branch No. 86 Legion hall.