Explore History

First World War (1914-1918)
HMCS Grilse, Torpedo Boat

HMCS Grilse was the Royal Canadian Navy's fastest ship during the First World War. Originally built as the yacht Winchester, Grilse was converted to a torpedo boat and served off Canada's Atlantic coast.

HMCS Grilse at Speed
HMCS Grilse at Speed

HMCS Grilse, seen here steaming at high speed, was the Royal Canadian Navy's closest ship to a destroyer during the First World War.

In June 1915, millionaire Jack Ross purchased the Winchester, one of the fastest civilian yachts in existence, from the United States and brought it to Canada. Commissioned as HMCS Grilse in July 1915, and with Ross in command, the ship was refitted and armed at the Canadian Vickers shipyard in Montreal before sailing to Halifax to start carrying out patrols. Easily the fastest ship in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Grilse could reach speeds of more than 30 knots (55 km/h).

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19820331-005

HMCS Grilse at Speed
HMCS Grilse on Convoy Duty
HMCS Grilse at Dock, 1916
HMCS Grilse and Allies' Flags
HMCS Grilse Firing a Torpedo, 1915
Torpedo Practice, HMCS Grilse
Torpedo Gyroscope
Lieutenant Jack Ross and Sailors of HMCS Grilse
Cutlass, 1900 Pattern
H.M.C.T.B. Grilse Cap Tally
Two Sailors on Board HMCS Grilse
HMCS Grilse's Crew