Today marked the official Naming Ceremony of the future HMCS William Hall, the fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) underway at the Halifax Shipyard for the Royal Canadian Navy. Five of the six AOPS are named to honor other prominent Royal Canadian Navy heroes while William Hall was a British subject decorated for heroism in the Crimean War before the formation of Canada. The naming of a ship is a steeped in history and naval tradition. Dating back centuries, this ritual is believed to bring good luck and safe travel to the vessel and crew.
“Today marks a momentous event for our fleet, as the fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship is officially named. Named for naval heroes, like William Hall, these ships epitomize the courage and resilience needed to operate throughout Canada’s Arctic.”
“I name you William Hall. Bless this ship and all who sail in it (SIC).”
“I was happy to preside over the Assumption of Command ceremony at Government House, and I am confident that Commander Keleman and members of his command team, will uphold the finest traditions of the Royal Canadian Navy, and build upon the remarkable.”
“Throughout his military career, Petty Officer William Hall demonstrated bravery, perseverance, and duty. A proud Nova Scotian, he became the first Black person, and one of the first Canadians (SIC), to win the Victoria Cross. I join Canadians in paying.”
“Today is the latest example of how our government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy is delivering positive economic and social benefit to our region while supporting our Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. This ship is a testament to the.”
“Today is a proud day for Canada, in particular the community of Hantsport, and for the family of William Hall. We continue to draw inspiration from V.C. William Hall’s bravery, and the work being done at the Irving Shipyard to modernize and equip.”
“The legacy of William Hall lives on and his service will inspire a new generation of Nova Scotians thanks to the ship that bears his name. On behalf of a proud and grateful province, thank you to the hardworking staff of the Halifax Shipyard who are.”
“Today marks a momentous event for our fleet, as the fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship is officially named. Named for naval heroes, like William Hall, these ships epitomize the courage and resilience needed to operate throughout Canada’s Arctic…”
The ship’s sponsor, Chief Superintendent Craig Gibson (Ret’d), officially named the ship during a ceremony attended by the Minister of National Defense, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Arthur J. Leblanc, Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia, Barbara Adams, NS Minister of Senior and Long-Term Care as well as descendants of William Hall, the ship’s company and Halifax Shipyard shipbuilders.
As part of the event, Craig Gibson broke a bottle of Nova Scotia’s Avondale Sky’s Blanc de Noir (2013) sparkling wine against the ship’s bow and participating in Navy Tradition declared: “I name you William Hall. Bless this ship and all who sail in it.”
Craig Gibson is a retired 34-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who, in August 2012, became the first black person to be promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent as the Commanding Officer for “L” Division, Prince Edward Island. Craig Gibson was raised in Gibson Woods, a small black community where Gibson families (relations of William Hall) settled as Black Loyalists.
William Hall was the first Black Nova Scotian to receive the British Empire’s highest award for bravery, the Victoria Cross. Hall received this recognition for his service at the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The son of former American slaves, Hall was born in 1827 at Horton, Nova Scotia, where he also attended school. He grew up during the age of wooden ships, when many boys dreamed of travelling the world in sailing vessels. As a young man, Hall worked in shipyards at Hantsport for several years, before going to sea on merchant ships and joining the Royal Navy in 1852.
Joining Craig Gibson at today’s ceremony were several descendants of William Hall as well as a number African Nova Scotian organizations including the Africadian Empowerment Academy, the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, the Black Cultural Centre, Africville and the Defense Visible Minority Advisory Group (DVMAG).
The Halifax Shipyard will deliver one AOPS per year to the Royal Canadian Navy ending with the sixth ship in 2026. A further two AOPS variants will be built for the Canadian Coast Guard. In 2024, the company will commence construction of the first of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants.