Can you help to find the crew of HMS Ajax, Canada 1976?

HMS Ajax in Toronto, 1976

An interesting story about how a town in Canada wish to honour their Royal Naval namesake has been unearthed by Port Towns and Urban Cultures. It is a perfect story about how maritime heritage, imperial sentiment, and urban identities can converge, but could you help them find out more?

The town of Ajax, Ontario, Canada, are trying to trace the men of HMS Ajax who were serving when the frigate visited in 1976. The town was named after the 7th HMS Ajax after its part in the famed victory at the Battle of the River Plate (December 1939), and there has been a policy of naming streets after crewmen from the ship.

Unveiling of the Memorial Wall, 2016

When the town was incorporated in 1955, a formal invitation was sent out to the ship every year by the new Mayor. On August 25 1976, this invitation was taken up by the 8th incarnation of HMS Ajax, whose crew spent a week in the town. Last year a Memorial Wall was unveiled to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the visit. The Memorial Wall contains a list of over 4,500 names of the crew of the 7th HMS Ajax during the Battle of River Plate (December 1939) and World War Two, as well as the crew onboard HMS Exeter and HMS Achilles during the Battle of River Plate. A list of the crew from the 1976 visit compiled by the HMS Ajax and River Plate Veterans Association were also added, however, organisers are aware that the list may not be as accurate and complete as hoped for.

Brenda Kriz, who is coordinating efforts to track down an official crew list has found the process difficult. She has sought out help from the Naval Historical Branch, the National Archives, and the National Maritime Museum, but to no avail. Mrs Kriz has most recently applied to the Ministry of Defence under the Freedom of Information Act, however, she was informed that the Royal Navy had abandoned the process of using crew lists in the 1850s; relying instead on pay and victualling ledgers. Unfortunately, the MoD say that these are only available for the years spanning 1939-1952.


Crew of HMS Ajax marching through the town of Ajax, 1976

Could you help the town of Ajax?

Do you know of anyone who served on board in Canada, 1976?

Do you know how to find a comprehensive crew list of those serving?

If so, please contact: Brenda Kriz, CMO, Records and FOI Co-ordinator, Legislative and Information Services, Town of Ajax at

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17 Responses to Can you help to find the crew of HMS Ajax, Canada 1976?

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    Alastair Allan May 19, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

    I was on H.M.S Ajax during that visit… The best and most hospitable place I’ve ever been in the world during my travels in the Royal Navy. Thank you for the memories. If I can help with your search I will.

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    Davut Osling November 22, 2018 at 6:14 pm #


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    David Cooper January 22, 2019 at 8:58 am #

    Hello, I was onboard during this visit I am also in touch with a few other crew members who also visited the town of Ajax, we were all amazed at the fantastic hospitality that we received

    Henry Cooper. AB gunner

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    George Fryer February 28, 2019 at 4:27 pm #

    Hi. I was on board during the visit to AJAX. It was my 21st the day we got there. It was the best visit of my time in the navy. I was on HMS AJAX for 2 1/2 years and did the 9month world deployment. Happy memories.

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    donna lane March 14, 2019 at 12:00 am #

    we met someone named David Wise. He was on the HMS AJAX when you visited in 1976. A nice friend but over the years lost touch of him. Did you know him?.

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    Derek "shiner" Wright October 8, 2019 at 3:22 pm #

    I was also on the ajax when we visited in 76, Derek (SHINER) Wright, I was only 17 and wot an amazing time i had, unfortunately my name isn’t on the wall, but I would love to visit and do a street dedication.

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    Bob Cook(Scouse) October 24, 2019 at 1:46 pm #

    Bob Cook (Scouse)(Stoker).October 21st 2019.Hi .I was onboard the Ajax in 1976 in Ajax,Canada .Good memories of my days and years in the Navy .I was “on watch”down the engine room when we sailed on the lake .See photo.

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    Bob Cook(Scouse) October 24, 2019 at 1:52 pm #

    Bob Cook (Scouse).I served on the Ajax as a Soker and was on her in Canada in 1976.Good memories of being there and my time in the Navy .

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    Peter jarman November 12, 2019 at 4:18 pm #

    Hi my father was a chief petty officer on the Ajax during the war not sure what year though
    Kenneth Stanley Jarman

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    gerald morgan January 13, 2020 at 10:50 am #

    my name is Gerald Morgan (rattler) I was also on board HMS AJAX for this visit and marched through the streets, my memories of Ajax as a town is fantastic, I recall that there was a civic reception also laid on at the time where we all were invited, the march through the town was great, one day I hope to return to Canada as I must say it was of the best events of my life the people welcomed us all with open arms at the time I was only 18 now I am approaching 62 Feb. 2020 how time flies but memories still remain.

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    George Cunningham (Stwd) March 15, 2020 at 4:48 pm #

    I was onboard during the visit to Ajax, had a cracking time, I was very squiffy during the whole time due to the fantastic hospitality from all the locals, one of the best runs ashore I’ve had. I gave my whole uniform away to a family and got in the s*** but heyho it was worth it. Would love to revisit before I pop me clogs.

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      Anonymous July 18, 2020 at 4:55 pm #


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      DAVID OSLINGTON July 18, 2020 at 5:22 pm #


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    John Martin October 4, 2020 at 6:47 pm #

    I did serve on ajax at the time and served as quarter master mayor Mason may know me l also done colour guard and have also kept write ups done by local paper Pickering my time there l will never forget as the hospitality was great l served as a leading seaman

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    John Martin October 5, 2020 at 8:29 pm #

    I served on HMS Ajax on her visit to ajax Ontario it was a big thing for me and also the rest of the crew l served as a leading seaman the mayor at the time was mayor Mason who visited us in our mess we also went to his home and also there was a write up in the Pickering news by colin Mackie or councillor who came up the st Lawrence river with us to this day l hold the clippings from the paper and show my grand children

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    John Martin October 5, 2020 at 8:31 pm #

    Please inform me if it was any help to your commitment l have a few more names

    • Melanie Bassett
      Melanie Bassett January 7, 2021 at 1:46 pm #

      Thanks for your comments John. The post is about 3 years old now, so the anniversary has passed. I am sure that others will enjoy reading your memories, however.

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