The Minute Book
Monday, 6 February 2017

The Canadian Navy Overseas (1944)
Topic: RCN

The Canadian Navy Overseas (1944)

Ottawa Citizen, 29 August 1944

The navy is figuring less on front pages at present, but cabled reports tell of Canadian fighting ships in almost continuous operation. Motor torpedo boats are exceedingly busy in actions along the French coast where enemy warships have to be kept away from the troops landing craft and transports.

The german navy has a powerful speedy craft known as the E-boat, considerably larger than the MTB. The E-boat is more than 100 feet long. It is engined with three Diesel engines of modern design, they give the German sea fighter a terrific speed, probably above 35 knots. The E-boat's armament includes two torpedo tubes, Oerlikon and other guns. They are tough customers to tackle, but the Canadian navy has been well represented in numerous battles with the enemy across the choppy English Channel.

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Like flying, the jousts at thirty knots or more in motor torpedo boats is the business of lads of football age, like the Ottawa boy whose story of service with the R.C.V.N.R. overseas appeared in the Evening Citizen recently, Canada has an MTB flotilla based at an English port within handy distance of German E-boat haunts. Enemy mineships are chased back to port. U-boats are kept under, and German freight ships in convoy are attacked. British, canadian and American light naval forces have been engaged in far more fighting along the European coast than is generally appreciated on this side of the ocean.

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Canada's fleet of destroyers, frigates and corvettes would make an imposing array of seapower. While they are relatively small ships as compared with battleships, aircraft carriers and cruisers, they are making a vital contribution—as are also the Canadian landing craft and troopships, including the converted prince liners. They seem to be operating everywhere around the European battle arena from the Mediterranean to Murmansk.

At the same time, it is doubtless still necessary to maintain a considerable number of fighting ships on Canadian seaways. The battle of the Atlantic has apparently been won, but only because there are warships—and complete air coverage—to keep the U-boats down. There can be no relaxing of convoy escort operations; the continuous stream of cargo ships has to be maintained at a greater rate of tonnage than ever.

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There is another Canadian naval responsibility to keep in mind. The St. Lawrence River has been visited by U-boats. They penetrated well up toward Quebec towns where U-boat gunfire could do shocking damage. Submarine mines have been laid too off Canadian ports. It would be much according to the Nazi book suddenly to surprise Canada with another visit.

Even without contemplating the possibility of rocket bombs launched from submersible destroyers, it would be foolish complacency to dream that Canada is now immune from German attack. The navy is contributing magnificently to the winning of the war where it has to be won, on the European side of the ocean. It is also part of the Canadian navy's task to keep the enemy confined to Europe, away from Canadian shores and seaways.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 22 January 2017

Tracker is Both Strike and Search Aircraft (1957)
Topic: RCN

Tracker is Both Strike and Search Aircraft (1957)

All-Weather, Twin-Engine To Operate Against Subs

The Ottawa Citizen, 21 January 1957

The Royal Canadian Navy's new anti-submarine aircraft, the Tracker, is an all-weather, twin-engine high-wing monoplane designed specifically for carrier-borne operations against submarines.

Successor to the Grumman Avenger, which has been in service with the RCN since 1950, the new aircraft, designated the CS2F-1, and to be known as the Tracker, is being built in Canada. Prime contractor for the initial order of 100 aircraft is The de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, Toronto, operating under license from the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Beth-Page, N.Y.

First in Canada

These are the first naval aircraft for the RCN to be manufactured in Canada, and the largest ever built by de Havilland of Canada.

The Tracker is both a search and strike aircraft, combining in one machine the full capabilities of hunter and killer. It is designed and equipped to search out, identify, attack and destroy enemy submarines, whether surfaced or submerged. It is highly manoeuverable, has a short take-off run and low landing speed, making it admirably suited for operation from an aircraft carrier. Its versatility permits its use in a number of roles in addition to its primary anti-submarine duties. It may be used for deck-landing training target towing, aircrew training, instrument flying training and carrier-to-shore transport.

Because of the relatively small number of aircraft required, it was considered uneconomical to design and build a Canadian aircraft to meet the RCN's requirements. Of aircraft already in production, the Grumman S2F best met all requirements.

Minor Modifications

The Canadian version has undergone only minor modifications, although Canadian Navy requirements have resulted in installation of some equipment different from that of its United States counterpart.

Some features of the new aircraft follow:

Cockpit—To carry out its hunter-killer function the Tracker has accommodation for a crew of four. The pilot and co-pilot have a wide range of vision. The radio and radar men are seated aft of the cockpit which features a folding control console giving ready accessibility to the seats. Each member of the crew has an escape hatch fitted directly above his seat. A control lock has been provided. When this is in operation the engines cannot be revved up sufficiently to raise the aircraft into the air. Also included is the new hydraulic "Rudder boost," which eliminates strain on the pilot during single engine flying. It is one of the first production aircraft to incorporate this new feature.

Instruments—Included in the standard instrument layout is a "safe speed indicator," the first military installation of the device in Canada. The indicator incorporates a dial which shows the pilot the approximate approach speed of the aircraft on landing, whether it is too fast, too slow or just right. Autopilot is fitted.

Anti-Submarine Equipment and Weapons—The latest equipment for the detection of submarines and the most modern anti-submarine weapons are carried. This has been achieved without any sacrifice of speed or endurance. The aircraft is equipped with sonobuoys housed in a special compartment aft of each engine, rockets, homing type torpedoes released through fast opening and closing bomb bay doors, and a powerful searchlight controlled from the cockpit.

During anti-submarine opertions the spun glass radar dome is telescoped down from the inside automatically. The magnetic airborne detection boom is fitted below the tail. The sonobuoys, listening devices which are dropped into the water in the area of a submarine and by radio transmissions reveal the submarine's position to the aircraft, are released by controls located at the pilot's and co-pilot's seats.

Performance—The aircraft has a range of approximately 1,000 miles and can remain airborne for about eight hours. Its maximum speed is more than 300 miles per hour. Landing speed is 86 miles per hour.

Dimensions—Wing span is 69 feet, eight inches, and length 42 feet. The all-up weight is more than 23,000 pounds.

One of the most interesting features of the Tracker is the method of folding the wings. A cross-fold system is used with one wing folding in front of the other. Purpose of the folding wings is to permit close stowage of the aircraft on the flight deck, in the hangar and on the elevators.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 17 June 2016

Sailing Maggie Home
Topic: RCN


HMCS Magnificent

Sailing Maggie Home

The Montreal Gazette, 11 April 1957

The Royal Canadian Navy is sailing the carrier Magnificent home to Britain. The carrier, on loan from the Royal Navy since 1948, is to be replaced by the new Bonaventure this year [1957], a vessel which is wholly Canadian-owned. The Bonaventure was commissioned in January.

The story of the Magnificent is representative of Canada's military duties and emergencies during the cold war period. She was not Canada's first carrier, but her second, HMCS Warrior, commissioned in 1946, was operated by the RCN for 18 months. The Warrior, however, was not equipped for cold-weather operation and was returned to Britain when the "Maggie" became available early in 1948.

This was a time when the world was watching and listening to the "Battle of the Carriers" in the United States , where the American Air Force and Navy chiefs were fighting for the watered-down military appropriations of the time. There was some discussion in Canada along the same lines.

The issue was somewhat different in Canada. Here is was largely a discussion with the RCN itself, for Canada's single carrier required more than 10 percent of the RCN's manpower at the time and operating costs took some 19 percent of total appropriations.

It was quietly resolved that the Magnificent should continue in service. During the following years, her main function was training ship's crews and aircrews. Based in Halifax, she was sent to European waters during the Korean War. She engaged in many major NATO naval exercises and completed her service career as an emergency transport carrying Canadian equipment, supplies and troops to the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt in January of this year.

The "Maggie" fired no shots, launched no aircraft in anger, but the seamen and the airmen who will man the Bonaventure will remember her fondly as the floating home and training field where they learned their professions.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 27 May 2016

Canada's Great War Naval Service
Topic: RCN

The Naval Service

Canada's Part in the Great War, 3rd Edition, Issued by the Information Branch, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, May 1921

Cruisers

At the outbreak of war in 1914 the Canadian Government possessed only two naval vessels, the Niobe, a cruiser of 11,000 tons displacement, with a main armament of sixteen 6-inch guns, stationed at Halifax, and the Rainbow, a small cruiser of 3,600 tons displacement, armed with two 6-inch, six 4.7-inch, and four 12-pounder guns, stationed at Esquimalt, on the Pacific. The Rainbow, which was ready for sea, patrolled, with other ships on the Pacific stations, as far south as Panama, and captured several ships carrying contraband of war. After the entry of the United States into the war, she became depot ship on the Pacific coast. The Niobe was made ready for sea in September, 1914, and remained in commission one year, during which she steamed over 30,000 miles on patrol duty. She afterwards became depot ship in Halifax.

Smaller Vessels

At the beginning of hostilities, various small craft were taken over by the Naval Department from the Departments of Marine and of Customs, and were armed and manned from the R.C.N.V.R. for the performance of patrol duties off the Atlantic coast. Two submarines, which were bought just before the declaration of war, patrolled the approached to Victoria and Vancouver and helped in keeping Admiral von Spee's squadron away from the Pacific ports. H.M. sloop Shearwater was taken into the Canadian service as mother ship to these submarines and, in the summer of 1917, these the vessels went, by way of the Panama canal, to Halifax.

Trawlers And Drifters

A patrol and mine-sweeping service was carried on after the outbreak of war. The vessels used first were Government and privately owned vessels which were taken over and equipped for the purpose. Some of these were placed at the disposal of the Government free of charge. Early in 1917 the Department of the Naval Service undertook to have 60 trawlers and 100 drifters built in Canada for the Imperial Government. These vessels were built at various places on the St. Lawrence and the Great lakes; many of them were in service in Canadian and European waters in the year 1917, and all were in service in 1918.

The area patrolled under the Department stretched from the straits of Belle Isle to the Bay of Fundy, and from Quebec to east of the Virgin Rocks. Within this area the Department had control of patrols, convoys, mine-sweeping, the protection of fishing fleets, etc. only one large vessel was lost by enemy attack in this area.

At the date of the armistice the vessels in the Canadian Naval Service were as follows:—

On The Pacific

H.M.C.S. Rainbow, depot and training ship; H.M.S. Algerine, sloop; auxiliary patrol ship Malaspina; several motor launches tor harbour defence.

On the Atlantic

H.M.C.S. Niobe, depot and training ship; H.M.C.S. Shearwater, submarine depot ship, and two submarines; H.M C.S. Grilse, torpedo-boat destroyer; nine auxiliary patrol ships, forty-seven armed trawlers, fifty-eight armed drifters, eleven armed mine-sweepers and tugs, and a large flotilla of motor launches.

Personnel

The crews of these vessels consisted of men from all parts of Canada, principally members of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. At the date of the armistice the personnel of the service was:—

  • Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy, 749.
  • Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, 4,374.

Naval College

Canada is fortunate in the possession of a small but excellent Naval College. More than 50 officers who passed out of the College as cadets served in either the Imperial or Canadian Navy. Many of them have gained distinction, and four lost their lives in the battle of Coronel.

Canadians in the Imperial Naval Forces

In addition to the men serving on Canadian vessels, over 1,700 men were recruited in Canada for the Imperial Navy, 73 Surgeon Probationers and a number of Hydrographic Survey Officers were sent from Canada, and 580 Canadian enrolled as Probationary Flight Lieutenants in the Royal Naval Air Service, before recruiting for the Royal Air Force began in Canada. More than 500 Canadians holding commissions in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve were in the British Auxiliary Patrol and similar services.

Naval Air Service

The Royal Canadian Naval Air Service was established in the summer of 1918, with stations at Halifax and North Sydney. It co-operated with the United States Naval Aviation Corps in patrolling the coast and escorting convoys through the danger zone.

Wireless Service

The Canadian Radiotelegraph Service controlled about 200 stations ashore and afloat. Several new stations were erected or taken over by the Department of Naval Service, and there was an unbroken chain of radio communication from St. John's Newfoundland, to Demerara. The Department opened a training school for wireless operators, from which about 200 men were sent out for service in all parts of the world.

Dockyards

Important refitting, repairing and supply work was done ny Canadian dockyards. Large refits of Imperial and other ships were made at Esquimalt, including H.M.S. Kent, after the battle of the Falkland Islands, and the Japanese Battleship Asama, after grounding the coast of lower California. Several large cruisers were refitted at Halifax and Montreal. Other work included the defensive armament of merchant ships, the refitting of transports for troops, horses, and special cargo, and the loading and securing on ships' decks of 600 launches, tugs, etc., of large size.

The Halifax dockyard was seriously damaged by the explosion in the harbour on December 6, 1917, but immediate steps were taken to enable the services of the yard to be carried on.

Stores

The Canadian Naval Service provided supplies for the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and for a number of Imperial and Allied ships in Canadian waters, as well as many of the requirements of H.M. dockyards at Bermuda and Hong Kong. Large supplies were shipped from Halifax dockyard for provisioning the fleets in European waters. A large coaling depot was established at Sydney for the use of patrolling vessels and of all convoys leaving the St. Lawrence.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Destroyers for the RCN (1928)
Topic: RCN

Destroyers for the RCN (1928)

From the archived files of the Governor General, at Heritage Canada. (RG 7, G21, Vol. 232; File/Dossier 343, pt. 13)

Dominions Office CANADA

Secret

The Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada

Referred to: —
The Prime Minister,
National Defence.

Downing Street,
18 May, 1928

Sir,

With reference to your Secret telegram of the 12th December, 1927, I have the honour to stat that it is understood from the Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty that the conditions governing the loan of the two S. Class Destroyers (H.M.C.S. "Vancouver" and "Champlain") have formed the subject of semi-official communication between the Admiralty and the Canadian authorities, who are in agreement with the terms set out below: —

(a)     The Canadian Government to pay the cost of reconditioning the two "S" type destroyers. These sums provide for the carrying out of somewhat similar alterations and addition s to those effected in "Patriot" and "Patrician", prior to their transfer to Canadian service.

(b)     The Canadian Government also to meet the cost of any further alterations and additions that may be carried out, in view of the service for which the vessels are be lent, few alterations and additions have been embodied.

(c)     Stores.

(i)     Permanent Stores (Naval and Armament): —

A full equipment to be transferred with the vessels free of charge; any items required in excess of a full equipment to be supplied on repayment. Reserve of ammunition, if supplied, will be on similar terms, but freight charges in both directions will be a liability of the Canadian Government.

During the period of the loan, equipment of permanent stores to be kept up to date to the latest approved established allowance at the expense of the Canadian Government.

On return of the vessels from loan, any deficiencies in the full equipment — to be returned — to be paid for.

(ii)     Consumable stores and fuel: — All be supplied on repayment. On return of the vessels from loan, credit to be given for the value of consumable stores and fuel on board.

(iii)     Victualling Stores: — Outfit supplied with vessel to be paid for by the Canadian Government.

(d)     The Canadian Government to take the vessel over at a Home Port on a given date and to be responsible for their manning and navigation to Canada, the responsibility of the Admiralty ceasing from the date when the vessels are taken over in England.

(e)     The Canadian Government to be responsible for returning the destroyers to England on the termination of their service in reasonable condition and to be liable for all costs in connection therewith until the date on which the vessels are accepted again by the Admiralty.

(f)     The Canadian Government to bear the whole cost of running and maintenance during their service in Canada and on passage to and from England.

(g)     The destroyers to be available for return to the Royal Navy, if required in an emergency.

2.     The Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty would be glad to learn that His Majesty's Government in Canada concurs in these conditions.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient,
humble servant,

(Signed) L.S. Amery.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 31 March 2016

Canada's First Carrier Reaches Halifax Port
Topic: RCN

Canada's First Carrier Reaches Halifax Port

Montreal Gazette; 1 April 1946

Halifax, March 31.—CP—H.M.C.S. Warrior, first aircraft carrier to wear Canada's green maple leaf on her funnel, steamed into her home port today a week out of Portsmouth, England, on her maiden voyage.

Just inside Sambro lighthouse at the approaches to Halifax, the 18,000-ton flattop turned into the wind and flew off her fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, giving Canadians ashore their first chance of seeing Canadian naval air squadrons flying as units.

Escorted by the destroyer Micmac and the Algerine minesweeper Middlesex, the Warrior moved upstream to her berth at the naval dockyard. Thousands of ship-conscious Haligonians lined the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the newest addition to Canada' fleet.

At noon, W.C. Macdonald, Liberal member for parliament for Halifax, boarded the carrier and welcomed the ship's company back to Canada on behalf of Defence Minister D.C. Abbott.

"One of the lessons of the taught us in Halifax was the value of cooperation between naval and air power, Mr. Macdonald said, "I think it can be said that air power is vital to a modern fleet. Such a vessel as this new aircraft carrier is a recognition of that fact."

Capt. F.L. Houghton of Ottawa and Halifax expressed pride in his ship and the fact that he had been able to bring her to Halifax.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 19 December 2015

NIOBE and RAINBOW
Topic: RCN

NIOBE and RAINBOW

From the Orders-in-Council documents archives on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find the following memorandum on commissioning and manning HMCS NIOBE and HMCS RAINBOW:

"Subject to approval of Treasury, Admiralty are prepared to sell 'Niobe' to Canadian Government for lump sum of £215,000 made up as follows—for ship in efficient seagoing and fighting condition, £160,000 – guns and torpedoes £20,000 – ammunition and packages, outfit only £25,000 – sea stores without coal £10,000."

From Graham Greene to Admiral Kingsmill, 10 December 1909

"Admiralty, S.W. 30th July, 1910.

"Sir,

"I am commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint you for the information of the Secretary of State for the Colonies that they have under theur careful consideration the arrangements to be made in connection with the commissioning and manning of the two cruisers purchased by the Government of Canada.

"As the Secretary of State will remember the Admiralty undertook as part of the scheme discussed at the Imperial Conference to transfer to the Dominion Government two of the older cruisers of the Royal navy for use as training ships for the new naval service of Canada and at the same time they agreed that the two cruisers should be manned by volunteers from the officers and men or the Royal Navy, on the active or retired lists.

"The choice of the Canadian Government fell upon the 1st Class protected cruiser "Niobe" and the 2nd Class protected cruiser "Rainbow" and these two vessels will shortly be ready for commissioning. An agreement has been come to with the Department of the Naval Service of Canada as to the composition of the complements of the two cruisers and there is reason to expect that naval ratings will volunteer in sufficient number.

"The following general arrangements have been discussed with the Minister of Naval Service of Canada.

"As regards discipline it is proposed that the officers and men serving under the Canadian Government should be governed by the Naval Discipline Act as applied to the Canadian Naval Force by section 48 of the Naval Service Act passed this year by the Canadian Government, viz:

"The Naval Discipline Act, 1868 and the Acts in amendment thereof passed before Parliament of the United Kingdom for the time being in force, and the King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, in so far as the said Acts, regulations and instructions are applicable, and except in so far as they may be inconsistent with this Act or with any regulations under this Act, shall apply to the Naval Service and shall have the same force in law as if they formed part of this Act."

"Owing however to the fact that legal questions have been raised as to the power of a Dominion Parliament to apply the Naval Discipline Act to officers and men serving in Dominion ships of war outside territorial waters and also as to the exact effect of such application of the same, whether within or without territorial waters, it has been agreed as a provisional measure, that the formal transfer of the cruisers wo the Canadian Government should be made on their arrival in Canadian waters, and that the vessels should be commissioned by the Admiralty for the voyage to Canada the officers and men selected being appointed to H.M. Ships "Niobe" and "Rainbow"in the same manner as if they were ships of war under the administration of the Admiralty. The Commanding Officers will be given directions to proceed to Canada in pursuance of the instructions of the Minister of the Naval Service and on arrival to place themselves under the Minister's orders.

"Although the Commissions given by the Admiralty to officers of the Royal navy remain in force wherever the officers may be serving, yet it is understood that the terms of the Naval Service Act of Canada may render it desirable that supplementary Commissions should be issued to them by the Canadian Government, and it is proposed, provisionally, to leave this point to the discretion of the Minister or Naval Service. The appointments already given by the Minister of Naval Service to the officers selected will take effect on the arrival of the vessels in Canadian waters, and on their transfer to the Canadian Government.

"My Lords are of the opinion that the legislative application of the Naval Discipline Act and King's Regulations to the Naval Force of Canada will be of very great advantage in maintaining that close connection between the Dominion Service and the Royal navy which was contemplated at the Imperial Conference last year, and they do not wish to cause any unnecessary delay in giving full effect to the arrangement proposed at the Conference; but it is essential that there should be no doubts as to the law governing the discipline of the officers and men lent to a Dominion Government and as to the general status and position of Dominion ships of war especially outside the territorial waters of the Dominions. It is proposed, therefore, to make these questions the subject of a further communication and in the meanwhile it is understood that the Canadian Government agree that the cruisers are not to leave the vicinity of the coasts of Canada or visit a foreign port without the concurrence of the Admiralty.

"As regards the engagement of volunteers from the Active and Reserve lists of the Royal Navy, ir is proposed that both classes of ratings should sign an agreement in the terms of the form annexed to this letter and that men in the Reserves should also sign and engagement to enter the Royal navy for service in the Canadian Naval Force, the period of such service being specific in the agreement. It is understood that men entered from the shore not being under any liability to service in the Royal Navy, will sign a separate engagement as approved by the Minister of the Naval Service.

"The pay and allowances of officers and men during the period of their engagement commencing from their appointment to the Cruisers will be in accordance with the scale approved by the Privy Council of Canada and communicated by the Minister of Naval Service. The whole charge for such pay will fall upon the Canadian Government.

"Active service officers and men will draw no pay and allowances from Imperial funds, but will be entitled to count their agreed service in the Canadian Naval Force as Naval service in accordance with Admiralty regulations. Royal Fleet Reserve men, Class A, and Pensioners not in the Royal Fleet Reserve, will continue to draw their Naval pensions from Imperial funds. Royal Fleet Reserve men, Class A, will be entitled to count their service in the Canadian Naval Force, if satisfactory, as qualifying service, in that Class of Reserves, for a Royal Fleet Reserve Pension. Royal Fleet Reserve men, Class B, will be discharged from the Reserve on re-entering the Royal Navy for service with the Canadian Government. They will not draw their retainers while so employed, but they will be re-enrolled in the Reserve on return to the United Kingdom and will be entitled to count their service in the Canadian Naval Force, if satisfactory, as qualifying service for a Royal Fleet Reserve Pension or gratuity on discharge. During their service in the Canadian Naval force men of the Royal Fleet Reserve will be abolished from the necessity of performing drills as members of the Reserve.

"Looking to the fact that the Imperial Government will be liable for the retired pay, service pensions or gratuities of officers and men lent to the Canadian Government it is considered that the Dominion Government should bear the charge for such proportion of the retired pay, pension or gratuity as may be due to actual paid service in the Canadian naval force. The basis on which such a payment should be made by the Canadian Government and its scope is being discussed separately, and it is not expected that there will be any difficulty in settling the details of an arrangement acceptable to both Governments.

"My Lords desire me to request that the Secretary of State will communicate the substance of this letter to the Government of Canada and to state that they will be glad to receive by cable as soon as possible an intimation of the consurrence of the Dominion Government in the genral arrangements referred to herein.

"I am, etc., (Sd.) W.J. Evans, pro Secretary."

elipsis graphic

Memorandum of Conditions of Service In the Canadian Naval Force

The service of Volunteers in the Canadian Naval Force will be subject to the following conditions.

Men in the Reserves and Pensioners will sign the usual engagement form to join the Royal Navy for 'x' years for service in the Canadian Naval Force. Volunteers from the Active List will serve for two years in the Canadian Naval Force. All classes will be subject during such service to Naval Discipline. They will receive from the Canadian Government the pay and allowances and clothing, &c., prescribed in the regulations issued by the Minister of Marine and except those who are Naval pensioners and will continue to draw their pensions, they will not be entitled to any pay or allowances from the Admiralty.

Leave with pay will be granted as prescribed in the regulations referred to above: it may be taken annually or allowed to accumulate and be taken at, but prior to, the termination of the period of service. Service in the Canadian Naval Force will count as Naval service in accordance with Admiralty Regulations.

Passage to England will be provided by the Canadian Government on termination of the engagement.

I hereby acknowledge that I have read the foregoing and agree to serve under the conditions mentioned above.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Commodore says Navy run like Private Club
Topic: RCN

Commodore says Navy run like Private Club

Ottawa Citizen; 26 August 1963

"Commodore James Plomer launched a potentially damaging attack on the Canadian Naval establishment. In a wide-ranging, highly critical article published by Maclean's magazine on 7 September 1963, the recently retired Plomer systematically attacked the RCN's managment system, its equipment, its ability to confuct operations at seas and its personnel policies. Although Plomer's assertions were later repudiated and puiblicly shown to be self-serving, his onslaught did produce some fallout — especially in his criticism of the GP frigate program."

The Admirals: Canada's Senior Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century, by Michael Whitby, Richard H. Gimblett, Peter Haydon; 2006

Toronto (CP)—Retired RCN Commodore James Plomer says a "self-perpetuating, self-electing" group of admirals is running the Royal Canadian Navy like a private club.

He makes the charge, and many others, in an article entitled The Gold-Braid Mind is destroying our Navy in the Sept. 7 issue of Maclean's magazine.

Commodore Plumer, former deputy naval comptroller who resigned last spring, says the navy has a fleet of ships which are "badly chosen, badly equipped and poorly manned."

"In my view, the people of Canada have been badly hoodwinked, both through press releases of the navy and through various ministers of defence, who have themselves been misinformed by their naval advisers," Commodore Plomer writes. He was formerly senior Canadian officer afloat.

"Canadian admirals have come to believe in themselves as a social institution, a marching society, a kind of Tammany Hall. Arrogantly, they believe that military law, the Naval Discipline Act and pageantry are all we need to make a modern navy."

Obsessed with Pomp

"Childish obsession with the pomp of a bygone age" was far stronger in the RCN than in any modern nanvy.

In the RCN's "parade-ground psychology," fresh paint on ships "means praise, whatever the internal shambles."

"Officers who have failed quickly under operational stress have become admirals. So have officers who dress up in sailor suits but rarely go to sea—the last admiral I worked for had been to sea less than two months since before the start of the war."

The admirals manipulated appointments "with all the underhandedness of a bungling, devitalized Mafia—but more gorgeously attired."

Commodore Plomer says morale is so low in the RCN, ships are unable to function effectively and many vessels break down during exercises.

He says he doesn't know of a single case where a commanding officer has faced a board of inquiry for even the grossest neglect of his ship.

He has made repeated representations to three admirals and two chiefs of naval staff on the condition of ships.

Reports Ignored

"My reports have been either politely or rudely ignored."

The admirals "have for years demonstrated an unholy genius for buying the wrong equipment."

The aircraft carrier Bonaventure was too slow, was not designed for the North Atlantic, had "obsolete" anti-aircraft guns and her accommodations was substandard and crowded.

It had taken six years and a "fantastic amount of money" to get three-inch destroyer guns in working order.

Commodore Plomer's charges are likely to be aired before the Commons defence committee this fall.

There was no immediate official comment from the Navy. Unofficially, it was said the charges have a kernel of truth in them but that Commodoe Plomer had overstated the case.

elipsis graphic

Commodore James Plomer, OBE, DSC*, CD

The following synopsis of Commodore Plomer's career is published at RCNVR.com:

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Canadian Navy 1910
Topic: RCN

The Canadian Navy 1910

The Glasgow Herald, 11 February 1910

Ottawa.—Not all vessels of the Canadian navy are to be built in Canada after all. Sir Frederick Borden, Minister of Militia and Defence, in the course of the debates on the Naval Bill, announced that the Canadian Government is negotiating with the Imperial Admiralty for the purchase of the cruiser Niobe. This purchase is intended to take the place of a projected cruiser of the Boadicea class, originally included in the Canadian plans.

The announcement has caused considerable discussion, and is regarded as a concession to that party in the House which has been clamouring for a direct contribution towards Imperial Dreadnoughts. It is considered likely that other vessels will be bought instead of built, for that policy will achieve more immediate results.

The energy of the Government is having a good effect, accompanied as it is by the contention of Sir Frederick Borden that Canada, in spite of all the criticism, is doing more for Imperial naval defence than either New Zealand or Australia.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 December 2015 12:07 AM EST
Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Build an All-Canadian Navy
Topic: RCN

Build an All-Canadian Navy

Build an All-Canadian Navy is Advice of Lord Jellicoe Given in His Official Report

The Toronto World, 11 March 1920

Ottawa, March 10.—(By Canadian Press).—An all-Canadian navy, preferably directed by a naval board, which will be under the civil control of parliament and of which the minister of the navy will be head, is, in a word, the recommendation of Viscount Admiral Jellicoe, whose report on Canadian naval affairs was tabled in the house of commons by Hon. C.C. Ballantyne this afternoon. The admiral strongly recommends that naval affairs be placed in charge of a minister who will be responsible for them and nothing else. He makes two suggestions with regard to the constitution of the Canadian navy, one designed to satisfy a desire for a navy, which will be engaged merely in the protection of Canadian ports, and the other for a naval organization to cooperate in the general needs of the empire.

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Four Alternative Suggestions For a Canadian Battle Fleet

In his report to the Canadian government on naval affairs, Admiral Jellicoe submits four alternative suggestions for a Canadian fleet:

First—Twenty-five million dollar fleet:

  • Two battle cruisers,
  • seven light cruisers,
  • one flotilla leader,
  • six destroyers,
  • one destroyer parent-ship,
  • sixteen submarines,
  • one submarine parent-ship,
  • two aircraft carriers,
  • four fleet minesweepers,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

Second—Seventeen and a half million dollar fleet:

  • One battle cruisers,
  • five light cruisers,
  • one flotilla leader,
  • six destroyers,
  • one destroyer parent-ship,
  • one aircraft carrier,
  • eight submarines,
  • one submarine parent-ship,
  • two fleet minesweepers,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

Third—Ten million dollar fleet:

  • Three light cruisers,
  • one flotilla leader,
  • eight submarines,
  • one submarine parent-ship,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

Fourth—Five million dollar fleet:

  • Eight submarines,
  • four local defence destroyers,
  • eight "P" boats,
  • four trawler minesweepers.

"Dealing with the question of administration, it is impossible to omit mention of the immense advantages that result from keeping the naval service outside the region of party politics.

"The organization under which the Royal Navy is administered by a board of admiralty has stood the test of time and has, indeed, been followed in this general principle in the present organization of the British war office."

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Summarized Conclusions

Summarized the conclusions are:

(A)     It is very desirable that there should be a minister for the navy responsible only for that service.

(B)     In the event it is suggested that all other seafaring affairs should be conducted by another minister with, perhaps, the title of "The Minister of Marine and Fisheries."

(C)     It is proposed that a shipping committee, comprising representatives of shipowners, fishery firms, the marine department, and the naval staff, should meet periodically to consider questions of general development of marine resources. Their functions would be purely advisory in peace, but in war they would take control of shipping, their chairman acting as shipping controller.

(D)     A member or branch of the naval staff should be concerned with trade and fishery questions and the war training and the constructional work involved.

On Outbreak of War

(E)     On the outbreak of war, in addition to the shipping committee possessing the same powers and functions as the ministry of shipping in England during the late war, the naval staff branch referred to in (D) should carry out the duties of the mercantile movements division.

In this way organizations already existing would be in a position to take up their war-time duties without difficulty or loss of time.

(F)     Arrangements concerning the strengthening of hulls to take defensive armament in merchant ships and fishing vessels would be dealt with by this shipping committee, recommendations being made to the director of naval ordnance for the armament when approval was obtained.

(G)     It is desirable that a knowledge of naval warfare should form part of the qualifications of merchant service officers for a certificate.

(H)     Design of fishing craft should be encouraged along lines tending to efficient auxiliary vessels for naval use in war time, so far as is consistent with their ordinary work.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 21 November 2015

Canadian Navy will Continue with Few Ships
Topic: RCN

Canadian Navy will Continue with Few Ships

No programme of Naval Construction Planned
Arms at Minimum
Dominion to Keep Land and Air Forces at Skeleton Strength

The Gazette, Montreal, Que., 2 January 1934
(By the Canadian Press)

Ottawa, January 1.—Canada contemplates no programme of naval construction for 1934, as so far as any Government policy concerns itself with matters of defence the Dominion will embark on no lines of expansion in any branch of the service it was learned here. The four destroyers and three minesweepers which constitute the Royal Canadian Navy will continue to do so; the skeleton strengths of the permanent force units will be so maintained, while whatever is done for the Royal Canadian Air Force will be in the way of replacement only.

Some years ago the naval branch of the Defence Department had under consideration the laying-up of the minesweepers and building some sloops of the Valerian class to take their place. The advent of the depression however, killed this project, and those 17-year-old drifters remained in commission.

Of the four drafted into service during the war and given names reminiscent of Canadian military achievement on the west front — "Ypres," "Festubert," "Thiepval," and "Armentieres" — three remain. Thiepval was lost in the Pacific seven years ago. Ypres has now become a "depot ship." Only Festubert and Armentieres continue active.

Two of Canada's destroyers, "Skeena" and "Saguenay," are at the top of their class as modern warships of that type. They are only three years old, as equipped with every modern device that makes for efficient vessels and are in every respect formidable men o'war. The others, "Champlain" and "Vancouver," are still technically on loan to this country from the Royal Navy, but the Admiralty said good-bye to them long ago and does not expect to get them back. They are 16 years old. Within the next three of four years plans will have to be drawn up for their replacement, and the likelihood is that this will be achieved by constructing two more destroyers of the Saguenay class.

Shortly after the war, the British Government presented Canada with a small flotilla comprising one light cruiser, "Aurora," and two destroyers, "Patriot" and "Patrician." The cruiser was laid up in 1922. The destroyers continued to serve until almost five years ago when they followed their parent ship to the scrap-heap.

Canadian naval policy envisages a fleet owned, controlled and manned by Canadians. The first two elements are accomplished facts, the last is being gradually achieved, for the vast majority of the personnel are now natives of this country and, for the first time since naval activities assumed any importance in the Dominion, the Director of Naval Operations—Captain Percy W. Nelles, R.C.N.—is a Canadian.

Naval policy, however, does not by any means contemplate a "big" navy. It conforms to the resolution of the 1923 Imperial Conference which set forth that "the primary responsibility of each portion of the Empire represented at the conference is for its own local defence." A writer in a recent issue of an English military journal crystallized this in the following terms:

"With respect to the role of Canada's sea forces, it must be understood that whereas the security of her sea-borne commerce is recognized as a national responsibility, there are certain considerations which must not be lost sight of. At the outmost limits of the sea-lines of communication in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, South America or Africa, etc., an individual Canadian cargo is perhaps hard to find; but at the focal point of the cone, in the vicinity of Canadian waters, these cargoes become, so to speak, congested, and operation against Canadian trade in these limited areas would have an adverse effect on Canadian industry.

"It must be remembered, however, that Canada is peculiarly well situated. Geographically and strategically, vis-à-vis trans-oceanic power. Our vulnerable focal point lies 5,000 miles on one side and 3,000 miles on the other from any possible overseas adversary. In any maritime conflict it is difficult to conceive of any major forces of possible enemies being detached to attack Canadian trade at these distances, at its most vulnerable point. It is, of course, possible that minor or improvised forces might well be available for such an objective if no defences were maintained to oppose them."

Reduced to its simplest terms, this means that Canadian naval policy is to guard the sea-lanes which fan out from the mouth of the St. Lawrence, from Halifax and Saint John on the Atlantic, and from Victoria and Vancouver on the Pacific. Beyond that, naval responsibility is regarded as resting elsewhere.

Whether Canada's present forces are adequate to deal with whatever situation may arise that would demand a practical application of this policy is the concern of the naval experts working in collaboration with the Treasury Department. Warships are expensive, and Canada's financial resources are employed to their limit in taking care of railway deficits, interest on war loans and the national debt, unemployment relief, unbalanced budgets and the administrative services. Having regard to the demands of the Treasury for the maintenance of those features of national existence that are urgent and immediately necessary, any possibility of naval expansion in the near future is so remote as to be ruled out of the picture.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Colours for the RCN
Topic: RCN

George VI presents the King's Colours to the Royal Canadian Navy at a ceremony in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, in 1939. (Source)

Colours for the RCN

Exploring the files available on line from the Library and Archives Canada can produce some interesting historical trivia. From the records of the office of the Governor General we can discover correspondence related to the approval and acquisition of Colours for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The Governor General of Canada, His Excellency, General, The Right Honourable Lord Byng of Vimy approached the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 11 July 1924 regarding Colours for the Royal Canadian Navy:

"With reference to your despatch, Miscellaneous, of the 21st May, on the subject of the use by the Royal Navy of Colours corresponding to those of the King's Colours as carried by Military Forces, I have the honour to request that His Majesty the King may be graciously pleased to approve the use of Colours by the Royal Canadian Navy under similar conditions to those approved for the Royal Navy, the Colours to be kept at the Royal Canadian Naval Barracks at Halifax and Esquimalt, the home bases of the Royal Canadian Navy."

In a letter from the office of the Secretary of State to Lord Byng, it was confirmed that His Majesty the King had approved of a proposal for RCN Colours. These Colours were to be of the same pattern and usage as those authorized for the Royal Navy. The letter, dated 31 March 1925, closed with the following paragraph:

"The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty could, if desired, supply a colour complete with staff, cord, tassels, badges and colour belt, and I should be glad to learn whether your Ministers wish to have a colour sent out accordingly."

Fleet Order 12057/1924

Orders regarding the use of RN Colours; Fleet Order 12057/1924. Following instructions clarified that "The Colours are never to be landed on territory outside the British Empire."

The Lord Commissioners' kind offer led to an assumption, an attempt to double the offer, and a glimpse at the paucity of the Militia and Defence budget.

On 22 April, 1925, the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs signed off a letter to the Governor General's Secretary which stated: "I have the honour to represent that the Department of National Defence accepts with thanks the kind offer of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to supply a colour complete with staff, cord, tassels, badge and colour belt for the use of the Royal Canadian Navy." The letter went on to reiterate the necessity for two colours, one to place located at Halifax and the second at Esquimalt. The Governor General forwarded the acceptance and requirement for two colours to the Secretary of State for the Colonies the same date.

Five weeks later, on 29 May, 1925, a reply came:

"Your telegram of April 22nd. It seems possible that paragraph 3 of my despatch of March 31st No. 156, may have been read as meaning that the Admiralty would supply the Colours free of charge. Intention was that they should be supplied on repayment basis and I regret this was not more clearly stated."

"Admiralty cannot at present give exact estimate of cost but anticipate cost of each set will run into three figures. In these circumstances will await further telegram from you before taking action on your telegram of April 22nd."

£70 sterling in 1925 would be worth approximately £3800 ($7700 Cdn) in today's money.

Historical value converter

Currency Converter

Later correspondence, dated 12 June, 1925, confirmed that the cost of a set of colours (excluding delivery costs) would be £70, 10 s.

On 17 June, a letter from the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to the Governor General's Secretary stated that the purchase of Colours would have to wait:

"I have the honour to request that His Excellency may be humbly moved to inform the Colonial Secretary, by telegraph, my Ministers state that no provision has been made in the appropriation for the Royal Canadian Navy 1925-26 for the provision of a Service Colour for the Royal Canadian Navy, and it is not possible therefore to purchase the Colour at present."

"The question of purchasing Colours will be considered in 1926 when the Naval Estimates for 1926-1927 are being prepared, and a further communication on the subject will be forwarded in due course."

The Governor General, as requested, informed the Secretary of State for the Colonies of the delay.

It was in October, 1926, that the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs sent a message to the Governor General asking if a decision had been reached. And it was on 4th December, 1926 that confirmation of the readiness to purchase two Service Colours for the Royal Canadian Navy was sent to Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and preparations for a formal requisition were placed into motion.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 October 2015 12:07 AM EDT
Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Mainguy Report: Canadian Identification
Topic: RCN

"The Mainguy Report"

Absence of Canadian Identification in Navy

Report on certain "Incidents" which occurred on board H.M.C. Ships ATHABASKAN, CRESCENT and MAGNIFICENT and on other matters concerning THE Royal Canadian Navy (i.e., "The Mainguy Report"), Ottawa, October 1949.

The following note on the perceived absence of uniquely Canadian identification for seamen of the Royal Canadian Navy was recorded in the Mainguy Report:

There was amongst the men a very real and almost universal opinion that the Canadian Navy was not sufficiently Canadian. The absence of identification on uniforms of Canadian ratings gave rise to many unpleasant international incidents in ports where American sailors were present. While the incident often resulted from ignorance, ill manners, and unfortunate national prejudices, there is no doubt that the relations between Canadian, American and British sailors were greatly impaired by the continual mistaking of Canadian ratings for British sailors. While in general the officers of the Canadian Navy were satisfied with their uniforms and lack of Canadian identification thereon, the men were vehement in their demands that they be identified as Canadians. With the demand we are unanimous in our sympathy, and shall have some further observations to make both in connection with uniforms and ships.

The Report included the following recommedation:

Canada Badges

We have already referred to the almost unanimous desire on the part of the men for some form of clear Canadian identification on their uniforms, at least when they are serving outside Canada. The desire is the natural outcome of pride in their identity as Canadian sailors and of a strong resentment against the recurrence of international incidents in which they are insulted by ignorant citizens or service men belonging to other peoples, who seem to rejoice jeering at those whom they believe to be British. Since we began to meet, the Naval authorities have approved the wearing of some badges in which maple leaves form part of the design. Even the most ignorant member of another race can probably read the word "Canada". A design of maple leaves, however artistic, means little or nothing to such an individual. We recommend that the words "Canada" or "Royal Canadian Navy" be used as shoulder flashes on the uniforms of all ranks. In the case of the Canadian army, the word "Canada" appears somewhere on all uniforms. In the case of the R.C.A.F. the wearing of Canada patches within Canada is a matter of choice. Outside of Canada the wearing of the patch is obligatory. The only other alternative to the decision which we recommend would appear to be the design issue, and wearing of a distinctive Canadian uniform. There are many objections to this change, which need not be detailed at this time. As collateral to the recommendation above, we wish to refer to the painting of maple leaves on the funnels of H.M.C. ships. During the war, Canadian ships were so distinguished. After the war, maple leaves were no longer painted on the funnels. The Board feels that this practice should be reinstituted and has recently learned that Naval Headquarters has so ordered.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Mainguy Report: Canadian Traditions
Topic: RCN

"The Mainguy Report"

Absence of Canadian Traditions in Navy

Report on certain "Incidents" which occurred on board H.M.C. Ships ATHABASKAN, CRESCENT and MAGNIFICENT and on other matters concerning THE Royal Canadian Navy (i.e., "The Mainguy Report"), Ottawa, October 1949.

The following note on the perceived absence of uniquely Canadian traditions in the Royal Canadian navy was recorded in the Mainguy Report:

As collateral to the complaints referred to in the above paragraph, there was a general insistence also on the necessity of building up whenever possible Canadian traditions. Stephen Leacock once said, "Leave the Ukrainians alone, and in ten years they will think that they won the Battle of Trafalgar". Unfortunately this genial prophecy has not been fulfilled, and however regrettable it may seem to some people, an opinion is widely held amongst many ratings and some officers that the "Nelson tradition" is overdone, and there is still too great an attempt to make the Canadian navy a pallid imitation and reflection of the British Navy. This is in no sense a criticism of the magnificent traditions of the Royal Navy, but it is natural outcome of the growth of a healthy Canadian national consciousness. A few suggestions in the matter will be found amongst our recommendations.

Although Canadian traditions for the Navy were not separately addressed in the Report's recommendations, these remarks are to be found throughout the recommendations section:

We would like to see a greater emphasis placed, in the training given on the traditions of Naval Service, the customs of the Navy and the Navy's place as a weapon of democratic defences. There are so many things in Naval history to interest young men, and on the lips or pen of a skilled narrator their recital could hold the fascinated attention of new entries. Even in the matter of general education, we were not impressed by the literature prescribed for reading and examination. There is a fine literature of the sea which might very well be drawn upon for the instruction and enjoyment of new recruits. It would be far better for the new entries to read one or two great sea stories like "Moby Dick" or "The Ship" than to busy themselves as they now do with a string of unrelated "snippets" by a variety of authors.

We feel, too, that a far greater effort should be made to develop in the recruit an understanding of his own importance to the Navy, however humble his task may be. He should be made to understand what patriotism and service to one's country means.

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We are most anxious also to encourage in the new recruit, and in fact throughout the Service, a greater appreciation, not only of the short but glorious history of the Canadian Navy, but also of Naval customs still surviving, of the picturesque Naval terms and their meaning, and of the conditions under which men live at sea. A booklet should be published in addition to the Seamanship manual, which is usually available to new trainees.

The United States Navy, with its usual thoroughness and desire to "Americanize" the men of many racial strains who compose its personnel, has issued a publication entitled "Your Navy". Its manner and matter would not suit our Canadian character, but it does appear to us that a publication dealing with the great traditions of bravery and chivalry at sea that belong to all seagoing peoples, would suit our Canadian pattern.

Our men also belong to many races. Very many of them are of the class and type and sometimes referred to as "New Canadians". They may not all respond to the inspiration of memories such as this:—

"The spirit of your fathers
Shall start from every wave
The deck it was their field of fame
And ocean was their grave.
Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell,
Your manly hearts shall glow
As ye sweep through the deep
While the stormy winds do blow."

but they would all be interested in the recorded traditions of the British Navy, the American Navy, the French Navy, the Dutch Navy and, in fact, of any Navy in which the deeds of the brave have been immortalized. Our own annals may be short and not as rich as those of other nations, but the history of the Canadian Navy in the last war is something to make young men proud, especially if it is interwoven with a recital of the stark deeds at sea which, in the words of Mr. Churchill, "warm the cockles of men's hearts".

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It is also obvious that the improved training of men in seamanship, in conditions of life at sea, and not least, in Naval history and traditions, is of equal importance. No country has available for its service a finer, stronger young manhood than Canada. In order that part of it may be welded together in a happy and efficient Naval community of officers and men, we wish to repeat the discipline is the most important element in the whole fabric. Perhaps we may use here a sentence which we have included at an earlier stage in this report: The only discipline which in the final analysis is worth while is one that is based upon pride in a great service, a belief in essential justice, and the willing obedience that is given to superior character, skill, education and knowledge. Any other form of discipline is bound to break down under stress.

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We have also sought to interpret the wishes of the great majority of men by stressing the need to "Canadianize" our navy. In so doing, we wish to record that in common with most thoughtful Canadians, we have an abiding admiration and respect for the grand traditions and institutions of the Royal Navy and for their continuing beneficient and steadying force wherever British and Canadian ships may sail. We hope that all that is good in these shared traditions will remain with us and that only what is inefficient and inconsistent with our national need, character, dignity and special conditions will disappear from the Navy of Canada.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 16 January 2015

Canadian Navy Plans New Ship (1963)
Topic: RCN


Watch HMCS Brador on Youtube

Canadian Navy Plans New Ship

The Evening Independent; 21 September 1963
Copley News Service

Ottawa, Canada — An ocean-going hydrofoil ship is being developed for the Royal Canadian Navy for antisubmarine defence.

"No country has yet produced an ocean-going hydrofoil," Vice Adm. H.S. Rayner told the Parliamentary Defence Committee, at a recent hearing. "We hope Canada will be the first to do so."

A contract for the hydrofoil R-200, which Rayner called a "very interesting vessel," has been let to De Havilland.

It will be 151½ feet in length, have a bean of 21½ feet and a draft of 23 feet in displacement mode, and 7 1.2 feet when foil borne. It will displace 180 tons and cruise at 16 knots in the displacement mode and more than 50 knots when foil borne. Her crew will be more than 20 personnel.

If successful, the ship should place Canada in the forefront of hydrofoil design and construction, Rayner said. A design for a weapons system for the craft is being worked out.

The prototype is planned to be ready for trials in 1966, and it is expected that it will take eight to nine months to test the craft thoroughly. Weapons and sonar would be installed if the trials are successful, and the navy would decide sometime in 1967 whether to go ahead with a fleet of hydrofoils.

Hydrofoils which the Canadian navy has in mind would operate for seven or eight days at sea, mainly in the displacement mode, which would give them maximum endurance. They would step up to foil borne posture only to go somewhere in a great hurry, as when in contact with a submarine.

The cost of the prototype is estimated at $13 million. Not including money for development of a weapons system.


The Royal Canadian Navy entry on HMCS Brador as presented in Janes's Fighting Ships 1967-68.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 5 January 2015

New Emergency Kits for Seamen (1943)
Topic: RCN

New Emergency Kits for Seamen (1943)

Include Rum, Cigarettes
British Tell How to Scare Sharks

Ottawa, Jan. 22.—AP—The Royal Canadian Navy, which recently issued an emergency ration container to provide torpedoed seamen with concentrated foods and water for a number of days, announced today the production of a supplementary kit to help them battle the elements while on lifeboats and rafts.

Into each kit, with which each liferaft, boat and float is to be equipped, goes 35 ounces of rum, 180 cigarettes in a waterproof package and large-head fusees, or "wind matches" to light them. A waterproof flashlight, a highly polished mirror for day signaling, a clasp knife, fish hooks, lines, sinkers and trolling spoon, field dressings for injuries, jellies for treatment of burns and five tines of "canned water."

At the same time the British Government in London issued a booklet of instructions to seamen on how to save their lives if torpedoed at sea.

Besides advising them to jump feet first over the lower side to avoid fracturing the heels on the keel or receiving bad injuries from barnacles, the booklet told how to swim through burning oil to avoid bad burns.

"Jump feet first through the flames," it said. "Swim as long as possible under water, then spring above the flames and breathe, taking a breast stroke to push the flames away, then sink and swim under water again."

The booklet dismissed the danger of sharks in five lines. They may rub themselves against the lifeboat, it said, not to overturn the raft but to rid themselves of sea lice. They can usually be scared off by vigorous splashing.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 29 December 2014 10:18 PM EST
Friday, 26 December 2014

Return to Pre-War Sailing Traditions (1946)
Topic: RCN

Warrior, a Colossus class light fleet aircraft carrier, was completed in 1946 and served in the Royal Canadian Navy for her first two years. In 1957 she was headquarters ship for Britain's atom bomb tests on Christmas Island. In 1958 she was sold to Argentina and became their Independencia, and was withdrawn from service in 1971. Source: Wikipedia

Halifax to See Pre-War Fanfare as R.C.N. Exercises Start Today

And, if the weather is good, the departure will be in the colorful peacetime tradition — a marked contrast to the stealthy wartime movements of allied men-o-war who fought out of this old port.

The Montreal Gazette; 5 November 1946

Halifax, November 4.—(CP)—Two spic and span ships of Canada's Atlantic Squadron are going to steam out of port tomorrow [6 Nov 1946] to rendezvous with Pacific Squadron ships in tropical waters for the first large-scale peace-time exercises of the Canadian Navy.

And, if the weather is good, the departure will be in the colorful peacetime tradition — a marked contrast to the stealthy wartime movements of allied men-o-war who fought out of this old port.

Haligonians, used to peering rather self-consciously at the big troopers and warships as they sneaked out of the harbour in drab warpaint and camouflage, will get a kick out of watching tomorrow's departure. For the R.C.N.'s first capital ship — the aircraft carrier Warrior — and her Tribal Class destroyer escort Nootka, will come down the harbour with sirens screeching, band playing, pennants flying and bluejackets lining the decks.

The sailors, with their chin straps set for the breeze and standing rigidly along the high flight deck of the carrier and the low slung fighting deck of the destroyer, will keep their positions until the ships are standing out to sea.

As soon as the ships reach the sea, the Warrior is going to launch a flight of her fighting planes as a farewell salute to Halifax.

The November and December training program is designed to give the maximum seas drill to new entry personnel and allow the ships — in command of Capt. Frank L. Houghton, O.B.E., of Ottawa — to take part in navy exercises and manoeuvres.

It is being times to coincide with the shift of the Warrior from Halifax to her new station on the Pacific Coast.

It is understood she will eventually be succeeded here by the new carrier Magnificent, which is being fitted more appropriately for winter Atlantic operations.

After making a brief call at Bermuda, the Atlantic Squadron will train in the Caribbean.

The Nootka will leave the Warrior at the Canal Zone and steam back to Halifax to arrive here November 23. The Warrior will rendezvous with the cruiser Uganda and destroyers in Magdalena Bay, Mexico, for full-scale exercises.

After the drill in Mexican waters, the ships will steam up the coast, paying one brief call at San Diego, Calif., before reaching Victoria, December 14.

The Uganda is the only war veteran in the fleet, having fought in the closing battles of the war in the Far East and having made a training cruise around the South American continent.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 18 December 2014

HMCS Algonquin (1953)
Topic: RCN

Famous Fighting Ship Docks Here In New Anti-Sub Role for R.C.N.

The Montreal Gazette; 28 October 1953

One of Canada's famous fighting ships, [H.M.C.S. Algonquin, has been] re-converted to carry on the tradition in a new role — commanded by Cmdr. Patrick F.X. Russell.

Originally commissioned in Feb., 1944, as a V-Class destroyer, the Algonquin was reconverted to an anti-submarine destroyer escort, to become the first ship of its type in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Fresh from N.A.T.O's "Exercise mariner", where she proved herself in her new anti-submarine fighting role, the Algonquin is a ship with a history.

She was one of many ships employed in attacks on the German pocket-battleship Tirpitz and in June 1944 played a part in Operation Neptune supporting the Normandy invasion. During this time she carried General Crerar and his staff to France.

In the latter half of the year she protected convoys to Murmansk. In one encounter with a German convoy off the Norwegian coast the Algonquin accounted for two German escorts and assisted in a third. In this fight eight of the 11 German ships were sunk and one driven ashore.

After being re-commissioned in February, 1953, ships officers said she was used to test various new weapons and methods of anti0submarine warfare. Now, they say, the evaluations of equipment are "pretty well complete."

Cmdr. Russell was born in England but came to Canada in 1922. He joined the Royal Canadian navy in as a cadet in 1934. His wartime sea appointments include service on H.M.C.S. Margaree, St. Francis and Skeena.

Among the ship's officers is Lt.-Cmdr. James C. Carter of Montreal west. He joined the R.C.N. as a cadet in Sept. 1941.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 12 December 2014

New Colours for Navy (1967)
Topic: RCN


HMCS Algonquin

Navy Bluer Than Ever

Person to person, By Shirley Foley
Ottawa Citizen; 9 November 1967

When Joan Broughton gets going with her paint brush the ship's captain may be found in the Blue Room.

The Royal Canadian Navy is scuttling the tradition that battleships are grey, inside and out. It has ordered a co-ordinated colour scheme for the control rooms of four soon-to-be-built destroyers.

Miss Broughton, colour consultant for a paint company, has been called in on the job. She is suggesting blue walls, off-white cabinets, and khaki trim. She sees the controls themselves in deep blue, rust or olive shades.

"I wasn't given any particular direction on the colour scheme," Miss Broughton says, "although one commander was a little apprehensive that I might come up with shocking pink."

What will the green-clad sailor think of a colour-coordinated control room?

Miss Broughton thinks the colourful environment will have a beneficial effect at sea as it has proved to have in industry. "It's just going to be a more colourful world from now on."

Working from the very imprecise colour names offered in the article, this is one possible interpretation of the proposed colour scheme for the control rooms Iroquios class destroyers.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 21 November 2014

Parcels from Home; 1942
Topic: RCN

The original HMCS Niobe (Canadian service 1910-1920), after which the Second World War shore station of the Royal Canadian Navy at Greenock, Scotland, was named.

Parcels from Home Bring Unlimited Joy to Men of Canada's Navy

They Get Plenty to Eat, But It's Monotonous Fare When There's No Special Treat

The Evening Citizen, Ottawa, Ontario; 1 August 1942
By: Lieut. E.H. Bartlett, R.C.N.V.R.

HMCS NIOBE

HMCS Niobe was a RCN shore establishment at Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland. It operated between 1941 and 1946 as was the headquarters of the RCN in Britain. Niobe fulfilled a wide range of functions, including the provision of a hospital for wounded Canadian Servicemen, and a transit camp for RCN crewmen between postings in the UK. It also maintained listing of ship's crew and next of kin for all RCN personnel based in the UK. The base was was named after the first warship transferred from the RN to the RCN. (Source)

The parcels from home had arrived, and there was jubilation at Canada's naval base, "H.M.C.S. Niobe" in the United Kingdom.

The parcels, in the main, contained food and cigarets with, occasionally, articles of clothing. It was the food and cigarets which brought most joy.

Lest there be any chance of a misunderstanding, there is no shortage of food at this naval base, even as there is no shortage throughout Great Britain. There is a certain monotony and some restriction in the day-to-day menus, which luxuries from Canada relieves.

The parcels arrived on a day which had produced an unattractive series of meals. Breakfast had consisted of cereal and baked beans and bacon, with bread and butter and tea, Dinner (at mid-day) had been vegetable soup, haddock, peas and potatoes and tapioca pudding; tea; the inevitable bread, butter and jam, and tea; and supper had produced corned-beef hash, bread and jam.

The "treats" arrived at a most opportune time.

"Bread and Spread"

There's a good rule which the men overseas have paid down for their friends at home as guidance to what is best to send. "Anything which can be spread on bread," for in Great Britain there is no shortage of bread and "bread and spread" makes a good meal. The "spreads" run from meat pastes to jams, honey to peanut butter as well as tins of real butter.

But, to return to the parcels from home.

Tins of fruit made their appearance at most of the messes when the parcels were opened. There's a system to the issue of these "extra rations," a co-operative system whereby the majority of the food is shared at mess, and the donor of a tin of peaches one day is the sharer of a tin of pineapple the next.

It's a system bred of good fellowship; a naval trait.

For between meal snacks, chocolate bars are always welcome, especially the sugar-laden, delightfully sweet bars which Canada produces. Chocolate bars in the Old Country, at twopence halfpenny each are not really satisfying to the sweet-tooths of Canadians, As for chewing gum, a country which regarded its advent in the last war with rather horrified eyes is certainly not going to produce it in quantity in wartime, so the chewing gum in the parcels from Canada is treasured.

Parcel for Birthday

Highlight of "parcel day" was a party given by one officer in his cabin. It was a brother officer's birthday and the host's parcel from home had included two cans of corn on the cob. The menu was simple. Corn, with creamery butter from Ontario, bread and potted meat, and coffee made from the combined coffee-milk-sugar syrup which has come into its own again in this war.

The luxuries which the folks back home send over well repay the trouble of their sending.

But, it must be repeated, Canada's naval men overseas live well on their rations. They get their roast beef and their bacon, their steak and kidney pies and roast pork, and all the other meats to which they are accustomed. There is no shortage of vegetables and certainly none of bread. Apple pie is no stranger, and milk puddings are frequent. Tea and cocoa seem unlimited, although it is better not to talk about the coffee which sometimes appears. Four meals a day are still in order, with cocoa on tap for the men on night duty.

And, of course, there are "snacks" ashore.

The Canadian seamen early in their sojourn overseas discovered the best restaurants to fit their appetites and their pockets. A typical snack in one of these restaurants costs one and threepence (less that 30 cents) and includes a choice of fish, pork pie, sausage or scrambled eggs (made from powder) each with chipped potatoes, with cakes and tea or coffee. A good meal at a reasonable price.

Chicken Comes High

For high days and holidays, or for a celebration, it is still comparatively easy to get a chicken dinner … but not for one and threepence.

Cigarets are costly, hence the delight with which the cartons of cigarets from home are received. To buy them ashore takes a shilling for a small package of ten, and a seaman's pay does not really permit a great deal of smoking at that price. Especially when he is allotting part of this pay for the purchase of War Savings Certificates. Soft drinks, because of the sugar rationing, are almost unavailable. Beer, for those who want it, is costly … one and fourpence (about 30 cents) for a pint of draught ale the taste of which is not appreciated by the Canadian palate. Cinema shows cost the same as a pint of beer, and are more frequently patronized than are the public houses.

There is no need, however, for Canadian seamen to spend a great deal on entertainment. They have been taken, wholeheartedly, into the families of the center in which their base is situated. The entertainment may not be riotous, but there is much to be said for a quiet evening spent in an Old Country home, before a cheery fire with a cup of tea and some home-baking (the hospitable islanders insist on sharing their rations) for refreshments. And, in addition, the sewing on of buttons and the mending of socks for these boys from across the ocean.

Naval Men Popular

And, of course, if the family has a daughter, well, how much better can a seaman show his appreciation than by taking her to a show of a dance occasionally!

There is no doubt that Canada's naval men are popular. "The finest bunch of laddies we have ver had here," a city magistrate told the writer.

"Eh, but they're grand," said a bus conductress, "and it's a fair treat to see their politeness."

The feeling of goodwill is reciprocated.

"Since we've been here we haven't run into anyone who hasn't wanted to do everything for us," declared one of the lads whose tour of duty overseas has not been short. "They are a people worth fighting beside.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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