The Minute Book
Friday, 4 July 2014

The Mainguy Report - Recommendations for Improvements
Topic: RCN

HMCS Magnificent

The Mainguy Report (1949)

Historic Report

Ottawa Citizen; 2 Nov 1949
By the Canadian Press

The naval report, tabled in the Commons by Defence Minister Claxton, found "evidence of general inexperience of many officers, chiefs and petty officers" aboard the warships involved and criticized the failure to punish the offenders.

The report by Rear Admiral E.R. Mainguy, chief naval officer on the Atlantic Coast, Leonard W. Brockington, Ottawa lawyer, and L.C. Audette, wartime naval officer and a member of the Canadian Maritime Commission, constitutes a landmark in Canada's naval story. It has already gone out to all ships and 5,000 additional copies are being printed for the men.

It bared a broad demand within the ranks for "canadianization" of the force and underlines unfavorable results that sometimes arise when Canadian officers, given British naval training at a formative stage, come to handle the Canadian sailor who "is not the same kind of man" as the British Tar.

Recommendations for Improvements in Navy

Ottawa Citizen; 2 November 1949
By the Canadian Press

Here, briefly, are the major recommendations of a three-man commission for improvements in Canada's navy.

Defence Minister Claxton said yesterday that of 41 recommendations virtually half have been or are being implemented and others are under study.

These are the recommendations and, in brackets, an explanation of what is being done about them:

1.     The navy should be given a breathing space for essential training and the strengthening of men and ships. (The navy's main functions are absorption of new men and anti-submarine training.)

2.     One or more training ships should be commissioned to extending and intensifying officer training. (The cruiser Ontario has been assigned to full-time training duties.)

3.     The "bed-of-roses" approach to recruiting through professional advertising channels should be eliminated. ("Full cognizance of the recommendation has been taken.")

4.     All recruits should be class as ordinary seaman and not assigned specific roles until towards the end of new-entry training.

Fully Equipped

5.     Recruits should be fully equipped with uniform and kit. (Mr. Claxton said at a press conference that this has been fixed up and only occurred at one period because of the high rate of influx.)

6.     Greater emphasis should be placed in recruit-training on the traditions of naval service, the navy's customs and place. (With the opening of a recruit-training base at Cornwallis, "a far greater emphasis has been placed on inculcation of traditions and customs.")

7.     Recruit training is too short.

8.     Recruits in barracks should have a life that is "a fair approximation" of that at sea. (Such conditions are "actually simulated at Cornwallis.")

Glorious History

9.     There should be a greater appreciation throughout the navy not only of the "short but glorious history" of the Canadian navy but of surviving naval customs. A booklet should be published.

10.     There should be the "greatest care" in the choice of officers to train recruits.

11.     The divisional system—the framework of command—should be more fully explained to new men and they should learn how to air grievances. (The divisional system now "is fully explained" to recruits "and they are taught carefully how to air their grievances and discuss their problems.)

12.     Welfare Committees — for talks between officers and men — should be established at sea an ashore. ("Definite orders" have been given for this.)

13.     After recruit training, the sailor should get two weeks leave. (They now get 30 days before going to sea.)

14.     Officer-cadet training at Royal Roads tri-service college should be lengthened; practical and theoretical work should be more closely integrated; Royal Roads training should be followed by experience on Canadian training ships with consideration for "a partial diversion" to U.S. Ships. )Mr. Claxton said any exchanges with the U./S. would probably be made later in an officer's career.)

15.     Improved and extended divisional training for chiefs and petty officers should be established immediately. (A special course in leadership is now being given them.)

16.     Locker space at bases ashore should be provided for civilian clothes of men at sea.

17.     If the naval benevolent trust fund—for distressed naval veterans and seamen—is not supported voluntarily from canteen funds a fixed percentage of canteen profits should be taken.

Unfavorable Reports

18.     It should be mandatory that officers be acquainted with unfavorable reports on them. (Officers are acquainted with such reports.)

19.     The same provision should be made for the men.

20.     The base at Esquimalt should get laundry facilities like those at Halifax.

21.     All ships should obtain the benefits of practical results from experiments in improving living conditions aboard the destroyer Sioux. (If the new arrangements prove advantageous, progressive reconstruction of all other ships will be considered.)

22.     There should be "the quickest possible advance" in barrack construction for single men and in construction of married quarters. (Construction has started on a new barracks block in Halifax and a similar program has been recommended for Esquimalt. Married quarters are being pressed forward "as rapidly as possible.")

23.     Civil servants of high rank should be used to remove some of "the undue burden of administrative detail" from valuable senior officers.

24.     The navy should get announcements of policy before the public.

25.     Naval authorities should consider the liquor question and report to the minister. (Officers get wardroom bar privileges and the men get a daily issue of rum or cash payment in lieu.)

26.     Navy men get $60 to cover renewals of kit and clothing; soldiers and airmen get them free without any allowance. The practice should be uniform.

27.     One free transportation warrant should be made to the home of officers and men for annual leave. (Mr Claxton said this would have to be considered in the light of all three forces.)

Working Methods

28.     After referring to frequent changes in routine aboard ships, the commission said "experts are inquiring into working methods" and added "if this results in the abolition of unnecessary "flummery," useless parades and pointless mustering and a greater attention to the essential work of a ship a most useful and necessary purpose will be served."

29.     Officers should be trained "far more frequently and intensively" in the qualities of leadership; young officers should get a chance to study "successful" leaders. (Training is being increased both in length and in general subjects, Mr Claxton said.

30.     The officers should get a better grounding in the humanities, embracing literary, artistic and social influences.

31.     Canada shoulder flashes should be issued the men; maple leaves should be placed on warships funnels. (The first is under study, the second is being done.)

32.     There was a broad feeling that the navy should be more Canadian. (Every effort is being made to Canadianize the force and to inform members of its story.)

33.     Recreational facilities should be improved both at sea and ashore.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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