The Minute Book
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 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
Saturday, 13 September 2014

Fairey Barracuda
Topic: RCN

Fairey Barracuda

In the months follwing the Second World War, Canada among other nations was determining what its armed forces would look like in the post-war era. Canada planned to acquire an aircraft carrier, and it would require aircraft for its naval air program. This advertisement, published in McLean's magazine on 15 June 1945 shows that aircraft manufacturers were already busy adjusting to the new operating environment that would dictate future sales, and they were working on convincing the Canadian public that they had the aircraft Canada's Navy would need.

The Royal Canadian Navy took delivery of 12 radar-equipped Mk II Fairey Barracudas (this was a Canadian designation, in British service these were the Mk. III). These aircraft were assigned to the newly formed 825 Sqn. which conducted flight operations from the aircraft carrier HMCS Warrior. HMCS Warrior waspaid off in 1948 and returned to Britain along with the Barracuda aircraft.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 11 August 2014

Bonaventure Commissioning
Topic: RCN

Bonaventure Commissioning

First Canadian-Owned Carrier is Up-To-Date

Ottawa Citizen, 21 January 1957

The commissioning of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Bonaventure at Belfast, Northern Ireland, on January 17 marked an important milestone in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy and, in particular, of Canadian aviation.

The Bonaventure is the first carrier to be Canadian-owned and embodies many features and developments that are uniquely Canadian. Most important is her capacity to handle the more advanced aircraft with which the RCN's operational squadrons are being re-armed. Among her up-to-date facilities are the angled deck, steam catapult and stabilized mirror landing aid.

The Bonaventure, built by Harland and Wolff Ltd., has a riveted steel hull and main bulkheads/ Aluminum was used where practical in the superstructure and the majority of her secondary bulkheads are of marinite panelling.

Twin Shaft

She has twin-shaft steam turbines and displaces approximately 19,000 tons fully loaded. She is 700 feet long, with a beam of 80 feet, excluding the angled deck.

Her gunnery armament include the latest anti-aircraft guns and fire control equipment.

Radar equipment was installed for full coverage of fighting requirements, as well as navigation purposes. A closed television system for inter-ship communication was tested experimentally ion board.

The main electrical power generated in the ship is direct current to a maximum of 3,200 kilowatts, developed by four turbine-driven generators and four diesel-driven generators. There are also about 300 kilowatts of alternating current power, catering mainly to the electronics system.

Internal communications, except for the experimental television, are normal for the class and operational role. Flourescent lighting was used in many places, including pilots' briefing room. Flight deck lighting represents the latest developments for night flying operations.

Canadian standard habitability has been built into the ship, which has a complement of approximately 1,200 officers and men. The crew sleep in bunks and are fed cafeteria-style in separate eating spaces.

Mainly Electrified

Galleys are mainly electrified, with a few steam-operated pressure cookers. Enhancing the domestic are automatic potato-peelers, automatic dishwashing machines and meat tenderizers.

The bakery will be capable of meeting full requirements of the ship's complement, and a canteen has been installed, complete with soda fountain and ice-cream making machinery. Sixteen m.m. sound motion picture projectors were supplied to the ship for movies in the hangar.

A new first in naval engineering has been achieved with the production of aviation fuelling equipment for the Bonaventure which will ensure the only pure, properly constituted aviation fuels can be pumped into the tanks of the carrier's aircraft.

The aircraft, with which the Bonaventure is equipped, are the Canadian-produced CS2F1 anti-submarine aircraft, known as the Tracker, and the radar-equipped all-weather Banshee jet aircraft.

Target figure for the Tracker is 100. The De Havilland Aircraft Company of Canada Ltd. delivered the first of these in the fall of 1956 and production will continue at the rate of approximately two a month until mid-1960.

The Tracker, also an all-weather aircraft is literally packed with electronic devices for navigation and for detection of submarines.

Eight-Hour Endurance

It is powered by two Wright 983C94EI nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines with propeller reduction drive. Each engine has a take-off rating of 1,525 h.p. The aircraft has an endurance of eight hours. Its maximum speed if over 300 m.p.h.

With an all-up weight of 23,000 pounds, its wing span is 69 feet eight inches and its length is 42 feet.

Detection equipment includes radar, sonobouys, magnetic airborne detector (MAD) and a searchlight. Armament includes homing torpedoes and rockets.

The RCN had 39 Banshee jet fighters on order. One banshee squadron now is in service at HMCS Shearwater, RCN air station at Dartmouth, N.S., while awaiting the commissioning of the carrier, and delivery of the balance of the aircraft is expected to be completed by nmid-1957.

Banshee is powered by two Westinghouse J34-WE-34 turbojet engines rated at 3.250 pounds thrust each, giving that aircraft a speed of approximately 600 miles as hour. It has an initial rate of climb of over 6,200 feet per minute, a service ceiling of 40,000 feet and a maximum range of over 2,000 miles. Its armament consists of four 20-m.m. cannon, and high velocity aircraft rockets or two 1,000-pound bombs.

The number of aircraft operating from the Bonaventure will range between 25 and 30, depending upon her operational or exercise role. The proportion of Trackers to Banshees will vary according to the requirements of these roles.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 6 July 2014 12:37 PM EDT
Sunday, 20 July 2014

The RCN Rum Ration
Topic: RCN

The RCN Rum Ration; Reviewed, Retained, Ended

The Montreal Gazette;
14 December, 1939

Rum Ration Retained

Ottawa, December 13. — CP — Men of the Royal Canadian Navy, and other branches of Canada's Active Service Forces may well say "Heave ho, my hearties" today for that ration of rum is to be continued. After examination by Government experts a proposal to substitute brandy for the traditional rum ration has been squelched.

The Maple Leaf;
17 February, 1945

Where Does It Go?

Ottawa — (CP) — An increasing number of Canada's seamen are passing up their daily rum ration in lieu of the alternative five cents, Navy Minister Macdonald disclosed. He said he believed the figures stood at about 60 per cent temperate, 40 per cent "grogs." The men are given the opportunity to change their minds on the subject every four months.

The News and Courier;
15 May 1955

Canadian Navy's Rum Ration Hit

Winnipeg, Man., May 14 — (AP) — The daily ration of rum for members of the Canadian navy should be discontinued, the Manitoba Temperance Alliance said in a resolution adopted at its annual meeting.


The Montreal Gazette; 2 November, 1949

Canadian Navy Advised to Review Age-old Custom of Rum Rations

Ottawa, Nov. 1 — (CP) — Naval authorities were asked today to review the question of serving alcoholic beverages aboard ships of the RCN and to make a report on the matter to Defence Minister Claxton.

The request came in the report of the commission which investigated incidents aboard the aircraft carrier Magnificent and the destroyers Athabaskan and Crescent last February and March.

The commission itself expressed no opinion on the system of wardroom privileges for officers and a daily tot of rum issued to ratings or, in lieu, a cash payment.

"We believe that if any change is to take place, it should not be imposed by an outside authority but should be the result of a careful assessment of all factors by the Navy itself,: the report said.

During its sittings, the commission heard a number of proposals, including abolition of alcoholic drinks on board Canadian ships, adoption of the American system whereby beer is issued to the men and officers are allowed to buy drinks at shore prices; and abolition of all drinks while the ship is at sea.

The first of these proposals would introduce the United States Navy system into the RCN—a strict ban on alcohol for both officers and men.

The report noted that the Canadian system at present was inherited from the British navy from "age-old customs" and that during tropical cruises the custom of making and issue of beer to the men has been followed occasionally.

"It is generally argued by advocates of the present system," the report said, "that it has long been accepted by and acceptable to all ranks; that it has not been abused' that it is a fair reflection at sea of the privileges of men on shore and that it helps to strengthen the self-discipline of officers and men.

"The American system, on the other hand, is alleged to contribute to law-breaking at sea and to over-indulgence on shore.

"On the other hand, evidence was offered that the differential privileges of officers and men occasionally but infrequently are met with a measure of dissatisfaction on the lower decks and that the issue of alcohol was responsible for many of the disciplinarily troubles on board ship…"


The Montreal Gazette; 31 Mar 1972

Main brace spliced for the last time

Halifax — (CP) — No more will sailors in the Canadian navy get their daily rum tot. The issue of 2 ½ ounces of dark rum was given yesterday for the last time, ending a naval tradition that dates back to 1667.

"Splice the main brace" is a naval order usually reserved for an extremely special occasion like a victory at sea of a duty well performed.

It brings about a double rum ration to all sailors of the fleet.

Rear-Admiral R.W. Timbrell commander Maritime Command, gave the order to "splice the main brace" yesterday and the traditional ceremony went out in style.

With all hands mustered to the afterdeck of the destroyer Kootenay, the tots of dark rum were drawn for the last time.


When everyone had the traditional rum issue from the regulation oak tub that Cmdr Jim Creech obtained for the occasion, he spoke briefly of the tradition which is being eliminated in favour of facilities for wine, spirits and beer on the vessels.

From the oaken keg bearing the burnished brass inscription, "The Queen, God bless her," the hands got their second tot and then drank to the Queen's health.

Then Cmdr Creech pulled the final tot from the tub and, with the naval band providing the music, poured it over the side.

Last December former defence minister Donald Macdonald announced that the Canadian navy would follow similar steps by the Royal Navy and end the rum ration.

The tradition of a daily issue of one part of overproof rum to two parts water — though latterly a cola was used — has been followed by the British navy for three centuries and the Canadian navy wince it came into being in 1910.

It became known by a variety of names including "Nelson's blood."

When British Admiral Lord Vernon, known as "old Grog" because of a coat he wore, ordered the rum cut with two parts of water, it became known as grog.

But the name "Nelson's blood" was somewhat more colorful. The term is believed to have roots in the historic fact that after Admiral Nelson was killed at Trafalgar, his body was shipped home preserved in a barrel of spirits.

When the barrel arrived in England, Nelson was in it, but the spirits, it is said, were not.

The spirits might have leaked out, but there is supporting evidence that sailors took the opportunity to tipple on the sly.

The Royal Navy upheld the tradition of "tapping the admiral" until last summer when it announced that more popular alcoholic beverages would replace the rum. Canada decided to follow the same line. The rum was issued just before the noon meal aboard navy ships and cost the government $363,000 a year including sales and excise taxes.

HMCS Rainbow

The Saturday Citizen, 1 April, 1972

Sailors take final swig of daily rum

Victoria (CP) — Servicemen dressed in period naval costumes and carrying dummy coffin containing six bottles of rum, paraded somberly through the dockyard Thursday at the Canadian Forces base in nearby Esquimalt.

The brief ceremony marked the death of the daily rum ration for the Canadian forces.

As the coffin carriers, members of the submarine HMCS Rainbow, completed their procession, Rear-Admiral Richard Leir, commander, Pacific Maritime Forces, called a "splice the main brace."

This allowed all the sailors aboard ships in the harbor to hoist their final tot of rum.

The daily tot of rum is a naval tradition dating back to the 1600s. Last year the British government decided to discontinue the practice for the Royal Navy and the Canadian navy followed suit.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 June 2014 1:07 PM EDT
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
Monday, 23 June 2014

The Mainguy Report - Outstanding Points
Topic: RCN

HMCS Magnificent, c. 1950

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.

The report said of the incidents themselves that there was no justification for them as "mutinous incidents" but "there was justification for some of the complaints on which the dissatisfaction was founded."

It said they "came to a head because of the gradual and continuous murmurs of discontent against a series of small annoyances and a few basic injustices … there were many conditions which contributed or which could and should be mitigated, modified or eliminated (but) there was no cause sufficiently strong to justify in any degree the insubordination which took place."

The ones under investigation occurred earlier this year aboard the aircraft carrier Magnificent and the destroyers Athabaska and Crescent and consisted largely of brief sit-down strikes by 200-odd men all told. No punishments were handed out and the men returned to work after seeing the captain or a senior officer.

Outstanding Points in Report

Ottawa Citizen; 2 November 1949
By the Canadian Press

Highlights of the 27,000-word report of the commission investigating the Royal Canadian Navy tabled yesterday in the House of Commons:

Incidents aboard the Crescent, Magnificent and Athabaskan were technically "mutinies."

elipsis graphic

However, apart from the barring of mess doors, no force was used and there was no defience of a higher officer's orders.

elipsis graphic

No evidence of subversive Communist activity was indicated.

elipsis graphic

Commission found "a notable lack of human understanding between officers and men."

elipsis graphic

The report recommended more officer training in essentials of leadership.

elipsis graphic

Steps to "Canadianize" the navy were urged.

elipsis graphic

Lack of recreational facilities at two coastal bases—Cornwallis and Esquimalt—were deplored.

elipsis graphic

The commission made no recommendations regarding serving of liquor on ships but asked naval authorities to study the question and report to the minister.

elipsis graphic

The report found that "generally speaking" the young Canadian naval officer is not as well educated as his British or American contemporary.

elipsis graphic

The commission made a number of recommendations respecting recruiting, training, procedure, living conditions, recreation, ship's routine and other matters.

elipsis graphic

There was a wide opinion that "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 Royal Navy

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 9 June 2014

Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle (1963)
Topic: RCN

Royal Navy Abolishes the Whistle

Ottawa Citizen, 14 May, 1963 By the Canadian Press

The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication [in 1963] it plans to drop them.

"Incredible" says the Royal Canadian Navy report that the Royal Navy has abolished the boat-swain's call because public address systems have made it obsolete.

The call is a two-note musical instrument used to pipe orders. The 1937 manual of seamanship listed 22 pipes. This number was reduced to 15 in 1951 and now only six pipes are in general use in the RCN. There is no indication it plans to drop them.

The pipes still in use are the "still," "carry on," "general call," "pipe the side," "dinner," and "pipe down." The pipes which have fallen into disuse have to do mainly with heaving and hoisting; for instance, "heave round the capstan."

No one, with the exception of the Queen, is entitled to a pipe unless in naval uniform, "pipe the side" is jealously guarded as a mark of respect. It has its origin in the pipe used for hoisting a person in or out of ship by means of a yard-arm whip and boatswain's chair when the ship is at sea.

Started in Crusades

"Pipe down" means "hands turn in."

Every sailor must know how to use the call and how to pipe orders.

The use of the call dates back to the days of the Crusades, 1248 AD. The call was worn as an honoured badge of rank, probably because it had always been used to pass orders. It was worn as the badge of office of the Lord High Admiral of England between 1485 and 1562. It has been known as the boatswain's call since about 1671. Today the call is the badge of the Chief Boatswain's mate, quartermasters and boatswain's mates.

A naval tradition resulting from piping of orders is that whistling is forbidden in ships lest it be confused with the sound of the call.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Royal Canadian Navy (1962)
Topic: RCN

HMCS Bonaventure
Click for larger image. Image published in Jane's Fighting Ships 1967-68.

Royal Canadian Navy Report Busy and Eventful Year (1962)

The Shawanigan Standard, 19 Dec 1962

The Navy's Year — International exercises, training, cruises, operational patrols --- and a sprinkling of those unscheduled activities that befall ships at sea — made 1962 a busy and eventful year for ships of the Royal Canadian Navy. It was a year, too, in which there was tangible evidence of progress, both in the building of new ships and re-equipping of those already in service.

One of 1962's dramatic events was the search for and rescue of survivors from an airliner that ditched in the North Atlantic. HMCS Bonaventure, en route to Rotterdam, backtracked 350 miles to join in the operation. By helicopter, medical aid was given to survivors picked up by a Swiss freighter, and the more seriously injured were transferred to the Bonaventure for treatment in the carrier's hospital.

All told ships of the RCN spent more than 7,000 days at sea and logged more than 1,200,000 nautical miles. Their travels took them to the Great lakes, and to Southeast Asia, to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, to Hawaii and Hudson Bay.

Of the nine international exercises in which Canadian warships too part, three stood out: Dawn Breeze Seven, a NATO exercise off Gibraltar involving units of four countries; Sharp Squall Six, a five-country NATO exercise in the eastern Atlantic, and Jet 62, a Commonwealth exercise in the Indian Ocean. In Jet 62, destroyer escorts from Canada worked with naval units from Australia, Britain, India, Malaya and New Zealand; and en route they had the benefit of practice with ships, aircraft and submarines of the Unites States Navy.

Informally and formally, the navy served Canada also in an ambassadorial capacity. Ships of the RCN were conspicuously present at the opening of Canadian trade fairs in the capitals of Nigeria and Ghana, and at Independence Day celebrations in Jamaica and Trinidad.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 February 2014

Canadian Navy Get New 'Jack' (1968)
Topic: RCN

Canadian Navy Get New 'Jack'

The Montreal Gazette, 13 March 1968

Ottawa—(CP)—A new naval jack has been approved for Canadian warships, the Defence Department announced yesterday.

The jack, smaller than the national flag, flies from a jack-staff on the bow of a warship. The national flag flies from the ensign staff on the stern.

The new jack is a white flag incorporating Canada's flag in the upper quarter next to the hoist or staff, with the naval crown, fouled anchor and eagle combined in dark blue on the fly.

Gen. Jean. V. Allard, chief of the defence staff, will present the first new jack to the fleet in a ceremony on board the aircraft carrier Bonaventure today during the annual winter exercises in the Caribbean.

Until 1965, Canadian warships flew the blue ensign as the jack showing the union flag in the upper quarter next to the hoist and the shield of Canada's coat of arms in the fly. Subsequently, the Canadian flag was also Canadian Naval Ensign used as a jack.

The jack is normally flown by ships in harbour during the daytime. It is also flown when a warship is under way and dressed with masthead flags for ceremonial occasions, flying the flag of royalty, or escorting a warship that has royalty on board.

Use of a jack is widespread among navies of the world. When warships and merchants ship looked much alike and flew the same ensign, the jack was flown exclusively by warships.

Everything Old is New Again

In 2013, the 1968 version of the Naval Jack was adopted as The Navy Ensign:

On May 5, 2013, the Government of Canada restored a standard Commonwealth naval practice by authorizing RCN vessels to fly a distinctive Canadian Naval Ensign and fly the National Flag as the Naval Jack. Essentially, the flag previously known as the Canadian Naval Jack became the Canadian Naval Ensign, whereas the National Flag became the Canadian Naval Jack.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 5 February 2014

HMCS Niobe Courts Martial, Nov 1911, Part 3
Topic: RCN

HMCS Niobe Grounding and Court Martial;
Part 4: The Courts Martial, Day 3 of 3, Nov 1911

The Officer of the Day reprimanded, and the Navigating Officer dismissed from the ship, it is now Commander Macdonald who stands before the court. he too is charged with the grounding of HMCS Niobe. Today's report on the third day of the court martial is followed by an opinion article that was printed the same date, exploring the political machinations which caused HMCS Niobe ro be in Yarmouth in the first place.

The Montreal Gazette, 20 November, 1911

End of Niobe Court-Martial

Decision Reached that Charge Against Commander Macdonald is Not Proven
Sword Returned to Him
Accused Man Personally Asked to Admiralty to Make the Enquiry.

Halifax, N.S., November 18.—(Special) The court-martial on the Niobe this afternoon concluded the series of court trails which has engaged its attention, by giving a decision that the charge against Commander W.B. Macdonald, of the Canadian cruiser Niobe, was not proven. The president of the court, in rendering this judgment and handing back his sword to the commander, stated that it gave him great pleasure to state that Commander Macdonald was honourably acquitted. It came out in the defence of Commander Macdonald that the court-martial had been personally asked for by him. The commander explained this in the following terms:

On October 19, not having heard that any steps had been taken by which I could vindicate my conduct, and realizing that it was a critical time in my Imperial service career, I sent the following telegram:

'Admiralty, London.—Respectively submit convenience of service admits Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty may be pleased to try me at court-martial grounding Niobe.' "

Commander Macdonald, in the course of his defence, submitted a statement of what occurred from the time of leaving Yarmouth up to the time of grounding, and the subsequent steps that were taken to salve the ship.

"At 9.58, after getting away from Yarmouth, I rounded Blonderock bouy," he said, "and shaped course S. 74 E. The night was very clear. Up to this time no abnormal tide had been encountered, and nothing to lead me to suppose that any corrections other than those allowed fir in tide tables would be necessary, I am firmly of the opinion that Lieut. White's computation of tides was the correct one, which the point of our, which the point of our stranding proves, and that had there not been an abnormal tide the ship would have made the southwest ledge bouy even in thick weather. About 10.15 p.m. I gave my night order book to the officer of the watch on the forebridge and pointed out to him that the ship was making the southwest ledge bouy, to see that the ship was not set in to northwards, and on no account to get to port of his course, but to keep generously to starboard. At this time the night was extremely fine and starry, I then went into my cabin on the forebridge. On being called at midnight, I came out of my cabin and found that the ship had run into a fog. I called out Lieut. White's name, and was informed that he was not on the upper bridge. I sent for him. As my reduced speed had not enabled me to hear the southwest ledge bouy's whistle, I determined to haul out, and went into the chart house to determine a course, and had just leaned over the chart when the ship took ground. The time from my first being informed that the southwest ledge bouy was sighted to the time of grounding was about 20 minutes. I beg to state that the cause of our grounding was an abnormal tide, due either to the gale, the previous night in the Bay of Fundy, or to perhaps a hurricane in the West Indies. I would ask the members of the court to place themselves in my position on the night in question, to remember that at 10.25, when I gave the order book and instructions to the officer of the first watch, the night was exceptionally fine, exceptionally clear; that no abnormal tide had been experienced, and that I was kept in ignorance of the fact that Cape Sable light had not been seen when we were closely approaching it ; that when I was called about the time I expected to be, I was definitely informed that the buoy had been seen and heard immediately before the fog closed down in the position I expected it to be seen. I am of the opinion that neither the charts, tide tables nor sailing directions give the seaman, not possessed of local knowledge, any idea of the danger of the locality. I am not claiming to have grounded on an uncharted rock, though this may well be the case, and I think that this locality probably abounds in uncharted rocks, which only ships of deep draught discover."

The squadron sailed this afternoon for Bermuda.

The Montreal Gazette, 20 November, 1991
(Ottawa Citizen)

The Niobe's Mishap

What Preceded the Sending of the Ship to Yarmouth

The court martial at Halifax has already found one victim for the disaster to the Niobe off Cape Sable last July in the person of Lord Allister Graham, who was officer of the watch up to a quarter of an hour before the ship stranded on the rocks. From a naval viewpoint, from the technical viewpoint of marine navigation the decision may be quite correct. The British Admiralty is rather strict and severe in such cases, as may be imagined. But the average Canadian cannot help feeling that the whole affair has been one for which the country should feel heartily ashamed. Lord Graham is virtually made a scapegoat for an amateur naval department's rank blunders and a resume of the facts will show that the officials of the Niobe were practically ordered to go to dangerous localities whenever the presence of the ship as an attraction to local celebrations being held at the time was deemed necessary.

The Niobe, a training ship, was sent to the Yarmouth, N.S., old home week celebration on the order of Hon. L.P. Brodeur, who acted on the request of Mr. B.B. Law, M.P. But before Mr. Brodeur fulfilled his promise he had left for the Imperial Conference and, the celebration approaching, Mr. Law wrote to Commander C.D. Roper and Mr. P.J. Ling, of the Naval Department at Ottawa, on the matter. Both these officials refused to send the Niobe to Yarmouth as a civic attraction. In this the officials were justified, as it meant the disarrangement of training exercise on board the vessel. But Mr. Law persisted and again requested that the ship be sent. Once more the department refused. And once again Mr. Law came back by letter requesting the department cable Mr. Brodeur in London and remind him of his promise. Quite rightly the department refused to do any such thing.

Mr. law, whose prestige as a political advertiser was evidently in danger among his townfolk, therefore fell back upon the hope of the Maritime provinces when something was wanted—Hon. Mr. Fielding. Mr. Fielding was in London, but he cabled the naval department at Ottawa asking that Mr. Law's request be granted. Just why the minister of finance was allowed to dabble inj the administration of naval affairs is not quite clear, but Mr. Fielding took the chance without any hesitation. Mr. Law, encouraged by this acquiescence, got after Mr. Brodeur again on the latter's return to Canada on July 11, and extracted his signed promise that the Niobe would positively be at Yarmouth.

In the meantime, however, it is interesting to learn that Commander Roper only July 14, the day previous to the receipt by Mr. Law of Mr. Brodeur's definite promise, had written a memorandum, strongly protesting against the proposal. The commander made the significant remark that he considered that the opinion of the technical officers should be obtained before any promise was made as to the vessels of the department visiting any particular port, at given date. Admiral Kingsmill, on forwarding this memorandum, commented upon it favourably and endorsed its objection to the proposal. The admiral added that it would be impossible to carry out the training objects of the vessel if the visiting of the ship to ports where celebrations were being held was to become a recognized custom.

Notwithstanding the objections of the qualified officials of the department, Mr. Brodeur confirmed his promise to Mr. Law and on July 14 the Niobe reached Yarmouth. The men were landed to participate in the parade, some 4,000 visitors inspected the ship, a grand ball took place and other entertainments were given with the vessel as a center of social activity. On July 19 the disaster occurred when a gale sprung up in the harbour. Of the good seamanship and devotion of the officers on this occasion much has been written and deservedly so.

In view of all the facts the present court martial seems to be shaped in the wrong direction. It is quite true that the admiralty must enforce its Spartan regulations, but it is unfortunate that Canada is to receive advertising of this sort. The fact that the naval department was used as an advertising adjunct to please political friends of the recent administration, and that such action cost the country nearly a quarter of a million dollars in money and incalculable amount in prestige, is enough to make the man in the street feel hot under the collar.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 4 February 2014

HMCS Niobe Courts Martial, Nov 1911, Day 2
Topic: RCN

HMCS Niobe Grounding and Court Martial;
Part 3: The Courts Martial, Day 2 of 3, Nov 1911

With the first day of trials concluded, and the Officer of the Day, Lieut. Lord Allister Graham, having received a reprmand, the court martial contines its second day. On this day the navigating officer, Lieut. White, presents his defence.

The Montreal Gazette, 18 November, 1911

Navigator is Found Guilty

Lieut. White Suffered, Through Negligence, the Niobe to Strand.
Dismissed from the Ship.
Commander Macdonald Placed on Trial Following the Judgment.

Halifax, N.S., November 17.—Lieut. Charles White, navigating officer on board H.M.C.S. Niobe, was found guilty by court-martial here at noon today of suffering, through negligence, the Niobe to strand on the treacherous ledges off Cape Sable on July 30 last, and, in spite of a high tribute paid him by his commander, and his previous good record, he was severely reprimanded and dismissed from the ship.

The finding of the court came as a surprise to most of those who had followed the intricate case. It was felt by some that Lieut. White had made out a much better case than did Lord Allister Graham, who faced the same charge and got off with a reprimand. It had been clearly shown that Lieut. White had been overworked previous to the stranding. The night of the 29th he had gone to his room for a much needed rest, leaving word with the officer of the watch to be called when the Cape Sable lights were sighted and if he had known, he said, that the officer of the watch would not call him should the Cape Sable light, when within reasonable range, not be sighted, he would not have left the bridge.

Moreover, according to Lieut. White's reasoning, and his reasoning was borne out by the evidence of his witnesses, the stranding was due either to an abnormal tide, which it was impossible to foresee, or to an uncharted rock, the existence of which rocks having been amply proven by the grounding of H.M.S. Cornwall. Lieut. White also maintained he had not been informed of the facts as he should have been. In spite of all this, however, he was adjudged guilty and sentences as stated.

Lieut. White divided his defence into five points as follows:

1.     To prove that in the passage from Yarmouth to Shelburne, it was absolutely necessary to make the outlying bouy.

2.     That in shaping the course S 74, E, I allowed for tides estimated to the best of my ability, using the information contained in the chart set supplied by the Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty at London and Ottawa.

3.     That before I left the bridge, at 10 p.m. on the 29th of July, I turned over an exact position of the ship to the officer of the watch, and saw the ship steady on her course.

4.     That at 10. p.m., the time I left the bridge, the weather was fine, the Blonde Rock bouy and Seal Island light were in sight, and consequently I was entitled to leave the bridge for a couple hours, leaving the officers of the watch in charge, as the state of affairs at that time was absolutely normal.

5.     That when there is any doubt as to the ship's position I invariably remain on the bridge until the exact position is found, keeping the Thompson sounding machine going until this position is found.

Lieut. White then dealt with each of his points in turn, elaborating on them with great care and attention.

"The Niobe went ashore and someone had to suffer for it," said Lieut. White, shortly after the sentence had been pronounced.

He declined, however, to comment further on the decision. The fact, however, that Lieut. White was convicted of suffering the Niobe to be stranded does not necessarily mean that the court considered that he had mapped out a wrong course for the Niobe. It may only mean that the court felt that Lieut. White should have been on deck at certain times when he wasn't there. The court makes no comment on its decision. There is no appeal from its findings.

The evidence is sent, however, to the judge advocate of the fleet in London, who examines it thoroughly. If he finds anything irregular or illegal in the proceedings, he quashes the whole case and it cannot be reopened.

Two years ago the British Admiralty found that there were more senior Lieutenants than there were ships for them, and invited resignations. Lieut. White was one of several who took advantage of the opportunity to retire. Almost immediately he applied to the Canadian Government for the berth on the Niobe and was readily accepted, as he was highly regarded as a navigator. He has a two years' contract with the Canadian Government, but just what will transpire now no-one seems to know. The sentence of the court went into effect immediately after it was pronounced, but Lieut. White is still on the ship and will remain a few days.

It is possible that the Canadian Government will see fit to appoint him to another position at once. It could even reinstate him as navigating officer on the Niobe, but it is scarcely likely that such a step will be taken. Until he secures another position Lieut. White remains on half pay. He is not a man of independent means. Lieut. White took his medicine with good grace, although feeling keenly the humiliation it meant to him. He is extremely popular with both the officers and men on board the Niobe and all feel deeply for him in his misfortune.

His wife and two children reside in Halifax. He is about 24 years old.

There was the utmost stillness in the little court room as the judge advocate arose to pronounce the sentence. All the witnesses in the case were there, as well as the newspaper writers, court officers, etc., and when the sentence had been pronounced there wasn't a man present who didn't feel sorry for the young Lieutenant. "But," as one of his fellow officers put it, "it might have been worse."

Lieut. White asked Commander Macdonald to make statement as to his character as navigating officer on the Niobe.

"Up to the night in question," said Commander Macdonald, "I have had the highest opinion of you as a navigating officer. You have always been most careful, conscientious and exact, and I have complete confidence in you as a navigating officer. I also consider you an excellent pilot."

Immediately on the close of Lieut. White's case Commander Macdonald was placed on trial by the same court-martial. He, too, is charged with negligence or by default stranding or suffering to be stranded the cruiser Niobe on July 30 last.

Captain Macdonald has as his advisor Commander martin of the Dick Yards. At 12.45 the court adjourned, and it wasn't until the court reassembled in the afternoon that the examination of witnesses was begun. The witnesses so far examined in this case are the same as in the two previous cases, and little that is new or important has developed. At 6.45 court adjourned until 9.30 tomorrow morning. Commander Macdonald's case is somewhat more thorough than the others, and will likely last all day tomorrow.

The Toronto Globe, 18 Nov 1911

The Toronto Globe headlines for this story (18 Nov 1911), although presented in a shortened length, were:

Niobe Officer is Dismissed

Sentence Meted Out to Lieut. White a Surprise,
Following Previous Light Penalty—
Officer Overworked.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 3 February 2014

HMCS Niobe Courts Martial, Nov 1911, Part 1
Topic: RCN

HMCS Niobe Grounding and Court Martial;
Part 2: The Courts Martial, Day 1 of 3, Nov 1911

Three officers will be court-martialed for the grounding of HMCS Niobe in July, 1911. It's now over three months later, early November, and a Royal Navy cruiser squadron arrives at Halifax to provide the necessary senior officers for the court. Over three days the trials will take place, these are reports of the first day.

The Montreal Gazette, 11 November, 1911

Fourth Cruiser Squadron at Halifax

Admiral Kingsmill

Halifax, N.S., November 10.—The fourth cruiser squadron arrived today and came to mooing off the dockyard. Rear Admiral Kingsmill arrived from Ottawa this evening in connection with the court-martial which is to be held by Rear Admiral E.E. Bradford, C.V.O., into the stranding on the warship Niobe at the end of last July.

Admiral Kingsmill will have a conference with Admiral Bradford tomorrow morning, when arrangements for the court-martial will be finally made. It will probably begin on Monday forenoon aboard the Niobe, and will be open to the public.

It has not yet been decided whether there will be be three separate trials or one. Three men are to be tried, the commander of the ship, the navigating lieutenant, and the officer of the watch. The court may decide to make one inquiry to cover the three cases or a separate court-martial may convene for each officer.

The squadron had a good voyage across. The ships called at the Azores but did not stay there long. The squadron will coal at the dockyard, two ships coming in at a time. The squadron consists of H.M.S. Leviathan, flagship; Berwick, Essex and Dongal.

Lewiston Evening Standard, 15 November, 1911

Naval Court Martial

Being Held Because of Standing of Canadian Cruiser Niobe Last July

Halifax, N.S., Nov 15.—A naval court martial convened here today to investigate the responsibility for the stranding of the Canadian cruiser Niobe near Cape Sable, last July. Commander Macdonald of the Niobe and two of his officers are on trial. In order to provide the officers of necessary rank for the court, the British Atlantic Squadron, consisting of Leviathan, Essex, Donegal and Berwick was sent here. Capt Baker of the Berwick is presiding over the court.

Commander Macdonald was examined today. In the course of his testimony he said that he was in his cabin at the time the ship struck the ledges. He said that he considered that the officer of the watch was responsible for the safety of the ship while the commander was in the cabin. The officer on watch at the time of the accident was Lieut. Lord Allister Graham, one of the officers under court martial.

The Montreal Gazette, 16 November, 1911

Blamed for Niobe Stranding

Lord Allister Graham Declared Guilty by the Court-Martial
Will Be Reprimanded
Was Officer of the Watch up to Fifteen Minutes of the Accident.

Halifax, November 15.—Lieut. Lord Allister Graham was found guilty today by court martial of causing, or suffering to be caused, the stranding of H.M.C.S. Niobe on July 29 last on the dangerous ledges of Cape Sable. He was sentenced to be reprimanded. Lord Allister Graham was officer of the watch up to fifteen or twenty minutes of the time the cruiser went ashore.

The proceedings began at 9.30 this morning and went until 6.30 this evening. The witnesses included Commander W.B. Macdonald, of the Niobe, and Navigating Lieut. James White, both of whom are charged with the same offence as Lieut. Graham. While the evidence seemed to show an absence of any deliberate negligence on the part of the accused, it developed the fact that he had not been as attentive to duty as he should have been. He was well aware of the existence of the Cape Sable lights, and the time they should have been discernible from the ship, but when this time passed and the lights were not seen he did not immediately report the fact to Commander Macdonald or the navigating officer.

Lord Allister Graham in presenting his defence maintained that hit was unfair to hold him responsible for the stranding of the ship when he had been relieved of the watch about twenty minutes before the accident occurred. Lieut. Graham's reprimand means nothing more than a black mark for him. Nevertheless he feels keenly his position in the matter, for up to the present time he has held an enviable record as an officer.

When the court opened the charge was read by the deputy judge advocate. Lord Allister Graham was specifically charged with the causing of the stranding of the Niobe while he was officer of the watch. Lieutenants Campbell and Cunningham of the flagship were instructed by the court to work out the course and position of the Niobe on the night of the stranding.

Commander Macdonald was the first witness called. Questioned by the court he said that Lieut. Lord Allister Graham was officer of the first watch when the ship grounded on Blonde Rock bouy on the morning of July 29 last. He (the commander) was on deck when the ship was stranded. The weather was clear before the ship passed Blonde Rock buy. He had not expected to see Cape Sable light almost immediately after passing the Blonde Rock bouy, returning twenty minutes later. The accused had not sent down a report that Cape Sable light was in sight. He had come up about 10.15. He considered that the accused should have notified that the light had been sighted when it became clearly visible. With a clear night, and under conditions then prevailing, he did not consider the soundings would have been of any use. There were very few soundings on the chart, in the position in which they were. When he returned to the bridge at 10.15 Cape Sable light was not in sight. It was not sighted at all. The ship was on her proper course when she grounded. The course by standard compass was south 74 east. Orders had not been given to the officer of the watch to frequently steady the ship on her course by standard compass. He expected the officer of the watch to fix the position of the ship on the chart when the navigating officer is below. The ship's position had been fixed by the accused after passing Blonde Rock bouy. Twenty minutes after passing Blonde Rock bouy witness told the officer of the watch the tide was expected. It was almost parallel of the course, but highly on the starboard bow. The direction of the wind was southwest force three. It was the duty of the accused to place lookouts above and below, but he did not think he had a chance, as the fog came on very quickly. The fog came on in a few seconds, and he placed lookout himself.

On cross-examination the witness said that the Niobe struck between 12.25 and 12.20. His written orders that night were: "Course south, 74 east; call me when required; when south-west ledge and Brazil Rocks are sighted at midnight and at daylight."

He showed the accused the ship's course, and warned him not to get set in on port to get off his course, but to keep generously to starboard.

Witness heard him repeat orders to the quartermaster to keep to starboard. This was about 10.15. He gave accused no extra orders as to speed. Accused called him shortly before midnight. Accused reported then that the southwest ledge light had been seen and its whistle heard on the port bow, and that a slight mist was drifting across the steaming light and that he thought a fog was coming on. He expected to sight the southwest ledge bouy light about 11.20 roughly. He considered accused an exceptionally trustworthy officer of the watch.

ON re-examination, witness said that Seal Island light and Blonde Rock light should have been sighted for at least an hour after rounding Blonde Rock. He was under the impression that Seal Island light was in sight. The officer of the watch, as far as he knew, did not fix then position of the ship by cross bearings of these two lights. He thought that if accused had got a correct fix at 11 o'clock it would have shown him that the ship had been set off her course. He could not say when the tide first made its effect on the ship. The speed of the ship was 45 revolutions, 7 ½ knots.

There was a southwesterly swell, but no sea on. Witness was in his fore cabin, which is on the bridge, that night. He considered that the officer of the watch was entirely responsible for the safety of the ship while he was in his cabin. He considered that the officer of the watch should have called him earlier than he did.

Navigating Lieutenant White was the second witness. He testified to the position of the ship and the orders given before going ashore.

Immediately on the conclusion of the first case, that against Lieut, White, navigating officer, was called, but was adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. This case will likely occupy a whole day also, as will the case of Commander Macdonald, which follows. The court martial was conducted with all the old time ceremony of naval affairs of its kind. The members of the court as well as all the witnesses were attired in full dress uniform. The court consisted of: President of court, Capt. Lewis C. Baker, H.M.S. Berwick; Capt. John F.A. Green, H.M.S. Essex; Flag Captain Erick P.C. Bask; Commander Truesdale, H.M.S. Donegal; Commander Lancelet N. Tuston, H.M.S. Leviathan; prosecuting officer, Commander Albert C. Scott.

Lord Allister Graham, who is tall and spare with an exceptionally high and broad forehead and clear blue eyes, sat beside his counsel throughout the proceedings.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 2 February 2014

HMCS NIobe; The Grounding, July 1911
Topic: RCN

HMCS Niobe Grounding and Court Martial;
Part 1: The Grounding, 29/30 July, 1911

In 1911, the fledgling Canadian Navy possessed only two capital ships acquired from the Royal Navy. These were the cruisers HMCS Niobe, on the east coast, and the HMCS Rainbow, on the west coast. In late July, 1911, the Niobe was badly damaged when it ran aground on the Nova Scotia coast. Perilously close to being lost, she was saved and spent a year in repairs. Over the next few days, The Minute Book will relate the Niobe's story as it was printed in the papers of the day. We will, start today with the reports of the Niobe's grounding, followed by the court martials held in November, 1911, which tried three officers for the incident.

Lewiston Saturday Journal, 31 July, 1911

Canadian Warship Crashed on Ledges

Boat in Danger for Some Time but Later Floated Off Safely

Halifax, N.S., July, 31.—The new Canadian navy was nearly deprived of half its strength Sunday when the flagship Niobe crashed on the ledges on the southwest of Cape Sable. Five hours later she floated leaking badly and proceeded under her own power to Shag Harbour, ten miles away, where she is at anchor with six fathoms of water and a soft mud bottom under her. The first vessel to reach the side of the disables cruiser was the United States revenue cruiser Androscoggin which was cruising in the vicinity. The Niobe's wireless call for help was picked up by the Androscoggin which promptly flashed back that she would stand by to help and would do all in her power. Through the dense fog and heavy sea, the Androscoggin rushed and was standing by the Canadian cruiser when the steamer Lady Laurier and Stanley which had been sent to the scene, arrived from Westbay with the tug McNaughton of Yarmouth,

The Niobe, however, found that she was able to take care of herself. Although the water was pouring into several compartments her pumps kept fairly clear, and Commander Macdonald, of the cruiser, expressed his thanks to the American cutter for her help, proceeded to a safe harbour convoyed only by the tug.

At Shag harbour divers from the war ship went over the side and placed mattings over some of the larger rents in the hull and if the weather is favourable tomorrow Commander Macdonald is confident that he can proceed safely to Halifax for repairs.

The cause of the accident probably will not be disclosed until it is brought out at an official marine inquiry, which is certain to follow.

It is known that a heavy fog enshrouded the coast, and it is said also that there was a gale of wind blowing. Commander Macdonald and the other officers of the Niobe were non-communicative when queried by wireless for a statement as to the cause of the standing.

The accident, which threatened seriously to rob the young Canadian navy of half its strength (the Niobe, with the cruiser Rainbow, stationed on the Pacific coast, comprise the Dominion's navy) narrowly missed the further unhappy notoriety of bringing about the loss of 16 men. As it was these 16 sailors passed half a dozen hours in two small boats, lost in the fog and at the mercy of a heavy southeast wind which is was feared, would wreck them on one of the many ledges which abound about Cape Sable. But it was learned by wireless Sunday night that all had rejoined their ship in one boat, the other apparently having been wrecked, as was feared.

So extreme was the plight of the Niobe that Commander Macdonald had ordered all the boats cleared away, ready for abandonment of the supposedly doomed ship. The two boats which were lost for a time with their crews were the first launched, launching of the other boats having been deferred until the condition of the vessel had been more definitely ascertained. The Niobe held up on the ledge on 11.25 Sunday morning while rounding Cape Sable from Yarmouth where her officers and crew had been participating in an old home week celebration. The cruiser was feeling her way along the coast cautiously when she struck. She scarcely budged for a long time afterward, the impact being so terrific as to drive her hard into the pinnacle of rock. Everybody was brought up standing.

It was at once appreciated by Commander Macdonald that his vessel was in grave danger. The bugles at once sounded the reveille, bringing tumbling to the deck the whole ship's crew not on duty. More than 300 men were then assembled on deck. True to traditions of the British navy from which Canada's new sea fighting strength sprang, there was no panic. The ship's company found their accustomed posts, and stayed there apparently unmoved. The order to clear away the boats was executed in an orderly manner. There was no hurry manifested.

In response to Commander MacDonald's inquiry made at once after the impact the engineer signalled that water was rushing into the vessel at a rapid rate through a hole under the starboard engine room. Pumps were at once manned and set to work, and it was found that they could dispose of the water.

Then was begun the work of acquainting the outside world with the Niobe's plight, with the hope of securing assistance. The wireless was brought into play, and the operator flashed the "SOS" signal in all directions, with the vessel's position.

The Niobe, which is a protected cruiser of 11,000 tons, is the first vessel purcahased by Canada for its new navy last fall. She is the flag-ship of the little fleet of two, and like the Rainbow on the Pacific coast, is used as a training ship for the navy in the Atlantic.

The Toronto World, 2 Aug 1911

Canadian Cruiser Niobe in Danger of Foundering

Water is Slowly Gaining in the Ship,
in Spite of All the Pumps That Can Be Set to Work
and She May Have To Be Beached

Admiral Kingsmill

Halifax, Aug 1.— The condition of the cruiser Niobe at Clarke's harbour, where she is anchored, is one of grave peril for the warship. A despatch from there to-night says that in spite of all that her own pumps can do and although the pumping apparatus on wrecking steamers is kept going day and night, the water is slowly gaining, and the Niobe is settling by the stern.

This evening not more than ten feet were visible above the surface. The cruiser is anchored in seven fathoms of water, three quarters of a mile off West Head, a point in Clarke's Harbour. A red flag has been set half way between the ship and the shore, marking the most suitable spot to beach the cruiser it it comes to the worst. This would be done in six fathoms of water with a smooth sanfy bottom. The weather continues clear and fine.

One of the holes in the bottom of the Niobe is said to be twenty-five feet long and ten feet wide, One hundred and ninety boys and recruits were disembarked from the cruiser to-day and forwarded to Halifax. The reason given by Admiral Kingsmill for this is that they were only in the way and that as no training was going on it was better for them to be ashore, thus leaving the petty officers free for duty.

Additional pumps and divers were despatched from Halifax to-night in hope of keeping the cruiser afloat and of more quickly determining the exact extent of the damage sustained. The crew is still aboard.

Clarke's harbour is twelve miles from the southwest ledges where the Niobe struck.

Admiral Kingsmill, who commands the Canadian Navy, and who arrived from Ottawa last night, paid a warm compliment on the discipline on board the Niobe when she was ashore on the southwest ledges. Admiral Kingsmill based what he had to say on a letter received today from the Niobe.

"The discipline on the Niobe by the boys and young recruits," Admiral Kingsmill observed, "was everything that one could wish for. With the ship in the position she was, a gale of wind blowing and dense fog over all, the Canadian bots behaved fully up to the traditions of the British Navy. The discipline left nothing to be desired. Of course the ship's crew and officers displayed fine discipline, but I am speaking now of the Canadian boys and recruits."

In a cruel twist of fate, the HMS Cornwall, sent to tow the HMCS Niobe, almost suffers the same fate on ledges near where the Niobe had been stranded.

Meriden Morning Record, 7 August, 1911

British Cruiser is Stranded on Ledges

Halifax, N.S., Aug. 6.—A wireless dispatch received in this city tonight stated that the British cruiser Cornwall is stranded on the ledges of Cape Sable a few miles from the southwest ledges where the Canadian flagship Niobe went on the rocks July 30. The message stated that the Cornwall was not making water and sustained no serious damage.

The Cornwall is an armoured cruiser of 9,800 tons and is now used as a training ship. She has about 300 cadets on board besides a regular crew and was on her way from St John's, Nfld., to Clarke's Harbor to tow the damaged Canadian cruiser Niobe to this city. The Cornwall left St. John's last Thursday after she had returned from a cruise around the Newfoundland coast. The whole coastline was enveloped in a thick fog tonight and this is believed to have caused the Cornwall's stranding. The rock where she struck is about two miles from the ledges which nearly proved the undoing on the Niobe.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 26 January 2014

Awards to HMCS Chambly
Topic: RCN

Decorations for Five Members of Royal Canadian Navy

Ottawa Citizen, 3 March 1942

Awards, Approved by King, Follow Corvette Chambly's successful Encounter with U-Boat.
Acting Commander J.D. Prentice Wins D.S.O.
More Details Given of Sinking of Nazi Submarine.

The navy announced last night the award of decorations to five members of the Royal Canadian Navy in connection with the successful encounter with a Nazi submarine by the Canadian corvette Chambly, announced last November.

The decorations, approved by the King, were:

Mentioned in Despatches were: Mate A.F. Pickard, Halifax, and South Porcupine, Ont., and Able Seaman L.P. Lehtu, Sioux Lookout., Ont.

Sinking Described

At the same time the navy gave out additional details of the sinking of the German submarine U-501 which was forced to the surface by depth charges from the Chambly.

"While engaged in independent maneuvers with another corvette (the Moose Jaw), Cmdr. Prentice's vessel came upon the German U-501 lying in wait ahead if a heavily attacked convoy, carrying out the well-known wolf-pack tactics," said the navy.

"Depth charges forced the enemy to the surface and a running pursuit developed. Gunfire from the Canadian corvettes and the danger of torpedo discharges from the stern tubes of the fleeing German enlivened the chase.

"After some miles the German captain lost heart and surrendered his vessel to the Canadians, jumping aboard one of them in a most abject manner as she lay alongside."

Led Boarding Party

The Distinguished Service Cross to Lieut. E.T. Simmons "results partly from his resolute action in leading a boarding party although the U-501 was known to be sinking," said the navy. "The danger was so obvious that only one person could make the perilous descent of the conning tower Simmons could see below him the water lapping at the deck plates of the submarine's control-room as he climbed on down.

"Very shortly after reaching the ladder's foot, the dim emergency lighting failed entirely as the rising water quenched its supply. At this point there seemed no alternative but to retreat and Simmons barely escaped through the hatch above as the sub made its last plunge; one Canadian sailor of the boarding party was dragged under, the rest including Lt. Simmons were picked up by the ship's boats.

HMCS Chambly


  • German submarine U-501
    • German submarine U-501 was a Type IXC U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The submarine was laid down on 12 February 1940 at the Deutsche Werft yard in Hamburg, launched on 25 January 1941 and commissioned on 30 April 1941 under the command of Korvettenkapitän Hugo Förster. The boat served with 2nd U-boat Flotilla until she was sunk on 10 September 1941. - Wikipedia
  • Wreck Site
  • C.B. 4051 (30) "U 501" Interrogation of Survivors
  • HMCS Moose Jaw and the sinking of U-501
  • KK Hugo Förster -
    • KK Hugo Förster, ex-U-501, was captured on 10 September 1941 by HMCS Chambly and Moose Jaw during his first war patrol in this boat, his only command, when he jumped aboard Moose Jaw's foc'sle - as he said, to ensure the ships fired no longer as they had surrendered. He was taken to England, where reportedly he was to be tried by a secret ex-U-boat 'court' in the camp for deserting his sinking U-501. He was moved to Canada for his protection, repatriated in January 1945 in an exchange of prisoners, and committed suicide on 27 February 1945, mostly due to the criticism by his contemporaries.

Sailor lost on 10 Sep

In memory of Stoker William Irvin Brown who died on September 10, 1941

  • Service Number: A/4212
  • Age: 24
  • Force: Navy
  • Unit: Royal Canadian Navy Reserve
  • Division: H.M.C.S. Chambly

The Awards

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Royal Canadian Navy (May 1939)
Topic: RCN

HMCS Skeena, image from Wikipedia

The Royal Canadian Navy (May 1939)

Ottawa Citizen, 12 May 1939

Western Division, Esquimalt


Built in 1930. Displacement 1375 tons. Turbines S.H.P. 36,000. Speed 35.5 knots. Fout 4.7-inch guns, one 3-inch, seven smaller guns, eight torpedo tubes, mine dropping equipment.



  • Comox, built at Burrard Drydock, 1938.
  • Nootka, built at Yarrows, 1938.

Length, 160 feet, one 4-inch gun.

Eastern Division, Halifax


Built 1929. Displacement 1337 tons. Turbines S.H.P. 32,000. Speed 35 knots. Fout 4.7-inch guns, seven smaller guns, eight torpedo tubes.


  • Gaspe, built at Quebec, 1938.
  • Fundy, built at Collingwood, 1938.

Length, 160 feet, one 4-inch gun.

To arrive one flotilla tender purchased from the Royal Navy, 1939.
To be built in Canada, motor torpedo boats and a training schooner.


R.C.N. Officers 137. men, 1582.
R.C.N.V.R. Officers 123. men, 1344.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 7 December 2013

HMCS Kootenay
Topic: RCN

HMCS Kootenay (DDE 258) at Pearl Harbor 1986 (Image from Wikipedia).

HMCS Kootenay

Canadian Bravery Decorations

Government House Ottawa
The Canada Gazette; 29 July 1972

The Governor General, the Right Honourable Roland Michener. on the recommendation of the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee, and with the approval of Her Majesty the Queen of Canada, is pleased hereby to award bravery decorations as follows:

Bravery decorations for certain personnel of HMCS Kootenay

HMCS Kootenay, one of seven "Restigouche"-class destroyer-escorts in the Canadian Armed Forces, was conducting full-power trials on October 23, 1969, in the western approaches to the English Channel with eight other Canadian ships, at 08.21 there was an explosion in the engine room. Intense heat, flame and smoke engulfed the engine room almost immediately and spread to adjacent passageways and to the boiler room.

Awards are made in recognition of outstanding acts of bravery performed on that occasion to the following members of the ship's company.

Cross of Valour

To Receive the Cross of Valour (posthumous)

Chief Warrant Officer Vaino Olavi Partanen
Canadian Armed Forces

CWO Vaino Olavi Partanen of Dartmouth, N.S., and Verdun, Quebec, was chief engine room artificer aboard HMCS Kootenay. When the explosion and fire devastated the engine room immediate orders were given to evacuate, but Chief Warrant Officer Partanen, in full knowledge that he was in mortal danger, remained behind in order to report the situation by telephone to the officer of the watch on the bridge. He died moments after attempting to make a report on the situation.

To Receive the Cross of Valour (posthumous)

Lewis John Stringer
Canadian Armed Forces

Sgt Lewis John Stringer, of Hamilton, Ontario and Dartmouth, N.S., a supply technician, was off-duty in the cafeteria when the explosion occurred. He understood the danger immediately, stepped into the exit and used his body to block the way to the smoke-filled passageway. He instructed others in the cafeteria to get down on the deck, breathe through their sleeves and crawl out by way of the galley. Sgt. Stringer waited until the last man had made good his escape before attempting to leave himself. He collapsed in the galley and although rescued, he succumbed later.

Star of Courage

To Receive the Star of Courage

Officer Cadet Clément Léo Bussière
Canadian Armed Forces

Clément Léo Bussière, of St. Paul, Alberta, was Petty Officer in charge of the boiler room, during the explosion and fire on HMCS Kootenay. As the boiler room filled with smoke, Bussière ordered his men to lie flat on the deck plates and breathe through damp clothing or rags. He saw to it that there was steam pressure for firefighting, and when this requirement was met, put on diver's breathing equipment in order to stay at his post long enough to shut down the boilers properly. Then he joined the damage-control team which was trying to cope with the situation in the engine room.

To Receive the Star of Courage

Clark E. Reiffenstein
Canadian Armed Forces

The late Sub-Lieutenant Clark E. Reiffenstein, of Montreal. was a navigation officer on HMCS Kootenay when the explosion and fire occurred. He put on "aqua-lung" equipment, underwater gear not designed for use in fire-fighting, to enable him to breathe and function in the smoke-filled deck immediately above the engine room. He saw that those in the area of the ship's cafeteria got clear to safer parts of the ship, dragging one man to safety who had been overcome by smoke. Then Sub-Lieutenant Reiffenstein made his way into the boiler room to see that it was cleared and eventually turned the breathing apparatus over to the Petty Officer in charge in the boiler room.

Medal of Bravery

To Receive the Medal of Bravery

Master Warrant Officer Robert Gary George
Canadian Armed Forces

MWO Robert G. George, of Tupperville, Ontario the senior hull technician aboard HMCS Kootenay organized damage control parties, sprayed one of the ammunition magazine areas and then flooded it to prevent a possible explosion. He led the attempt to fight the fire in the engine room through the forward hatch, at one point getting as far as the foot of the ladder into the engine room before being forced back. He remained in an area of the ship which could have received further damage in order to direct firefighting activities.

To Receive the Medal of Bravery

Warrant Officer Gerald John Gillingham
Canadian Armed Forces

WO Gerald John Gillingham was off-duty at the time of the explosion but rushed from his mess to the mortar well where a party was being organized for rescue and firefighting. He put on a breathing apparatus and made his way into a devastated area immediately above the engine room to shut off the "main stops" at the emergency position. Later, he displayed leadership and daring in exposing himself to heat and flame to operate one of the fire hoses near the engine room.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 28 November 2013

Duties and Privileges; CPOs and POs, 1944
Topic: RCN

Image from the September, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

Department of National Defence for Naval Services King's Regulations for the Canadian Navy (K.R.C.N.)

Under and by virtue of the Naval Service Act, 1944, the following King's Regulations for the Government of His Majesty's Canadian Naval Service (1945) have been approved, effective 15th October, 1945, by Order in Council P.C. 1/6145 of the 18th September, 1945, and by Order of the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services.

Chapter 43

Duties and Privileges of Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers

It is the duty of chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers of all branches to preserve order and regularity among the other men wherever they are. This responsibility rests upon them whether they are on duty or not.

43.01 — Duties of Chief Petty Officers And Petty Officers

(1)     Effect on Discipline and Efficiency. The discipline of ships and establishments and the comfort of the men is dependent to. great extent on the manner in which chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers carry out their duties and maintain their position. Owing to the influence that they exercise on the discipline, efficiency, and morale of the Naval Service as. whole, it is essential that the importance of their status be recognized by all officers and men.

(2)     Bearing and Performance of Duties. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers are not advanced to those ratings solely as a result of seniority or on passing certain examinations. As Captains and Officers look to them for loyal support in maintaining the efficiency and traditions of the Naval Service, and junior men look to them for direction and assistance, they should:

(a)     possess personality and tact;

(b)     be ready to accept the responsibilities of their position;

(c)     work at all times for the well-being and efficiency of the Naval Service as. whole;

(d)     set an example of loyalty and discipline. and

(e)     obey the orders of their superiors with the same cheerfulness and alacrity with which they expect to be obeyed by their juniors.

(3)     Preservation of Good Order and Discipline.

(a)     It is the duty of chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers of all branches to preserve order and regularity among the other men wherever they are. This responsibility rests upon them whether they are on duty or not.

(b)     A copy of (a) of this clause shall be kept permanently posted on the notice board in alFchief Petty Officers' and Petty Officers' messes.

(4)     Artisans and Artificers. Men of the artisan, artificer, and other branches who are granted ratings equivalent to chief Petty Officer or Petty Officer on entry by reason of their trade or technical qualifications shall bear in mind that in addition to their duties as skilled tradesmen it is their duty to:

(a)     discharge properly the disciplinary responsibilities of the ratings they hold;

(b)     set an example to juniors by their good conduct and discipline. and

(c)     guide, and correct the faults of, their juniors.

(5)     Petty Officer of the Day. The duty of the Petty Officer of the Day shall be taken daily in rotation by all available Petty Officers.

(6)     Issue of Spirit and Provisions.

(a)     Petty Officer shall be detailed daily for duty in connection with the issue of spirit and provisions.

(b)     The Petty Officer of the Day shall be present.

(i)     when the spirit issue is being measured and issued to the ship's company, and

(ii)     when provisions are being issued to the ship's company, and he shall represent any complaint regarding the measure, issue, or quality of, spirit, meat, or provisions to the Officer of the Day or Officer of the Watch.

43.01 — Privileges of Chief Petty Officers And Petty Officers

(1)     Treatment. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall be:

(a)     granted every reasonable indulgence;

(b)     made to feel that confidence is reposed in them, and

(c)     treated with the consideration that is due to the positions of trust which they hold.

(2)     Form of Address. The prefix "Chief Petty Officer" or "Petty Officer", or the corresponding prefix in the case of men in branches other than the Seaman branch, shall be used by all officers and men when addressing or speaking of men holding those ratings.

(3)     Falling in and Classes.

(a)     On all occasions when men are falling in, chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall do so separately from lower ratings.

(b)     When classes of instruction are formed, chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall when practicable be classed up by themselves.

(4)     Mustering and Personal Search.

(a)     Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers shall not be mustered in and out of the ship or fleet Establishment unless there is some special reason for doing so.

(b)     They are exempt from personal search by the regulating staff unless the Captain or the Executive Officer orders otherwise for special reasons.

(5)     Kit Muster. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers are exempt from kit muster.

(6)     Passing Dockyard and Establishment Gates. Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers dressed in uniform are allowed to pass dockyard and fleet establishment gates and may pass out parties of men.

(7)     Laundry and Hammocks. Chief Petty Officers and potty officers shall be provided with:

(a)     separate lines for hanging clothing and laundry; and

(b)     separate nettings for the stowage of hammocks.

(8)     Messing. Messing arrangements for chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers areprescribed in Chapter 46 (Messing, Cabins, and Canteens) .

(9)     Inspection. The procedure followed by chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers with regard to retention and removal of headgear at inspections and investigations is prescribed in Chapter 18 (Salutes, Military Honours, and Marks of Respect) .

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 28 November 2013 12:06 AM EST
Saturday, 5 October 2013

HMCS Bonaventure
Topic: RCN

HMCS Bonaventure
Click for larger image. Image published in Jane's Fighting Ships 1967-68.

HMCS Bonaventure

Preceded by HMCS Warrior and HMCS Magnificent, HMCS Bonaventure was Canada's last and longest serving aircraft carrier.

A Majestic class carrier, The Bonnie served in the RCN 1957 to 1970. She was laid down 27 Nov 1943 for the Royal Navy as HMS Powerful, and launched for completion afloat on 27 Feb 1945. With the end of the War, but work on her was suspended in May 1946. Purchased by Canada and renamed HMCS Bonaventure, work resumed in July 1952 and she was completed 17 Jan 1957 and thereafter commissioned in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Initially carrying 34 aircraft in five squadrons:

The Banshees were retired I 1962 and a few years later new Sikorsy Sea King helicopters were added to the Bonaventure's complement. After the Bonnie's 1967 refit, the air component consisted of 21 aircraft.

HMCS Bonaventure was decommissioned by the Canadian Armed Forces on 3 July 1970 and broken up in Taiwan in 1971.

HMCS Bonaventure

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 2 September 2013

The RCN Four-Stackers
Topic: RCN

Images (except where noted) from the September, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

In 1939, at the start of the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) had 13 ships and 3000 personnel. During the war, the RCN expanded to a peak strength for 350 ships and over 90,000 personnel and was, by the end of the war, the third-largest allied navy, after the United States Navy and the Royal Navy.

But that expansion from a small fleet of barely over a dozen vessels to the third largest allied navy was not a simple matter of building ships. The needs of all the Allied navies in the first years of the war overwhelmed the ship-building industry and alternatives were necessary. As a result of this need, Britain arranged the Lend-Lease Agreement with the United States. Among the items acquired under the Lend-Lease were 50 First World War era destroyers — the four-stackers. Of these, seven would serve with the Royal Canadian Navy.

The USN built 237 of these four-stack destroyers as the First World War was drawing to and end, intending to operate them as fleet destroyers, their role to attack the enemy from behind a protective smokescreen as part of encounters between main battle fleets. But battles like Jutland were, like the four-stackers, of an earlier era, and the destroyers were less well suited to operating on escort duties in the North Atlantic. But they, and the RCN persevered as they waited for newly constructed vessels to replace them.


The RCN Four-Stackers

The RCN Four-Stackers were part of the newly designated Town-class destroyers. They joined the RCN at a time when the Nacvy was to face its greatest challenge, the Battle of the Atlantic.

HMCS Annapolis (I-04) — (ex-USS MacKenzie (DD-175))

HMCS Annapolis sailed with the Halifax and Western Local Escort Forces escorting convoys from Newfoundland, to New York. In April 1944, she was attached to HMCS Cornwallis, as a training ship until the end of the war. On 4 June 1945, she was turned over for scrapping.

HMCS Columbia (I-49) — (ex-USS Haraden (DD-183)

Columbia was assigned to Atlantic convoy duties. Columbia escorted convoys and performed anti-submarine patrols until 25 February 1944, when she struck a cliff in foul weather off the coast of Newfoundland. She was not fully repaired after the accident but used as a fuel and ammunition hulk in Nova Scotia until sold for scrapping at the end of the war.

HMCS Niagara (I-57) — (ex-USS Thatcher (DD-162)

HMCS Niagara departed Halifax on 30 November 1940 for the British Isles to join the 4th Escort Group, Western Approaches Command, based in Scotland. Later transferred to the Newfoundland Escort Force, Niagara conducted convoy escort duties into the summer of 1941 and took part in the capture of U-570, providing the prize crew and towing the submarine to port in Iceland. Niagara became a torpedo-firing ship in the spring of 1945 for the training of torpedomen. Decommissioned in September 1945, she was later broken up for scrap.

HMCS St. Clair (I-65) — (ex-USS Williams (DD-108)

HMCS St. Clair sailed for the British Isles on 30 November to join the Clyde Escort force, where she escorted convoys in and out of the western approaches to the British Isles. Late in May 1941, she became involved in the operations to destroy the German battleship Bismarck. St. Clair, near the battle area, came under attack and shot down one, possibly two, enemy planes. St. Clair joined the Newfoundland Escort Force in June 1941 for convoy escort duty to Iceland until the end of 1941. Reassigned to the Western Local Escort Force in early 1942, St. Clair operated out of Halifax over the next two years, escorting coastal convoys until withdrawn from this service in 1943. St. Clair then operated as a submarine depot ship at Halifax until August 1944, after which she was used as a fire-fighting and damage control hulk until 1946. She was sent for disposal on 6 October 1946, and subsequently broken up for scrap.

HMCS St. Croix (I-81) — (ex-USS McCook (DD-252)

HMCS St. Croix conducted escort and patrol duties in Canadian waters, joining the Newfoundland Escort Force in August 1941 for escort duties between Newfoundland and Iceland. St. Croix sank U-90 on 24 July 1942, which, with other U-boats, had attacked her convoy (ON 113) on the 23rd, sinking two merchantmen and damaging a third. On 4 March 1943 with Convoy KMS 10, she assisted HMCS Shediac (K100) in sinking U-87 off the Iberian coast.

On 16 September, St. Croix, on patrol with an offensive striking group in the Bay of Biscay, went to the aid of convoys ONS 18 and ON 202, both under attack a wolfpack. In the battle defending these convoys St. Croix was the first of three escorts to be sunk, being torpedoed on the 29th of September. The next morning, HMS Itchen picked up 81 survivors from St. Croix. The following day, 22 September, Itchen herself was torpedoed. Three men were rescued, two from Itchen, and one from St. Croix. St. Croix had escorted 28 convoys before her sinking.

Image from the April, 1972, edition of the Canadian Armed Forces Journal Sentinel.

HMCS St. Francis (I-04) — (ex-USS Bancroft (DD-256)

HMCS St. Francis left Halifax 15 January 1941 for Scotland to join the 4th Escort Group. On 20 May she rescued all the survivors of the steamship Starcrose which had to be sunk after being torpedoed. At the end of June that year she escorted a troop convoy to the Middle East after which she joined the Newfoundland Escort Force. Between 1941 and 1943 St. Francis sailed as escort to 20 convoys and engaged the enemy on five occasions.

After refitting at Halifax, St. Francis joined Escort Group C.2 in the Western Approaches Command in June 1943 but that August was transferred to the 9th Escort Group (RCN), working from Northern Ireland. She returned to Halifax the following month. From early 1944 she was employed on training duties at Digby, Nova Scotia, and there, on 1 April 1945, was declared surplus. While on her way to Baltimore to be scrapped in July 1945, she sank as a result of a collision off Cape Cod.

HMCS Hamilton (I-04) — (ex-USS Kalk (DD-170), ex-RN HMS Hamilton)

HMCS Hamilton remained in North American waters escorting convoys from St. John's to New York. On 2 August 1942, she engaged a German U-boat and prevented its attack on the convoy. Declared unfit for operations, she became a tender to HMCS Cornwallis at Annapolis, Nova Scotia in August 1943. Decommissioned 8 June, 1945, at Sydney, Nova Scotia, from which she departed to be scrapped but was lost while being towed to Boston.

Ready Aye Ready

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 5 August 2013 10:59 AM EDT
Monday, 19 August 2013

Farewell to Rainbow (1974)
Topic: RCN

From the Canadian Armed Forces publication Sentinel, Volume 11, Number 3, 1975/3.

Farewell to Rainbow

HMCS Rainbow (SS / 75) steams by Clover Point at Victoria, B.C. in the summer of 1974 during her last sailpast with Maritime Forces Pacific. Canad's only submarine on the west coast was paid off at CFB Esquimalt December 31, 1974.

The "Tench" class submarine was a true veteran, having been first commissioned in January 1945 as the USS Argonaut. She completed one combat patrol in Japanese waters before the end of the Second World War.

The Argonaut served with the U.S. Navy until December 2, 1968, when she was purchased by Canada. On that day she was commissioned as HMCS Rainbow, am since then has served with Maritime Forces Pacific at Esquimalt.

She was primarily a training vessel, developing not only her crew's skills but also the anti-submarine capabilities of the west coast destroyer squadrons and maritime patrol aircraft. An indication of her active career is her record of dives — she passed the ten thousand mark last summer.

The Rainbow's last few months were as unusual as any of her career. Originally scheduled to be paid off on August 1, 1974, during June her service was extended to the end of the year. With many of the boat's crew already assigned to new duties, the captain faced a manning problem.

A call for volunteers went out, and soon the ranks were full of ex-Rainbow crewmen, east coast submariners, and naval reservists. there was even one paratrooper who had never been onboard a submarine before. they all pulled together, and the submarine successfully completed its program.

But there were to be no more extensions for the rainbow. On 31 December the Canadian flag was lowered for the last time.

The Rainbow was a good boat. She will be missed.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2013 1:49 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

The Regimental Rogue.

Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

« November 2014 »
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Entries by Topic
All topics
Army Rations
Battle Honours
British Army
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Army
Canadian Militia
Cold Steel
Cold War
Drill and Training
European Armies
Forays in Fiction
Martial Music
Military Medical
Military Theory
Pay; the Queen's shilling
RCN  «
Sam Hughes
Soldier Slang
Soldiers' Load
Staff Duties
Stolen Valour
Taking Advantage
The Field of Battle
The RCR Museum
US Armed Forces
Vimy Pilgrimage
Wolseley Barracks

You are not logged in. Log in
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile