naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 323 HMCS St. Stephen (K454 WW2 River) K323 HMCS Springhill (WW2 River, then Prestonian)

NAC News – Edition 323 HMCS St. Stephen (K454 WW2 River) K323 HMCS Springhill (WW2 River, then Prestonian)

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of September 20th , 2019

Edition – 323 HMCS St. Stephen (K454 WW2 River Class, with an unusual history)

K323 HMCS Springhill (WW2 River Class, then Prestonian Class)

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(Month by month building a comprehensive list of significant RCN/Maritime events – if you see any glaring omissions or errors please inform me, and any more modern significant dates are welcomed.  The list draws primarily from the Directory of History and Heritage’s comprehensive “Significant Dates in Canadian Military History”, the “Canada Channel”, and “Legion Magazine”)

  • 1 September 1942  HMCS Morden sinks the German submarine U-756 in the Atlantic.
  • 1 September 1944  HMCS Ships Saint John and Swansea sink U-Boat 247 off Land’s End, England.
  • 3 September 1814  Lieutenant Miller Worsley and Andrew Bulger lead 77 men by canoe north from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, captures American warship USS Tigress at anchor in False Detour Channel, about 88 km northeast of Mackinac Island; then go after USS Scorpion, which they capture September 5.
  • 3 September 1939  Battle of the Atlantic begins as merchant seawoman Hannah Baird of Verdun, Québec sees her ship, Donaldson liner SS Athenia torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat west of Ireland en route to Montréal, one week before Canada declared war and one week after the merchant service and military were placed on a war alert.  The sinking kills 188 of those aboard, including Biards and three other Canadians, the first Canadian casualties of the Second World War.
  • 3 September 1939  Britain declares war on Germany two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland; France follows 6 hours later, and then Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada on week later. On September 5, 1939, the United States will proclaim neutrality.
  • 3 September 1940  US President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces Lend Lease Program, where 50 American destroyers will be traded to Britain, of which 7 go to Canada, in exchange for leases on naval and air bases in the British colonies, including St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Bermuda; Canada also agrees to shelter the destroyers in Canadian ports before they are handed over to British crews.
  • 3 September 1942  World War II – HMCS Shawinigan and HMCS Trail together pick up 17 survivors from the Canadian merchant ship Donald Stewart that was torpedoed and sunk northeast of Cape Whittle in the Gulf of St.Lawrence in position 50°32’N, 58°46’W by German U-boat U-517.
  • 3 September 2016 – Franklin Expedition – Parks Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation find the underwater wreck of Sir John Franklin’s flagship HMS Terror; it is “in pristine condition”, north of where the wreck of HMS Erebus — the expedition’s flagship — was found in 2014.
  • 4 September 1990  Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announces formation of Operation Scimitar, to provide air cover for the two destroyers and the supply ship sent to the Persian Gulf in late August of 1991 as part of Operation Friction, tasked with enforcing the United Nations trade blockade against Iraq.
  • 5 September 1814 Royal Navy Lt Miller Worsley, flying captured American colours in the USS Tigress, takes the USS Scorpion at anchor after fierce hand-to-hand fighting; sails both ships west to Fort Michilimackinac.
  • 5 September 1918  The Royal Canadian Naval Air Service is authorized and begins operations in Nova Scotia.
  • 7 September 1816 – Steamship Frontenac launched at Bath, west of Kingston; first steam powered vessel on the Great Lakes.
  • 7 September 1942  HMCS RACCOON Torpedoed and sunk by U 165, while escorting convoy QS.33 in the St. Lawrence River.  There were no survivors.  37 perished.
  • 7 September 1943  HMS Nabob (an aircraft carrier) is commissioned into the Royal Navy with a Canadian crew and a Royal Air Force complement.
  • 8 September 1939  Mackenzie King says no to conscription; stresses munitions-making, and building up RCN and RCAF.
  • 7 September 1955  HMCS Sioux leaves Yokosuka for Esquimalt ending RCN involvement in Korea.
  • 9 September 1919  Alexander Graham Bell sees his HD-4 hydrofoil, powered by twin aircraft engines, reach a new world water speed record of 122 kph; piloted by J.A.D. McCurdy at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
  • 9 September 1942  War Cabinet closes the St. Lawrence River to all Allied shipping except coasters; due to German U-Boat submarine dangers.
  • 9 September 1944  HMCS Dunver and HMCS Hespeler sink the German submarine U-484 in Hebridean waters.
  • 10 September 1814  Kingston naval dockyard launches the 112 gun HMS St. Lawrence, the largest warship ever to sail the Great Lakes; carrying more armament than Admiral Nelson’s Victory.
  • 10 September 1939  Canada declares war on Germany
  • 10 September 1941  HMCS Chambly and HMCS Moose Jaw sink the German submarine U-501 off the coast of Greenland.  This is the first U-boat kill made by the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • 11 September 1833 – Quebec-built steamship ‘Royal William’ reaches England safely; the wooden paddle wheeler is the First ship to cross the Atlantic under steam all the way, although sails are raised whenever the wind is fresh; the two steam engines are kept running, but the ship goes slowly under sail because of the drag from the paddle wheels.
  • 11 September 1942 HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN  Torpedoed and sunk in the St. Lawrence, near Cap Chat Quebec, by U517.  She had just delivered a convoy to Rimouski and was returning to Gaspe.  Ten of her ship’s company were lost.
  • 12 September 1759  Admiral Saunders bombards Beauport and feigns a landing to divert attention away from Wolfe’s landing below the Plains of Abraham.
  • 13 September 1942  HMCS OTTAWA sunk by U91 who hit her with two torpedoes in the North Atlanta while she was escorting convoy ON.127.  113 of her Ship’s Company were lost, plus 6 RN seaman, and 22 merchant seamen.
  • 14 September 1942  500 km east of Newfoundland, German U-Boat U-91 torpedoes and sinks RCN River Class destroyer HMCS Ottawa (A/Lt.Cdr. Clark Anderson Rutherford, RCN) in the North Atlantic, while escorting convoy ON-127; hit by two torpedoes, she blows up and sinks immediately; 113 of her ship’s company are lost, plus 6 RN seaman and 22 merchant seamen; there are 69 survivors; Battle of the Atlantic growing in intensity.
  • 16 September 1939 – RCN escorts the First of many ship convoys for Britain; RCN vessels guard the freighters in formation to protect against German U-Boat attacks. Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 16 September 1942  The first of sixteen RCN corvettes sails for the Mediterranean Sea to take part in the North African landings (Operation Torch).
  • 17 September 1904 – Captain Joseph Bernier departs from Québec on the Canadian government steamship ‘Arctic’; given the command because of his interest in the Polar regions (he had devised a plan to reach the North Pole via the Bering Strait); will make 12 expeditions into polar seas in the next 20 years; he will spend the winter in Hudson Bay collecting Canadian customs duties from whalers and traders. Québec, Québec
  • 19 September 1941 – German U-Boat U-74 torpedoes and sinks RCN Flower Class corvette HMCS Lévis 200 km off Cape Farewell, Greenland; 18 lives are lost.
  • 19 September 1969  Ottawa to reorganize Canadian Armed Forces; 50% cut in NATO manpower; retirement of RCN aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure.
  • 20 September 1943  German U-boat U-305, using a new acoustic torpedo, hits and sinks RCN Town Class destroyer HMCS St. Croix, while she is escorting convoy ON.202, south of Iceland; 65 members of the ship’s company perish; five officers and 76 men are rescued by HMS Itchen, however, only two days later, the Itchen is also torpedoed by an enemy submarine; only one St. Croix sailor, Stoker W. Fisher, survives the two sinkings; one of the men lost was Surgeon Lt W. L. M. King, RCNVR, Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s nephew.
  • 20 September 1917  Borden government passes the Military Voters Act and Wartime Elections Act, giving the vote to soldiers and sailors under 21, and serving women; wives, widows, mothers, and sisters of servicemen also get the vote; the first women ever to be able to vote in Canadian federal elections
  • 24 September 1940  HMC ships Annapolis, Columbia, Niagara, St. Clair, St. Croix and St. Francis, ex-American destroyers from the fifty given to Great Britain in exchange for bases, are commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • 24 September 1941  Canada joins eight other allied governments in pledging support to the Atlantic Charter, an eight-point declaration issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
  • 24 September 1955  HMCS Sioux returns to Esquimalt, the last ship of the Royal Canadian Navy to return from the Korean conflict.
  • 24 September 1965 – Military  RCN commissions HMCS Ojibwa, First of three 2000-ton RCN Oberon class submarines. Chatham, England
  • 25 September 1940 Canadian armed merchantman Prince Robert captures German ship Weser off Mexican coast.
  • 27 September 1854  Steamship Arctic sinks off Cape Race, Newfoundland with 300 people on board after colliding with the 250-ton French iron propeller ship S.S. Vesta; the 3,000-ton side-wheeler was the largest and most splendid ship of the Collins Line (United States Mail Steamship Company) in competition with Samuel Cunard’s Royal Mail Steam Packet Company; casualties include 92 of her 153 officers and men, and all the women and children on board, including the wife, the only daughter, and the youngest son of shipowner E. K. Collins; first great disaster involving an Atlantic Ocean liner.
  • 27 September 1994  US Navy closes Argentia submarine detection base; last US military base in Canada.
  • 30 September 1994  Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina is commissioned in Saint John, New Brunswick.