naval affairs



Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of August 14th 2020

Edition – 370   “Close alliances with despots are never safe for free states” – Demosthenes: Second Philippic, c. 345 B.C.

Rod Hughes  – Editor NAC News  (comments welcome to help improve this service)

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  • Navy Bike Ride 2020 – Battle of the Atlantic Challenge: This is a virtual event and you can register thru the summer.  The event runs 13 June to 30 August 2020.  Check it out! While the original one-day ride event was cancelled, this virtual bike ride event is a great opportunity to support your Navy, support their charities of choice and keep fit.  Check it out!  Your NAC will be a sponsor – an Orca class sponsor!  And it’s free! (but do feel free to step up and buy the tee and while you are at it – donate to their charities of choice!)
  • ★   Vanguard Launches First-Ever Virtual Event For Canadian Defence Industry  (Editor – note it’s now a virtual event…first-ever Canadian underwater/submarine event that will take place on October 29 and 30, 2020)

















(If you see any omissions or errors please inform me, and any more modern significant dates are also welcomed.  The list draws primarily from the Directory of History and Heritage’s comprehensive “Significant Dates in Canadian Military History”, the now defunct “Canada Channel”, “Legion Magazine”, Roger Litwiller’s excellent web site, the encyclopedic guidance from Fraser McKee, and anywhere else I can find credible information.)

  • 1 August 1910 HMCS Rainbow is commissioned at Portsmouth, England, as the first warship in the RCN.
  • 1 August 1959 The RCN is presented with Queens Colours by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II in Halifax.
  • 3 August 1942  RCN Corvette HMCS Sackville sinks U-boat in Atlantic; one of four RCN kills in five weeks. North Atlantic.
  • 4 August 1914 War is declared between Great Britain and Germany. Canada is automatically at war with Germany as well.
  • 5 August 1914 Two submarines, later designated CC-1 and CC-2, are purchased for the RCN by the Premier of British Columbia in Seattle, Washington.
  • 5 August 1944 HMCS Iroquois commanded by Cdr James C. Hibbard, DSC, RCN, with HMCS Haida commanded by Cdr Harry G. DeWolf, DSO, RCN, and other allied forces, sank German minesweepers M-263 and M-486.
  • 6 August 1942  RCN destroyer HMCS Assiniboine commanded by A/LCDR John H. Stubbs, RCN, pursues and rams German submarine U-210 in the fog, finally sinking her with a 4.7 inch shell.  North Atlantic.
  • 7 August 1975 Pierre Trudeau announces that Canada will seek agreement to set up 370 km (200-mile) economic coastal zone.
  • 8 August 1813  US Commodore Isaac Chauncey’s ships Hamilton and Scourge capsize in minutes in a heavy gale off Forty Mile Creek on Lake Ontario, and 53 sailors drown; the ships were putting on extra sail to escape British Captain James Yeo’s fleet, and sank from a shift in weight of the guns; largest loss of life suffered by the United States Navy in the war. Yeo did not see the disaster happen, and did not press his advantage.
  • 8 August 1944  German U-boat U-667 torpedoes and sinks RCN Flower Class corvette HMCS Regina off Trevose Head, Cornwall, UK; thirty of her ship’s company are lost.
  • 9 August 1945 Temporary Lt (RCNVR) Robert Hampton Gray VC, DSC was shot down and killed in a dive-bombing raid at Onagawa Wan as he attacked and sank a Japanese destroyer; serving with the Royal Navy as a Corsair pilot aboard HMS Formidable Gray he was one of the last Canadian known to have died In World War II; he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. In 1989, in Sakiyami Park, Japan, Gray became the first member of the Allied Forces honored by the Japanese with a memorial.
  • 9 August 1941 HMC Ships Assiniboine and Restigouche escort HMS Prince of Wales, with Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard, into Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
  • 10 August 1813  Sir James Yeo’s forces capture American schooners USS Julia and USS Growler in an engagement near Twelve Mile Creek on Lake Ontario; the British rename the schooners Confiance and Hamilton and will use them as troop transports until Isaac Chauncey recaptures them near False Ducks Islands on 5 October. New York State.
  • 10 August 1941  US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill have their second meeting at Placentia, on a British warship; four days later they will issue the Atlantic Charter setting forth eight goals for the world; a document that will serve as the basis for the United Nations Charter. Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
  • 10 August 1990  Canada to send three ships and 800 sailors to the Persian Gulf as part of multinational force to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.
  • 11 August 1954 HMCS Venture is commissioned in Esquimalt, British Columbia, as a naval cadet training establishment.
  • 12 August 1814  Royal Navy Capt Alexander Hobbs, commanding 70 seamen and marines, attacks three U.S. armed schooners supporting Major General Jacob Brown’s Fort Erie campaign; masquerading as American supply boats, the British board and seize USS Somers and USS Ohio while USS Porcupineescapes; the vessels are renamed Huron and Sauk; last naval engagement on Lake Erie in the war.
  • 12 August 1917 HMCS Shearwater and submarines CC-1 and CC-2 are the first Canadian warships to pass through the Panama Canal.
  • 12 August 2010  HMCS Winnipeg intercepts a Thai ship, the MV Sun Sea carrying Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka, off the coast of British Columbia. BC.
  • 13 August 1813 British schooner HMS Nancy discovered and trapped by a US squadron at the Nottawasaga River; Capt Lt Miller Worsley of the Royal Navy, warned of a close American presence, had the Nancy towed two miles up the river, where he built a blockhouse armed with two 24-pounder carronades and a 6-pounder gun from the schooner; his force consisted of 21 sailors, 23 Ojibwa and 9 French-Canadian voyageurs; the following day, 14 August, some American wood-cutting parties discovered the schooner’s hiding place, and Worsley was forced to scuttle the ship. Wasaga Beach, Ontario.
  • 13 August 2010  The MV Sun Sea, carrying 490 Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka, is towed to the docks at CFB Esquimalt; the Thai cargo ship was intercepted off Vancouver Island on 12 August; the Tamils are moved to detention centres in the Vancouver area to await processing of their refugee claims.
  • 14 August 1944 HMCS Iroquois commanded by CDR James C. Hibbard, DSC, RCN during a mixed melee ran German minesweeper M-385 aground.
  • 14 August 1945 Japan offers its unconditional surrender.
  • 14 August1946 11 Naval Reserve Air Squadrons authorized to be formed.  Not all were ever established.
  • 14 Aug 2008 Leading Seaman Robert Teodor Binder MB, of Mississauga was a member of the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Bravery on 26 November 2010.  The citation to his award notes that on the night of 14 August 2008, at the age of nineteen, he and two others repeatedly dove and performed CPR in order to rescue the occupants of a sinking car.
  • 15 August 1827  Royal Navy Captain John Franklin lands at the entrance of the Rideau Canal, on his return down the Ottawa River from the Arctic, welcomed by Colonel By, he is escorted up to Barracks Hill (what is now Parliament Hill), then the encampment of the 71st Regiment. The following day, 16 Augiust, he will lay the foundation stone of the Ottawa Locks being built by Thomas Mackay. A reporter from the Montreal Herald witnessed the event: “I have this evening to communicate to you one of the most important events that ever occurred in the Canadas — an event which will doubtless form an era in the history of this country for ages to come. It was no less than the depositing of the first stone of the locks of the Rideau Canal… to the tap of MacKay’s trowel young Capt. Franklin put the one-and-one-quarter ton stone to bed while the garrison band played and loud “huzzas” went up from the excavation in a strange and wild setting.”
  • 15 August 1944 HMC Ships Prince David and Prince Henry participate in the Allied landing in southern France, codenamed Operation Dragoon.
  • 16 August 1956 HMCS Assiniboine is commissioned into the RCN as the first of the new St. Laurent class of destroyer escorts.
  • 16 August 2011 Government announces that the name “Air Command” is being changed to the air force’s original historic name: Royal Canadian Air Force, and the name of Maritime Command to RCN to better reflect Canada’s military heritage and align Canada with other key Commonwealth countries whose military units use the royal designation.
  • 17 August 1809  Construction of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s Monument begins; at the top of Jacques Cartier Square. Montréal, Québec
  • 17 August 17, 1940 Mackenzie King meets Franklin D. Roosevelt for two-day conference at Ogdensburg to discuss North American Defence; will sign Ogdensburg Agreement on August 18 the parties will discuss modifying cash and carry principle for delivery of arms from US factories to Canadian forces; on August 18, the parties will agree to set up a Canadian-American Permanent Joint Board of Defence, composed of senior officials from both countries.
  • 17 August 17, 1943  The first Quebec Conference (codenamed “QUADRANT”) – Mackenzie King hosts Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and the Combined Chiefs of Staff at the sixth Anglo-American War Conference, held at the Citadelle and in the Chateau Frontenac hotel; ends August 24, 1943; plans developed for Overlord, the 1944 landings in France; Churchill and Roosevelt also secretly signed the Quebec Agreement to share nuclear technology.
  • 18 August 1833  Steamship Royal William leaves Pictou NS; will arrive in Gravesend September 11; the first vessel to cross the Atlantic under steam power.
  • 18 August 1944 HMC Ships Ottawa II commanded by Cdr James D. Prentice, DSO, RCN, HMCS Kootenay commanded by A/LCdr William H. Wilson, RCN, and HMCS Chaudiere commanded by A/LCdr C. Patrick Nixon, RCN sank the German submarine U-621 while on patrol in the Bay of Biscay.
  • 18 August 2005  HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337) deployed to the Canadian Arctic to prohibit illegal fishing and to reassert sovereignty in the North.
  • 19 August 1914  World War I – Canada officially declares war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. Ottawa, Ontario
  • 20 August 1942 HMC Ships Prince Robert, Prince Henry, Prince David, Dawson and Vancouver leave Esquimalt, British Columbia, to commence operations in the Bering Sea.
  • 20 August 1944 HMC Ships Ottawa commanded by CDR James D. Prentice, DSO, RCN, HMCS Kootenay commanded by A/LCDR William H. Wilson, RCN, and HMCS Chaudiere commanded by A/LCdr C. Patrick Nixon, RCN sank the German submarine U-984 while on patrol in the English Channel – their second combined victory in three days.
  • 21 August 1872  Chebucto Head Lighthouse starts operations, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • 21 August 1940 The Permanent Joint Board of Defence is established to co-ordinate Canadian and American activities relating to the defence of North America.
  • 21 August 1944 HMCS Alberni is torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-480 in the English Channel.  59 of her ship’s company are lost.
  • 22 August 1711 An English naval expedition against Quebec is wrecked on reefs north of Anticosti island.
  • 22 August 1944 HMS Nabob, a British aircraft carrier but with a RCN crew, is torpedoed off Norway and severely damaged.
  • 23 August 1953 HMCS Caribou is commissioned as a Naval Reserve Division in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland.
  • 24 August 1949  North Atlantic Treaty goes into effect, with the parties agreeing that an armed attack against one country would be considered ‘an attack against them all.’ NATO created by Canada, the US and 10 European countries.
  • 24 August 1957  Military – Wind class icebreaker HMCS Labrador under RCN Capt O.C.S. “Long Robbie” Robertson the first deep draught vessel to navigate Bellot Strait; will become the first ship to circumnavigate North America in a single voyage; transferred to the Department of Transport on 22 November 1957, and re-designated the Canadian Government Ship (CGS) Labrador; later CCGS Labrador.
  • 24 August 1969  US oil tanker Manhattan leaves Chester on trial voyage through Northwest Passage; helped by Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaker CCGS John A. Macdonald, the Manhattan will reach Sachs Harbour, NWT, on September 15.
  • 24 August 1990 HMC Ships Athabaskan, Protecteur, and Terra Nova with 934 personnel sail from Halifax to participate in the United Nations to participate in the blockade of Iraq over its invasion of Kuwait three weeks earlier, Operation Friction.
  • 26 August 1939 World War II – The British Admiralty transmits the single word ‘funnel’ – the agreed-upon signal transfers control of Canadian merchant ships from the owners to the RCN.
  • 27 August 1942 The Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service is established.
  • 27 August 1944 Actions by Flying Officer Roderick Gray of the RCAF over the Atlantic Ocean earn him the George Cross. (Posthumous).
  • 28 August 1942 HMCS Oakville commanded by LCDR Clarance A. King,  DSC,  RCNR during convey escort duties and working with a USN PBY sank the German submarine U-94 in the Caribbean Sea by depth-charges and three rammings.
  • 28 August 1992  RCN sends destroyer HMCS Gatineau to monitor UN embargo against Yugoslavia; moves to NATO standing force in Mediterranean.
  • 29 August 1911 The prefix “”Royal”” is granted to the Canadian Navy by the King.
  • 29 August 1917  Robert Borden’s Military Service Act gets Royal Assent; all male British subjects up to 45 years of age liable for conscription; with certain exceptions. Ottawa, Ontario
  • 30 August 1943 HMCS ATHABASKAN (Destroyer) is commissioned at Newcastle on the Tyne, England.
  • 30 August 2003 HMCS Haida (G63), Canada’s most famous warship and the last remaining Tribal Class in the world, is moved to the Hamilton waterfront by Parks Canada; on the 60th anniversary of her commissioning into the RCN.
  • 31 August 1694 – Royal Navy vessel William and Maryattacks seven French warships at Ferryland, Newfoundland.
  • 31 August 1939 HMC Ships Fraser and St. Laurent leave Vancouver for Halifax to take up war stations in the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • 31 August 1942 German U boats sink 108 merchant ships this month, with a loss of 544,000 tons. Atlantic Ocean.
  • 31 August 1942 HMCS Morden sinks with depth charges U-756 440 miles WSW of Cape Farewell; the kill was originally credited to a USN Catalina.
  • 31 August 1945 HMCS PRINCE ROBERT entered Hong Kong where her commanding officer represents Canada at the surrender ceremonies of Japanese forces, and to liberate POWs.
  • 31 August 1946 The Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service is disbanded.
  • 31 August 1993  Fishery – Mulroney Government slaps a complete ban on cod fishing after stocks dwindle. A year earlier, Fisheries Minister John Crosbie ordered the $700 million northern cod fishery shut down for two years to conserve stocks; in total, 40,000 Atlantic Canadians lose their jobs, in the single largest mass layoff in Canadian history.  At its peak in the late 1960s, the northern cod fishery hauled in up to 800,000 tonnes a year.