naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 375

NAC News – Edition 375

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of September 18th 2020

Edition – 375  “Important naval stations should be secured against attack by land as well as by sea”  Mahan: Naval Strategy, 1911

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

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  • ★   Did you know the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) collaborates with Canadian Leaders to connect your Navy with school-aged students?  VAdm McDonald, Cdr RCN invites you to participate in a “virtual” presentation (via Zoom) – to learn about the Ship to Shore (S2S) Programme and the Canadian Leaders behind this fantastic initiative. 23th Sep 2020 @ 3:00-5:00 pm EDT: speaker: Teri McKinnon, Director, Ship to Shore.  To register, please RSVP by close of business Mon, 21st September 2020.  Please provide your professional details.
  • Vanguard Launches First-Ever Virtual Event For Canadian Defence Industry  (Editor – note it’s a virtual event…first-ever Canadian underwater/submarine event that will take place on October 29th and 30th, 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 September 1939 RCN, RCNR, RCNVR placed on active service.
  • 1 September 1942  HMCS Morden commanded by Lt John J. Hodgkinson, RCNR sank the German submarine U-756 in the Atlantic.
  • 1 September 1944 HMCS Saint John commanded by A/LCdr William R. Stacey, RCNR with HMCS Swansea commanded by CDR A. Frank C. Layard, DSO, RN sink U-Boat 247 off Land’s End, England.  This was HMCS Swansea’s fourth submarine under two separate CO’s.
  • 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 on 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 Programme, 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 1943 Canadian flotillas of landing craft engaged in the crossing of the Straits of Messina – the invasion of Italy.
  • 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 HMC Ships Dunver and Hespler sank U-484 in Hebridean waters.
  • 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.
  • 7 September 1955 HMCS Sioux leaves Yokosuka for Esquimalt ending RCN involvement in Korea.
  • 8 September 1939  Mackenzie King says no to conscription; stresses munitions-making, and building up RCN and RCAF.
  • 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 commanded by A/LCdr William Davenport,  RCNR, and HMCS Hespeler commanded by LCdr Neville S.C. Dickinson, RCNVR 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 commanded by CDR James D. Prentice, RCN, and HMCS Moose Jaw commanded by LT Frederick E. Grubb,  RCN sank 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 was 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 1750 General Wolf’s forces conducted an amphibious assault and stormed the cliffs of Quebec City and defeated the French. This battle marked the beginning of the end of France’s rule in North America.
  • 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/LCdr 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 1940 HMCS Bras D’or sank in a storm in the St. Lawrence with the loss of all 30 hands.
  • 19 September 1941  German 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 (GNAT), 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
  • 21 Sept 1943 In 24 hours, Canadian and British minesweepers cleared a lane through a minefield laid by U-boats off Halifax.  No lives were lost.
  • 22 September 1917 Flight Sub Lieutenant N.A. Magor, the Canadian pilot of a large American flying boat sank the UC 72 in the North Sea with direct hits by two 230 lb bombs.  This was one of a few submarines destroyed by air action during WW1.
  • 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 RCN 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 HMCS Labrador arrives in Esquimalt via the Artic.  She was the first naval ship and the first deep draught vessel of any kind to traverse the North West Passage.
  • 27 September 1994  USN 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.