naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 408

NAC News – Edition 408

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of May 7th, 2021

Edition – 408  “The Rush-Bagot agreement, one of the oldest of international covenants, has not at all times been strictly observed; but generally speaking it has kept the Great Lakes clear of warships, and has made it unnecessary to maintain naval bases on their shores.”  The Naval Service of Canada Its Official History Vol 1, Road to War, 1933-39. pg 31.  Gilbert Norman Tucker, PH.D. Director of Naval History Section 1952

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

Links to keep in touch with the NAC and RCN can be found at the bottom of this email.


  • 19 May – Wednesday – 1300-1500 (Halifax time) RUSI-NS and NORAD and USNORTHCOM extend an invitation to hear a Zoom video-conference presentations by Colonel David Moar, RCAF, Commander 4 Wing; and Colonel Travolis Simmons, USAF, Commander 3rd Wing. Topic is “Arctic Air Operations: Canada and United States Agile Fighter Employment in Defence of North America.” No fee to attend. Registration required. Email by close of business Sunday, 16 May.  Use subject line RUSI(NS) Distinguished Speakers 19 May 2021 Registration.  Include your name and organization.
  • 10/11-12 June 2021 Canadian Nautical Research Society (CNRS/SCRN) virtual annual conference – AGM.  Note a number of NAC members are presenting and here are the conference details.  Participation is free for members of the CNRS, and for $30 non-member gains both membership and access.  To receive a link for the virtual conference, please send an email to <> with “Conference registration” in the subject line.
  • 15 June 2021 a Tuesday at 1200 (Ottawa time).  The NAC National 2021 AGM will be held electronically using GoToMeeting.  Details on how to “join” the meeting will be passed separately in the coming week.  Given that the COVID Pandemic prevents a face-to-face meeting the meeting will be limited to addressing the essential AGM requirements of the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act.  Over the coming weeks additional reports and information will be posted to this site.  Members will be made aware of any information updates through Wild Apricot.











(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”, historical website “The Second World War – A Day by Day Account”, and Roger Litwiller’s excellent web site, encyclopedic guidance from Fraser McKee, and anywhere else I can find credible information)

  • 1 May 1961 415 Maritime Patrol Squadron is reformed at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, flying Argus maritime patrol aircraft.
  • 1 May 2002 HMCS St. John’s joins the Canadian Naval Task Group, part of the multinational anti-terrorism campaign in the Persian Gulf.
  • 3 May 1937 A Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) half-company was authorized in Thunder Bay (Port Arthur at the time) and later developed into HMCS Griffon, the current local Naval Reserve unit.
  • 4 May 1910 The Canadian Navy, later re-designated as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), is authorized after Royal assent is given to the Naval Service Act of Canada.
  • 4 May 1911 Her Majesty’s Dockyard Esquimalt is transferred from British to Canadian authorities.
  • 4 May 1945 The cruiser HMCS Uganda sails with an American task force to bombard Japanese airfields as part of the Okinawa campaign.
  • 6 May 1944 HMCS Valleyfield, a frigate, is torpedoed and sunk by the U-548 in the Atlantic Ocean with a loss of 123 sailors.
  • 7 May 1945 SS Avondale Park SS Ltd., was Canadian registered, the last merchantman lost in the Battle of the Atlantic, off Firth of Forth, to U-2336 while in convoy EN-91.  9 crew were lost, including her Chief Engineer, 1 donkeyman, 4 RN DEMS gunners & 3 Maritime Reg’t RA gunners.
  • 8 May 1942 U Boat 553 is the first enemy submarine to enter the Gulf of St. Lawrence to attack Canadian shipping.
  • 8 May 1967 The Canadian Forces Reorganization Act is given Royal assent and begins the process of unification of the previously-separate RCN, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force.
  • 9 May 1918 Lieutenant Rowland Bourke Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve was commanding Motor Launch 276 when the events that would earn him a Victoria Cross occurred.  The British had attempted an operation to block the port of Ostend, Belgium so it could not be used by the Germans who were occupying it.  In the aftermath of the overnight daring but bloody naval assault, Bourke took his ship into the enemy harbour to look for any remaining survivors of the raid.
  • 11 May 1898 Canadian brothers Harry and Willard Miller born in Noel Shore, Nova Scotia. while serving as USN sailors on board the U.S.S. Nashville in Cuban waters, both earned the US Medal of Honour.  During a ship’s boat undersea cable-cutting operation and facing the heavy fire of the enemy they both displayed extraordinary bravery and coolness throughout the action.
  • 12 May 1940 HMCS Ypres while operating the harbour entrance “gate” was accidently rundown by HMS Revenge.  She was the first loss of the RCN during WW2.  No casualties.  Ypres was a one of 6 Battle-class trawlers built during WWI that were employed as gate vessels in the Halifax area.  The gate was back in operation by the 16th.  Another old Battle-class trawler, HMS Arleux, replaced Ypres.  She was also rammed later in the war by the giant liner RMS Queen Mary, although she was not sunk.
  • 12 May 1942 The German submarine U-553 sinks the steamers Nicoya and Leto between Gaspe and Anticosti island.
  • 12 May 1945 HMCS Victoriaville (frigate) escorts the surrendered U-Boat 190 into Bay Bulls, Newfoundland.
  • 13 May 1943 HMCS Drumheller commanded by Lt Leslie P. Denny, RCNR, HMS Lagan, and an aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 423 Squadron combine to sink the German submarine U-753 in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 13 May 1945 German submarine U-899 officially surrendered to the RCN near Shelburne, N. S. becomes the only German sub to surrender in Canadian waters during Second World War.
  • 14 May 1917 Lieutenant R. Leckie, Royal Naval Air Service, flying a Curtiss H-12 flying boat shoots down the German Zeppelin L.22 over England.
  • 15 May 1940 HMCS Prince Henry (ex-North Star, ex-Prince Henry) purchased from Clarke Steamship Company for $606,740, and preparations were begun to convert her to an Armed Merchant Cruiser (AMC).  The Washington and London Naval Treaties placed limits on the number of cruisers that could be built by the participating nations.  Canada was governed by the limits placed on the Royal Navy.  An important role of heavy cruisers was service on distant stations and as the ‘patrolman on the beat,’ keeping watch over the trade routes of the world.  By late ’42 to early ’43, the AMC’s were being withdrawn from escort service and converted to troopships, a vastly less costly and complicated process as well as a more important role.
  • 15 May 1941 Ten corvettes in UK shipyards are formally commissioned as RCN ships.
  • 16 May 1945 HMCS Matane is sent to escort 14 surrendered U-Boats from Trondheim to Loch Eriboll.
  • 17 May 1963 Approval is given for the RCN to begin work on the first Canadian military hydrofoil, HMCS Bras D’Or.
  • 18 May 1914 The Royal Navy Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR) is authorized as part of the RCN.
  • 21 May 1917 The Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) is established by Royal Charter.
  • 21 May 1939 King George VI unveils the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
  • 22 May 1931 HMCS SAGUENAY is commissioned at Portsmouth-one of the first ships built for the RCN.
  • 24 May 1941 HMS Hood is sunk by the Bismarck in the Denmark Straits: three Canadian Midshipmen Christopher Norman (Victoria BC), Francis Jones (Revelstoke BC), Thomas Beard (Victoria BC), serving in the battle cruiser are killed.  All three midshipman were sons of RCN and Canadian Army officers)
  • 24 May 1963 Sea King helicopters enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • 25 May 1941 The first seven corvettes for the Newfoundland Escort Force arrive in St. John’s.
  • 29 May 1982 The National War Memorial in Ottawa is rededicated to include dates of the Second World War and Korean War.
  • 30 May 1939 King George VI presented his Color to the RCN in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, BC

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