naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 511

NAC News – Edition 511

Grade 5 student showing a knot.

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of April 28th, 2023

Edition: 511 Quote: “This [Russia’s war on Ukraine] is a grinding war of attrition. The Russians have already lost a fifth of the territory that they’ve taken since they began the war in February of last year, because of corruption in the Russian military.”  19 April 2023, Angela Stent, NPR

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.  Contact Kevin Goheen if you wish someone to be added to the NAC News email distribution. (Influencer or good candidates to become a NAC member, and note the first year’s NAC/Branch membership dues are waived)

Sophie, a Grade 5 student from Glenlyon Norfolk School, shows off a knot she tied during her visit to Naval Fleet School (Pacific), Apr. 5. Photo: Peter Mallett/Lookout.



3 May NAC and the RCN will mount a Battle of the Atlantic Gala Dinner.  Detailed information on the event and the menu options is available at 2023 Battle of the Atlantic Gala.  Registration can be completed from that page.  Should you need assistance with the registration or have further questions, please contact us at  Our Naval Affairs Programme Coordinator Dr. Ann Griffiths has created a graphic novel for NAC.  It’s about an ordinary Canadian fellow who serves in an RCN ship in the Battle of the Atlantic.  Copies will be available for purchase at the gala.  It’s called ‘Hunter and Hunted: On Board a Canadian Corvette in the Battle of the Atlantic.’  To make a connection, it was Ann’s naval affairs programme initiative that created “Mom’s in the Navy” which is available at the link, [as well as “An Undersea Adventure” and “Over the Horizon” were created], and this new graphic novel will be made available in the same fashion.

17 May 2023  ABCMI Innovation Day at Vancouver, BC 09:00 – 16:30 local in the Vancouver Convention Centre West, 1055 Canada Pl. ABCMI Members – $135 plus GST, Non Members – $225 plus GST, Lunch and health breaks are incl.  Innovation Day tickets.  ABCMI is also hosting an evening Networking Reception on the evening of 16 May, 5:00-6:00 PM at the Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel.  Join them for appetizers, a no-host bar and plenty of great conversations. Tickets for reception.

The Canadian Naval Review is holding its annual essay competition again in 2023.  There will be a prize of $1,000 provided by the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, for the best essay.  The winning essay will be published in CNR. (Other non-winning essays will also be considered for publication, subject to editorial review.)  For complete rules and guidelines, go to:
If you have any questions about a particular topic, contact:
Submissions to the 2023 contest must be submitted to by May 30, 2023.  Brochure in both French and English is available on line.

NEW 31 May – 1 June 2023 CANSEC trade show will be held at Ottawa’s EY Centre.  A CDR13:46 min podcast speaking with CADSI President and CEO, Christyn Cianfarani gives “the inside scoop” on CANSEC 2023.

2 November 2023 Mark your calendars, the Deep Blue Forum 2023.  Venue – The Westin Ottawa, 11 Colonel By Drive.



US and South Korea agree key nuclear weapons deal

Russia expels 10 Norwegian diplomats in mirror move and SVT: 38 suspected spies at Russian embassies in the Nordic region



Defence Department expecting clarity the cost of new warship fleet later this year

Measuring Canada’s defence commitment in terms of dollars a ‘bad mistake’: ambassador but on the other hand Canada’s defence spending hasn’t made it a NATO pariah — but that could change, ex-diplomat warns

‘The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism’: A Diagnosis of Decline and Prescription for Repair (Editor – not a maritime item but a thought-provoking perhaps contentious book being reviewed)

MAKICHUK: Canada’s navy urges $60b sub purchase, to protect the Arctic (Editor – incoherent argument that misses many point)

Simulated oil spill off southern Vancouver Island tests marine response (Editor – includes 1:21 min video)

PaCE Replaces CF Personnel Appraisal System

Calling all East Coasters! #ytshorts (Editor – RCN east coast reserve short recruiting video)

Navy Bike Ride is back!

A war by any other name

Navy League of Canada Welcome Remarks – RAdm Bennett (RCN Ret’d) and VAdm Topshee, Commander RCN (Editor – 7 Dec 2022 22:06 min video in case you missed it)

Veterans warned of longer wait times due to federal public service strike

Reservist acquitted of sexual assault sues military for millions of dollars in damages

Royal Canadian Navy ranks (Editor – a refresher in a 12:23 min video)

Field trip has students tied in knots

NAC Naval Affairs Program Briefing Note # 7 Naval Shipbuilding in Canada
why does it take so long and cost so much?
(Editor – please share to anyone you think may benefit from the knowledge)

Lookout: Volume 68, Issue 16, April 24, 2023



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: April 24, 2023

Aircraft carrier Nimitz makes history with 350,000th arrested landing (Editor – the tip of the lance – and that is how you build and maintain naval air power)

Navy Will Have ‘Challenges’ Meeting Submarine Delivery Schedules, Admiral Tells Senate and Navy attack sub Alexandria gets 3-year life extension, Scranton next on the list

Report to Congress on Navy Shipboard Lasers  (Editor – on the cusp of a game changer)

U.S. air base in Greenland gets new name inspired by Inuit language

Last Cyclone Patrol Ships Leave U.S. Navy, Many Will Serve in Foreign Forces

Major Shift Comes to Fincantieri Marinette Marine as Freedom LCS Line Ends

The Navy wants to sell off its troubled littoral combat ships to allies after just a few years in service

Pentagon 2022 Freedom of Navigation Report

First female US Naval Academy superintendent nominated

CIMSEC: Gapped billet squall on the horizon: the USCG officer corps could be in trouble

Navy to Christen Future U.S. Navy Ship Kingsville

Why Mines are Bigger Threat than Anti-Ship Missiles (Editor – for perspective a 11:54 min video)



Tense face-off: Philippines confronts China over sea claims

Australia’s defence force is expected to get its biggest overhaul in decades. Here’s what we know so far

China’s Plan For Taiwan Invasion Is Not A Secret and US Congress Wargames Maritime Invasion Of Taiwan

PLA eyeing ‘underwater denial zones’: researcher

Japan’s Converted F-35B Carrier Leaves Dock Sporting New Bow

F-35B fighter aircraft sink Philippine corvette ex-BRP Pangasinan

All current Type 055 large destroyers enter active PLA Navy service with commissioning of 8th hull Xianyang

South Korea Navy commissions KSS-III class submarine Anh Mu

Thailand Takes Delivery of Chinese-Built Amphib

India Launches Armed Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Project: Report

Indian Navy to Acquire US Harpoon and Russian Kalibr Missiles

INS Jalashwa Equipped with 30kw Laser Direct Energy Weapon (DEW) Undergoing Tests

PLA Navy’s 3rd aircraft carrier Fujian holds propulsion tests; more Chinese carriers to be built

India conducts maiden test of sea-based ballistic missile defence system and Chinese spy vessel Yuan Wang 7 entered Indian Ocean before India’s missile tests

New Zealand Officially Ends Live Animal Exports By Sea

Researchers Suspect ‘Widespread’ Violations of Russian Oil Price in Asia




Russia’s Lake: How to Liberate the Black Sea

Ukrainian Unmanned Surface Vessels attempt to strike Crimea

Ukraine is developing Toloka new underwater drone

Brookings: Ukraine Index (Editor – not a maritime article but important pieces of the puzzle.  The available download shows the data and are impressive.)

New York Times: Airman began posting US intelligence on Russian war effort more widely and longer than previously known

Ukraine war: Kyiv secures bridgehead across key Dnipro River – reports

Black Sea Grain Deal ‘Expected’ to Wind Down Ahead of Closure Next Month


Danes lift sailing restrictions near Nord Stream leaks

Sub Hunt: NATO on Patrol for Russian Subs (Editor – NBC News 27:25 min news video) leading for Report: Suspected Russian Spy Vessels Operate Out of Faroe Islands and Russian Navy’s Intelligence Directorate gets four more ice-classed spy ships for seafloor operations

Multiple Russian Submarines Moving in ‘Strange Routes,’ U.K. Says

Shipbuilders float out 5th conventional sub built for Russia’s Pacific Fleet

USS San Juan (SSN 751) conducts brief stop off Iceland’s coast

King speaks of his intense pride as he presents new Colours and Standards

Repairs to HMS Prince of Wales will not prevent return to operations this summer

US State Department approves FMS to Norway of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters

Germany approves additional ESSM buy for German Navy frigates

Russia carrier Admiral Kuznetsov to be armed with Pantsir-M CIWS

British warships heading to Baltic ‘chokepoint’

Video: Italian Police Seize Cocaine Smuggled in Bulker’s Sea Chest

Russia Project 1855 mini submarine AS-34 conducts deep diving drills near Norway

France receives 11th modernized ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft



U.S. Navy Ship Patrolling Middle East Seizes $42 Million in Drugs

Royal Navy-led task force seizes £17m of illegal drugs in the Middle East

Russian Yacht Disappears in Red Sea After Apparent Attack (Editor – unwise place to take a cruise) then Missing Yacht Turns Up in Djibouti After Attack Off Yemen

France Navy’s FREMM frigate Lorraine has arrived in Saudi Arabia

Update: Iran “Confiscates” Suezmax Tanker Accused of Collision



Destroyer USS Truxtun Operating Near Port Sudan Following U.S. Embassy Evacuation and As Sudan Descends Into Chaos, Naval Forces Prepare for Evacuation and Sudan evacuation: Two Royal Navy ships placed on standby with Port Sudan Becomes Evacuation Hub for Foreigners Fleeing Conflict and Maersk Stops Sudan Bookings Over Violence currently India Deploys 3rd Naval Ship Tarkash For Sudan Evacuation: Foreign Secretary

Satellite imagery reveals construction progress on new Chinese Antarctic base

Ship-to-Ship Transfers of US Crude to Impact Global Oil Benchmark Pricing

This is how much sea level rise has sped up, UN agency reports and The Planet Keeps Breaking Records For Warming Waters



WWII Japanese Transport Lost With 1,080 People Located in Philippines

Editor – with Battle of the Atlantic Sunday approaching a series of videos:

Battle of the Atlantic – The Merchant Navy (Editor – 3:36 min video)

Canada Carries On: Churchill’s Island (Editor – 21:22 min video)

OPERATION NEPTUNE: D-Day Minesweepers of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) (Editor – 2:07 min video)

THE FIGHTING SEA FLEAS – Motor Torpedo Boats , WWII , Battle of the Atlantic , PT Boats 20130 (Editor – 10:24 min video)

The Discovery of UB-29 (Editor – WW1, but significant and related to the BoA in a piece of history in a 10:04 min video)



29 April 1944  German torpedo boat T-24 sinks HMCS Athabaskan commanded by A/LCdr John H. Stubbs, DSO, RCN who was killed in action; 128 lose their lives and 86 are captured.

30 April 1884  Victoria coal baron Robert Dunsmuir starts building the Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) Railway, later known as the Vancouver Island Railway, to support the coal and lumber industry, and the Royal Navy Base at Esquimalt Harbour; on August 13, 1886 John A. Macdonald will drive home the last railway spike at Cliffside near Shawnigan Lake.

30 April 1941  The passenger /cargo ship SS Nerissa was pressed into service as a troopship.  Her home port became Halifax.  Her accommodation was increased from 229 to 250 passengers, and she was fitted with guns.  In her 6 eastbound crossings to the UK, many of the passengers were Canadian and Newfoundland armed forces plus civilians, refugees, and Merchant Navy seamen.  Convoy escort protection had been provided for 7 of her 12 transits through the most dangerous Western Approaches.  On her 13th wartime crossing originated in Halifax, she was eastbound for Liverpool via St John’s Newfoundland.  Embarked were: 105 (British, Newfoundland and Canadian) crew members, 152 armed forces, 14 American volunteer Air Transport Auxiliary pilots and 20 civilians. Her cargo was: 1,872 Tons of general items, 574 Tons of Aluminum, 352 Tons of ammunition shells, and 251 Tons of trucks (Canadian Army ambulances).  Nerissa was sailing independently and was sunk by U-552, about 80 nautical miles northwest of Ireland and about a half-day from Liverpool.  Of the ship’s eight lifeboats, only one was successfully launched, one was upright but flooded, four were capsized and two were pulled down with the ship.  The next morning on the 1st of May, only 84 survivors remained alive to be rescued by HMS Veteran.  The sinking resulted in the third largest loss of life for a ship sunk by U-boats in the approaches to the British Isles.  The 207 casualties were: 81 Merchant Navy; 10 RCN; 73 Canadian Army; 4 Royal Navy; 8 RAF; 3 Royal Norwegian Air Force; 11 American ATA pilots; 3 National Defence HQ auditors; and 14 civilians (including 3 children).  The Nerissa’s 57-year-old Master Captain Gilbert Ratcliffe Watson had survived four previous sinkings over the course of two world wars.  Watson did not survive the fifth sinking, he fired three flares and yelled “Good luck boys” as he went down with the ship.

30 April 1943  The Flag Officer Atlantic Coast, RCN, takes over control of all shipping movements in the western North Atlantic under the title of Commander-in-Chief Canadian North West Atlantic.

1 May 1942 – The four-masted schooner SV James E. Newsom (Zwicker Geldert Shipping Co Ltd, Halifax, NS) was sailing independently from Turks Island, via Barbados with a declared cargo of sugar cane molasses, bound for St. John’s Newfoundland.  The sails of a schooner on a northwesterly course were first sighted by U-69 (the first of the 568 Type VIIC class U-boats commissioned during the war) and the boat maneuvered ahead of the ship and at 17:28, started shelling the schooner with high explosive and incendiary rounds from the 3.5 inch deck gun followed by rounds from the 20 mm AA gun until the ship sank at 18:03 about 370 nm NE of Bermuda.  The Master and 8 crewmembers abandoned ship in a lifeboat and made it to Bermuda.

1 May 1945  HMCS Uganda, on service in the Pacific, bombards air bases on the Sakishima Islands and comes under kamikaze attack by two Japanese planes.

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.

3 May 1941 – The Danish MV Europa (East Asiatic Line) was transiting from the Caribbean to Copenhagen via New York, when Germany overran Denmark on 9 April 1940. She arrived in New York (still neutral USA) on 11 April and a couple days later, she was northbound to Halifax. She was quickly requisitioned by the Canadian government Merchant Marine Ltd on 20 April. Six days later, with passengers and a “general” cargo, she was one of 43 merchant ships in convoy HX-38 eastbound to Liverpool. She made three more wartime crossings from Halifax. Her final crossing was in convoy HX-87.  After disembarking Canadian troops and war materials in Greenock, Scotland, she arrived in Liverpool on 29 November. After minor repairs in dry dock, a cargo of war materials including air planes were embarked. Loading was completed on 20 December for a planned departure the next morning to an unknown destination.

However, the Luftwaffe had just started major bombing raids on Liverpool (the “Liverpool blitz”). That night, at about 22:00, a bomb exploded into the Europa and flooded No. 2 cargo hold. The ship, still moored at her jetty, sank and rested on the bottom. Unsuccessful attempts were made to raise the ship. On 12 March 1941, she was again bombed by the Luftwaffe. On 20 March, the Europa was finally raised and dry-docked for major repairs. She was still in dry dock when Luftwaffe bombers executed one of their most severe attacks on Liverpool. On the evening of 3 May 1941, several bombs hit the ship. The Canadian troopship MV Europa was declared a total loss and was later towed from the dry dock and set aground for scrapping. Only one Europa crew member was slightly injured during this series of Luftwaffe bombings raids.

4 May 1910   The Canadian Navy, in 1911 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.

5 May 1942The passenger/cargo ship SS Lady Drake (Canadian National Steamships Ltd, Montreal) departed Halifax on 20 March 1942 on a still-scheduled pre-war routine passenger and freight service to Demerara, British Guiana via Boston, Bermuda, and 10 Caribbean ports. Wartime grey now cloaked the formerly white and colourful ship, while DEMS gunners manned a 4-inch gun on the aft poop deck.  For the return trip, she departed Demerara on 15 April with a cargo of sugar plus bananas and other fruits in her refrigerated holds.  She was bound for St Johns, New Brunswick via the same 10 Caribbean ports and Bermuda.  On 3 May, the ship arrived at an anchorage in Bermuda.  Early on 4 May, some passengers were landed, and new passengers were taken onboard.  The Lady Drake then departed Bermuda with 121 crew members and 151 passengers (including 40 Royal Navy and 10 Merchant Navy passengers).  U-boats were known to be in the area.  The Master (Percy A. Kelly, MBE) had unsuccessfully requested a USN naval air escort for the first day.  After departure, the ship started zigzagging on a mean northerly course.  The radio officer detected wireless chatter between U-boats.  The Lady Drake was being stalked by U-106.  When the range and aspect of the target allowed, a G7A torpedo was fired.  The DEMS gunners saw it pass by the stern.  Moments later a second torpedo exploded into the ship.  Abandon ship was ordered.  Five of her six lifeboats were launched successfully.  Less than 24 hours after departure and about 195 nautical miles north of Bermuda, the SS Lady Drake was sunk at 03:45 GMT+2 (Berlin time) on 5 May 1942.  Six crew members and six passengers were killed.  The survivors were rescued by USS Owl and landed at Bermuda on the 8th of May 1942.

SIGNIFICANT RCN DATES – 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”, The Naval Service of Canada, Its Official History Vol 1-3, NAC member Roger Litwiller’s excellent web site, encyclopedic guidance from NAC member Fraser McKee, the site, and anywhere else I can find credible information.  For the merchant ship history, a special thanks to NAC member Bill Dziadyk for his able assistance and detailed work.  The RCN lost 1,965 men and 24 ships during the War, most of them in the Atlantic.  A comprehensive list of the staggering merchant losses – sunk, damaged, or lost – Canadian Merchant Ship Losses of the Second World War, 1939-1945 by Rob Fisher {Revised June 2001}, and for the loss of individual personnel RCN Ship Histories, Convoy Escort Movements, Casualty Lists 1939-1947)

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