naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 512

NAC News – Edition 512

Canada Post stamp of William Hall

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of May 5th, 2023

Edition: 512  Two new quotes for Battle of Atlantic Sunday – Lest we Forget: “At the height of wartime shipbuilding, in 1943, Canada’s production of merchant ships – 150 cargo ships totalling 1,4878,000 tons – was only 15 percent less than that of the United Kingdom.  To crew the growing merchant fleet, the Canadian Merchant Navy employed 12,000 sailors, a complete civilian service never lacking in volunteers despite the dangers they faced in the war.”  Battle of the Atlantic – Gauntlet to Victory, page 7, Ted Barris, 2022.  “Of the 12,000 Canadians who served aboard merchant navy ships during the Second World War, 1,344 became casualties,146 killed (including eight women) and 198 taken prisoner.   From Erik Boye, the first Canadian merchantman torpedoed, on June 15, 1940, to the last, Avondale Park, sunk on May 7, 1945, a total of fifty-eight Canadian-registered merchant ships were lost to enemy action…”  Battle of the Atlantic – Gauntlet to Victory, page 64, Ted Barris, 2022

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)


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.

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.



World military expenditure reaches new record high as European spending surges and Trends in world military expenditure, 2022 (Editor – Canada ranks 14th)



Volunteer Reserve sailors altered course of Battle of the Atlantic

HMCS Edmonton returns after helping to intercept 755 kg of cocaine and HMCS Edmonton returns from Operation CARIBBE 2023 | Go Bold (Editor – 12:09 min video) and why she was there Interview: US Drug War and Rise of the Pacific Route

2023 General and Flag Officers Promotions and Appointments Announced

Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone operational cross-country transfer

RCN’s fourth Harry DeWolf-class ship named HMCS William Hall and some background HMCS WILLIAM HALL 433

China views Canada as a ‘high priority’ for interference: CSIS report

After 43 years of service, it’s the people

Container ship traffic at Vancouver port falls amid global economic slowdown and inflation

Salvors Recover Truckload of Diesel From Bottom of Channel in B.C.

Brodeur Family Dynasty Display Launches Online (Editor – what a fitting reminder of this family’s stellar contribution)

King Charles III – Military Veteran (Editor – useful info with the coronation tomorrow!)

“The Best VR in the Whole Flaming Navy”: The Life and Career of Lieutenant Commander Clifton R. “Tony” Coughlin by David Niddam-Dent (Editor – a fitting story for this year of Naval Reserve celebration and remembrance)

Veteran Homelessness Program: Overview

The Prince of “In Flanders Fields”

Naval Captain Bill Wilson scholarship

NAC Naval Affairs Program Briefing Note # 8 Naval Procurement (Editor – please share to anyone you think may benefit from the knowledge)

Lookout: Volume 68, Issue 17, May 1, 2023

Trident: Monday 1 May 2023 Volume 57, Issue 9



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: May 1, 2023

How America’s GIANT Defense Budget Is Too Small (Editor – entertaining perspective in a 17:30 min video)

Senator Wicker Introduces The US Shipyard Act

Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford Departs Norfolk for Worldwide Deployment

Navy Considering Extending USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Past 2027

Navy commander defends Alaska military exercise against critics

US Navy to deploy Arctic navigation, communication, and environmental sensing

Marines want 31 amphibious ships. The Pentagon disagrees. Now what?

GD NASSCO lays the 1st block of USNS Lucy Stone

CIMSEC: the politics of developing the Aegis combat system, Pt. 2 and the latest Report to Congress on Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense

Navy’s mine-hunting package gets green light, ready for use on LCS

Report to Congress on Navy Light Replenishment Oiler



CIMSEC: Fighting DMO, pt. 8: China’s anti-ship firepower and mass firing schemes (Editor – long article but well worth the read)

Philippine Coast Guard Cutters, Chinese Warship Almost Collide in South China Sea

German Navy Announces New Pacific Deployments as Global Navy Chiefs Call for More Pacific Cooperation

Ins and outs of Japan’s remilitarization

Australia’s DSR: Navy Signals Shift towards Smaller Ships

India keeping ‘very close watch’ on Chinese vessels in Indian Ocean Region, says Navy Chief and INS Imphal Stealth Guided Missile Destroyer under Project 15B Sails for Maiden Sea Trials

USS George Washington will return to Japan in 2024, Navy confirms

U.S. Navy P-8 Flies Over Taiwan Strait, China Scrambles Fighters

India Levels Up in Nuclear Submarines

PLAN vessels attend 13th IMDEX Asia in Singapore

IMDEX Asia 2023: Republic of Singapore Navy’s MRCV (Editor – 9:57 min video)

DSIT Solutions To Present ASW Solutions At IMDEX 2023

Anschütz Presents SYNTACS Mine Countermeasure Suite at IMDEX

IMDEX 2023: Singapore to replace corvettes with frigate-sized ships under MRCV programme

RAFAEL at IMDEX Asia 2023: NAVAL IRON BEAM and C-DOME Mission (Editor – 4:25 min video)

Vessels to Harbour – India Bolsters Coastal Defence of Key Indian Ocean Ally Maldives

Indian Navy to Induct 20 Remotely Manned Interceptor Boats

New naval helicopter planned for New Zealand

WATCH: 137,500 cbm ISH FSU docks at Philippines LNG import terminal in ‘a historic moment’ (Editor – 1:44 min video included)

Australian Icebreaker Nuyina Resumes Commissioning After Year’s Delay

Shipping Data Reveals Surge in Oil Shipments Bound for China




Russian Wagner Group leader says his troops will pull out of Ukraine’s Bakhmut in days so Ukraine War: Is there a stalemate or is this the lull before the storm? (Editor – noteworthy summary in a 2:20 min video) and another angle in a 27:06 min video Russia’s Combat Compliance Problem: Why Moscow Has Struggled in Bakhmut and Elsewhere

Ukraine war: More than 20,000 Russian troops killed since December, US says

Rising Oil Prices Complicate Russian Price Cap Checks for Marine Insurers yet Russia’s Seaborne Crude Flows Climb with No Sign of Easing then Burning Tanker off Malaysia Sounds Shadow Fleet Alarm Bells

Russian navy vessel carrying a mini-submarine was seen near Nord Stream pipelines four days before they were blown up


UK reaffirms commitment to NATO Nuclear Deterrence

NATO Confirms Risk of Russian Attack on Subsea Infrastructure and Six Russia Navy’s ships reportedly operating in North Sea

Proceedings Podcast: NATO Navies In Review (Editor – 32:02 min podcast)

Russia-China coast guard cooperation big step, says Arctic security expert

Navy Research Vessel R/V Petrel Righted and Refloated

CIMSEC: Sea Control 429 – “a new black sea reality” with Luke Coffey and Dr. Can Kaspoğlu (Editor – 37:28 min video)

UK, Norway Train against Fast-Attack Craft to Protect Naval Fleets

Royal Navy’s New Minehunting Mother Ship Gears up for Trials and Training


Saab Delivers New SIGINT-Ship Artemis to Sweden

Russian Navy’s fifth Project 636.3 submarine launched

Meet Britain’s new Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance vessel



Report: Iran Seized Tanker in Retaliation for US Oil Seizures however Tanker Seized by Iran Carrying Kuwaiti Crude and has Indian Crew then Iran Releases Video of ‘Advantage Sweet’ Boarding in Gulf of Oman (Editor – 35 sec video)

U.S. Navy Hosts Qatar’s Top Naval Leader in Bahrain

Shots Fired at Yacht off Yemen is Possible “Incident” with Coast Guard



Berger: Lack of Amphibs Left AFRICOM with No Sea-Based Option for Sudan Evacuation then U.S. Navy Transport Arrives to Evacuate American Citizens From Sudan meanwhile Navy Sails 300 Evacuees from Sudan to Saudi Arabia, U.S. Mobile Sea Base Now in the Red Sea with Chinese navy vessels evacuate personnel from Sudan

Captain and Two Crew Kidnapped from Bulker off Gabon, West Africa

China donates patrol boat to Sierra Leone to tackle illegal fishing and piracy off West Africa

Piriou launches 3rd and final patrol boat for Senegalese Navy

Nigeria Releases Crew of VLCC Heroic Idun, Ending Nine-Month Ordeal

Scientists Find Pollutants in Some of the Ocean’s Deepest Waters

Celebrating the Birthday of the Shipping Container



Collision HMCS Preserver and HMS Penelope (1988) (Editor – could have been a lot worse! 7:29 min video)

How an 18th Century Sailing Battleship Works (Editor – cool 25:26 min video)

Mariner’s Mirror: The Last Convict Ship: The Edwin Fox (Editor – amazing time capsule explained in a 32 min podcast) here is the museum mentioned The Edwin Fox ship and visitor centre

The Colossal Warplane that Wrecked German U-Boats (Editor – 11:11 min video and Canadian content…Canadian Warplanes 3: Short Sunderland)

Canada Carries On: War clouds in the Pacific (Editor – 21:46 min video)

 “Reporting On Board”- Royal Canadian Navy Documentary Short (1961) (Editor – 14:35 min video)



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 1942 – The three-masted motor (twin screw) wooden schooner SV Mildred Pauline had been built in 1919 by the Placentia Shipyard in Newfoundland.  During the war she was owned by R.W. Sainthill & Co of North Sydney Nova Scotia.  The Mildred Pauline had departed Barbados on 23 April 1942, with a cargo of sugar cane molasses destined for St. John’s Newfoundland.  On 7 May, the Mildred Pauline was being stalked by U-136, a Type VIIC submarine.  At 00:20 GMT+2 (Berlin time) on 8 May, the U-boat fired a torpedo at the schooner, which missed.  The U-boat then closed in and attacked the schooner with shelling from the 3.5-inch deck gun.  At 01:33 GMT+2 (or 7 May, 23:33 GMT), the SV Mildred Pauline, an unescorted and unarmed ship, was sunk by gunfire. She was sunk with about 480 nautical miles remaining in her transit to St. John’s Newfoundland.  The Master and six crewmembers were casualties.

7 May 1945 – The SS Avondale Park was built by Foundation Marine in Pictou, Nova Scotia and was delivered to the Government of Canada (Park Steamship Co.) on 15 May 1944.  With a British crew and a cargo of timber and pulpwood, her first sailing was eastbound in convoy HX-292 (132 merchant ships and 27 escorts) which departed Halifax on 22 May.  Shortly after her arrival in the Tyne coal mining port, on 10 June the ownership of the ship was transferred to the UK Ministry of War Transport “C. & S.S. Division, for Coastal Services” as a “coaster” collier to be managed by the Witherington & Etheridge Company.  A year later, in the early evening hours of 7 May 1945, with DEMS gunners manning her aft gun, the Avondale Park departed Methil (near Edinburgh, Scotland).  She was bound for Belfast in convoy EN-491 (5 merchant ships and 3 Royal Navy armed trawler escorts).  The convoy was only about 17 miles from Methil when the Avondale Park was sunk by the second of two torpedoes fired by U-2336.  A few moments later, the U-boat then sunk the Norwegian SS Sneland I with a single torpedo.  The only casualties were 2 crew members from the Avondale Park.  The Canadian SS Avondale Park and the Norwegian SS Sneland I were the final merchant ships sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic.  A signal had been sent to all U-boats on 4 May 1945 ordering them to surrender but U-2336 had not received the signal.

8 May 1942 – The SS Mont Louis (Hall Corporation of Canada, Montreal) was in transit from Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) bound for Trinidad, with a cargo of bauxite for onward shipping to American and Canadian aluminum smelters.  Over the past two months, the Mont Louis had made six such round-trip deliveries of bauxite to Trinidad.  U-162 sighted the Mont Louis steaming without running lights.  The U-boat stalked the unescorted ship for about two hours until achieving the optimum range and aspect for targeting and fired a single torpedo which slammed into the engine room.  The U-boat commander’s log recorded that the explosion was followed by “dark black cloud development, which immediately enveloped the entire ship’s length”.  When the heavy smoke cleared, “nothing was seen of the steamer”. She was sunk about halfway between Paramaribo and Trinidad.  Thirteen crewmembers were killed.  hile obscured by the smoke, the master and seven crewmembers had successfully abandoned ship.  They were rescued by the Canadian two-masted schooner SV Mona Marie which landed them at Georgetown, British Guiana on 10 May.

8 May 1942  U Boat 553 is the first enemy submarine to enter the Gulf of St. Lawrence to attack Canadian shipping.

8 May 1944  Victory in Europe Day.

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 (RNVR) Rowland Bourke 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.  Lt Bourke was born in London, England and emigrated to Canada in 1902.  A naturalized Canadian he was the only Canadian Naval VC winner during WW1, and one of only four Canadian born Naval VC recipients ever.  He is buried in Royal Oak cemetery Victoria BC.

9 May 1941 – The SS Esmond (Anglo-Newfoundland S.S. Company Ltd., St John’s) was in ballast, and she was westbound from Liverpool to Sydney NS in convoy OB-318 (43 merchant ships).  On 7 May, the Western Approaches escorts were relieved by nine mid-ocean escorts (HM Ships Ranpura, Bulldog, Amazon, Broadway, Aubrietia, Hollyhock and Nigella; and HM Trawlers Daneman and St Apollo).  The convoy was being stalked by a wolfpack (U-110 Fritz-Julius Lemp, U-94 Herbert Kuppisch, U-201 Adalbert Schnee, and U-556 Herbert Wohlfarth). The attack commenced on the evening of the 7th.  A total of 7 ships were sunk before the convoy was dispersed on 11 May.  The SS Esmond had been sunk by the U-110 on 9 May.  he Master, crew and DEMS gunners were all rescued.  One of the most important allied signal intelligence successes during the entire Battle of the Atlantic occurred only hours after the sinking of the SS Esmond.  HMS Bulldog (Commander Joe Baker-Cresswell) captured U-110.  The boarding party, led by Sub-Lieutenant David Balme, removed codebooks, charts, ciphers and most significantly, a complete and undamaged Enigma machine.  Kapitänleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp was killed during the engagement and his U-110 sank while under tow by HMS Bulldog.

9 May 1942 – The oil tanker MV Calgarolite (Imperial Oil Company Shipping Company, Toronto) departed New York on 30 April 1942, in ballast, bound for Cartagena, Columbia via Kingston Jamaica.  The Calgarolite had made a dozen prior round trips sailing independently (not escorted) for Columbian petroleum products needed for the war efforts.  On 9 May, the Calgarolite was about 60 nautical miles southwest of the Cayman Islands and was steaming towards Kingston (about 250 nautical miles distant) on coarse 130°, when she was attacked by U-125 (Ulrich Folkers).  At 20:12 Berlin Time (GMT+2), two torpedoes were fired into the ship. The crew immediately abandoned ship in two lifeboats.  However, a third torpedo and AA gunfire into the tanks were needed to finally sink the ship at 21:59.  The master’s boat with 21 crew landed at Isla de Pinos, Cuba on 13 May.  The chief officer’s boat with 22 crew landed at Isla Mujeres, Mexico on 12 May.

10 May 1942 – The steam merchant SS Kitty’s Brook (Bowater’s Pulp and Paper Mills Ltd., Corner Brook, Newfoundland) departed New York on 8 May 1942.  She was sailing independently (not escorted) and was bound for the US Naval Air Station Argentia in Newfoundland, with a cargo of US Army stores and a secured deck cargo of trucks.  On 10 May at about 03:30 (GMT+2), the ship was torpedoed by U-588 (Victor Vogel).  The Kitty’s Brook sank about 35 miles southeast of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia with the loss of nine crew members.  A lifeboat with the master and 24 crew members landed safely at Lockeport, Nova Scotia.

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.

11 May 1922   The Royal Naval College of Canada was closed, and for the next twenty years the training pf the Dominion’s professional naval officers was carried out in the Royal Navy.  The reduction of naval strength during the 1920’s made a separate Canadian institution impracticable, and the small need of officers for a minor force was satisfied by periodically sending a handful of candidates to the United Kingdom as “special entry” cadets.  This policy persisted until the fall of 1942, when the training of naval cadets was resumed at the Royal Canadian Naval College.

11 May 1943   The Canadian built (Davie Ship Building, Lauzon, Quebec) but British crewed SS Fort Concord was torpedoed and sunk by U-456, in the mid-Atlantic about 490 nm north of the Azores.  There were 37 casualties and 19 survivors.

11 May 1961  Canada’s first “modern” submarine for the RCN, HMCS Grilse was commissioned in New London Connecticut.  Grilse was originally USS Burrfish launched 18 June 1943.  The loan agreement called for the USN to supply the RCN with the Burrfish for five years.  The RCN would be responsible for the full cost of activating the submarine, providing it with spars and handbooks, outfitting it with torpedoes and training the crew.  The total cost was estimated at $877,000.

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.  There were no casualties, it is said that the next time HMS Revenge passed through the boom the crews of both gate vessels took up abandon-ship stations.  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.  The sinking of Nicoya and Leto shocked Canadians and ignited a media frenzy and a firestorm in Parliament about unpreparedness and incompetence. Prime Minister Mackenzie King and the English-language media fed the fire to admonish Quebecers about their failure to support conscription and their less-than-enthusiastic support of Canada’s war effort.

12 May 1942 – Two merchant ships, the British SS Nicoya (general cargo and aircrafts) and the Dutch SS Leto (grain cargo), were each sailing independently from Montreal to Halifax, to join a trans-Atlantic convoy.  In their path, the U-553 (Karl Thurmann) was the first German U-boat to be patrolling north of the Gaspe Peninsula in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  At 05:00 (GMT+2) on 12 May 1942, the surfaced U-boat sighted the SS Nicoya.  About an hour later, two torpedoes were required to sink (49°19’N 64°51’W) the British freighter.  Five crew members and one DEMS gunner from the Nicoya were killed.  About two hours later at 08:00, the surfaced U-553 sighted the SS Leto steaming eastwards towards the U-boat.  About 30 minutes later, a single torpedo slammed into the engine room and sank (49°32’N 65°19’W) the Dutch freighter.  One passenger and eleven crew members from the Leto were killed.  The sinking of these two allied ships caused the Canadian government’s plan for defence of the St. Lawrence to be invoked on 17 May 1942.

12 May 1943   The Canadian built (Davie Ship Building, Lauzon, Quebec) but British crewed SS Fort Concord was in convoy HX-237 (47 ships, 19 escorts) which departed New York on 1 May 1943 bound for Liverpool.  However due to thick fog on 6 May, the Fort Concord became a straggler and proceeded independently across the Atlantic.  On 12 May, at 04:41 (GMT +2), U-456 (Max-Martin Teichert) torpedoed and sunk the ship about 690 nm SW of Ireland.  There were 37 casualties and 19 survivors.

12 May 1945  HMCS Victoriaville (frigate) escorts the surrendered U-Boat 190 into Bay Bulls, Newfoundland.

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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