naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 564 (HMCS Bermuda)

NAC News – Edition 564 (HMCS Bermuda)

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of May 10th, 2024

Edition: 564 HMCS Bermuda  Quote: “The primary responsibility and main task of the anti-submarine air and sea forces during the five-and-a-half-year war of attrition on the supply lines known as the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ was the safe passage of merchant ships.  In that light, 1942 was by far the most perilous year for the Allies.  Almost 1000 ships totalling more than 5 millions of tons were destroyed by U-boats.” W.A.B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, The Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force Volume II, University of Toronto Press in co-operation with DND… 1986, page 533.

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)


NEW 14 November 2024   Mark your calendars, here is the advanced notification for Vanguard Deep Blue Forum 2024 to be held at The National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON K1P 5W1.



Top soldier says military looking for ‘clarity’ on Ottawa’s budget plans

Princess Anne welcomes new Arctic patrol vessel, arrives in Victoria Saturday and Princess Anne takes part in ceremony for new Pacific fleet ship and Princess Anne christens Canadian navy vessel as part of BC tour (Editor – 1:07 news video)



3 May 2010  Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake, a clearance diver killed by an improvised explosive device in the Panjwaii District, Afghanistan on the eve of the Navy’s Centennial.  (Editor – I was remiss in not including this event in last week’s RCN/Maritime History section.  I was reminded by Rich Gimblett’s thoughtful article Remembering Canada’s Naval War Dead in the latest edition Spring 2024 Starshell.

The article also mentions the storm and wrecking of HMCS Skeena, 25 October 1944: recently passed NAC (life) member Peter Chance was her Navigator.  Obituary: Peter Goodwin Chance: He survived Battle of Atlantic sinking, D-Day landings; ‘a navy gentleman’

The Princess Royal continued her visit in Victoria with a stop at God’s Acre Veterans Cemetery in Esquimalt

May 5 – 10:45am PDT Livestream: National Battle of the Atlantic ceremony in Victoria, BC (Editor – I wish I’d know about this helpful official webpage last week)

Stay humble is this medic’s key to leadership

Coxswain brothers mentor future leaders

Sailor who told Commons committee about Officer X now being harassed

Montreal launches cruise season with ship that protected 1,500 Ukrainian refugees

Watchdog agency accuses chief of military police of blocking investigations

Davie opens up doors for partnerships between Québec and Finland shipbuilding industries

Seaspan: Celebrating a 30-year legacy in the Victoria community

B.C. Ferries seeks better dry-dock access for repairs

Suncor leasing oil tanker ships to carry crude from Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

The Nautical Institute’s The Navigator magazine (Editor – note articles on the art and science of dynamic positioning)

NRAC Mess Deck Connections May 2024 Edition is now available.

NAC Children’s books are still available for sale

Lookout: Volume 69, Issue No. 18, May 6, 2024

NAC Niobe paper No. 13  Eliminating the RCN’s Mine Countermeasure Vulnerabilities by Lieutenant-Commander Nicole Robichaud  (Editor – Please share with anyone you think may benefit from the knowledge, after all, that’s what our naval affairs programme is all about – enlightening Canadians)



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: May 6, 2024

Royal Navy patrol ship seizes half a billion pounds of drugs in Caribbean operations

Chief of Royal Swedish Navy on NATO membership and new SIGINT ship HMS Artemis (Editor – 3:56 min video)

U.S. Coast Guard Polar Security Cutter Program Faces Substantial Cost Overrun and Delay Until 2029 yet Coast Guard to Start Polar Cutter Construction Before Finalizing Design, Despite Recommendation

Maintaining Maritime Security: An Interview with VADM Peter Gautier (Editor – 41:46 min video)

SECNAV Del Toro Names Virginia-class Attack Sub USS Miami, Singer Gloria Estefan to be Sponsor

US ship USNS Robert E. Simanek christened in ceremony

U.S. Navy Accepts Delivery of USNS Earl Warren

GAO Tells Senate Panel U.S. Shipyards Are Major Readiness Concern

Why DARPA’s MANTA RAY submersible is nightmare for enemy subs (Editor – complimentary video to last week’s article, a 27:48 min video)

Why All Military Branches Have Aircraft but ONLY Air Force Has Horses (Editor – not news but included for perspective in a 11:38 video)

Nicaragua cancels controversial Chinese plan for interoceanic canal

Tour boat captain sentenced to 4 years for fiery deaths of 34 people

Royal Caribbean Recruiting Thousands to Meet Soaring Cruise Demand, Staff New Ships

Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Focus Turns to Dali Salvage and Baltimore bridge: Pete Buttigieg says shipping channel to reopen end of May

Cruise ship sails into New York with dead endangered whale across its bow



Statement on unsafe and unprofessional interaction with PLA-Air Force and Chinese Fighter Drops Flares in Front of Aussie Helo in ‘Unprofessional’ Action, Say Officials then Helicopter flare up should highlight China’s base instincts

Destroyer USS Halsey Sails Through Taiwan Strait

Canadian, U.S. and other navy chiefs visit China as militaries try to rebuild relations

China’s Fujian Aircraft Carrier Returns to Base in AMAZING Video (Editor – pretty…I’d be more impressed if her deck showed signs of flight ops, a 8:23 min video)

Philippines Fires First Anti-Ship Missile in South China Sea Strike Test with U.S. and Australian Forces and Brahmos missile at DSA 2024 and Philippines delivery plus U.S. Special Ops Gunship Decimates Fishing Boats in South China Sea Test

Don’t overestimate China’s ambitions in the Arctic

US should seek allies’ help on SCS

Germany sends two warships to Indo-Pacific amid China and Taiwan tensions (Editor – taking the long way via Halifax!)

VIDEO: U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Change of Command (Editor – 1:50:51 min video)

China Has 350 Warships. The US Has 290. That’s a problem.

SSN-AUKUS ready in late 2030s with US won’t guarantee Australia will have complete control of Aukus submarines

Marines, Navy Crafting Long-Term Fixes for Amphibious Warship Shortages

Sea blindness in the ADF (Editor – this article resonated for me)

Chinese warships have been docked in Cambodia for 5 months, but government says it’s not permanent

Big ships berth at new Darwin wharf




Grossi says IAEA concerned about Russia’s plans to hold nuclear exercises

North Korean weapons are killing Ukrainians. The implications are far bigger (Editor – not sure where this is going)

Drones and AI are rewriting the rulebook on naval warfare — with uncertain consequences (Editor – a rehash, but what I find interesting is that it’s hitting mainstream Canadian press)

The world’s largest minefield – Landmines are part of the deadly legacy of the Ukraine war yet another challenge Ukraine War: ‘If we go home, a lot of inexperienced soldiers will die’


Putin renews oath for fifth term with Russia under firm control (Editor – not a maritime article but one with strategic implications in so many ways, this will not end well) Russia: When the State Becomes a Criminal

NATO Anti-Submarine Exercise Dynamic Mongoose 2024 (Editor – 11:25 min video)

German Navy christens third K130 Batch II corvette

France Awards First Long-Lead New-Gen Aircraft Carrier Contracts

Russia’s Gazprom Sees First Loss in Two Decades as Gas Trade with Europe Plunges with How Western Sanctions Are Strangling Putin’s Arctic Gas Ambitions

Greek Naval Drills See Oil Tankers Depart Key Ship-to-Ship Transfer Area with Greece Extends Naval Advisory to Deter Russian Oil Ship-to-Ship Transfers yet The shadow fleet of oil tankers enabling Russia’s war and undermining global sanctions



Red Sea:

May 7 Central Command Update

Carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Back in Red Sea, Passes 200-Day Deployment Mark

Houthis Threaten to Expand Range of Targets in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden

Maersk Continues to Reroute Ships Indefinitely as Houthis Threaten Escalation

CIMSEC: The strategic abuse of maritime security in the Red Sea

CIMSEC: Analyzing the German frigate Hessen’s near-miss of a U.S. drone in the red sea

CIMSEC: The coming of age of directed energy weapons and the Red Sea crisis


Floating Pier for Gaza is Fully Assembled and Ready to Install with Ship Loaded With Gaza Aid Awaits U.S. Pier Construction

Iran Says Crew Of MSC Aries Freed

Iranian Warship On The Move Amid Houthi Threat To Attack Ships



Ocean Cleanup breaks 10,000,000 kg barrier

China Dominates World Shipbuilding in 2024 | Market Share Increased To 58.1% of the World’s Ships (Editor – 31:34 min video)

Climate change: World’s oceans suffer from record-breaking year of heat

Leadership Battle Brewing at Deep Sea Mining’s Regulatory Body



The Mariner’s Mirror Smugglers, Pirates and Terrorists: Maritime Crime and Security (Editor – 33 min podcast)

Frederick ‘Johnnie’ Walker – From Stork to Starling (Part 2 – Early 1942 to June 1943)  (Editor – Part II in a 38:38 min video following Part I included in Edition 559)

The Invention of the Depth Charge – Kaboom? Yes Jellicoe, Kaboom! (Editor – 29:36 min video.  Cost effective ASW weapons, especially in shallow water, remain elusive)

The Father Of The Modern Submarine (Editor – 1103 min video)

The Most Cursed Warship Name



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 1942  SS Nicoya, sailing from Montreal to Liverpool, UK is the first merchant ship sunk in the Battle of the St. Lawrence.  The British merchant ship is struck by two torpedoes from U-553 off Cape des Rosiers, Gaspé, sinking in a few minutes.  Six merchant sailors were killed.

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 British freighter Nicoya and the Dutch steamer Leto 16 kilometers off the Gaspe coast between Gaspe and Anticosti island.  Most of Nicoya’s 87 crew and passengers got safely away, however Twelve of Leto’s 43 passengers and crew perished.  The sinking of Nicoya and Leto did not, as conventional wisdom would have it, signal the commencement of the German attack on Canadian shipping: that had been going on for a while.  But it did signal the start of a campaign that brought the shooting war into the church halls and kitchens of coastal communities and deposited the flotsam and jetsam of war along their shorelines.  It was impossible to stop tongues from wagging, the press from bleating and Parliament from debating the deep penetration of the enemy into Canadian waters.  Most wanted to know how the Royal Canadian Navy could have let it happen.

12 May 1945  HMCS Victoriaville (frigate) escorts the surrendered U-Boat 190 into Bay Bulls, Newfoundland (not yet part of Canada).

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.  Canadian ships, alone or in company with other ships and planes, sank a total of twenty-seven U-boats during the Second World War.  Despite the undoubted and ongoing U-boat successes during the 2,060 days of war, 25,353 merchant ship voyages carried 181,643,180 tons of cargo from North American ports to the United Kingdom under Canadian escort.  Over the bridge which the navy helped to build and maintain 90,000 tons passed daily towards the battlefields of Europe.  In the Canadian ships lost, there were 1,797 Canadians who lost their lives, 319 were wounded, and 95 became POW’s.  They paid a price yet created an achievement which would have been flatly dismissed as impossible before the war.

14 May 1917  Lieutenant R. Leckie (eventual CB, DSO, DSC, DFC, CD, and Chief of Air Staff of the RCAF), but at the time was in the Royal Naval Air Service, flying a Curtiss H-12 flying boat shoots down the German Zeppelin L.22 over England.  Robert Leckie was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1890 but immigrated to Toronto, when he was 16.  Post war in April 1919, Leckie was appointed commander of the RAF’s 1 Canadian Wing.  He was then seconded to Canada as Superintendent of the Flying Operations Branch from 1919–22.  In this role, he led the development of commercial air services in Canada. By 1940, he was promoted to air commodore and appointed Air Member for Training in Canada, in which position he oversaw the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCAPT).

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.  HMC Ships; Trillium, Arrowhead, Mayflower, Fennel, Spikenard, Hepatica, Quesnel, Snowberry, Bittersweet, and Windflower.  The transfers were part of an exchange that eventually never happened, but Canada retained the 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.

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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