Monday, March 18, 2013

Canadian Submarines—Ninety-nine Years and Counting (Part 1)

HMCS Ojibwa in a calm sea

There is a Canadian underground which only volunteers are eligible to join, and in which not all volunteers are successful. Little known outside the navy, submariners—a small band of men who have served beneath the waves, inherit memories and language from their forerunners.
Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy have served in British and American, but primarily Canadian, boats.
Fifteen undersea boats have flown Canada’s flag, first the white ensign up to the 1960’s and most recently the maple leaf. Our earliest boats, C1 and C2, were commissioned in the Royal Canadian Navy in August 1914 as CC1 and CC2. Next up were CH14 and CH15, interestingly enough built for the Royal Navy in the US during the First World War, but transferred to Canada on the Armistice being signed.
Two German U-boats surrendered to the RCN when hostilities ceased in 1945; they didn’t last long, and were never operational in any real sense.
Our close cousins in the United States Navy supplied two diesel-electric boats which became HMCS Grilse and HMCS Rainbow during the cold war. The British influence was re-exerted when Canada purchased three Oberon-class boats, HMC Submarines Ojibwa, Onondaga, and Okanagan. A new generation of formerly British boats has been transformed into the four Victoria-class: Victoria, Chicoutimi, Corner Brook, and Windsor.
Now stationed two on each coast, the Victorias are writing the latest chapters in Canada’s u-boat history. More details forthcoming in subsequent posts.
(Author's note: don't let the fact that Part 1 of this series is coming out after Part 2 throw you off. My mistake!)

1 comment:

Lamont said...

Love your post. Canadian underground! Good stuff.

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