Monday, April 1, 2013

Canadian Submarines—Ninety-nine Years and Counting (Part 2)



Canada’s first submarines were born in a foreign land, transferred at sea, purchased by a province, and shamefacedly acknowledged by the federal government.
The year was 1914, and war between Canada and Germany was declared on August 5th, the day after Britain did so. The fledgling Royal Canadian Navy had one warship on the west coast, HMCS Rainbow, a cruiser.
Sir Richard McBride
The then-premier of British Columbia was Sir Richard McBride. Fearing the province’s capital was vulnerable to potential German raiders, he arranged to purchase two submarines built in Seattle for the Chilean navy. The Chilean purchase did not close, and the boats were sailed to the international boundary, thence to Esquimalt under the Canadian flag.
Ownership of the two boats was transferred to the federal government on August 7th, 1914, thus doubling the number of warships in the Royal Canadian Navy. (In addition to HMCS Rainbow, the cruiser Niobe was busy protecting the Atlantic coast.)


CC1 and CC2, as they were dubbed, transited the Panama Canal in 1917, together with an escort, thus becoming the first Canadian ships to do so under the white ensign. Used for training purposes for the remainder of the war, the boats were sold for scrap in 1920.

3 comments:

Patricia Sandberg said...

Interesting to hear how BC played a role in getting our first submarines. Can't imagine how scary it must have been going to sea in submarines in the early 1900s.

Robert Mackay said...

They were engineering marvels for their day. All the latest in technical wizardry, no doubt, which would have been a comfort for their crews. But at the end of they day they were steel cylinders in a hostile element, just like today's subs.

Windsorsub said...

Good morning,

I build 1/48 scale, fully functional RC models from scratch. My current fleet of 15 models includes both a surface and submarine contingent, with all the bells and whistles. All the subs, including all of the classes in service with the RCN but one, can dive/surface, have working gyro controlled dive planes and fire torpedoes. HMCS U-190, HMCS Rainbow, HMCS Okanagan and HMCS Windsor will be joined by HMCS CC-2 in early spring 2014 to celebrate 100 years of our RCN SUB Navy 1914-2014. You can see my subs on youtube here....http://www.youtube.com/user/Windsorsub

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