This Saturday, 11 July 2015, I have been invited by the Sudbury Chapters store on Kingsway to sign copies of my books, White Ensign Flying and Warships of the Bay of Quinte.
When I travel around this country many ask, why should we be interested in the Canadian Navy? For many Canadians believe there is no direct connection with our ships and the sailors who serve in them.
This is a common misconception and why I write naval history. Just like all branches of our armed forces, our navy is made up of men and women who have volunteered from every part of this vast country. Every ship is a cross section of Canada.
For all Canadians, if you want to buy almost anything from a store, there is a good chance it traveled by ship at some point from raw material to retail.
Most of our trade with other countries travels in merchant ships and our navy is responsible to ensure this trade is safe and protected.
Since the inception of the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910, our sailors have served with distinction. Just because a community is far from the ocean does not mean they are not connected to the sea, our navy and the men and women who sail them.
A more direct connection with our communities is in the ships themselves. Over 400 ships have been named for communities across Canada including two for the Sudbury area.
His Majesties Canadian Ship SUDBURY was an early war Flower class corvette, built at Kingston, ON. and commissioned into the RCN on 15 October 1941 and went immediately to active service on the North Atlantic, escorting convoys and hunting German submarines.
SUDBURY’s “Home Waters” included the east coast of Canada and Newfoundland to Londonderry in the UK. She also escorted convoys to the Caribbean at Guantanamo, Aruba and Trinidad. Later she was moved to Canada’s West Coast where she continued operations with the Esquimalt Force until the end of the war. The ship was awarded the Battle Honour, “Atlantic 1941-44.”
After the war SUDBURY was sold to private interests and converted to an ocean salvage tug
and remained in service until 1967,
The second Royal Canadian Navy ship named for the Sudbury area was HMCS COPPER CLIFF. She was a larger Castle class corvette and commissioned into the RCN on 6 September 1944 at Glasgow in the UK.
For the remainder of the war COPPER CLIFF escorted convoys between Londonderry, Canada and the US. In June 1945 she was transferred to the west coast for service in the Pacific War, which ended before she could see active service on the west coast. She was awarded two Battle Honours for her service, “Atlantic 1944-45” and “North Sea 1944.”
COPPER CLIFF was paid off from the RCN 17 November 1945 and converted to merchant service as Taiwei. She underwent several name changes until she was broken up for scrap in 1959 as the Korean South Ocean.
Many citizens of the greater Sudbury area have had relatives or friends that have served in the Canadian Navy. Many of those sailors served in the ships, who’s stories are told in my books.
One sailor James Davidson of Sudbury was a survivor when HMCS TRENTONIAN was torpedoed and sunk on 22 February 1945 in the English Channel by U-1004. Six of his shipmates were killed. Jame’s story is told in my book White Ensign Flying.
I look forward to meeting everyone that comes to the Kingsway Chapters on Saturday from 1-4 pm for a chat and even to pick up a signed copy of White Ensign Flying or Warships of the Bay of Quinte.