Author Topic: Stories from the early RCN  (Read 2814 times)

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Offline Ex-SHAD

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Stories from the early RCN
« on: December 31, 2012, 01:11:29 »
The following stories were passed on to me when I was fairly young, so my memory of the details may not be accurate, however I have made every attempt to retell them, based on my memory of the tales imparted to me.

When I was a young man, on occasion I remember being left at the Commissionaire's Desk, on quite a few occasions, while family members participated in training. While sitting there trying to occupy my bored young mind, one commissionaire in particular, who I remember at the time thinking he was extremely old, and he often times had a chestful of worn/well aged and very unique medals(from WWI), used to tell interesting and unique stories about a now long bygone RCN.

*Note*: I have reworded some of the stories, from the way in which they were told, as they were originally passed on to me, when I was fairly young, so rather than each story sounding like it came from a Dick and Jane book, I have made them more accessible for the reader.

I thought it would be interesting to share some of these stories:

RCN Naval Infantry:

One of the stories conveyed to me, was that at some point during the First World War, as there seemed to be an excess availability of RCN Rates, who either could not be transferred to the RN, or had no opening available aboard any RCN asset.

The Naval Service of Canada, therefore determined that these excess Rates, under the leadership of senior Petty Officers, Chiefs and Officers(most of whom had come from the RN, and were veterans of Victorian Era actions), were tasked with putting together a Canadian equivalent of the Royal Navy Division.

The unit itself apparently was issued standard Canadian Army Khaki(most likely the pre-war pattern), with sailors being sailors quickly went ahead and modified the uniforms accordingly, with the epaulettes defaced with some no doubt locally procured badge of naval distinction, along with the wearing of Rate and Trade badges.

The unit training initially with infantry tactics, however it was then to be rerolled as artillery(similar to the naval brigades of the Boer War), however eventually due to a pronouncement from the top, the idea was scrapped.

The few sailors who served in the "experiment", claimed that they felt as though they got their chance to do a little soldiering for a few weeks, and apparently some of the members even jokingly refered to themselves as the Corps of Royal Canadian Marines.