Author Topic: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?  (Read 31611 times)

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Offline Underway

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Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« on: April 18, 2016, 09:16:35 »
So since I joined the Navy in 2000 I have been to approximately 10 Battle of Trafalgar Mess Dinners.  Now I am always one for a good time at a Mess Dinner. I have attended all sorts from the all ranks "instructional" mess dinner to the "period uniforms accepted" ones.

But there has always been something that has irritated me about the Battle of Trafalgar one.  It is certainly the less sombre of the two scheduled (the Battle of the Atlantic being the other for those who are not navy culture wary), and usually much more entertaining with a party like atmosphere, but it's not Canadian.

The Battle of Trafalgar is a hold over from the days when the Canadian Navy was desperately trying to be British, with British traditions and the wardroom accent.  There were only 31 "Canadians" at the battle From Canada, particularity Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, 31 men..  That's a bit disingenuous as Canada didn't exist then, not to mention Newfoundland wasn't part of Canada until the 50's.  Compare that to the fact that there were 28 French and Spanish sailors fighting against their own countries of birth.  I'm also pretty sure that there were "Canadians" fighting on the French side. 

I honestly think that the Battle of Trafalgar needs to die, or at least be replaced by a suitable Canadian celebration.  I understand that usually these things have to grow organically.  You can't just fiat a tradition (well I suppose you can... *toast of the day, cough cough*).   Part of the problem is that the RCN never really did very much until the Battle of the Atlantic.  The Army units all have multiple battle honours with glorious (gory) histories upon which they can draw for their traditions.  The "trainbuster" mess dinner or the "sailed in a box for 6 months in a hot place" one doesn't quite have the cache.  What do the members feel on this issue?

Offline Pusser

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2016, 11:54:48 »
Is it not appropriate to honour one's ancestors?  Or, does one tell one's parents, "get stuffed, I'm on my own now," whilst walking out the door, never to return?  Or, perhaps one embraces one's family and recognizes a common bond that holds them altogether, notwithstanding that constituents have chosen different paths along the way?

Trafalgar was not just a British victory over the French and Spanish.  It was battle between empires, one of which included British North America.  In other words, Trafalgar is very much a part of Canadian history and particularly that of the RCN.  Should it be the premier celebration of the RCN?  Of course not, but that doesn't mean we have to forget it either.  If for nothing else, we can celebrate it as an example of good tactics and leadership defeating superior numbers.

We should be looking for more reasons to celebrate our history, not eliminating the ones we have.

Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2016, 12:17:47 »
however Frances interests in it's Canadian Empire had been extinguished by then, perhaps this should replace it as this victory set the stage for the fall of Louisbourg and the rise of Wolfe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Quiberon_Bay 

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 13:25:38 »
Yes.

It's time to move on to the Battle of Jutland, the fuzzy outcome of which was largely responsible for the naval reforms that allowed us to win WW2, and preserve civilization as we know it:

http://argunners.com/watch-battle-jutland-animation/



"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Brasidas

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2016, 15:51:52 »
Yes.

It's time to move on to the Battle of Jutland, the fuzzy outcome of which was largely responsible for the naval reforms that allowed us to win WW2, and preserve civilization as we know it:

http://argunners.com/watch-battle-jutland-animation/

Did Jutland lead to the Flower-class or the doctrine under which it was deployed?

Offline Underway

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2016, 17:04:50 »
Is it not appropriate to honour one's ancestors?  Or, does one tell one's parents, "get stuffed, I'm on my own now," whilst walking out the door, never to return?  Or, perhaps one embraces one's family and recognizes a common bond that holds them altogether, notwithstanding that constituents have chosen different paths along the way?

Trafalgar was not just a British victory over the French and Spanish.  It was battle between empires, one of which included British North America.  In other words, Trafalgar is very much a part of Canadian history and particularly that of the RCN.  Should it be the premier celebration of the RCN?  Of course not, but that doesn't mean we have to forget it either.  If for nothing else, we can celebrate it as an example of good tactics and leadership defeating superior numbers.

We should be looking for more reasons to celebrate our history, not eliminating the ones we have.
With a handle like Pusser why am I not surprised... ;D

To extend your analogy, when I moved out and got married I decided perhaps that its time for my own family traditions.  No disrespect to my parents but I'm a new modern guy and I like my new traditions like Thanksgiving or birthday pie (vice cake...yuck).  I still do a few things the old country did, such as use their rank system and fancy executive curls (which I think anyone can wear, not just the executive branch).  My dads wars are not something that a care about.  I was just a twinkle in his eye when he fought and its just stories to me.  Do I respect him for it sure.  If he invites me over to drink a few times in his house to celebrate no problems.  Am I going to introduce that stuff to my own family?  No.  Respect it yes, celebrate it not necessarily.  I have my own traditions to build.  Like all families do.

Besides, my actual genealogy has very little if nothing to do with the British.  I'm a hard core Canadian and identify as such.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 06:30:20 by Underway »

jollyjacktar

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2016, 17:30:16 »
We already mark the Battle of the Atlantic.  Mess Dinners to celebrate an "event" are more of a Weirdroom thing in my mind than anything else.  I could really care less on what they want to or not want to celebrate in their mess as it doesn't come into my lanes.

I'm damned if I can think of any particular date in history that's Canadian, that's well known in the service and would make a sailor go "Wow, that's all ours", unlike Vimy Ridge for instance.  Maybe the day will come where we will have a great naval victory of Trafalgar importance and can be nailed down to "X" on the calendar.  We're not there yet.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2016, 17:32:17 »
Did Jutland lead to the Flower-class or the doctrine under which it was deployed?

I would likely be exactly the wrong guy to answer that question with any authority.

But why should that stop me now? :)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2016, 17:48:55 »
May as well start critical discussions of Mess Dinner rationale; eventually  we'll run out of mindless badge and uniform changes -- the next priority is doubtless in the offing.

>>  not Navy so I'll back away.  Enjoy.  <<



...although if I was a sailor, I'd offer up Cmdre Hose's birthday; we're increasingly bureaucratic, and Walt did more to save the RCN than any battle you'd care to commemorate.   :nod:

Offline Sythen

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2016, 19:11:06 »
That was super interesting, thanks for posting!

My pleasure.

I had no idea that the ironically named 'Invincible' was sunk in such shallow water. If you look closely you can see a scuba diver in frame.

That would make an awesome wreck dive. Hmmmmm.......
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Brihard

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 19:15:33 »
Yes.

It's time to move on to the Battle of Jutland, the fuzzy outcome of which was largely responsible for the naval reforms that allowed us to win WW2, and preserve civilization as we know it:

http://argunners.com/watch-battle-jutland-animation/


That was really cool. Thanks for the share!
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jollyjacktar

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 19:53:18 »
May as well start critical discussions of Mess Dinner rationale; eventually  we'll run out of mindless badge and uniform changes -- the next priority is doubtless in the offing.

>>  not Navy so I'll back away.  Enjoy.  <<



...although if I was a sailor, I'd offer up Cmdre Hose's birthday; we're increasingly bureaucratic, and Walt did more to save the RCN than any battle you'd care to commemorate.   :nod:



I've not heard of the man.

Offline mariomike

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Offline FSTO

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 20:56:27 »
I've not heard of the man.

If there wasn't a man of the character and fortitude of Walter Hose, there would be no RCN.

At the start of WWII the bare bones minuscule RCN he protected from the appeasement/budgetary stupidity of King and McNaughton, Percy Nelles was able to provide the nucleus of a fairly successful RCN. It is beyond criminal how unprepared Canada was for war.

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2016, 01:30:09 »
I would offer up these three beauts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollo_Mainguy
A man totally responsible for distancing us from the sh!t eaters system as much as possible.  While maintaining the Naval identity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Landymore
A man who fought to the death of his career to protect the RCN from Hellyer and his stupidity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_G._Fuller
A Naval officer with courage and tenacity.

My selection offers the wardroom 3 fine examples of what to be in the RCN. 
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 05:25:33 by Halifax Tar »
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2016, 11:51:53 »
I would suggest honouring this chap's memory as the origin of the aggressive navy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Byng
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2016, 12:41:24 »
I must say, I have been watching this thread with a bit of amusement.

Lets see if a few relevant facts can be injected here:

First of all, there is no such thing in the RCN as the "celebration" of Trafalgar day, as you have it in England. We don't dress ship, there are no "parties" through out the fleet, there are no specific parade, or day off, etc. etc.

The Wardrooms ashore have been traditionally trying to hold two mess dinners every year. One in the spring and one in the fall.

The spring one is timed to go with that very Canadian naval tradition of Battle of the Atlantic Sunday. Quite appropriate as it was the longest, most demanding battle of the Canadian Navy's existence, and the one where they truly became a Navy of their own - with the attendant loss of life.

Nobody knew what to do for the fall one however, and since the Battle of Trafalgar was smack in the middle (end of October) and it was after all an Imperial naval battle and we were part of the empire in those days, and British subject, etc. etc.., it was picked.

Nothing here was done to celebrate us being British or those of British ancestry: it was just a practical coincidence.

If you don't like it here is my suggestion: Celebrate with a mess dinner the "NIOBE dinner" on the exact same date. As the first warship of the new Canadian Navy (don't get me started on RAINBOW) she entered Canadian waters exactly (it was intentional) on Trafalgar day, and use the dinner to celebrate all Canadian warship's that were ever commissioned.

Problem solved  ;D.

Offline FSTO

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2016, 12:53:32 »
I would suggest honouring this chap's memory as the origin of the aggressive navy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Byng

Yes, we could use him as the basis for the New Navy - Use the approved toasts of the day or be shot!!!!

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2016, 13:29:36 »
If you don't like it here is my suggestion: Celebrate with a mess dinner the "NIOBE dinner" on the exact same date. As the first warship of the new Canadian Navy (don't get me started on RAINBOW) she entered Canadian waters exactly (it was intentional) on Trafalgar day, and use the dinner to celebrate all Canadian warship's that were ever commissioned.

Problem solved  ;D.

We did this at our mess dinner in the fall. In initial planning people were referring to it as the "Battle of Trafalgar" mess dinner, but along the way the name got change to the NIOBE Mess dinner.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2016, 17:21:01 »
You honour our first subs as well https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_CC-1

Is it true in WWI the British asked the Japanese to defend BC?  I don't recall that, I know we were sort of friendly, but not that much.(on the wiki page)

Offline Pusser

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2016, 18:21:36 »
You honour our first subs as well https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_CC-1

Is it true in WWI the British asked the Japanese to defend BC?  I don't recall that, I know we were sort of friendly, but not that much.(on the wiki page)

Yes, that is correct.  Japan was an ally that time around.
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2016, 18:28:28 »
Yes it's true Colin.

When WWI broke out, HMCS Rainbow (Apollo class cruiser) was sent down the US West coast to try  and defend two British sloops against two German raiding cruisers, the Leipzig and Nurnberg, expected to be in the area, even though Rainbow was no match for them. This was done until the Japanese heavy cruiser Izumo could take over the task at the request of the British  admiralty. Izumo then remained on the west coast of North America until any German threat to it had been eliminated.

The German threat never materialized, even though Rainbow missed Leipzig by only one day off San Fransisco, as the two German cruiser joined Maximilian Von Spee's squadron off South America for the Battle of Coronel, and were later defeated by admiral Craddock's fl;get in the Battle of the Falklands.   

Offline Pusser

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2016, 18:29:21 »
With a handle like Pusser why am I not surprised... ;D

To extend your analogy, when I moved out and got married I decided perhaps that its time for my own family traditions.  No disrespect to my parents but I'm a new modern guy and I like my new traditions like Thanksgiving or birthday pie (vice cake...yuck).  I still do a few things the old country did, such as use their rank system and fancy executive curls (which I think anyone can wear, not just the executive branch).  My dads wars are not something that a care about.  I was just a twinkle in his eye when he fought and its just stories to me.  Do I respect him for it sure.  If he invites me over to drink a few times in his house to celebrate no problems.  Am I going to introduce that stuff to my own family?  No.  Respect it yes, celebrate it not necessarily.  I have my own traditions to build.  Like all families do.

Besides, my actual genealogy has very little if nothing to do with the British.  I'm a hard core Canadian and identify as such.

At no point have I ever said we shouldn't have our own traditions.  I frequently say quite the opposite in fact.  However, I don't see why we should necessarily cast off some traditions, simply because they are British in origin.  I don't think we have so many traditions to observe that we need to start getting rid of any of them.  Let's celebrate them all!

I think "NIOBE Night" is a great idea, as long as we tell the whole story when we celebrate:  that NIOBE arrived in Halifax on Trafalgar Day in 1910 (and yes, it was intentional) precisely to seal the bond between the RN and the Naval Service of Canada - a bond that endures (we're still allies and share a common monarch).
Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2016, 18:33:16 »
... to seal the bond between the RN and the Naval Service of Canada - a bond that endures (we're still allies and share a common monarch).

Ah yes, would that be "an uncaring officer corps harbouring aristocratic British attitudes inappropriate to Canadian democratic sensitivities"?  ;)
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