Author Topic: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?  (Read 31594 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:

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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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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!!!!

Offline Lumber

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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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Offline Pusser

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2016, 18:40:09 »
Ah yes, would that be "an uncaring officer corps harbouring aristocratic British attitudes inappropriate to Canadian democratic sensitivities"?  ;)

That got cleaned up in the Mainguy Report - sort of.  Some folks need to pull that out and read it again sometimes as history does have a way of repeating itself...
Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

Offline NavalMoose

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2016, 18:54:07 »
BZ to Pusser for his post.  Trafalgar is a significant event for Canada.  It enabled the British Empire (of which "Canada" was part) to grow in strength and prosperity.  Canada was able to grow in relative peace for over a century.  Even the War of 1812, in naval terms was mainly skirmishes on the Great Lakes and if it had carried on, the Royal Navy would have dealt with the US Navy. If the original poster doesn't like Trafalgar Night mess dinners, don't go, the Press Gangs of 1805 have long since gone.  You can't change the past and whether you like it or not, Canada was part of an Empire and when big things happened, they affected the whole organization.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 19:03:23 by NavalMoose »

jollyjacktar

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2016, 19:14:04 »
Well said.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2016, 19:42:33 »
That got cleaned up in the Mainguy Report - sort of.  Some folks need to pull that out and read it again sometimes as history does have a way of repeating itself...

The Mainguy Report - Outstanding Points
http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2335704/the-mainguy-report-outstanding-points/

Offline Nuggs

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2016, 21:09:16 »
The Mainguy Report - Outstanding Points
http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2335704/the-mainguy-report-outstanding-points/
Slowly coming back full circle.

Part of the reason I switched to boats. Senior NCMs being ignored or derided by junior officers barely off NOPQ.

To top it all off senior NCOs (including) the COXN, don't seem to have a backbone anymore.

I haven't been in that long, but when I first got in it wouldn't have been uncommon to hear "it's my section and I'll run it my way", now it seems more like a downtrodden "yes sir"

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2016, 21:58:29 »
The Mainguy Report - Outstanding Points
http://regimentalrogue.tripod.com/blog/index.blog/2335704/the-mainguy-report-outstanding-points/

Then why the recent rush to re-emulate our colonial masters by way of pips etc?

At least it's still easy to tell us apart from the British by the quality of our teeth.
"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 NavalMoose

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2016, 05:39:53 »
"At least it's still easy to tell us apart from the British by the quality of our teeth."

Really? That "joke" is about as old as Trafalgar...do you get your info from The Simpsons?

Offline rmc_wannabe

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2016, 07:04:41 »
"At least it's still easy to tell us apart from the British by the quality of our teeth."

Really? That "joke" is about as old as Trafalgar...do you get your info from The Simpsons?

I think daftandbarmy has more than enough first hand knowledge on this matter. What with 25 years experience with the British Army and all....
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2016, 07:38:18 »
"At least it's still easy to tell us apart from the British by the quality of our teeth."

Really? That "joke" is about as old as Trafalgar...do you get your info from The Simpsons?

 :highjack:

OK, basic Economics 101 lesson ...

     Caveat lector: I do not have the references any more, but I did 40ish years ago when I wrote a paper on this subject so I'll ask you to take me at my word ...

The medical rejection rates in both the UK and Canadian armies were very, very high in 1939 and 40 (and, indeed, even after), much higher than in 1914-18 and much higher than officials and generals expected. It appeared that the overall health of both nations had declined but dental fitness was  a matter of special, noteworthy concern: far more young men (mostly men) than expected were rejected as being dentally unfit ... so "unfit" that remedial dental care was considered to be useless.

Why?

The Great Depression.

One of the first impacts of the Great Depression (1930-39) was to constrain household expenditures ~ there were few social services and no National Health or Medicare. One of the impacts was that good, healthy, nutritious food was less plentiful on the tables of the unemployed or, even, of the working class. The 18-25 year old cohort was less well nourished that its parents had been. One of the first "discretionary expenses" to be cut was dental care ~ and given the state of more health insurance plans today I suspect it might be again ~ because the perception is that it's either or both of a) a luxury or b) something that is unlikely to be a real, serious problem.

     (Even growing up in the 1940s and 1950s I can recall that regular dental checkups were "new' to many people. Regular, free, dental checkups for school children were introduced many (most?) Canadian provinces in the late 1940s,
      partly as a result, I think, of the wartime experience.)

The British were slower to catch on and I can, personally, recall that many of my UK colleagues and classmates were envious of our, Canadian, dental care, especially of our military dental care. There was, in the 1970s, still a Canadian Army dentist on staff at CDLS (London) to provide Canadian standard/quality care for CF members posted in the UK.

In my opinion poor dental care became a habit, especially in Britain, but the roots (pun intended  :nod: ) were, pretty clearly, I think, in the economic distress of the Great Depression.

-----

Sorry for the  :off topic:
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2016, 08:31:56 »
"At least it's still easy to tell us apart from the British by the quality of our teeth."

Really? That "joke" is about as old as Trafalgar...do you get your info from The Simpsons?

But even the Queen and the BBC get it:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNcFsXX9vVc

 ;D

Offline Underway

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2016, 08:47:31 »
BZ to Pusser for his post.  Trafalgar is a significant event for Canada.  It enabled the British Empire (of which "Canada" was part) to grow in strength and prosperity.  Canada was able to grow in relative peace for over a century.  Even the War of 1812, in naval terms was mainly skirmishes on the Great Lakes and if it had carried on, the Royal Navy would have dealt with the US Navy. If the original poster doesn't like Trafalgar Night mess dinners, don't go, the Press Gangs of 1805 have long since gone.  You can't change the past and whether you like it or not, Canada was part of an Empire and when big things happened, they affected the whole organization.

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the mess diners, I was just wondering if it was time to move off the Trafalgar theme for a more RCN focused one?  The NIOBE suggestion is an excellent one.  As for being part of an Empire do Australians celebrate Trafalgar?  India, Singpore, NZ?  I don't have the answers to these but I'm pretty sure any celebrations that they do have are more structured around their own national identity, not someone else's.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2016, 09:11:55 »
Agreed Underway.


And for those who wish to make a pilgrimage, remember that the second tallest "Nelson Column" in the world, celebrating the victory at Trafalgar, is located right beside City Hall in Montreal.  :nod:

Offline FSTO

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2016, 11:00:24 »
Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the mess diners, I was just wondering if it was time to move off the Trafalgar theme for a more RCN focused one?  The NIOBE suggestion is an excellent one.  As for being part of an Empire do Australians celebrate Trafalgar?  India, Singpore, NZ?  I don't have the answers to these but I'm pretty sure any celebrations that they do have are more structured around their own national identity, not someone else's.

Put your mind at ease for the Battle of the Atlantic Mess dinner is being held soon. How much more Canadian can you get?

Offline FSTO

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2016, 11:01:43 »
Agreed Underway.


And for those who wish to make a pilgrimage, remember that the second tallest "Nelson Column" in the world, celebrating the victory at Trafalgar, is located right beside City Hall in Montreal.  :nod:

I had forgot about that! Wasn't it the target once of the FLQ bombers during the last century? (I love saying that!)

Offline Pusser

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2016, 07:41:35 »
Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the mess diners, I was just wondering if it was time to move off the Trafalgar theme for a more RCN focused one?  The NIOBE suggestion is an excellent one.  As for being part of an Empire do Australians celebrate Trafalgar?  India, Singpore, NZ?  I don't have the answers to these but I'm pretty sure any celebrations that they do have are more structured around their own national identity, not someone else's.

I take issue with the idea that by commemorating Trafalgar, we are structuring ourselves around another nation's identity.  The history of Canada did not begin in 1867 and the history of the RCN did not begin in 1910.  The RCN can legitimately claim roots dating back centuries, even to the formation of the RN itself(and that date is open to debate).  Keep also in mind that the RN provided naval protection of British North America from the beginning and the establishment of the Naval Service of Canada was not so much a new creation, but rather (if you really delve into the Naval Service Act of 1910) the formation of a Canadian squadron of the RN.  That's not where we are now, but that's where we were and the transition to today's state has been continuous.  It's also arguable that if you only want to celebrate truly "Canadian" naval events, even the Battle of the Atlantic does not strictly fit that bill.  Although Canadians did a lot of the fighting and a Canadian led the allied forces involved, many of the key strategic decisions were still being made at the Admiralty.

As for what they do in other Commonwealth nations (and keep in mind that there is a difference between Commonwealth nations and Commonwealth Realms), why should we care?
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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2016, 09:49:08 »
To recap your argument: Who cares about other Commonwealth nations. Except Britain.
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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2016, 10:05:55 »
.... the Battle of the Atlantic ...a Canadian led the allied forces involved, many of the key strategic decisions were still being made at the Admiralty.
Two points (in trying to keep a rein on revisionist history):

1.  Britain and Canada shared responsibility for North Atlantic convoys, hunting the enemy, and rescue... with the USN assuming control over the central and southern Atlantic. Northwest Atlantic Command "spanned from north of New York City to 47 degrees west," and was placed under the command of RAdm Leonard W. Murray on 30 April 1943.  So Canada "led" in the NW half of the Atlantic.

2. This division was proposed by USN CNO Adm Ernest J. King at the Atlantic Convoy Conference (Washington DC: 1–12 March 1943).  Not part of "the Admiralty."


Trivia: Northwest Atlantic Command was the only Allied theatre of operations commanded by a Canadian during the war.


Again, carry on with Mess discussions...

Offline FSTO

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2016, 10:11:51 »
Two points (in trying to keep a rein on revisionist history):

1.  Britain and Canada shared responsibility for North Atlantic convoys, hunting the enemy, and rescue... with the USN assuming control over the central and southern Atlantic. Northwest Atlantic Command "spanned from north of New York City to 47 degrees west," and was placed under the command of RAdm Leonard W. Murray on 30 April 1943.  So Canada "led" in the NW half of the Atlantic.

2. This division was proposed by USN CNO Adm Ernest J. King at the Atlantic Convoy Conference (Washington DC: 1–12 March 1943).  Not part of "the Admiralty."


Trivia: Northwest Atlantic Command was the only Allied theatre of operations commanded by a Canadian during the war.


Again, carry on with Mess discussions...

I'm sure King was not happy to make that recommendation. He was not a fan of the British (and by extension the Canadians as well)

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #43 on: April 22, 2016, 10:15:27 »
     :nod:

But I suspect he felt the lesser evil was to keep the British and Canadians busy south of Greenland, without cluttering-up and pestering the Americans throughout the rest of the Atlantic.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #44 on: April 22, 2016, 10:40:20 »
Speaking of which I was reading elsewhere that the Defense of the West Coast of Canada against German Surface raiders in WWI was given to the Japanese Fleet. While I know we were somewhat still Allies at that point, I don't recall any Japanese ships stationed on this side and only occasional Port visits by Japanese warships.


Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #45 on: April 22, 2016, 11:25:34 »
But I suspect he felt the lesser evil was to keep the British and Canadians busy south of Greenland, without cluttering-up and pestering the Americans throughout the rest of the Atlantic.

Actually, King probably knew very well what he was doing for two reasons:

First, while you could not tell the RCN from the RN during WWII, King knew there was a difference because (and this must have influenced him in his decision) the Canadians had "saved his bacon" during the early going in the war. When he refused to listen to the Admiralty's suggestion that he institute convoys along the eastern seaboard, tankers -amongst others - started being sunk in such number that they almost needed to institute rationing in the US North-East. Canada said, screw this - he doesn't want to listen so we will create our own tanker convoys from the Caribbean to Canada and escort them ourselves. These Canadian convoys did not lose a single tanker. What do you think happened? The US bound tankers joined the Canadian convoys and were saved.

Second, since the US barely contributed to naval forces in the Atlantic, and even less to convoy protection but King was aware, like all senior US officers, of the understandings concerning defence of North America reached with the Bretton-Woods accord, he knew that pushing for Canadian command on this side of the Atlantic would give him a much greater access to information on what was going on and a greater say in the conduct of the Atlantic war than leaving such command in the hands of the British - who would have refused American command over the Atlantic failing a much much larger contribution to it than the one the Americans made.

Keep also in mind that the RN provided naval protection of British North America from the beginning and the establishment of the Naval Service of Canada was not so much a new creation, but rather (if you really delve into the Naval Service Act of 1910) the formation of a Canadian squadron of the RN.

Pusser: We see eye to eye on many things (I would say most) naval, but this above is, IMHO, a complete misreading of both facts and history.

After the war of 1812, the British were leery of another American invasion and started massive investments in defence of its remaining North American colonies: The current Citadel in Quebec and Fort Henry in Kingston, multiple forts along the Richelieu River (hence its being known here in Quebec as the "Valley of the Forts"), the Rideau canal, etc.

Then came the little scrap known as the US civil war. The British knew there and then that their efforts were futile: They could no longer possibly protect their colonies if the US decided to dispose of them. This led to England pushing its colonies into a union to provide for their own protection (it became the Canada we know) and to England being very careful from now on to avoid any action that could provoke the Americans.

This second aspect is what ultimately led to the creation of the Canadian Navy - not to be a squadron of the RN but to be independent of the RN so we could deal with the Americans. You see, at the turn of the 20th century, the biggest maritime problem for young Canada was the American fishermen flaunting our fishing rights and fishing in Canadian waters as if they were theirs - with England unwilling to start a scrap with the US standing by and ignoring the problem. Canada was not amused.

At the same time, England was involved in an arms race with Germany. This, as you know, involved Battleships and Battle-cruisers. These were very expensive and it was a serious drain on the British treasury. So they called on all of their colony at the 1902, 1907 and in particular the 1909 Imperial conference on defence, to agree to contribute funding directly to the "imperial" fleet - meaning the RN - so that more Battleship could be built. All agreed but Canada. Even from 1902 on, Canada being unhappy with England's way of protecting our coast started a "naval service in disguise", the Department of Marine and Fisheries, to protect Canadian fishermen. It came to a head when Canada flatly said no to an Imperial fleet and indicated it would pay for the defence of its own coasts. This led to the creation of the RCN. You can almost say that this was one of the first act of independence of the young Dominion - well before WWI and the ensuing Westminster Statute.

And the RCN was not, or ever meant to be a "squadron" or  "squadrons" of the RN. The RCN was to be independent and assume all responsibility for Canadian waters, with an understanding that if war came, it would coordinate its action with the Imperial fleet.

Thus, when WWI came, the existing large vessels (two cruisers) were incorporated into the Pacific Squadron and the Bermuda squadron respectively, while the new acquisition small vessels for port and coast defence built during the war remained under full Canadian control and command throughout.

A good place to read on this is in : RCN in Retrospect 1910-1968, Coll. edited by James A. Bouthillier, (UBC Press, 1982), Chapter 2: L.P. Brodeur and the Origins of the Royal Canadian Navy

But I suspect he felt the lesser evil was to keep the British and Canadians busy south of Greenland, without cluttering-up and pestering the Americans throughout the rest of the Atlantic.

Journeyman: Nobody, and especially the Americans, operated North of Greenland, except the British who escorted the Murmansk convoys. US operations in the Atlantic in WWII were limited to their own coast, the Caribbean's, one escort group for mid-ocean (E.G. 8 ) and the escorting of their own military convoys.

And Colin, I addressed the Japanese contribution in one of my posts above. 
     

 
« Last Edit: April 22, 2016, 11:47:57 by Oldgateboatdriver »

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #46 on: April 22, 2016, 11:50:03 »
Quote
But I suspect he felt the lesser evil was to keep the British and Canadians busy south of Greenland, without cluttering-up and pestering the Americans throughout the rest of the Atlantic.
Journeyman: Nobody, and especially the Americans, operated North of Greenland, except the British who escorted the Murmansk convoys.
Nowhere did I say that anyone was north of Greenland.

  But I'll try again with pictures....



[Convoys generally followed the red route; real estate to the north = Greenland/Iceland {therefore sailors to the south } ]


 [Note that the bit above Iceland/Greenland is not  Atlantic.]

Offline Pusser

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #47 on: April 23, 2016, 19:52:45 »
Oldgateboatdriver, we've read the same books, but come to different interpretations.  I don't think we disagree, but we certainly place different emphases on things.

In the late 19th Century, Britain came to the conclusion that it could no longer afford to provide worldwide military protection to the entire
Empire.  Thus it began to ask its members, particularly the self-governing Dominions, to start contributing.  The preference stated at the Imperial Conferences was for the Dominions to provide funding in order to build more ships for the RN.  Canada indeed refused, stating that if we were going to fund a navy, we would like to establish our own.  The Admiralty was deadset against this and the British government wasn't thrilled, but didn't have much choice.  It is also worth noting that only the governing Liberal Party was in favour of a Canadian navy, the Conservative Party was all for giving money to Britain to build ships.  The resultant Naval Service Act was a compromise.  It established a naval service (not yet the RCN), but one that was effectively absorbed into the RN in times of crisis (hence my conclusion that it was really just a de facto (if not de jure) Canadian squadron of the RN).  It is worth noting that the Governor General (Lord Grey) actually suggested a unique ensign for the fledgling service (a White Ensign with green maple leaf in the centre), but this was flatly refused by the Admiralty because they viewed all Imperial ships as being part of a greater RN and thus, wanted them all dressed the same.

The Liberals then lost the Drummond-Arthabaska by-election, largely due to the unpopularity of the Naval Service Act.  The good citizens of Drummond-Arthabaska were opposed to the creation of a Canadian Naval Service because they saw it as an imperialist tool for Britain.  The Liberals lost the seat to Henri Bourassa's Nationalists.

The Naval Service Act was also a contributor to the Liberals losing the 1911 General Election, after which the Conservatives tried to strangle the (now) RCN by cancelling its building program and passing legislation to provide funding to the RN to build dreadnoughts.  The dreadnought funding bill was then defeated in the Liberal dominated Senate, the net result being that the RCN remained small, yet the RN got no money.

The RCN remained dependant upon the RN for decades for trainers and in senior leadership positions.  This really did not change until after WWII.
Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

Offline Underway

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #48 on: April 24, 2016, 16:25:22 »

Journeyman: Nobody, and especially the Americans, operated North of Greenland, except the British who escorted the Murmansk convoys. US operations in the Atlantic in WWII were limited to their own coast, the Caribbean's, one escort group for mid-ocean (E.G. 8 ) and the escorting of their own military convoys.
 

HMCS HAIDA did the Murmansk run as well.  The Arctic is right there on her battle honours, 1943-1945.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #49 on: April 24, 2016, 17:41:37 »
Yes she did. She was part of the HMS INDOMITABLE escort: a British task force. Individual Canadian ships may have served, but only as assigned to a British group. No Canadian task force, escort group or flotilla was ever assigned to the Murmansk run.

None of the Tribal class destroyers of Canada served under Canadian command in WWII: They all served in Royal Navy groups or fleets. The British were too chintzy to affect high end destroyers like the Tribals to mere mid-ocean escort tasks, regardless of the fact they would have been damn useful, and the Canadian Regular force "British" bent meant that they also looked down at the escort fleet as lower  class to be left to the RCNVR. They wanted action with the real fleet, meaning with the Brits, and in fleet destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #50 on: April 25, 2016, 07:52:59 »
Yes she did. She was part of the HMS INDOMITABLE escort: a British task force. Individual Canadian ships may have served, but only as assigned to a British group. No Canadian task force, escort group or flotilla was ever assigned to the Murmansk run.

None of the Tribal class destroyers of Canada served under Canadian command in WWII: They all served in Royal Navy groups or fleets. The British were too chintzy to affect high end destroyers like the Tribals to mere mid-ocean escort tasks, regardless of the fact they would have been damn useful, and the Canadian Regular force "British" bent meant that they also looked down at the escort fleet as lower  class to be left to the RCNVR. They wanted action with the real fleet, meaning with the Brits, and in fleet destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.


This is my sense of it, too ... as it was told to me, when I was a young boy, by a couple of people who had very "close up and personal" insights.

There was a deep, personal and professional animus between VAdm Percy Nelles, an able administrator but, generally, regarded as an indifferent sailor and a downright poor strategist, and RAdm Leonard Murray who was highly regarded as both a seaman and as a leader who understood the strategic imperatives. Murray, and his boss, Adm Sir Max Horton in the UK, were fighting a HUGE and, arguably, decisive battle ~ a strategically decisive campaign, really ~ and they believed that the only really important tools were the frigates (improved corvettes) and light aircraft carriers and, later, Lancaster bombers. Nelles wanted to build a Big Navy of real destroyers and cruisers while Murray (and Horton) wanted more and More and MORE frigates (and merchant ships). Both Nelles and Murray got what they wanted, the latter because Churchill, above all others, shared the Horton/Murray view of the strategic situation.

The convoys to Russia were important, Russia had to be kept in the war; that too was a key strategic imperative. But most of what went to Russia had, first, to make it to Britain from North America and Horton and Murray were responsible, as commanders, for making that happen.

Neither Horton nor Murray were liked, at all, by their respective political leadership groups ... which, partly, explains why RAdm Murray was "thrown under the bus" for the Halifax riots, but, I was assured, both were happy with their status ... as long as no-one in London or Ottawa was able to interfere with their command decisions and as long as new ships and crews continued to arrive.

The RCN, as a service, expanded far too much and too quickly in 1940 and 41. the RCNR and, especially the RCNVR simply could not cope and many (most) Canadians warships had to be pulled from convoy duty in 1942/43 for retraining: the captains and crews were not up to the job of mid-ocean escorts; it required levels of seamanship, ship handling and tactics that could not be learned "on the job." This is not, in any way, to denigrate the courage or abilities of those men ... they were, just, inadequately trained because the need for "throughput" overwhelmed the system. In 42/43 Murray was given more and more British ships and his Canadian ships were sent to special British squadrons, organized by Horton, specifically for training. It worked; it was, in a way, akin to the "battle schools" the Canadian Army used in the same time frame to turn uniformed civilians into soldiers.
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Offline FSTO

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #51 on: April 25, 2016, 09:41:34 »

The RCN, as a service, expanded far too much and too quickly in 1940 and 41. the RCNR and, especially the RCNVR simply could not cope and many (most) Canadians warships had to be pulled from convoy duty in 1942/43 for retraining: the captains and crews were not up to the job of mid-ocean escorts; it required levels of seamanship, ship handling and tactics that could not be learned "on the job." This is not, in any way, to denigrate the courage or abilities of those men ... they were, just, inadequately trained because the need for "throughput" overwhelmed the system. In 42/43 Murray was given more and more British ships and his Canadian ships were sent to special British squadrons, organized by Horton, specifically for training. It worked; it was, in a way, akin to the "battle schools" the Canadian Army used in the same time frame to turn uniformed civilians into soldiers.

Just finished this book:
https://www.amazon.ca/Mobilize-Canada-Unprepared-Second-World/dp/1459710649

Great read on how woefully prepared Canada was for the upcoming war. You are almost yelling at the pages "Can't you idiots see what is coming?"
That Canada was able to get to some level of competency by 1942 was a incredable achievement.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #52 on: April 25, 2016, 09:56:59 »
To be fair FSTO, the British, from whom our Prime Ministers still took their cue in those days, also either didn't see it coming - or did not want to see it coming - "exiled" Winston Churchill's preaching in the desert to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #53 on: April 25, 2016, 14:40:26 »
To be fair FSTO, the British, from whom our Prime Ministers still took their cue in those days, also either didn't see it coming - or did not want to see it coming - "exiled" Winston Churchill's preaching in the desert to the contrary notwithstanding.

True, the appeasement sentiment was strong in Whitehall, I would argue it was doubly prevalent in Langevan Block.

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #54 on: April 25, 2016, 18:42:38 »
At the risk of dragging this even father off track ... two factors prevailed, especially in Britain:

     1. Horrible memories of World War I ~ think of "SuperMac" (Harold Macmillan) returning to Oxford to find that he was the only survivor from his class in his college ... a certain segment of British, especially English society paid a
         disproportionate price for some outdated ideas about gentlemen and "service;" and

     2. As in Canada, the impact of the Great Depression was especially severe in Britain ~ worse than in France or Germany because of the structure of the British economy. It was especially vulnerable to market failures.

That doesn't excuse appeasement but I think it helps to explain why it was so politically popular, as it was in America, too, by the way.
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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #55 on: April 25, 2016, 19:12:56 »
One cannot fault them for not wanting to get into another major war with Germany, however, once they could plainly see the writing on the wall they should have charged ahead faster and further than they did.

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2016, 20:06:09 »
...

     2. As in Canada, the impact of the Great Depression was especially severe in Britain ~ worse than in France or Germany because of the structure of the British economy. It was especially vulnerable to market failures.
...


I am not sure I can agree with you on your second point E.R.  My families survived the Great Depression in Britain in reasonable condition.  The Scots side worked in the Co-Op in coal mining parts of Ayrshire and the English side sold dairy equipment across Scotland.  There are no family legends of people starving.  There are tales of having to put a car up on blocks and reducing the maid staff to one that came in to work rather than living-in.   There are tales of flying to Skye on business in a deHavilland Dragon Rapide. 

The Jarrow March of 1936 happened but I never got any sense that the Depression in Britain was as generalized a disaster as it was in Canada and the US.

Indeed someplaces, like the Birmingham and the Midlands were booming building electrical products, cars and houses.

The Tyneside and the Rhondda were very badly hit.


"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2016, 16:32:36 »
I am not sure I can agree with you on your second point E.R.  My families survived the Great Depression in Britain in reasonable condition.  The Scots side worked in the Co-Op in coal mining parts of Ayrshire and the English side sold dairy equipment across Scotland.  There are no family legends of people starving.  There are tales of having to put a car up on blocks and reducing the maid staff to one that came in to work rather than living-in.   There are tales of flying to Skye on business in a deHavilland Dragon Rapide. 

The Jarrow March of 1936 happened but I never got any sense that the Depression in Britain was as generalized a disaster as it was in Canada and the US.

Indeed someplaces, like the Birmingham and the Midlands were booming building electrical products, cars and houses.

The Tyneside and the Rhondda were very badly hit.

In retrospect (largely because of The Waltons I could argue), we have a tendency to look upon the Great Depression as a period of universal poverty, but that wasn't really the case.  Although unemployment got as high as 25-35% (depending on the country), that also means that 65-75% of the population remained employed. Both of my grandfathers remained employed throughout the Great Depression (although one did lose every last dime he had had in the bank), so starvation was never a possibility.  Nevertheless, that's not to say things were rosy.
Sure, apes read Nietzsche.  They just don't understand it.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #58 on: April 28, 2016, 13:01:37 »
It's true that Britain entered the Great Depression later and (officially) existed it sooner than America and the overall "loss" to the economy was less than in America, but ...

The British economy had, already, taken a big hit from the First World War and the American economy, which has blossomed in that war, had farther to fall.

Britain lost, worst, in those so called "invisible exports:" banking and shipping and insurance. That had a "rolling" impact as the British recovery was always weak ... the Second World War damn near did them in. By 1946, when Dean Acheson, for example, expected Britain to intervene in the Greek civl war he was shocked to be told, by Ernest Bevin, the British Foreign Secretary, that the UK could not afford to send an infantry division, not even a brigade, to Greece; the cupboard was bare ~ Britain was broke. (That, the understanding that both allies and former enemies were broke, was part of the impetus for the Marshall Plan.)

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2016, 14:28:28 »
I think that most Brits of a certain age would define the economic crisis as continuing through the war to the end of rationing in 1954, two years after Her Majesty took the throne.

But the crisis/crises probably depended a lot on who you were and where you lived.  Britain is a small island and the locals moved to find work, or emigrated.
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Re: Battle of Trafalgar... Time to move on?
« Reply #60 on: April 28, 2016, 14:45:58 »
I think that most Brits of a certain age would define the economic crisis as continuing through the war to the end of rationing in 1954, two years after Her Majesty took the throne.

But the crisis/crises probably depended a lot on who you were and where you lived.  Britain is a small island and the locals moved to find work, or emigrated.

A British officer I once worked with remarked that in many ways the post-war period was worse than the war as the sense of purpose had ended but the rationing, shortages and misery seemed unending.