Saturday, 22 October 2016

HMCS KOOTENAY Gearbox Explosion

On October 23, 1969, the Royal Canadian Navy suffered its worst peacetime accident when HMCS KOOTENAY's starboard gearbox exploded during full power trials off the coast of Britain. The lessons learned from this event continue to shape the RCN's approach to damage control to this day. To commemorate this event, a service was held in Halifax on Friday, October 21, 2016.

I assembled an article between 2007 and 2009 on this event, and it appears on the Hazegray and Underway website.

I have been interested in naval powerplants for some time now, and the Y100 powerplant used by the Royal and Royal Canadian Navies between the 1950's and 1990's in particular. As an engineer, the accident in KOOTENAY in itself is a lesson for designers - a component part should never be able to be easily installed improperly in such a way that it can cause a catastrophic failure.

Follow the link.

The ruptured starboard gearbox of HMCS KOOTENAY.

Friday, 21 October 2016


HMCS PRESERVER was paid off during a ceremony on Friday afternoon, October 21, 2016. Unfortunately, I missed it almost entirely, and only arrived as the Stadacona Band were marching off the jetty.

Stadacona Band marching off the jetty.
PRESERVER will presumably be stripped and sold to be broken up in the near future. She and her previously sold sistership PROTECTEUR (currently being broken up in Liverpool, NS) are due to be replaced by two ships of the QUEENSTON class which are to be built by SeaSpan on the west coast, however, they are several years away and construction has not yet begun. An interim supply ship is being converted from the civilian cargo ship MS Asterix as part of Project Resolve, which will enter service earlier.

Royal Canadian Mint unveils new coin in HMCS SACKVILLE

On Thursday October 20, 2016, HMCS SACKVILLE hosted the Royal Canadian Mint as they unveiled a new two dollar "toonie" coin on the Halifax Waterfront. The coin is intended to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. SACKVILLE was dressed overall for the occasion.

HMCS SACKVILLE "dressed overall", with signal flags running from bow to stern, in addition to the naval jack at the bow, the naval ensign at the stern, and the courtesy Maple Leaf on the mast. SACKVILLE flies the jack and ensign of the Second World War, and not their modern equivalents.
Looking aft from the bow. The flags certainly add some colour to the scene!
There were a number of special guests invited to help with the unveiling.

VIP visitors arriving on the pier.
One such guest was Rear-Admiral John Newton, the current Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic.

Rear-Admiral John Newton salutes Jim Reddy, CO of SACKVILLE, as he boards. The former's face is unfortunately obscured by my copyright watermark.

The unveiling itself occurred in the after accommodation space in the bow of the ship, while some members of the Stadacona Band were set up in the forward accommodation space to provide some music for the event.

Members of the Stadacona Band in the forward accommodation space.
A number of speeches preceded the unveiling of a mock-up of the coin.

Jim Reddy, CO of SACKVILLE.
Kirk MacRae, Board Member of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Steve Wessel, President of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The coin mock-up is unveiled (I was standing in the wrong spot and missed the actual unveiling). From left to right: Rear Admiral Newton, Steve Wessel, Kirk MacRae, and Jim Reddy.

Rear Admiral Newton making a point after the unveiling.
Sea Cadets were also present for the unveiling.
Two Sea Cadets and Rear Admiral Newton watch a short film about the Battle of the Atlantic.
Among the VIPs gathered for the unveiling were four very special guests, veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic.

From left to right: Norman Crewe (Canadian Merchant Navy, Captain Earle Wagner (Canadian Merchant Navy), Captain Angus McDonald (British Merchant Navy, and J. Vernon Toole (RCN).
From left to right: Norman Crewe (Canadian Merchant Navy, Captain Angus McDonald (British Merchant Navy, J. Vernon Toole (RCN), Kirk MacRae (Mint), and Captain Earle Wagner (Canadian Merchant Navy).
From left to right: Rear Admiral John Newton (RCN), Norman Crewe (Canadian Merchant Navy, Captain Angus McDonald (British Merchant Navy, J. Vernon Toole (RCN), Kirk MacRae (Mint), and Captain Earle Wagner (Canadian Merchant Navy).
For the design of the coin, the Mint turned to Lunenburg artist Yves Berube, who has previously provided the design for the Naval Centennial coin (as well as coins commemorating the Titanic, the Empress of Ireland, and other ships and events). Mr. Berube was present for the unveiling.

Lunenburg artist Yves Berube whose artwork appears on the coin (his initials appear to the right of the coin).

From left to right: Norman Crewe (Canadian Merchant Navy, Captain Earle Wagner (Canadian Merchant Navy), Yves Berube, J. Vernon Toole (RCN), and Captain Angus McDonald (British Merchant Navy).
From left to right: Norman Crewe (Canadian Merchant Navy, Captain Earle Wagner (Canadian Merchant Navy), Yves Berube, J. Vernon Toole (RCN), and Captain Angus McDonald (British Merchant Navy).
After the event was over, I took the opportunity to trade in one of my old toonies for one of the 5 million Battle of the Atlantic toonies that went into circulation on Thursday. At white tent was set up at the foot of the pier, and this is where the first of the new coins became available in Canada.

The Mint's coin exchange tent set up at the foot of SACKVILLE's pier, where the new coin could be obtained after it was unveiled.
I will finish up with two more photos of SACKVILLE dressed in flags.

Note: Thanks to the Royal Canadian Mint's press release for the names of the veterans present at the unveiling, and to HMCS SACKVILLE for having me onboard for the unveiling.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Vickers 3"/70 Twin A.A. Mark 6 mounting

Earlier today I saw a discussion around the guns used on the ST. LAURENT, RESTIGOUCHE, MACKENZIE, and ANNAPOLIS classes of destroyer escorts that served in the RCN starting in the 1950s, in particular the Vickers 3"/70 and the FMC 3"/50.

The latter was used on all four classes (originally both fore and aft on the ST. LAURENT class, forward on the ANNAPOLIS class, and aft on the RESTIGOUCHE and MACKENZIE classes), while the former was used only as the forward mounting on the RESTIGOUCHE and MACKENZIE classes. 

I have previously written a bit about both mountings on the Hazegray and Underway website, where I variously wrote:

About the 3"/50:

"Mountings started out open to the weather, and fibreglass and aluminum gun shields were added later. The shields were relatively fragile, and photos often show the forward mounting facing aft to protect it from storm damage.

Mounted on the foc'st'le and quarterdeck of ST. LAURENT derived destroyer escorts, forward of the bridge. Also mounted in X position on Tribal class DDEs, and A position on ALGONQUIN and aft on CRESCENT after the latter two's ASW conversions. BONAVENTURE carried four of these mountings when originally commissioned, but had the two forward mountings removed during her 1967 refit. Of the MACKENZIE class ships, QU'APPELLE carried a second of these mountings forward in place of the 3"/70 Mk.6 found on the rest of the class members.

The two PROTECTEUR class AOR's were originally fitted with this mounting on the foc'st'le, but its location exposed it to damage from heavy seas, and it was removed in 1984. The mountings were preserved ashore, and one was re-installed on PROTECTEUR for her deployment to the Persian Gulf in 1990-91.
The mounting was originally fitted with an SPG 34 tracking radar right on the mounting, which was later replaced with an SPG 48 tracker between the barrels (see photo 6). On NIPIGON and ANNAPOLIS, the SPG 48 and GUNAR fire control system was replaced with the Mk.69 GFCS and integral SPG 515 tracker during their DELEX refits."

and about the 3"/70:

"Mounted on the foc'st'le of destroyer escorts, forward of the bridge. This mount was originally developed for the RN for use in aircraft carriers, but was eventually installed in RN service only in the TIGER class cruisers, which mounted three mountings each (one forward, two amidships). This mounting experienced teething problems when entering service in RCN destroyer escorts, but these were eventually resolved. The ammunition handling system was apparently referred to as "the bottling plant" due to the high rate of fire achieved when working properly."

I came across some other information in my files on the 3"/70 that I thought I would post here. While originally marked CONFIDENTIAL and/or RESTRICTED, these documents were long ago declassified. I don't believe I have the entire document, but here is what I do have (hopefully they are legible) from either BRCN 1740 or CBCN 5902:

Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
A different cut-away view from a different document.
Page 4
Page 5
The only other Navy to use this gun was the Royal Navy on their TIGER class cruisers, TIGER, LION and BLAKE.

The forward 3"/70 on TIGER. M.D. Thomas photo.
Two more of these mountings (for a total of 3 per ship) were mounted port and starboard farther aft, though these mountings were eventually removed in favour of a new helicopter hangar.

A note about copyright: The pages of the document on the Vickers gun is hosted on my Smugmug website, and therefore displays my copyright watermark, but this document would originally have been copyright of the Crown.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Nocturne 2016

Some of my photos from Nocturne 2016:

A harvest moon rises behind HMCS SACKVILLE.
The Wave at night.
"Requiem for Radio".
Emma Fitzgerald at Pier 21. 

Emma Fitzgerald's show was also captured on video and projected onto the bridge over the road in front of Pier 21.
"Barometer Falling" on the 5th floor of the Halifax Central Library. 
The stairs and walkways in the Halifax Central Library, with the lineup to head upstairs in the background. The elevators were broken.
"In Defence of Libraries".
"In Defence of Libraries".
"Chroma" in St. Matthew's United Church on Barrington Street.

"Chroma" in St. Matthew's United Church on Barrington Street.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Photos this week: October 8-14

There was a fair amount of Navy traffic this week, including an ever elusive submarine. Unusually, I will start with a photo taken in Lunenburg, where the French Navy's Saint Pierre et Miquelon patrol vessel FULMAR was tied up at the Lunenburg Foundry wharf.

On Tuesday, HMCS ST. JOHN'S timed her departure perfectly to coincide with my ferry trip to work, and I got some nice shots of her as we ducked around her stern.

As ST. JOHN'S was departing the harbour, Halifax's largest cruise ship visitor to date Anthem of the Seas was arriving for another visit. I will display some more images of the latter ship later, but when looking at this shot of the two ships together I can't help but be reminded of the scene in the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me" where the nuclear submarine is swallowed up by the much larger oil tanker. 

ST. JOHN'S and Anthem of the Seas.
HMCS WINDSOR (SSK 877) was busy this week, and departed and returned to Halifax multiple times, even taking out some Members of Parliament during one of her trips. I'm obviously in the wrong career!

HMCS WINDSOR passing the lighthouse on Georges Island.
I was excited upon first siting WINDSOR on Wednesday, as she was running her diesels, and had the tell-tale condensing exhaust plumes streaming out behind her. Diesel-electric submarines like WINDSOR use their diesels to recharge their batteries, which in turn power the electric motors that move the submarine and power other equipment. After passing the lighthouse on McNab's Island, however, the diesels must have been shut down. Just imagine how much better the shot above would have been if she hadn't? Actually you don't have to, because on Friday I caught her again in roughly the same location.

HMCS WINDSOR running her diesels.
Unfortunately, Friday was overcast, and didn't have the nice dawn sky for a background. Maybe next week?

While on the subject of WINDSOR running her diesels, I might as well dig up these 10 year old shots of WINDSOR transiting the narrows on her way to Bedford Basin.

WINDSOR in May 2006.
WINDSOR in May 2006.
WINDSOR in May 2006.
Finally, some news on fleet disposals. HMCS PRESERVER moved south in the Dockyard this week. She will be paid off for the last time on Friday October 21. While still in commission, she has been stranded alongside for around 2 years, pretty much relegated to serving as a fuel barge.

HMCS PRESERVER on week prior to being paid off.
The former HMCS IROQUOIS will also soon be moving, when she leaves Halifax for the last time. It was announced this week that Iroquois will be heading for Liverpool to be broken up alongside ex-HMC Ships ALGONQUIN and PROTECTEUR, the former a sistership.

Commercial traffic was also busy this week, and October is usually one of the busiest months for cruise ships. Wednesday saw at least 5 cruise ships, although two were rather small, and one had overnighted from Tuesday.

From left to right, Victory I, Pearl Mist, Crystal Serenity, and Zuiderdam.
Victory I, Pearl Mist, and Crystal Serenity in the background with Chebucto Pilot to the far right.
Victory I and Zuiderdam.
Speaking of Chebucto Pilot, I captured a nice image of her passing Georges Island, with sunlight reflected from a Halifax building illuminating her port side.

Chebucto Pilot.
Even without being part of a dastardly plot to capture HMCS ST. JOHN'S, Anthem of the Seas is an impressive sight. She is apparently the fourth largest cruise ship in the world (for now, anyway).

Anthem of the Seas.
Anthem of the Seas.
Serenade of the Seas seems small by comparison.

Serenade of the Seas.
Serenade of the Seas.
On Tuesday, Common Venture was at anchor after receiving fuel from Algoma Dartmouth.

Common Leader.
Veteran Atlantic Conveyor was threading her way out through the narrows, on what is probably one of her last trips before heading to the breakers. 

Atlantic Conveyor.
Coriolis II is the former CCGS John Jacobson. She was tied up at the former Dartmouth CCG base, which is now slated to become an ocean research facility. 
Finally, in case you missed it, I will mention my previous post with photos of the Picton Castle up on the Lunenburg Marine Railway.