To follow up on an earlier post of photos from the collection of CPO Warren Walker showing flying operations from HMS BATTLER, I promised to display the remainder of the photos here. Warren's collection included a good number of photos of other ships of the Royal and Royal Canadian Navies, among others.
I have elected to organize the photos loosely by the Navy being represented as well as the class of ship being displayed, and not in chronological order, as the latter is harder to determine.
Mr. Walker appears to have served in a number of RCN ships during his career, including (I believe) HMCS SAGUENAY in the 1930s, HMS BATTLER and HMS VINDEX in the summer of 1945, HMCS IROQUOIS, and HMCS ALGONQUIN and the weather ship HMCS ST. STEPHEN after the war.
Where available, I am providing the original captions as they appeared on the prints of each photograph, but only if I believe they are correct. I have also provided links to the Canadian Navy of Yesterday and Today site and Wikipedia where I believe appropriate.
|A crew photograph from HMCS IROQUOIS, with Warren Walker on the far right of the front row.|
In 1946, the RCN obtained its first aircraft carrier in the form of HMCS WARRIOR (formerly HMS WARRIOR), a light fleet carrier of the COLOSSUS-class. Although the RCN manned the escort carriers HMS NABOB and PUNCHER during the war, those ships were commissioned into the Royal Navy. WARRIOR served until 1948, after which the RCN traded her back to the RN in exchange for HMCS MAGNIFICENT.
|Caption reads "HMCS WARRIOR coming out of dock". HMCS WARRIOR was the RCN's first aircraft carrier.|
|HMCS WARRIOR at sea.|
|HMCS WARRIOR approaching HMC Dockyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The carrier wharf was located under where the Macdonald Bridge was constructed.|
Before the war, Mr. Walker served in a River-class destroyer, probably HMCS SAGUENAY. The River-class was a somewhat homogeneous class of Royal Navy destroyers of the C, D, E, F, G, and H sub-groupings, plus SAGUENAY and SKEENA which were built specifically for the RCN but which started off as essentially copies of the RN's A-class. Based on the captions and what little research I have been able to do myself, I believe the photos below were taken around the same time, many of them from the deck of SAGUENAY and featuring SKEENA. I believe that many of the photos were taken in the Caribbean, and SAGUENAY was assigned to Caribbean exercises in early 1939 so this fits. SAGUENAY lost her stern to a collision with a merchant ship on 15 November 1942, and she did not re-enter active service - so all photos here were taken prior to that event.
|"Some of the boys." Presumably taken at the same time as the above image, I was able to zoom in an identify the white line on the right as a breakwater - so definitely not Halifax.|
|I'm assuming the ship in the background is HMCS SKEENA.|
|SKEENA wearing the pendant number D59. After 1940, she wore the number I59. This appears to be an abnormally calm sea.|
|The caption reads "Cruise down river HMCS OTTAWA in distance."|
|Unnamed River class destroyer.|
|Caption reads "SKEENA and part (port?) of Diamond Isle.|
|For reference, here is SKEENA's badge from www.georgeglazer.com|
|Looking aft under the starboard side lifeboat, probably onboard SAGUENAY, and the protrusion on the bridge suggests the trailing ship is SKEENA.|
|Two other River-class destroyers, possibly SKEENA and OTTAWA.|
|I believe this shot is taken looking aft from the bridge along SAGUENAY's starboard side. The gun beside the sailor's left shoulder appears to be a 40mm/39 (2-Pdr) Mk.II single anti-aircraft gun, which is consistent with the armament of a River-class destroyer up to 1942.|
|A 4" gun crew at work, probably on SAGUENAY. River-class destroyers mounted the 4.7"/45 QF Mk.IX gun on the Mk.CPXIV mounting.|
|HMCS ST. LAURENT (H83) alongside in HMC Dockyard with another River-class destroyer approaching in the background. ST. LAURENT arrived in Halifax from the west coast in September, 1939.|
|HMCS SAGUENAY (D79) alongside at HMC Dockyard. SAGUENAY later wore the pendant I79.|
|Looking aft along the port side of what I assume to be SAGUENAY.|
|Unidentified River-class destroyer (but not SAGUENAY or SKEENA based on the flat face of the bridge).|
|HMCS FRASER (H48) was sunk during the evacuation of France after being rammed by the cruiser HMS CALCUTTA. This is how she would have appeared before the war. I believe the two davits on the stern are for handling depth charges.|
A few of HMCS IROQUOIS:
|A sailor stands under the guns of HMCS IROQUOIS (based on the artwork on the gun barrel muzzle covers).|
And other ships:
|The first HMCS PROVIDER. She served as a base supply ship for various flotillas of Fairmile motor launches during the war, both in the Caribbean and Canadian waters.|
During the 1949/1950 period, Mr. Walker was assigned to the weather ship HMCS ST. STEPHEN for 30 day stretches, at which time the ship was assigned to the North Atlantic weather station, or "Baker" station, between Labrador and Greenland. ST. STEPHEN was modified from a River-class frigate.
|The weather ship HMCS ST. STEPHEN, possibly in St. John's, NL.|
|HMCS STONE TOWN, also fitted as a weather ship, served on the West Coast in the Northern Pacific.|
|Preparing a weather balloon for launch from HMCS ST. STEPHEN. The triangular shape is a radar target, so that the ship can track the altitude of the balloon.|
|This photo shows the crew of ALGONQUIN sometime between her big refit and her paying off in 1970.|
There are several photos of the Royal Navy's "R" class battleships (sometimes noted as ROYAL SOVEREIGN- or REVENGE-class) in this collection. Completed during the First World War, at least two of this class - RAMILLIES and RESOLUTION - participated in convoy escort duty in the early parts of the Second World War. I am therefore assuming that these photos were indeed taken during the war, and during convoy escort operations.
|RN "R" class battleship in what I assume to be Halifax Harbour.|
|"R" class battleship at sea. Later in the war the after mast appears to have been rebuilt to carry radar, reinforcing my assumption that these photos were at the latest taken during the early years of the war.|
|"R" class battleship at sea.|
|An "R" class battleship at sea, as seen from what I assume to be HMCS SAGUENAY.|
|Royal Navy Emerald class light cruiser - the class consisted of only two ships, EMERALD and ENTERPRISE, both of which were stationed in Halifax during the Second World War. This would appear to be ENTERPRISE, which received a prototype gun mount forward in the early 1930s, and as a result her bridge was rebuilt and moved forward.|
|The Royal Navy LEANDER-class cruiser HMS ORION. Caption reads "HMS ORION Sunday." ORION was assigned to the North America and West Indies station in 1937.|
|This is the cruiser whose bow appears in the previous image. The funnel gives it away as one of the Royal Navy's LEANDER-class of cruisers. The location is possibly Ireland Island, Bermuda. This may be another image of ORION, but I can't be sure.|
|Royal Navy light cruiser, probably Town class (Southampton group).|
There is unfortunately only one USN image in this collection:
|The ship in the background looks like a USN battleship, and from comparing to my WWII edition of Jane's, I'm going to suggest that it may be a TEXAS class ship - either TEXAS or NEW YORK. I am also guessing the photo was taken during the 1930s.|
I have many resources to identify warships, but civilian ships often give me a hard time, so I resorted to crowd-sourcing the identification of the following two liners via Twitter. Within several hours, I had my answers, and Twitter users by the names of Robert Kirk and Jose Damota responded with the names of the two ships. After reviewing myself, I believe both ships are a close visual match for the names I am assigning to these images.
|RMS Empress of Australia. According to "The River Class Destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy" by Ken Macpherson, SAGUENAY and SKEENA met up with Empress of Australia on 15 May 1939, and escorted her and her passengers - the King and Queen - to Canada for a Royal Tour. This photo could have been taken at a few points during that tour.|
|S.S. Statendam with the bow of a warship to the right.|
I don't where or when this was taken, but it doesn't look like a naval vessel to me.
I would once again like to thank Warren's son Wayne for sending me these photos and allowing me to display them here. Wayne was kind enough to allow me access to the original prints in his possession, and I was able to set them up to be copied with a high-resolution digital camera to get the most out of the prints.