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Vimy Ridge in 2017

The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard Jack

Well, it’s now been several months since I was last able to post, and it’s been a crazy few months.  I’m going to skip past some of the madness (but will be posting about it over on my Tin-Can Canucks website shortly), and instead focus on a very important date in Canadian Military history.

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in France during World War One between April 9th and April 12th, 1917.  It was here that the Canadian Corps stormed the ridge and was able to recover a great amount of terrain from the Germans–terrain that British and French offensives had failed to recapture previously.

It’s often seen as the forge on which our country was made.

With the centenary of this monumental battle coming up in less than a month, there are obviously many activities and ceremonies marking this great battle, and even greater victory.  April 9th is now known as Vimy Ridge Day, and that’s the date around which most of these events will be happening.

None so central though, than the ceremony that will be occurring at the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France.

More on that later.

Cheers,

Sean

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Saguenay (I)

(photos and associated captions are from the Canadian War Museum website)

This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks.  As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress.  These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.

HMCS Saguenay Specifications

Length: 320’
Beam: 32’ 6”
Draft: 10’
Displacement: 1337 tons

Laid Down: 27-9-1929
Launched: 11-7-1930
Commissioned: 22-5-1931
Paid Off: 30-7-1945

Motto “A l’erte” (Ready to act)
Armament: 4 x 4.7” LA guns, eight 21” torpedo tubes, 2 x 2pdr AA guns

Destroyer Steam Turbine Engine

HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena had steam turbine engines, one of which is seen here, that could drive them through the water at speeds of well over 30 knots (55 km/h).

The Canadian Government announced its intention to purchase two new destroyers in November 1927 to be built to Canadian specification in the United Kingdom. In February of 1928 two Canadian officers reviewed the plans for the new British Acasta (or A-class) destroyers. Several design changes were requested, including a more streamlined bridge structure and oil heating . In September 1928 the government tendered for the construction of these destroyers; fourteen British shipyards responded all of whom offered the necessary “Canadianized” fittings without appreciable extra cost. Of those fourteen Yarrow’s was the cheapest, but didn’t quite meet the specs laid down. Thornycroft’s bid was the next lowest at about £10,000 more, but their proposed machinery was much more compact and efficient. Thornycroft landed the contract to build HMCS Saguenay and Skeena, with both being laid down in late 1929. The total cost of the destroyers—including armament—would be £3,350,132

Saguenay would be the first made-to-order RCN warship when she was commissioned May 22, 1931 at Portsmouth. After her sister’s commissioning the two sailed for Halifax, and in September of 1931 she said up the Saguenay River to visit Chicoutimi.

HMCS Saguenay Entering Willemstad Harbour, Netherlands Antilles, 1934

During the 1920s and 1930s, Canadian destroyers like HMCS Saguenay, seen here entering a port in the Caribbean, conducted training exercises with ships from Britain’s Royal Navy.

Together with Champlain she took part in the Jacques Cartier Quartercenterary at Gaspe in August 1934 and in 1936 she escorted Great War veterans across the Atlantic to France for the dedication of the Vimy Memorial at Vimy Ridge. Along with her sister she would represent Canada at King George VI’s coronation the following year and in May 1939 she would escort the King and Queen up the St. Lawrence to Quebec City on their Canadian tour. This would be one of her last peacetime assignments.

Six days after the declaration of war, Saguenay and another of the River-class destroyers HMCS St. Laurent joined the escorting forces of convoy HX 1—the first fast convoy from Halifax to England. She spent the rest of the year and the early part of 1940 on patrol first from Kingston Jamaica and later from Halifax. In October 1940 she was assigned to Escort Group 10 based out of Greenock in Scotland. Two months later, while escorting convoy HG 47 from Gibraltar to England she was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Argo while west of Ireland. The torpedo had shattered the destroyer’s bows and killed 21 men, yet despite it all she made Barrow-in-Furness four days later under her own power. She wouldn’t be fit for service again until May of 1941.

HMCS Saguenay, 1931

HMCS Saguenay, photographed at the time of its commissioning in May 1931, was the first modern warship built specifically for the Royal Canadian Navy.

She put to sea to take part in screening the Home Fleet capital ships during the hunt for the Bismarck. After this she was recalled to Newfoundland, arriving in St Johns on June 7, 1941. In July she would escort Winston Churchill—aboard HMS Prince of Wales—from the conference with President Roosevelt in Placentia Bay to Iceland where she was detached to return to Newfoundland.

1942 was a hard year on the destroyer—it started in January when she suffered extensive storm damage which left her barely able to make it back to St John’s where she was laid up for three months for repairs. In November she was hit by the Panamanian freighter Azra severing her stern and causing the depth charges to detonate. The explosion sank the freighter, but luckily there were only two fatalities between both ships.

Deemed too expensive to repair her stern was sealed off and she was converted to a stationary training vessel and tender to HMCS Cornwallis. Ultimately paid off after VE Day, the first made-to-order Canadian destroyer went to International Iron & Metal in Hamilton for breaking in 1946.

Cheers,

Sean

Exit Intent Popup: The Power to Engage vs. The Power to Annoy

Everyone I know hates popups.  They always make me think of that old whack-a-mole game.  People find them annoying, intrusive, repetitive and obnoxious. An exit intent popup are just another flavour.

Funny thing is, they work.

I started using them on my www.tincancanucks.com book website a couple of weeks ago when I released a sample chapter for download.  Most of my traffic is driven by AdWords and tends to be new rather than returning at the moment.  As a test, I set up a download page on the website for the sample chapter PDF and created an exit intent popup via Convify—an online service which you can integrate with your website.

Exit Intent Popup: How it Works

The way it works is that when someone comes to my homepage (or any other page in the website), when they go to close the browser window (or take another action that show’s they intend on exiting the site) this is intercepted with a popup:

Exit Intent Popup for Tin-Can Canucks

Exit Intent Popup for Tin-Can Canucks

They can click through to the download page, or they can click on “No Thanks” and then exit the site.  There are a lot of ways to configure this exit intent behavior—you can trigger it based on time, number of pages visited, new vs. returning visitors etc.—and in my case I have it configured to show only once a day for any given visitor; that reduces the annoying factor to a reasonable amount I think.

Convify provides conversion metrics (it’s part of a larger digital marketing platform it looks like), and so far, in two weeks I’ve seen a 1% conversion rate.  For a site with fairly small traffic this seems okay to me, and I’m not seeing anything indicating I’m driving traffic away—and the thing with an exit intent popup is that the visitor was leaving anyway, so it’s not likely to raise the exit rate, and even if it reduces my return visitor rate, at the moment that’s pretty small to begin with.

Fundamentally, this is no different from marketing automation gateway forms—in this case I’m not looking for personal information, and so may generate a higher conversion rate than if I was using a gateway form to capture contact info before the download.

And like gateway forms, it works—it drives conversions.  In a marketing automation system, we can track these conversions and score the interactions.  Like a gateway form an exit intent form is another tool in the marketing automation toolbox.

So, in my experience (anecdotal though it may be) I’m seeing increased visitor engagement, which is what I’m looking for for this site.  The popup’s configuration to make it less annoying is a crucial part of its value though, and I think makes the difference between engagement and annoyance.

Exit Intent Popup: Roll Your Own

Now, if you want to use an Exit Intent popup yourself there’s no need to go with a service like Convify—especially if you already have a marketing automation platform.  The ActiveConversion software for instance, will track goal page and URL-specific campaigns, and so can be used to track conversion from clicks in a popup.  While the software doesn’t provide the capability to create the popups, that’s to be expected since it’s not a content management tool, and for those with a little jQuery experience, there’s an excellent tutorial for creating exit intent popups with jQuery which can be found here: http://beeker.io/exit-intent-popup-script-tutorial

Now some may ask: do I still find exit intent popups annoying?

Yes, yes I do.

Perhaps I’m a hypocrite for using them, but the facts are they work—even on me, and I’m one cynical digital marketer.

Like I said, I believe the critical part is to make them as engaging as possible with as little annoyance impact as possible.  In my case above, I’m engaging the visitor with some interesting, useful content—promising the full story about the post-war RCN in the downloadable PDF.  I’m asking them for an additional moment of their time—a couple more clicks—if they’re interested in the content.

And if not?  My apologies for the annoyance.

Cheers,

Sean

Word of the day: Friktison

The All-Too-Obvious Marketing Automation Fail

(To catch my—admittedly few—readers up, I’ve recently moved positions to ActiveConversion, a Marketing Automation vendor who focuses on the industrial and manufacturing market segment.  My position with ActiveConversion is as the Product Specialist, and so understanding the how, where and most importantly, why the software works and does what it does for our customers—and what pitfalls need to be avoided to be successful—is central to my role.

Read more about Marketing Automation for Industrial and Manufacturing customers at the ActiveConversion Blog.)

Recently, while doing some industry research I came across another Marketing Automation vendor’s State-of-the-Market report which, based on its executive summary looked interesting.  As it was gated content I filled in the form, including the standard fist name, last name and email.  They also requested a Company name (not uncommon); despite being a competitor I thought the research was of interest so I included our company name.

The form submission went through; the research report was emailed to me as well as a polite greeting—all pretty standard Marketing Automation behaviors.  As a Marketing Automation vendor we eat our own dog food—so why wouldn’t a competitor?  Made sense to me.

I’ve been involved with Marketing Automation for over a decade now—from coding, designing and developing a platform to training, implementation, evangelizing—I’ve seen the sausage getting made and know a bit about the pit-falls.  The number one challenge most users of Marketing Automation face is a lack of content—scratch that, it’s a lack of relevant content.  Too often drip emails will be too general, not specifically relevant to the conversation or flat-out incorrect.  Sometimes it’s because one email is being used for multiple drip processes, or that the emails are slightly modified versions of the templates or canned content that came with the system.

If you know what you’re looking for, you can catch these pretty easily.

And that’s what happened with our competitor’s drip campaign.  Three business days after I download the research report I received an email from the company, signed by a mid-level manager pitching me on marketing automation software and services.  The email was pretty plain, but read well and I’m sure to most would look and sound like a personal response.

It wasn’t—and here’s how I knew:  the email specifically said that the sender had done some research and had found our company and thought we might be facing sales challenges that could be solved by marketing automation.  It’s was personalized with my name, and used our company name throughout.

For any other possible lead/company this email might have worked.  But it was glaringly obvious that this was automated; that no research had been done and that in all likely hood no one was paying attention to the fact that I was in this nurture campaign.  If they had done some research, and had paid attention they would have known that I was a competitor and not a potential lead.  They would have known that I’m not unfamiliar with Marketing Automation and that I understand how it can help my business—and they would have known I’m unlikely to change marketing automation platforms.

Because no one was watching this, or really following up, this competitor ended up wasting at least 1 email (perhaps not much in the big picture financially) and looked pretty foolish.  Worse yet would be if I clicked through on the links to schedule a consulting session—I’d be wasting valuable salesperson time and bandwidth (I didn’t).  Because no one was paying attention to the “fit” of a lead like me—and not reviewing company names/personal names through Google or LinkedIn the entire ROI of the interaction with me was shot to hell.

This could have all been avoided if someone had reviewed my lead profile, actually done some research and flagged me as a poor fit/competitor.

While I don’t know for sure that this competing vendor’s product can provide company identification information (although in my case I provided the Company name) and the ability to search Google and LinkedIn (or other social media) for an identified lead to determine who they are and if they fit—the concepts are obviously universal.

(I will point out that the  ActiveConversion software does provide those handy capabilities to allow users to research and flag leads who aren’t of value—like me)

Ultimately, in my mind this instance is that perfect example of where using Marketing Automation fails—it’s a powerful tool which can positively impact sales, marketing and efficiency but it’s not a silver bullet.  Drip emails are not one-size-fits-all and the information provided by a Marketing Automation system is only of value if it’s used—and used properly—to enhance profiling and intelligence and focusing sales efforts on those leads most likely to become customers.

But if the glove doesn’t fit….

Cheers,

Sean

The ‘Rolls-Royce Destroyers’ at Canadian Naval Review

I’ve been working on Tin-Can Canucks for several years, and have been saturating myself with Canadian Destroyer history, and part of what I’ve found so fascinating is the parallels between modern defence policy and vessel procurement challenges in previous eras.

The story of the first made-to-order warships for the Canadian navy (HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Skeena) is one of particular interest, as it covers all the things I like best–the evolution of a soverign Canada, the growing confidence of a Navy which had only recently avoided the budgetary axe, and a look into the early career of men who would make their mark on Canadian Naval policy in the not too distant future.

Tin-Can Canucks is almost too small a venue for all these stories, and I’ve had the immense privilege of seeing a separate article about these two ships published in the 2016 Summer issue of Canadian Naval Review.  Based on research done for the book, but separately written with a different view on it’s modern relevance I like to think it provides a good sense of the stories the books will present–even if from a more nostalgic perspective.

If you’re interested in current (and future) naval policy Canadian Naval Review is an excellent place to start–I’ve used it several times for reference in writing Tin-Can Canucks.

And if you’re interested, why not start with Volume 12, Issue 2–and an article titled: The ‘Rolls-Royce Destroyers’: Canada’s First Made-to-Order Warships

Cheers,

Sean

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Athabascan (II)

This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks.  As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress.  These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.

HMCS Athabascan (II)Specifications

Length: 377’
Beam: 37’ 6”
Draft: 11’ 2”
Displacement: 1927 tons

Laid Down: 15-5-1943
Launched: 4-5-1946
Commissioned: 20-1-1948
Paid Off: 21-4-1966

Armament: 6 x 4.7” LA guns, 2 x 4” HA guns, four 21” torpedo tubes, 4 x 2pdr , 1 x 12pdr 6 x 20mm Oerlikon AA guns

Built by Halifax Shipyard Ltd., she was the last of the Canadian-built Tribals to complete, and the last Canadian Tribal to commission, entering the RCN in 1948—three years after the end of the war she had been designed to fight. After commissioning she took her time on trials and work ups before departing for her west coast station on May 15th 1948.  Due to an outbreak of poliomyelitis[1] Athabascan was quarantined upon her arrival in Esquimalt on June 29th.  This outbreak had resulted in the death of one crewman while on passage from Halifax.

Once the quarantine was lifted Athabascan and her sister HMCS Cayuga undertook a serious exercises and showed the flag along Canadian and American west coasts.  While in Esquimalt harbor in November of 1948 she was bumped by a fire tender, which caused some buckled hull plates.  She undertook a winter Caribbean cruise between January and May of 1949, after which she made further port calls in California and Alaska.  Between mid-September 1949 and mid-March 1950 Athabascan was in dockyard hands to be refitted for a training role.  This saw the replacement of her 4.7-inch twin gun mounting in Y position replaced with a pair of Squid anti-submarine mortars.  She also had her Action Information Center enlarged, and a pair of depth-charge throwers removed—although she retained her aft depth charge rail.  The intention was to have Athabascan join the Canadian Special Service Squadron on a cruise of European waters, but the outbreak of the Korean War saw the termination of the cruise on June 25th.

Athabascan and Cayuga were joined by HMCS Sioux and the trio escorted the cruiser HMCS Ontario from Esquimalt on their deployment to Korean waters.  After making calls at Pearl Harbor, Kwajalein and Guam, the Canadian ships arrived at Sasebo, Japan on July 30thAthabaskan’s deployment saw her undertake various duties including cruiser escort, interdiction of small costal transport craft, and gunfire support, including acting in support of the Inchon landings.  She grounded on December 4th while covering the Chinnampo evacuation, the damage causing subsequent engine issues.

After a period of maintenance and R&R in Hong Kong, she undertook inshore patrol and screening of the Colossus-class carrier HMS Theseus for much of February and March before taking up station on the Korean east coast.  She departed the war zone on May 2nd bound for refit in Esquimalt.

Upon completion of the refit she sailed from Esquimalt on October 29th for her third tour in Korean waters.  Taking up her assigned roles of screening and patrolling the first week of November, save for a brief respite in Hong Kong in May of 1953 she remained in Korean waters until the ceasefire on June 27th 1953. Athabascan remained on station until the peace was established; rescuing the crew of a downed helicopter and a Vought Corsair fighter in August and standing by to assist the stranded tanker Tongshu in October.

Athabascan arrived back in Canada for conversion to an anti-submarine destroyer escort  on December 11th, 1953 staying in dockyard hands until October 1954.  Like other Canadian Tribals she emerged armed with a pair of twin 4-inch gun mounts forward and a twin 3-inch/50 mounting aft alongside a pair of Squid anti-submarine mortars and four torpedo tubes.  Her anti-aircraft fit included four 40mm Bofors single mounts.  She also received a lattice foremast to support her new radar and radio antennas.  While on trials in December of 1954 she responded for a call for assistance by the oceanographic survey vessel Cedarwood which was in danger of foundering.

The first of October 1955 she grounded on Spanish Bank off Vancouver and had to be towed off by the tug Glendon—luckily she suffered only minor damage to her sonar dome.

Between 1955 and 1958 she undertook patrol duties off the Canadian west coast, including an unsuccessful submarine hunt off the British Columbia coast in June of 1957.

In January of 1959 Athabascan and Cayuga departed Esquimalt to join their fellow Tribal-class destroyers in forming an all-Tribal east coast squadron.  Arriving in Halifax on the 16th of February the two destroyers swapped crews with east coast St. Laurent-class destroyers HMCS Saguenay (II) and HMCS St. Laurent (II)—the crew of Athabascan assigned to Saguenay for the return voyage back to Esquimalt where Saguenay and St. Laurent would then be stationed.  In May of that year Athabascan was one of the escorts for HMY Britannia which was carrying Queen Elizabeth II to Canada for the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. [2]

On September 29th 1962 Athabascan responded to a request for help from a ditched Lockheed Super Constellation airliner, rescuing 48 people but later that year her tour of European ports was cut short by the Cuban Missile Crisis in October. The crisis saw the deployment of twenty-two anti-submarine surface vessels, two submarines, the carrier Bonaventure, all of “Bonnie’s” air wing as well as shore based  Grumman Trackers and Canadair Argus patrol aircraft.  Supported by the RCN’s axillaries and commanded by Vice Admiral K.L. Dyer the Canadian deployment on “Cubex” allowed for anti-submarine coverage of the majority of the Canadian and US east coasts while the USN’s blockade of Cuba drew American vessels award from their own coasts. [3]

In March of 1964 Athabascan undertook the rescue of 18 survivors from the stern of the Liberian-flagged tanker Amphailos which had foundered in the mid-Atlantic.

Athabascan was then paid off into reserve and used as a source of spares and equipment before finally being placed on the disposal list.  She departed Halifax under tow in July of 1969, bound for La Spezia, Italy to be broken up.[4]  She was the last of the Canadian Tribals to commission, and the last to be taken out of active service.  With her demolition, only her half-sister HMCS Haida remained—and by 1969 Haida was a museum ship on the Toronto waterfront.

[1]  (English, Afridi to Nizam: British FleetDestroyers 1937 – 43, 2001) p. 50.  This illness is more commonly known as Polio and is caused by the poliovirus, which is generally transferred by contaminated water.

[2]  (English, Afridi to Nizam: British FleetDestroyers 1937 – 43, 2001) p. 50

[3]  (German, 1990) p. 272

[4]  (English, Afridi to Nizam: British FleetDestroyers 1937 – 43, 2001) p. 51

42

It’s the answer to life, the universe and everything and it took Deep Thought 7.5 million years to compute and check that answer.  The question–now that was something else.  It’s still being calculated.  Me, I’m just happy the Vogons haven’t arrived yet.

Forty-two.  Whoda thunk it.

Sean

Word of the day: Friktison

Sean’s Word of the Day Redux: Friktison

fr·ik·t·i·son (friktison) /ˈfɹɪkʃən̩/ noun.

–noun
1. The rubbing of one fictional manuscript or literary work against another, esp. those of an author and their children: My mother just started writing short stories and dropped her submission in the mail with mine; it’s been causing friktison.
2. Conflict, as between fiction authors having dissimilar ideas, interests or genres: My brother and I have had some friktison between our short stories.

Cheers,

Sean

Assiniboine Underway in 1982

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Assiniboine (II)

This post is another of a series of excerpts from my book Tin Can Canucks.  As the book is still under development these posts should be considered as part of a work in progress.  These excerpts are presented as they’ve been developed and may not be in chronological (or any logical) order.

HMCS Assiniboine (II)Specifications

Length: 366’
Beam: 42’
Draft: 13’ 2″
Displacement: 2263 tons

Laid Down: 19-5-1952
Launched: 12-2-1954
Commissioned: 16-8-1956
Paid Off: 14-12-1988

Armament: 4 x 3”/50 HA/LA guns, 2 x Limbo ASW mortar, homing torpedoes

When Marine Industries Ltd. of Sorel, Quebec delivered HMCS Assiniboine (II) to the Royal Canadian Navy it was the first post-war warship built by that yard for the RCN which subsequently commissioned her the 16th of August 1956. Her arrival in Halifax on the 25th saw her assigned to the Third Canadian Escort Squadron.[1]  She, her squadron-mates and ships from the First Canadian Escort Squadron undertook a goodwill tour of North Europe ports in October and returned back in Halifax in mid-November.

With sister HMCS Margaree (II), Assiniboine took part in an International Naval Review at Hampton Roads, Virginia in June of 1957.

HMCS Assiniboine in swell

DND photo, courtesy of RCNA Peregrine.

She was transferred to Esquimalt in January of 1959 where she became part of the Second Canadian Escort Squadron.  She hosted Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip in mid-July when they travelled from Vancouver to Nanaimo, British Columbia.

In 1962 she underwent conversion to a destroyer helicopter escort (DHH) which saw her after end remodeled to include a flight deck and hangar.  The single stack was split in two each of which was outboard of the helicopter hangar.  To make room for the flight deck the aft 3-inch/50 mount and the Limbo anti-submarine mortars were removed.  Assiniboine was the first of her class to undergo conversion; much of the work was done by the Victoria Machinery Depot Company of Victoria, British Columbia.  The remainder of the work was undertaken by HMC Dockyard Esquimalt.

HMCS Assiniboine and Sea King Helicopter

This photograph shows two major postwar Canadian naval technology developments: operating large helicopters from relatively small ships, and the variable depth sonar. (courtesy http://www.warmuseum.ca/)

June 28, 1963 she recommissioned and departed for Halifax in September.  There she had the “Beartrap” rapid helicopter haul down equipment installed and became the trials vessel for this system.  In that capacity she spent two years chasing storms around the North Atlantic, purposely hunting for poor weather in which she could trial the “Beartrap” system.  Ultimately the trials were successful and the “Beartrap” became a common fitting on all future Canadian destroyers and frigates.[2]

In January 1975 she rendered assistance to the freighter Barma, rescuing her crew after the freighter began to take on water some 185 miles off Boston.

Assiniboine was selected for the Destroyer Life Extension Refit (DELEX) which she undertook entering dock at the Canadian Vickers yard in Montreal on April 23rd, 1979.  She returned to service in mid-November.

In June of 1981, Assiniboine was leading four other vessels NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT) out of Halifax harbour when she grounded on Point Pleasant Shoal in heavy fog.  It took several tugboats to get her free.  Her participation in a NATO exercise was thus canceled while she underwent a damage inspection and repairs.[3]

Assiniboine Limbo Well in 1956

Limbo well of HMCS Assiniboine in a photo dated October 1956. (Courtesy Rick E. Davis)

In 1984 she was assigned to escort the Tall Ships Race from Bermuda to Halifax during the early summer.  When the British sailing vessel Marques sank, Assiniboine took up a prominent role in the search for survivors.  She would receive the Chief of Defence Staff Unit Commendation for her efforts, becoming only the second ship in the RCN to receive it.

She returned to Halifax in July of 1984 having discovered fractures in her upper deck stringers and plating.  She entered dry-dock for repairs on July 17th at Marine Industries Ltd.’s Sorel shipyard—her birthplace—for a ten month refit.  This stretched out to seventeen months due to a strike at the shipyard.[4]

HMCS Assiniboine was decommissioned on December 14th, 1988, and taken out of service the following January.  After being surveyed post-decommissioning it was discovered that her steaming plant was in excellent condition, and as she was of similar configuration of the remaining steam-powered destroyers, it was decided to use her as the alongside steam training vessel, replacing HMCS St.Croix (II).[5]

She served as a floating classroom for technicians at the Fleet School for 6 years before being handed over to Crown Assets for disposal.  She subsequently sank in the Caribbean Sea while under tow to the breakers.  In 32 years while under commission she had sailed some 700,000 nautical miles.

[1]  Wartime RCN ships built by Marine industries’ Sorel yard included Flower-class corvettes Arrowhead, Bittersweet, Dunvegan, Fennel, Sherbrooke, Sorel, Calgary, Fredericton, Kitchener, La Malbaie, and Regina as well as Bangor-class minesweepers Brockville, Esquimalt, Transcona, and Trois-Rivières.  They would later build the  hydrofoil HMCS Bras d’Or in 1968 with their last ship for the Canadian Navy being the frigate HMCS Calgary which was commissioned in 1995.

[2] Known in other navies as a Helicopter Hauldown and Rapid Securing Device (HHRSD) the “Beartrap” was developed by the RCN’s Experimental Squadron VX-10 in conjunction with Fairey Aviation in the 1960s.

[3]  (Cleaves, 1981)

[4]  (Barrie & Macpherson, 1996) p. 19

[5]  (Lynch, Twilight of the St Laurents, 1990) p. 192

It’s official–I’m now CI Campbell

So after some delay my volunteer card for the Navy League of Canada arrived in the post this past Friday.  I now have official proof that I can be called CI Campbell by the cadets.  (although to be honest we knew that I was approved a month or more ago, it just took some time for the card to arrive).  For those unaware (although considering the number of views of this site my audience includes me, myself and maybe even I) CI is really the acronym C.I. which stands for Civilian Instructor.

Naval League of Canada Volunteer ID

Why do official/passport photos always look terrible?

Overall, while the delay was annoying I’m thrilled at how seriously the Navy League takes volunteer screening.  Moving forward I’m expected to wear this ID every time I’m working with the unit which is again a very smart thing to do as it makes clear to the cadets who is approved to work with them directly.  This way they know CI Campbell is authorized to work with their unit–even if they’re unfamiliar with who CI Campbell actually is.

Funny thing is my application for a CIC Officer role at the unit went out on Monday–four days before I received my volunteer card, so essentially my shot at being an officer happened before I had everything required to be an volunteer (but again, we all knew I had the volunteer approval before I was offered the CIC opportunity, the card was just late in arriving).

Friday night, at the band practice at the Corps one of the senior cadets called me CI Campbell for the first time–it took me a moment to realize he was speaking to me!  (I still turn my head when Rhane and I are at the Corps on a training night and someone calls out “Campbell” to her–I always think they’re calling out to me)

Now, the next step will be to get through the application process for the CIC Officer role and be accepted and sworn in as NCdt. Campbell.  Hopefully my photo for the military ID will be better than the photo on the volunteer card.

Cheers,

Sean

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