Howl and the World Howls With You.

Author: whytewolf (Page 3 of 12)

Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Gatineau (I)

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 Gatineau Specifications

Length: 329’
Beam: 33’ 3”
Draft: 10’ 10″
Displacement: 1405 tons

Laid Down: 23-3-1933
Launched: 29-5-1934
Commissioned: 3-6-1943
Paid Off: 10-1-1946

Armament: 3 x 4.7” LA guns, four 21” torpedo tubes, 6 x 20mmOerlikon AA guns, Hedghog ASW mortar

Unique amongst the Canadian River-class destroyers, HMCS Gatineau—built as HMS Express by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Wallsend-on-Tyne—had been originally fitted as a minesweeper, and had twin sponsoons aft for the mine rails (never carried in Canadian service).  She would be the sole E-Class destroyer to serve in the RCN.

HMCS Gatineau (I)HMS Express was commissioned into the Home Fleet November 6, 1934 and assigned to the 5th Destroyer Flotilla.  She had her gun mounts adjusted at Sheerness between December 1934 and January 1935.  During the Abyssinian crisis she was detached to the Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria where she served until March 1936, after which she returned to Portsmouth for a refit until May. After refitting she was posted back east to Gibraltar for two months, returning to home waters for the remainder of 1936.  The first three months of 1937 Express undertook Non-Intervention Patrols off the Spanish coast, returning to the UK for a brief period of repairs and then two months of minelaying trials.

Having completed a refit in Portsmouth in October 1937 she suffered a fire in her forward boiler room, which caused extensive damage to her electrical cables and necessitating further repairs.  She spent some time in home waters and patrolling out of Gibraltar until returning to Portsmouth to operate as a minelayer from August to October 1938.  After a short refit there she returned to Gibraltar and on March 21 1939 she escorted the ferry Cote D’Azur and its passengers—the French President and his retinue—to Britain for a state visit.

She was relieved of duty with the 5th Destroyer Flotilla by the J-Class destroyer HMS Janus and was selected for conversion to a Boys’ Training Ship and aircraft co-operation vessel, but ultimately these plans fell through.

HMS ExpressWhen war broke out she was assigned to Immingham and joined the 20th Destroyer (Minelaying) Flotilla on its formation.  Her first offensive minefield was laid at a suspected exit of the German mine barrage in the North Sea.  Subsequently she and HMS Esk, HMS Intrepid and HMS Ivanhoe laid 240 mines on in the Ems estuary the night of December 17th and another barrage of 164 off the Hook of Holland with the same comrades (less Intrepid) the 15th of May.  Prior to the operation off the Hook of Holland Express had collided with a trawler and had to be repaired in Hartlepool in April.

During the “Miracle of Dunkirk” Express made six trips, evacuating over 3,500 troops and was the second-last vessel to leave Dunkirk.

On August 31, 1940 Express was one of several destroyers laying a defensive minefield 40 miles off Texel.  At just past 11:00 p.m. that day she struck a mine just abreast her B-mount.  Everything forward frame 52 was demolished and 4 officers and 53 other crew were killed.  It took some two and a half hours before she was mobile again—and then only backwards.  She spent several hours plodding back to British waters stern first (having unfortunately left behind 9 of her men who would be taken prisoner once rescued) before she was found by HMS Kelvin and HMS Jupiter.  She was first taken in tow by Kelvin, but the tow broke after some 90 minutes and she was then taken in tow by HMS Jupiter to Hull, where she arrived early evening September 9.

Her reconstruction at Chatham would last until October of 1941.  After passing trials post-repair she joined HMS Eclectra to escort HMS Prince of Wales to the Far East.  They left the Clyde October 25, 1941 and sailed to join HMS Repulse, her savior HMS Jupiter and sister HMS Encounter.  When Imperial Japanese Navy carrier strikes sank Prince of Wales and Repulse, Express was able to rescue nearly a thousand of the 2,081 men who survived the sinkings.  She then took over escort duties for “China Force” between Singapore and Java but in February suffered a boiler room fire that caused extensive damage to her electric cabling, fuel tanks and bulkheads.  She continued operations until she could be repaired and refitted in Simonstown between late April and Late June 1942 thus missing the Battle of the Java Sea and the attack on Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

HMS Express H61After returning to duty she joined the Eastern Fleet’s 12th Destroyer Flotilla, and she served as an escort to the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious during the landings at Majunga, Madagascar in September of 1942.  She returned to England in February of 1943 and went into refit at Liverpool until June 2, 1943.  Upon her emergence she was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Gatineau on June 3, 1943 having been given to Canada as a gift.[1]

completed her work-ups at Tobermory and was then assigned to Escort Group C-2 in Londonderry to join convoy ON 191 as escort on July 2.  As the German U-Boats had suffered a serious check in May of 1943, Gatineau found her convoy escort work reasonably quiet until the combined convoy action of ON 202/ONS 18 in September of that year.

The U-boats had returned to the Atlantic with a vengeance—and a new weapon.  The Acoustic torpedo (known to the British as the GNAT) carried a new danger; it was able to run a vessel based on the noise made by that ships screws.  As escort vessels ran faster than merchant men their screws made more noise at speed—the GNAT was designed to kill escorts.  And it did that well.

Between September 20 and September 23 20 U-boats attacked the combine convoy.  The success of the GNAT could be seen in the fact that only six of 63 merchantmen were lost.  The convoy escort lost three ships sunk (including HMS St. Croix)  and one damaged.  The loss of St. Croix was especially bitter, as she and her Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander A.H. Dobson, DSC, RCN has been a successful U-boat killing team for a Town-class destroyer.

Escort Group C-2 began to be employed as a support group in December of 1943.  In this manner it didn’t escort convoys directly, but instead joined convoys specifically to hunt down U-Boats detected by ASDIC (sonar) or other means, thereby freeing up the close escort vessels to continue with the convoy.  In March of 1944 C-2 joined convoy HX 280 which had been attacked by a substantial wolf pack.  Gatineau made ASDIC contact with one of them the morning of March 5, and after a 32 hour hunt, U-744 was sunk.  Gatineau however couldn’t enjoy this success as she had already been called away to assist another convoy under attack.. [2]

She joined Escort Group 11 in Londonderry in late April with her River-class sisters, HMCS Chaudière, HMCS Kootenay, HMCS Ottawa (II) and HMCS St. Laurent.  These fiver were detailed to patrolling the west end of the English Channel during the lead up to D-Day and after the invasion.  Starting June 5 they kept a sharp eye out of U-boats attempting to attack shipping vital to landing and supporting the Normandy Invasion.  Gatineau didn’t stay long however—she left in early July bound for Halifax to have urgent boiler repairs completed.  She would be in refit there until March of the next year, after which she sailed across the Atlantic once more to work up in Tobermory before re-joining EG 11 (now consisting of HMCS Assiniboine and HMCS Saskatchewan along with veteran member HMCS Kootenay).

HMCS GatineauEG 11 continued their patrols for the remainder of the war and after until all U-boats had been surrendered (or scuttled) and accounted for.  Gatineau would head home to Canada after this—briefly stopping tin Greenock to embark repatriated Canadian naval personnel.  She made two subsequent round trips to Greenock on similar “trooping” runs before she was assigned to the Canadian West Coast to become a training ship for HMCS Royal Roads in August.  Despite this plan, and an oceanographic survey she took part in in November she was laid up and decommissioned January 10, 1946.

Apparently sold for scrap and broken up in late 1946 there is some indication she may have been scuttled as a breakwater in Royston, British Columbia in 1948.[3]

[1]  (English, 1993) p. 74

[2]  (MacPherson & Butterley, River Class Destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy, 2008) p. 96

[3]  (MacPherson & Barrie, Ships of Canada’s Naval Forces: 1910-2002, 2004) p. 51

Did this Guinea Pig eat a basketball?

Nope, just a little bit pregnant (for a guinea pig):

Pregnant Guinea Pig

She had five babies two days later. (via imgur.com; posting is 3-years old, so now the babies are old enough to have baby guinea pigs).




Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Buxton

(photos and associated captions are from the Navsource Naval History 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 Buxton Specifications:

Length : 314’ 3″
Beam: 30’ 9”
Draft: 9’ 3″
Displacement: 1190 tons

Laid Down: 20 April 1918
Launched: 10 June 1918
Commissioned : 4 November 1943
Paid Off: 2 June 1945

Armament: 2 × 12pdr LA guns; one 14″ Torpedo Tube

The 'Town' class destroyer HMS Buxton (ex-USS Edwards, DD-265) showing her well worn paintwork while serving with B6 Escort Group date and location unknown.

The ‘Town’ class destroyer HMS Buxton (ex-USS Edwards, DD-265) showing her well worn paintwork while serving with B6 Escort Group date and location unknown.

HMCS Buxton began life as USS Edwards. She was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at their Squantum, Massachusetts shipyard and named after Midshipman William W. Edwards.  Edwards was an officer of the US Navy during the War of 1812 assigned to USS Argus when he was killed in action against HMS Pelican 14 August 1913.  The ship bearing his name was launched 10 October 1918 by Ms. Julia Edwards Noyes, Midshipman Edwards uncle’s great granddaughter.  USS Edwards was commissioned on April 24, 1919 under the command of Commander P.L. Wilson.

In May 1919 Edwards was assigned to transport seaplane spares to St. John’s, Newfoundland as part of the historic first transatlantic seaplane flight by the US Navy.  Later that month she sailed to European waters to take up duties with the Food Administration and reporting to the Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe.  After arriving in Gibraltar she joined the escort of USS George Washington, the former ocean liner carrying President Woodrow Wilson to Brest, France.  Subsequently Edwards visited England and Germany before arriving back in the United States in late August.

The 'Town' class destroyer HMS Buxton (ex-USS Edwards, DD-265) showing her well worn paintwork while serving with B6 Escort Group date and location unknown.

The ‘Town’ class destroyer HMS Buxton (ex-USS Edwards, DD-265) showing her well worn paintwork while serving with B6 Escort Group date and location unknown.

In September she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet and upon arrival at San Diego she was placed in reduced commission with a minimal complement.  In February of 1920 she moved to Puget Sound Navy Yard only to return to San Diego a year later still in reserve and only occasionally at sea for gunnery practice.  Finally in June of 1922 she was placed out of commission.

Edwards was recommissioned in December of 1939 to take up Neutrality Patrol duties.  She underwent an overhaul on the west coast before traveling east in March of 1940, making port in Galveston, Texas.  She continued to patrol the Gulf of Mexico until the fall of 1940 when she was selected for transfer to the Royal Navy and was handed over in Halifax on October 8, 1940.

Commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Buxton she set out to cross the Atlantic on her way to Devonport for refit when she was delayed in St. John’s, Newfoundland with serious defects.  Back to Halifax she went and repairs weren’t completed until March 1941.  Further defects arose and ultimately Buxton would go to Boston for a two month refit starting in July.  Upon her return she was assigned for local escort work until she joined the troop convoy TC 14 and crossed the Atlantic headed for the Clyde to join EG-26.  She wasn’t with that posting long before more defects cropped up and she was in Chatham dockyard for repairs and refit in November 1941 not to emerge until February 1942.  While working up after this period she grounded and subsequently those repairs kept her idle until the end of May.

HMS Buxton (H96) off Liverpool on May 22, 1942. Source: Imperial War Museum Admiralty Official Collection by Tomlin, H.W. (Lt), Photo No. © IWM(A 8658).

Finally back at sea she joined Escort Group B6 undertaking convoy and individual ship escort duties out of Liverpool until August 1943 when she was posted back to Canada to join the Western Local Escort Force (WLEF) out of Halifax.  WLEF held the operational responsibility of escorting convoys between the ports of New York and Halifax out to the Western Ocean Meeting Point (WOMP) which was east of St. John’s, Newfoundland where WLEF handed off responsibility to the Mid-Ocean Escort Force (MOEF).

HMS Buxton served on this rout for several months until her persistent defects required she return to Boston for a three-month refit in December.  In March 1943 she rejoined WLEF as part of the newly formed escort group W-1, but finally her ongoing mechanical issues and defects drove the RN to offer the Royal Canadian Navy Buxton for static training purposes.  In this manner she joined the RCN as HMCS Buxton on 4 November 1943—the last of the Canadian Town’s commissioned.  She arrived at Digby, Nova Scotia in December and  continued to serve as a static training vessel until decommissioned and sold for scrap 16 January 1945.  She was broken up in Boston that same year  after an undistinguished wartime career in which she appeared to spend more time in dock under repair than at sea.

Word of the day: Friktison

What is Lead Scoring?

The last few years–well, okay the last decade essentially–I’ve been involved with marketing automation and demand generation.  Originally I lead the development of the demand generation product Canterris Marketing Suite, and eventually moved over to Twist Marketing to act as a digital strategist and project manager, with an eye to implementing marketing automation tools and campaigns for clients.

While at Twist I’ve worked with other platforms, from Eloqua to Sharpspring depending on the size of project and clients needs.  One of the things that always comes up–especially for clients new to demand generation platforms–is what is lead scoring, why should we use it and how is it done?

While with Canterris I developed a workbook that helped customers determine their needs in terms of scoring leads coming to their website.  I recently dusted it off and though an updated version of it might be of value, so during the rewrite I thought I’d post some of the basic information here on my Blog to perhaps answer some of the common questions that come up.

What is Lead Scoring?

Across virtually every industry and segment, customers today are in control of the buying process. This is particularly true of the prospective customers you want to target. With on-line access to a wealth of information – from your official website to product review sites to blogs and other social media – they self-educate, identify potential vendors, and form opinions on which vendors best meet their needs. And they do all this long before they’re on your sales group’s radar. As a marketer, it’s your job to find these prospects, separate the serious buyers from the tire kickers, determine when they’re ready to start a purchase conversation, and introduce them to your sales team. How? By reading the prospects’ digital body language.

Just like body language consists of explicit gestures (thumbs up, nodding, waving and so on) and tacit cues (leaning forward in a chair, a tilt of the head, etc.), digital body language is made up of explicit and information. Using this information, you can determine a customer’s sales readiness and which action to take next. Lead scoring is how you do this.

But first, marketing and sales must agree on the definition of a qualified, or sales-ready, lead. This is essential to forming a working partnership in which marketing generates qualified leads and sales closes them. In the on-line world, a qualified lead is one that is both a fit for your products, services and strategies, and sufficiently engaged to start talking with sales. Fit is determined by the explicit information you collect: their role, region, company, industry, revenues and so on. Basically, are they and/or their company who you want to sell to? Do they have the right budget? Are they in the right country? Can they make a purchase decision? Engagement is determined by tacit information gleaned by their activity on your website or email marketing campaigns. What web pages have they viewed? What have they downloaded? What events have they registered for? Based on this information, you can gain insight into their level of interest, where they are in their purchase cycle and whether they’d be receptive to engaging with sales.

I usually recommend a Co-Dynamic lead scoring methodology—a fancy way of saying it allows companies to prioritize leads based on both explicit data, like job title, business or industry, and implicit data demonstrating prospect interest, like website visits, downloads and email campaign response. Lead scores are not fixed, but may increase or decrease over time according to prospect behaviour.

(to be continued as I update more of the workbook)…

Prelude to the Tin-Can Canucks: HMCS Grilse (I)

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

This post is the first 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.

HMCS Grilse (I) Specifications:

Length : 205’
Beam: 18’ 6”
Draft: 9.2’
Displacement: 287 tons

Laid Down: 1912
Launched: 1912
Commissioned : 15-07-1915
Paid Off: 10-12-1918

Armament: 2 × 12pdr LA guns; one 14″ Torpedo Tube

HMCS Grilse on Convoy Duty - Arthur Lismer

Looking forward along HMCS Grilse’s long, narrow hull, war artist Arthur Lismer‘s print captures Grilse’s destroyer-like shape and high speed.

Only five years old, and facing the prospect of German U-boats in Canadian waters—and without destroyers for protection—the Royal Canadian Navy set about acquiring private yachts for use as patrol and escort vessels. One of these was a 202 foot steam turbine yacht by the name of Winchester. To avoid running up against the American’s neutrality, several Canadian yacht owners privately purchased boats from Americans and then traded them to the RCN. This is the manner in which Grisle came to fly the white ensign in 1915.

HMCS Grilse as SY Winchester was one of a family of fast steam yachts used for commuting by P.W. Rouss. She was designed by Cox & Stevens and built by Yarrow along the sleek torpedo boat destroyer lines—which in conjunction with her Parson’s steam turbines could drive her up to 34 knots in good weather.
In an odd quirk of fate, Mr. Rouss commissioned the construction of another yacht named Winchester (the fourth), only to have it pressed into service with the US Navy in 1917—and she would later see wartime service with the Canadian Navy in 1940 as HMCS Renard . In all, three of the 4 Winchesters owned by Rouss would see military service with various navies at least once in their life.

Although not a destroyer in the truest sense, having been designated a Torpedo Boat she was tasked with many of the same escort and patrol duties in Canadian waters as Royal Navy torpedo boat destroyers (those of an earlier vintage than the front-line fleet’s destroyers represented by the M and R classes ). In that respect, she could be seen as the precursor of the navy’s destroyer force.

HMCS Grilse at Speed

HMCS Grilse, seen here steaming at high speed, was the Royal Canadian Navy’s closest ship to a destroyer during the First World War.

She arrived in in Canada and was commissioned the middle of July 1915 and after arriving at the Canadian Vickers shipyard in Montreal she was converted from a luxury yacht to a torpedo boat by the addition of a pair of 12-pounder (3-inch) quick firing guns and a 14-inch torpedo tube (located aft in place of the former salon/deck house). Additionally care was taken to de-store the ship’s fine china and other luxury items—although the wood fittings and other décor remained, leaving one to wonder how difficult life aboard the ship was in good weather!

Although she saw no U-boat during the war, Grilse was much in demand as an escort for convoy’s arriving and departing Halifax (a major Royal Navy base at the time). By October of 1915 she was patrolling off Cape Breton where she hunted for a reported U-boat in and around Little Bras d’Or Bridge and took part in an abortive U-boat trap off Cape Dauphine. The winter of 1915-1916 Grilse was loaned to the British Commander-in-Chief North America and West Indies station based in Bermuda. She would spend her time in the Caribbean undertaking anti-submarine patrols out of Jamaica. Her trip south was complicated by her high fuel consumption (3000 gallons—over 11,000 litres—of fuel oil a day at cruising speed) which left her 150 nautical miles out of Bermuda almost out of oil. She had used more than 13,000 gallons of fuel oil in her passage leaving Grilse to be towed in to Ireland Island Bermuda by the cruiser HMS Cumberland. After several quiet months in fine weather she returned to Canada—again short of fuel and needing to be towed into port.

Her patrols off Cape Breton during 1916 once more showed her lack of fuel economy and so she was pulled from her posting at Sydney, Nova Scotia to report back to Halifax where she would be reserved for escorting important vessels into and out of the port—with the stipulation that she couldn’t exceed 13 knots as a means of limiting her oil consumption.

Torpedo Practice, HMCS Grilse

These photographs show HMCS Grilse taking part in a torpedo firing exercise, a type of practice important for maintaining the ship’s fighting efficiency.

Once again she was loaned to the Royal Navy for the winter and setting out for Bermuda with extra barrels (some 2,000 gallons) of oil lashed to her upper deck Grilse departed Halifax December 11, 2016. She would never complete her passage to the Caribbean. Running into a gale near Sable Island the former yacht nearly foundered as she was repeatedly swept by green seas. The oil barrels were jettisoned, but several crew members were lost as they were washed overboard—including one of the signalmen who was attempting to repair the radio antenna damaged by the gale.  When one of the engine room skylights was smashed open the sea poured in—some four feet of water being shipped in the engine room giving the vessel a 20° list to starboard. Through dogged determination, a long night of bailing and not a little luck Grilse made it into Shelburne, Nova Scotia December 14 with little in the way of free board. In addition to the men washed overboard she had lost 3 lifeboats and a torpedo reload (including the warhead but excluding the gyro ).

Refitted and back to sea by May 10, 1917 to return to her anti-submarine patrol work, she would see no further adventures. She was likely laid up during the winter of 1917-1918 with a caretaker crew (her thin steel hull wouldn’t have fared well against thick maritime ice). By the Armistice she was little used having become very expensive for upkeep and for the limited local patrols.

Grilse was still with the navy when HMCS Patriot and HMCS Patrician joined the ranks of Canada’s naval vessels. She was however no longer in commission, having been paid off in 1918.

Eventually sold to Solomon Guggenheim in 1922, she foundered in a gale in 1938.



Blast from the Past: 1/72 HMCS Summerside MM711

So, back in 2011 I posted a build log of my then current ship model project–a 1/72 scale HMCS Summerside model–on the ModelWarships.com forum.  Just recently I stumbled across those postings and thought it would be an easy way of generating more blog content if I copied it over here as well (for posterity sake or something).  The original can be found here: http://www.shipmodels.info/mws_forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=72158 .

1/72 HMCS Summerside MM 711

first posted Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

Some background: I hail from Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, but one with a proud military tradition. I’m defiantly a 1/72 modeler, choosing this scale over almost all others, and when 2010 rolled around I knew I wanted to build a 1/72 model of a Canadian warship, as my celebration of the Canadian Navy’s centennial. Never having tackled anything that big before, I figured I’d cover my bases by getting several sets of plans for modern Canadian ships–and eventually I settled on the smaller Kingston-class MCDV; partly because it was do-able, and partly because one of the MCDVs is named after PEI’s second largest city, Summerside. I’ve since fallen in love with ship modeling, and have plans on building all the ships that have served in the Canadian navy that were named after places on PEI (there are seven, and in 1/72 I may need a larger house…)

I have a debt of gratitude especially to Darren Scannell of the Resin Shipyard, as without his assistance and patience with my stupid questions about ships this project wouldn’t have been started, let alone nearing completion. As well, I thank several other board members who have helped answer questions or offer advice–and not to mention the amazing reference materials that exist here as the completed builds of a variety of ship models large and small. This board is home to some master craftsmen, and I aspire to that level of quality myself one day.

One further note: This was a Navy Centennial build, and should have been completed last year, but a kink in the form of a broken ankle in December conspired to delay it. Nonetheless, when I started, I’d not considered posting the build, so some of the early photos are taken with my Blackberry, and are of dubious quality.

So here we go…way back in January of 2010…

Here’s where everything started, the keel laying (as it were):

After cutting the bulkheads and gluing them to the keel, I set out to run stringers (none of them apparently straight) between. Some scrap balsa was fiddled with to produce a rough 1/700 Summerside mock-up–just for fun

The bow, and stern were carved from balsa, and once I was reasonably happy with the stringers (which is to say, they were all glued in place) I started planking using 1/16 balsa strip–pinning it using straight pins to hold it while the carpenter’s glue dried:

It was at this point that I was unsure of the shape of the bow–the whole ship seems short and squatter than is should be….unfortunately, I’d started building before I had a top view scaled to 1/72…this would cause problems later…

It looked nice by the stern though 🙂

A fuzzy shot of the planked hull…

Compare that to the real Summerside:

Yeah, shape issues. Once I got a decent main deck plan view scaled to 1/72 I realized what happened–when re-scaling the plans I had, I’d assumed they were all the same scale–but the starboard elevation (visible in the first photo under the keel) was slightly smaller. Without a gut check with the main deck plan, I’d ended up using the wrong measurements, and that screwed up the shape of the bow. At this point, I had to cut the bow off, add a 1″ plug of balsa to bring it to the right length, and re-profile everything….

More on that my next post.

Thanks for listening to my rambling.



Spaghetti with Beef & SCE (?!?)

So this year my daughter turned 12, (okay, so she turned 12 in 2015 so I guess she turned 12 last year) and what is the daughter of a former Air Cadet and Army Reservist to do?  She joined Sea Cadets.

As a proud member of RCSCC 335 Calgary she was off to a seamanship competition this past weekend and in addition to winning the provincials, she and her team (and the rest of the Calgarys) spent the weekend eating field rations.  Now in my day (oh so long ago) Canadian Forces field rations were outstanding–not only did they meet your dietary needs they also tasted good (well, except the Hungarian goulash and lung-in-a-bag).

My daughter’s rations apparently weren’t that good (to be fair and honest, I’m not sure they’re actually Canadian Forces field rations–they could be American or civilian or some other source of mush-in-a-bag).  To provide to me their lack of quality she provided me the following item for lunch:field ration package

Stamped on the nondescript green pouch it says “Spaghetti with Beef & SCE“.  I have no idea what SCE is, but here’s what  it looks like once heated:

image (2)

All that said, I tackled the challenge head on and ate my issued ration of spaghetti with beef & SCE–there’s even photographic proof:

image (1)

Surprisingly enough, it was actually good–better than Chef Boyardee.  Now either I was lucky enough to get the one decent meal they issued, or my child has no idea what bad rations would taste like.  Compared to Hungarian goulash, this was gourmet.



Tin Can Canucks

Tales of the Tin-Can Canucks

The Royal Canadian Navy celebrated it’s centenary in 2010.  In 2014 the RCN celebrated 100 years of Canadian Submarines. Coming up in 2020 it will be 100 years since the commissioning of Canada’s first Destroyers HMCS Patriot and HMCS Patrician.  It will be the centenary of Tin Cans (destroyers) and Tin Can Canucks (destroyer sailors) in the Canadian Navy.

Tin Can Canucks: HMCS St. Croix

HMCS St. Croix

While there have been some fabulous books on various classes of ships in Canadian service–written by Canadian authors I deeply admire like Ken Macpherson, Julie Ferguson, J. David Perkins and others–I have yet to see a book published that looks at the story of destroyers in Canadian service.  So, in advance of 2020 I decided I had to write one–and call it… (drum roll)…

Tin Can Canucks

While I work on the manuscript, I wanted to share some of the amazing stories I’ve unearthed in my research–stories of men and ships and circumstances that are very much uniquely Canadian (including shelling the American west coast, surviving a monster gale on the way to Bermuda, or breaking up a mutiny on a merchant ship amongst other).  So those I think are most interesting–or frankly if I think I need a blog post in a jiffy–I’ll post here over the next few months.

I hope to have Tin Can Canucks completed this summer, and from there we will see how she goes.  In the meantime, I hope my readership (minuscule as I assume it to be) will enjoy reading these tales as much as I enjoyed writing them.

If you read one or more of these tales, and are interested in getting a copy of the book once it’s published, please leave a comment to let me know–I’ll post how to get a copy once I have that sorted out 🙂



Welcome to the New Year; same as the old year

Well I can’t say the new year of 2016 started on the right foot what with the passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman (plus all sorts of other interesting people like the pro wrestler The Wolfman).

Good news is we’ll see the 100th anniversary of the battle of Jutland the end of May.

Good times



We now return to the story of a [Software engineer], who’s gone to [digital marketing]…

When last we left out intrepid hero he had just passed a milestone 35th birthday…

It’s hard to believe the last time I posted to my blog it was some six years ago.  A lot has happened since then (including my finally retrieving  the whytewolf.ca domain from languishing in a domain squatters hell…) and I intend to recap that eventually.

But for now, just for those of you paying attention, I’m officially over the hill and now on attempt 3 to have a reasonably up to date blog.  I plan on hosting my thoughts on digital marketing, demand generation, military history, scale modelling and anything else that strikes my fancy–assuming I can maintain the momentum.

Not bad for the wrong side of forty.



(and if you get the title of this post, you’re likely my vintage too)

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