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Royal Canadian Navy

Royal Canadian Navy Ensign

Our Guide to Sources for Research into the Royal Canadian Navy, prepared by Dr. Richard Gimblett, retired RCN Command Historian, examines a very wide range of published documents.

Our Our Catalogue holdings, referring specifically to the Royal Canadian Navy, are extensive.

Collections: journals, magazines, files etc:

Canadian Defence Quarterly :

Canadian Defence Quarterly (1923-1939) - Our catalogued holdings
Canadian Defence Quarterly (1971- ) - Our catalogued holdings
Canadian Defence Quarterly - Selected articles from the 1971 series.

The Crow's Nest :

The Crow's nest - Our catalogued holdings of the WWII newsprint format editions
The Crowsnest - Our catalogued holdings of The Crowsnest : The Royal Canadian Navy's Magazine, 1949-1965
Crowsnest - Our catalogued holdings of Crowsnest [the national news magazine of the Royal Canadian Navy], 2011-

Canadian Naval Review

The Canadian Naval Review - Our catalogued holdings; see also our holdings, near complete, of the Canadian Military Journal which contains significant naval content.

Collected files :

The Mainguy Report : The events surrounding the return of ships and men at the end of World War Two are covered by:

Background to the the Mainguy report
The Official Report on certain "Incidents"... by Rear-Admiral E.R. Mainguy, R.C.N., and later documents
Mutiny and the Royal Canadian Navy by Christopher M. Bell
What the Mainguy report never told us: the tradition of ‘mutiny’ in the Royal Canadian Navy before 1949 and
The Post-war ‘Incidents’ in the Royal Canadian Navy, 1949 by LCdr Richard Gimblett.
"A Sickly Season: The Royal Canadian Navy and the Mainguy Commission", K.D. Calow (thesis).

The Sea King: a narrative of adaptability - C. Ayers and J.Wood, Royal United Services Institute. This article reinforces the importance of oral history; note that it predates John Orr's Perseverance : the Canadian Sea King story.

"The gold-braid mind is destroying our navy". Commodore James Plomer DSC*, CD, OBE (1911-1986) retired from the RCN in 1962, and wrote this piece for McLean's the following year. While some critics have seen this as controversial, or even acrimonious, it started a major discussion leading up to Paul Hellyer's "unification", and the GTF/DHH programme.

The Donald S. Jones fonds - Cdr Jones was an engineering and aero-engineering officer in the RCN from 1942 to 1974, with a continuing civilian career with the Department of National Defence. The fonds consists of multiple files containing his notes and training materials.

The Julie Ferguson fonds - Julie Ferguson spent many years researching Canadian submarines prior to publication of her Through a Canadian periscope in 1995 (revised edition 2004) and Deeply Canadian in 2000; this extensive fonds contains all of her research materiel.

The Frank Stockwell fonds - Cdr Stockwell was responsible for HMCS Haida after her decommissioning; this fonds includes corresponence, photographs, publications and memorabilia.

Ships, officers and men:

HMCS CORMORANT (ASXL-20) - a Dive Tender commissioned on November 10, 1978.
Pickle was not "HMCS" - the story of a well loved sail-training yacht.
Lt. (later RAdm.) H.F. Pullen's account of the ceremony opening the Canadian Vimy Ridge Memorial in 1936, a short biography of this RCN Officer, and a description of the ceremonial sword that he carried for this occasion, now in our collections.
Cdr David H. Botly, RCNVR, RCN(R), who served at the Dieppe raid, D-Day, etc... and donated the white ensign flown by LCP (L)-119 at Dieppe as part of Second Flotilla Group Six, consisting of LCP(L)s Nos.: 19; 88; 94; 119; 125; 129; 147; 156
RCN Centennial, interviews - NMA summer students interview veterans; The County Magazine, Fall 2010, with permission.
George Devonshire - served Merchant Navy then HMCS Waskesiu, Russian convoys, Word War II.




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Naval Marine Archive
The Canadian Collection

Revised: 8 April 2023