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Interwar Years
Imperial Adventure: HMCS Thiepval

In 1924, one of the few ships in the post-First World War Royal Canadian Navy, the Battle-class trawler HMCS Thiepval, became the first Canadian warship to visit the Soviet Union and Japan when it provided support for a British attempt to fly around the world.

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HMCS Thiepval in Nazan Bay, Atka Island, in the Aleutians
HMCS Thiepval in Nazan Bay, Atka Island, in the Aleutians

Nazan Bay was one of HMCS Thiepval's last stops before the diminutive trawler crossed the north Pacific on the way to the Soviet Union and Japan.

This hand-coloured photograph gives an idea of the barren shores Thiepval would visit during this 1924 journey. A secret component of the mission involved examining Alaskan and northern Japanese ports to determine whether the United States or Japan was contravening the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty by fortifying these areas. Reports by Thiepval's commander, W.R.J. Beech, detailed resources, the presence of military or government officials, and the state of communications in several northern ports.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19710050-001_16

HMCS Thiepval in Nazan Bay, Atka Island, in the Aleutians
12-Pounder Cannon, HMCS Thiepval
Coastal Schooner Everett Hays, Alaska
Red Army Guards aboard HMCS Thiepval
HMCS Thiepval Officers with Japanese Naval Lieutenant, Hakodate, Japan
Loading a Propeller, HMCS Thiepval
HMCS Thiepval Crew Members
Bruno the Brown Bear, HMCS Thiepval
Vickers Vulture Flying Boat in Petropavlovsk, Soviet Union
Soviet Soldiers and HMCS Thiepval Lieutenant
HMCS Thiepval's Lieutenants and the British Flight Crew, Petropavlovsk
The End of the Voyage