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Interwar Years
The 1930s: Rebuilding the Royal Canadian Navy

Despite the severe financial climate of the Great Depression and political infighting, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) survived mainly as a coastal defence force. This period also saw the delivery of the first major warships designed and built for the RCN.

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HMCS Saguenay, 1931
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.

Saguenay and the similar HMCS Skeena were products of the Thornycroft shipbuilding yards in England. Supplementing and ultimately replacing earlier destroyers, these ships continued the Royal Canadian Navy's schedule of reservist training cruises, Caribbean exercises with the Royal Navy, and ceremonial events. Interwar officers from these two ships provided a nucleus of professionals who would go on to senior roles during the Second World War.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19710203-002_1





Launching HMCS Saguenay, July 1930
HMCS Saguenay, 1931
Model, HMCS Skeena
Engineer Captain Thomas C. Phillips
Destroyer Steam Turbine Engine
HMCS Skeena Plans
HMCS Saguenay Entering Willemstad Harbour, Netherlands Antilles, 1934
Torpedo Test Firing
Full-dress Uniform, Commander Frank Llewellyn Houghton
Sun Helmet, Horatio Nelson Lay
Commissioning of HMCS Fraser, February 1937
HMCS Restigouche
Royal Naval College of Canada Third Term Reunion, 1932
Sword of Honour, Robert Montague Powell
Model, HMCS Venture
Calgary Half Company, RCNVR, 1938
"Crossing the Line" Certificate, 1938