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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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Destroyer Steam Turbine Engine
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).

These state-of-the-art engines and the oil-fired boilers that fed them occupied considerable space in the destroyers' long and narrow hulls. Steam turbine technology, developed in the late nineteenth century, permitted warships to travel at high speeds for extended periods. By the 1930s, turbines propelled destroyers at speeds which would have kept pace with many First World War torpedoes.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19710203-002_3





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