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Birth of the Navy (1909-1914)
HMCS Rainbow

One of the Naval Service of Canada's first two ships, HMCS Rainbow's duties included the training of sailors and maintaining a naval presence on Canada's Pacific coast. Small and inexpensive to operate, Rainbow was well suited to these purposes, but limited budgets still constrained the ship's activities.

Mess Deck, HMCS Rainbow, around 1910
Mess Deck, HMCS Rainbow, around 1910

This photograph taken around 1910 shows a below-decks scene in the Canadian cruiser HMCS Rainbow.

Many of the ship's crew ate, slept, and lived in these mess decks while off duty. Racks visible in the background securely held plates and bowls, while sailors used movable tables and benches for eating and other activities including reading (second from left), and sewing or mending clothing (third from left). While most people in the picture are sailors, at least one (far left) is a Royal Marine, a reminder that Rainbow's crew included British personnel, because Canada never had marines.

CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum

HMCS Rainbow Arriving at Esquimalt, British Columbia, 1910
HMCS Rainbow's Officers Greeting Dignitaries
HMS Shearwater and HMCS Rainbow at Esquimalt, 7 November 1910
Gun Practice aboard HMCS Rainbow
Mess Deck, HMCS Rainbow, around 1910
Walter Hose, Commander of HMCS Rainbow
Ship's Wheel, HMCS Rainbow
HMCS Rainbow Sailors and Capstan
Naval Service of Canada Recruitment Poster
HMCS Rainbow "Cleared for Action"
14-inch Mark IX Torpedo