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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.

Ship's Wheel, HMCS Rainbow
Ship's Wheel, HMCS Rainbow

This is one of three ship's wheels salvaged from HMCS Rainbow after it was sold for scrapping.

As a contingency against malfunction or battle damage, Rainbow had wheel positions in widely separated locations. A wheel of this size - almost two metres in diameter - made it easier for several helmsmen to steer the ship in bad weather. While two of the salvaged wheels remained on the Pacific coast, this one came to Naval Service Headquarters in Ottawa in the 1920s, where it was placed on display as a souvenir of Rainbow. In 1947, the navy transferred the wheel to the Canadian War Museum.

Ship's Wheel
CWM 19470006-001

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