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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.

Royal Naval College of Canada Third Term Reunion, 1932
Royal Naval College of Canada Third Term Reunion, 1932

Canada's interwar navy was commanded by a small "band of brothers" with extensive exposure to Britain's Royal Navy.

The small size of the Royal Naval College of Canada's early classes, as shown by this reunion photograph, resulted in relatively few Canadian officers being available for the interwar Royal Canadian Navy. Those who remained in Canada's tiny navy spent time alternating between service in Canada and postings to British ships and training establishments. While their numbers were adequate for peacetime, this shortage of trained officers would cause problems during the Second World War.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19710214-019_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