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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.

"Crossing the Line" Certificate, 1938
"Crossing the Line" Certificate, 1938

This certificate was created for crew members of four Canadian destroyers that crossed the Equator ("crossing the line") in 1938.

A 1938 cruise took the destroyers HMCS Saguenay, HMCS Skeena, HMCS St. Laurent, and HMCS Fraser, portrayed on the certificate along with their crests (top), across the Equator and to places shown on the map. The certificate, awarded to those crossing the equator for the first time, also depicts instruments used to initiate them during the "crossing the line" ceremony, including "soft soap" painted on with a brush (bottom left) and haircutting implements (bottom centre). It also shows imagery associated with the event, including King Neptune and Queen Amphitrite (centre left).

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19860341-006

Transcription in PDF

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