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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.

Engineer Captain Thomas C. Phillips
Engineer Captain Thomas C. Phillips

Thomas Phillips, seen here in his full-dress uniform, was a British-born naval engineer who worked on the designs of HMCS Skeena and HMCS Saguenay.

During the First World War, Phillips had been on loan from the Royal Navy as a temporary engineer lieutenant in HMCS Niobe and at Naval Service Headquarters in Ottawa, transferring to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in 1918. In this photograph, he carries the full-dress bicorn hat and wears a tailcoat with epaulettes, a belt and sword. Phillips's son Raymond would go on to serve with distinction in the RCN during and after the Second World War.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19840589-004

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