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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.

Launching HMCS Saguenay, July 1930
Launching HMCS Saguenay, July 1930

This photograph shows dignitaries, naval officers, and some of the shipyard workers who had helped build HMCS Saguenay just before its launching at Woolston, England.

George J. Desbarats, Canada's deputy minister of national defence (centre right, with beard), was among those present for the launch of the first destroyer designed and built for the Royal Canadian Navy. He stands near his wife Lilian (centre), who will formally launch Saguenay by releasing the bottle of champagne suspended midway between her and the ship. The bottle will shatter across Saguenay's bow (left), after which the ship will slide backwards into the water.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19710203-002_2

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