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CKA Uber
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:11 am
 


Image


$1:
In 1914, fearing an attack on the B.C. coast, Premier Richard McBride takes a chance, and buys two submarines with Provincial funds. They are the RCN's first submarines.

When the First World War began in August, 1914, British Columbia's Premier Richard McBride was concerned about the vulnerability of the west coast. Canada's small navy consisted of only a few ancient ships, with only one of these posted in British Columbia. The others were all posted on the east coast, at Halifax. In addition, the Royal Navy had committed all of her available resources to defending the Atlantic shipping lanes, trusting their ally, Japan, to keep on eye on Canada's west coast.

At the same time, a shipyard in Washington State had completed two submarines, which had been ordered by the Chilean Navy. Payment delays prevented delivery of the boats to South America, and the President of the shipyard made it known that he was willing to sell the ships, at a substantial profit.

Premier McBride attempted to persuade the federal government to purchase the boats, but he faced red tape and delays. Furthermore, U.S. neutrality laws prohibited the export of the submarines to a combatant nation, which Canada was.

McBride made the decision to use provincial funds to buy the vessels, which were being sold for $1.1 million. This amount was twice the operating budget for the entire Canadian Navy in 1913.

Furthermore, the shipyard president demanded the payment be made in full, at time of delivery. Shipment of the submarines would have to take place in secrecy, and both the Chilean and German governments were protesting the sale.

The submarines were delivered to an island off the coast of British Columbia, inspected by naval officers and government officials, and a cheque was handed over. On the decks, nervous shipyard officials scanned the horizon for approaching U.S. Navy vessels.

The cloud of secrecy over the delivery even extended to the Esquimalt dockyard. When the two subs were sighted approaching the harbour, a small patrol craft raced to intercept them, and the army shore battery prepared to open fire. Only a last minute communication between the artillery officer and the navy officials prevented a bombardment of the submarines.

The white ensign was raised over the ships, and they were commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy. Within two days, the province had been re-reimbursed by Ottawa, and the ships officially christened CC-1 and CC-2.

The ships were pressed into service, although few members of the Canadian navy had any submarine experience. Two former Royal Navy officers were given command of the boats, and an eager, albeit inexperienced, group of reservists formed the crews. Many of the men, officers and seamen alike, were forced to learn "on the job".

A retired ship, HMCS Shearwater, was re-commissioned as a submarine tender for CC1 and CC2, and they began patrol duties along the British Columbia coast. For most of the war, the submarines guarded the coast without seeing any action, and served as valuable training boats.

Finally, in 1917, it was decided the subs would be deployed to the Mediterranean. Along with Shearwater, the two boats began the 8,000 mile journey from Esquimalt to Halifax, via the Panama Canal. They made history as the first ships to travel through the canal under the Canadian Navy's white ensign.

Unfortunately, the journey proved to be too much for CC1 and CC2. Upon arrival in Halifax, their diesel engines had been damaged beyond repair, as had many of the other components. The submarines remained in Halifax , where they served in a limited defensive capacity.

Decommissioned at the end of the war, the ships were sold for scrap in 1920. While other submarines would serve in the Canadian Navy over the years, CC1 and CC2 will always have the distinction of being the first.... and for a brief moment, the province of British Columbia had its very own navy.


Ready Aye Ready, Premier McBride!


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CKA Elite
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:53 am
 


Cool story I didn't know.





PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:15 pm
 


:rock:


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CKA Uber
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:58 pm
 


Hey, I remember those. 8O

Thanks for posting. When people think of BC and water the first thing that comes to mind is BC Ferries and definately not submarines. [B-o]


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CKA Uber
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:02 pm
 


Freakinoldguy Freakinoldguy:
Hey, I remember those. 8O

Thanks for posting. When people think of BC and water the first thing that comes to mind is BC Ferries and definately not submarines. [B-o]


You would, Admiral. OD on CC1 - I think I recall the stories of you scrubbin' the heads on her.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:09 am
 


Gunnair Gunnair:
Freakinoldguy Freakinoldguy:
Hey, I remember those. 8O

Thanks for posting. When people think of BC and water the first thing that comes to mind is BC Ferries and definately not submarines. [B-o]


You would, Admiral. OD on CC1 - I think I recall the stories of you scrubbin' the heads on her.


My early career in a nutshell and I was very flattered when they used my career as the basis for a TV show.



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