Thursday, December 27, 2007

Walter Hose, Father and Saviour of the RCN

Walter Hose, Father of the RCN
By Dr. Wilf Lund, Naval Historian

Rear Admiral Walter Hose is the man credited with saving the Canadian navy. During his watch as Director of the Naval Service (DNS), then as Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), 1921-1934, Hose fought many battles to ensure the survival of the fledgling RCN, in his words "the Ugly Duckling" of Canadian National Defence.

Rear Admiral Walter HoseWalter Hose was quite literally "a man of the sea". Born 2 October 1875 aboard the P&O steamer Surat in the Indian Ocean, Hose, whose father was an Anglican bishop, enrolled in the Royal Navy, like many sons of clergymen. At 14, he joined HMS Britannia and spent most of the next 21 years at sea.

His experience was extensive. He had six commands, including gunboats in Newfoundland and the China and East Indies Stations, and a torpedo gunboat in the Home Fleet. He also trained Royal Navy Reservists in Newfoundland from 1902-05. It was during his time in Newfoundland that he became acquainted with Captain Charles Kingsmill, the man he was ultimately to replace as Director of the Naval Service.

Promotion in the RN was slow and Hose, seeking new challenges, contacted Kingsmill in 1909 regarding opportunities in the proposed Canadian Naval Service. Kingsmill had nothing to offer but they kept in touch, and when the Commanding Officer of HMCS Rainbow resigned in 1911, Hose was offered the command. He accepted, and joined Rainbow as a Commander on loan from the RN. He was also in charge of the Esquimalt Dockyard.

Hose, who transferred to the RCN in 1912, worked hard to bring Rainbow up to standard for a cruiser of her class but watched as crew numbers fell until she had to be paid off in 1913 "with her belly flapping against her back-bone for want of personnel".

Hose believed that the only way to win public support for the RCN was to create a citizen navy, "a naval reserve with units across the country". In 1912, he advanced this idea to Kingsmill, whose response was, "My dear Hose, you don't understand - it can't be done".

A year later, during a visit to Victoria, the Minister of the Naval Service, Douglas Hazen, gave permission to a group of young men to form a naval volunteer unit and directed Hose to allow them to drill in the dockyard. Hazen also undertook to consult with his Cabinet colleagues on the idea of a naval reserve. Despite difficulty persuading Kingsmill of the merits of "Royal Canadian Naval Volunteers", Hose nevertheless pressed on, providing officers and senior ratings to conduct training for the volunteers. The support of BC's Premier Richard McBride, who was concerned about the lack of naval defence for his province, was obtained. The Governor General, the Duke of Connaught, also became interested, and Hose believed this support was critical. The Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR) was eventually established on 14 May 1914.

Within months, Canada was at war. The only ship on the west coast deemed theoretically capable of going on the offensive was HMCS Rainbow. Two antiquated old sloops, HMS Shearwater and Algerine, and two submarines recently acquired by the province of British Columbia, were also available to provide very minimal defence. Fortunately, the Canadian government had previously directed that Rainbow be dispatched on a sealing patrol and she was thus fit for sea, if not for war.

In early August, Rainbow was assigned to protect merchant shipping in the area. There was intelligence of a German cruiser squadron operating in the South Pacific and, more urgently, the possibility of two German cruisers operating off the coast of Mexico. The heavy burden of making Rainbow ready fell to Hose, who lacked both resources and support. He had no high-explosive shells onboard and only half the ship's required complement, a third of these being RNCVRs. Rainbow was dispatched on 2 August, to guard trade routes north of the Equator, with a warning that she might encounter the German cruiser Leipzig. She departed Esquimalt on 3 August; war was declared on 4 August. Rainbow became the first RCN ship ever to be at sea as a belligerent.

The first month of the war was one of great uncertainty on the west coast. There were rumours of imminent attack by German cruisers. Rainbow marched and counter marched between Cape Flattery and San Francisco. She escorted Shearwater and Algerine home after they were ordered to return to Esquimalt from missions in Mexican waters, and also scouted for the German cruisers. Unknown to Hose, the Leipzig was trying to locate and engage Rainbow. They never made contact but the "what ifs" have provided grist for the history mill ever since.

By the end of August, reinforcements in the form of the Japanese armoured cruiser Idzumo and modern RN light cruiser, HMS Newcastle, had arrived in Esquimalt. The German cruisers left northern waters to join German Admiral Maximilian von Spee off the South American coast, removing the threat from the North Pacific. Rainbow was assigned general patrolling duties that took Hose on one occasion as far south as Panama. He seized some German merchant ships as prizes. Rainbow also acted as a training ship for RNCVRs until paid off in May 1917.

Hose, now an Acting-Captain, was reappointed in August 1917, to Sydney, Nova Scotia as Captain of Patrols responsible for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations in the St. Lawrence area. There was a growing threat from attack by long-range German U-boats and Hose had to significantly expand patrol activities, an immense task. He approached his new tasks with characteristic vigour, but Hose had had a long war and he broke down from exhaustion. In July 1918, he wrote to Kingsmill, "The Machinery needs a rest". But the anticipated U-boat attacks materialized and Hose went back to work. By the time the war ended in November 1918, Hose had learned a great deal about the challenges to be met if the RCN was to ever become a sustainable national service. His turn to meet those challenges would not be long in coming.

In March 1920, Captain Walter Hose was summoned from Halifax by the Minister of the Naval Service, the Honourable C.C. Ballantyne, and directed to immediately address the reorganization of the navy question. Hose had no experience in Ottawa and was literally thrown into the "deep end".

When Hose arrived at naval headquarters, he was assigned as the Assistant to the Naval Minister and Acting Director of the Naval Service, in fact head of the RCN. It is interesting to note that Hose could be considered a middle of the pack Commander in the Royal Navy when he transferred to the Canadian Naval Service "to do something useful" and because his RN promotion prospects looked bleak. That decision was a happy one for the RCN because Hose brought to the fledgling navy traits of optimism and endurance, plus a good dose of political acumen that carried him through stormy times. A more talented and ambitious person might well have given up on the navy and sought satisfaction elsewhere.

One of Hose's first tasks was to obtain ships for Canada's navy from the British Admiralty. He went to London and negotiated skillfully for a modern vessel, HMS Aurora, instead of the outmoded old coal-burner first offered (HMS Glasgow). Hose then pressed for the loan of gunnery and torpedo ratings to man Aurora. Despite fierce opposition from Britain's Second Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Montague Browning, Hose won the day.

To Hose the future looked promising. HMCS Aurora with Patrician and Patriot arrived in Halifax on Christmas Day 1920. The small squadron provided a foundation to build on, plus positions for graduates of the Royal Naval College of Canada. The naval appropriation - $2.5 million - was sufficient to man and operate the ships, and on New Year's Day 1922, Hose was confirmed as the Director of the Naval Service. This good fortune was short lived. Mackenzie King's Liberals defeated the Conservatives in the fall election of 1921. The Liberals had a natural inclination toward anti-militarism and needed no coaxing to slash the military budget.

Rumours circulated that the Naval Service was to be absorbed by the Militia (the newly created Canadian Air Force had already succumbed to this fate). In addition to meeting the basic challenge of finding money for the RCN's survival, Hose needed to ensure that the Navy contentcolumntained its independence.

The budgetary axe fell quickly; the RCN had its appropriation cut by 40 percent to $1.5 million dollars. This compelled Hose to reduce the fleet to Patriot and Patrician and four minesweeping trawlers. He closed the Naval College and Youth Training Establishment and cut personnel down to just over 400. Walter Hose fully appreciated that the RCN had no support in the government or the country; increased funding would come only with political support. It was necessary to create "a far greater sea-consciousness." Hose believed; "The navy must be brought into the country(...)." The only way to do this was to raise a naval volunteer reserve with units in populous cities throughout the Dominion.

From this vision the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) was established on 31 January 1923, with 1000 officers and men. Naval reserve divisions soon opened in fifteen cities across Canada, mostly with half companies of 50 personnel. According to historian Marc Milner, "the volunteer reserve companies were an instant success." Hose was in many ways replicating for the navy the model that had made the militia an institution of Canadian society. It worked very effectively and the base for rapid expansion was in place when war came.

For years Hose continued to be plagued by political infighting but was finally named Chief of the Naval Staff in 1928. Under his watch , HMCS Skeena and Saguenay, the first two warships built for the RCN, were obtained. The two destroyers were part of Hose's long-range plan for a small fleet to meet Canada's defence requirements.

Hose and the RCN were not home free yet, however. The depression forced massive cuts on the Department of National Defence. In May 1933, the Government called for a $3.7 million cut in the defence budget ($2 million of which was to be taken from the RCN). The recontentcolumning $422,000 was insufficient even to pay for the Navy's disbandment.

It was the clear objective of the Militia to abolish the Navy. The Chief of the General Staff, Major General Andrew McNaughton, had personally recommended this to Prime Minister Mackenzie King on the grounds that if the Government could not afford to contentcolumntain all three services efficiently, then the Navy should be done away with. Hose recalled, "Naturally I steadfastly opposed this, (...) and I was able to leave them with the final estimates I had submitted - intact." This was Hose's final battle. He requested to be permitted to retire and recommended that Commander Percy Nelles succeed him as Chief of the Naval Staff. Hose was promoted to Rear Admiral on the retired list in June 1934.

Rear Admiral Walter Hose probably saved the Royal Canadian Navy. His legacy was a small but vibrant, enthusiastic and highly professional regular force. Across Canada the divisions of the RCNVR wove the Navy into the fabric of Canadian society. Hose was at heart a tenacious fighter but also a political realist. Had it not been for Hose the RCN, the "Ugly Duckling of Canadian National Defence", may not have survived.

33 comments:

  1. Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you're working with? I'm planning
    to start my own blog in the near future but I'm having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!


    my webpage retort
    Also see my webpage :: degenerative

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not sure why but this website is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I'll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.



    Feel free to visit my web-site; transportation

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on
    this blog loading? I'm trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it's
    the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

    Here is my homepage ... removal tools
    Also see my website :: removal los

    ReplyDelete
  5. Today, I went to the beach with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I
    had to tell someone!

    Also visit my blog post :: dekorativno
    my website - pakovanje

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a
    team of volunteers and starting a new project in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a outstanding job!

    Here is my web-site; Folija
    Also see my web page: folija

    ReplyDelete
  7. Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I'd figured I'd ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa?

    My site covers a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you're interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

    Feel free to surf to my web site ... removal cost

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am curious to find out what blog platform you're working with? I'm experiencing some minor security issues with my latest website and I'd like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?

    My weblog automatske

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that,
    terrific blog!

    my website: how many calories do you burn walking

    ReplyDelete
  10. The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad and tested to see
    if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.

    My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views.

    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share
    it with someone!

    Also visit my page ... information

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to
    manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Also visit my homepage: info

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins
    to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good
    gains. If you know of any please share. Thanks!


    My weblog Dominos promotional Codes

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi would you mind letting me know which hosting company you're working with? I've loaded
    your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I
    must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thanks, I appreciate it!

    Feel free to surf to my homepage :: Fashion jewellery online

    ReplyDelete
  14. As the admin of this web site is working, no question very quickly it will be renowned, due to its quality contents.


    My blog ... Fund accountant salary

    ReplyDelete
  15. Quality content is the main to attract the viewers to pay a quick visit the web site, that's what this web page is providing.

    Also visit my blog post: http://www.psygrid.Org/author/bethmarti

    ReplyDelete
  16. I truly love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself?
    Please reply back as I'm trying to create my very own blog and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Cheers!

    My weblog - dominos Vouchers

    ReplyDelete
  17. I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I'm
    assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I'm not very internet smart so I'm not 100% positive.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

    my web page: Quirky jewellery Uk

    ReplyDelete
  18. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
    find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and very broad for me.

    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!


    Also visit my website :: Www.Noridianmedicare.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to
    no back up. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?


    Here is my homepage ... beauty freebies Samples

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey! Quick question that's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I'm trying to
    find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this
    problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank you!



    Feel free to surf to my blog post - dominos vouchers uk

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

    My homepage - online market research companies

    ReplyDelete
  22. Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off
    topic but I had to share it with someone!


    My blog - cars Insurance Calculators

    ReplyDelete
  23. I almost never leave a response, but i did a few searching and wound up here "Walter Hose, Father and Saviour of the RCN".
    And I actually do have some questions for you if you usually do not mind.

    Could it be only me or does it look as if like a
    few of these comments appear as if they are left by brain dead individuals?
    :-P And, if you are posting at additional online sites, I would like
    to follow anything new you have to post. Would you list of all of all your social sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page
    or linkedin profile?

    Also visit my blog :: 2013 car insurance calculator

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks for another informative blog. The place else may just I am getting that type of
    information written in such a perfect approach? I've a undertaking that I'm simply now working on, and
    I've been at the glance out for such information.

    my homepage http://www.lyrik-base.de/

    ReplyDelete
  25. I always used to study post in news papers
    but now as I am a user of web therefore from now I am using net for articles, thanks to web.


    Here is my web blog best market research companies

    ReplyDelete
  26. Asking questions are genuinely pleasant thing if you are not understanding something fully, except
    this article offers good understanding even.


    My weblog; Http://cms.egsd.org:80

    ReplyDelete
  27. I read this post fully concerning the comparison of newest
    and earlier technologies, it's awesome article.

    My weblog - domino s pizza discount

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm going to be posting my own version of this as soon as I've looκеd into it with mοre сonѕideratіοn.
    Right now I'm not persuaded by this.

    Look into my web site: http://batir.tv

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi there, You've done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

    Feel free to surf to my weblog :: pharmacy technician course

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you're using? I'm planning to start
    my own blog in the near future but I'm having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I'm looking for
    something unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!



    Feel free to visit my webpage ... blog.adspay.ge

    ReplyDelete
  31. Apprеciаtе thе recommendation.
    Will try it οut.

    Feеl freе to viѕit my blοg ρost; brotschneіdemaschine **

    ReplyDelete
  32. Today, while I was at work, my сouѕіn stolе mу
    iPaԁ and teѕted tо seе if it cаn suгvіve a 40 foot ԁrop, just so she сan be a youtube sensаtіon.
    Mу iPad is now bгokеn and shе hаs 83 ѵieωѕ.
    I κnow thіs is comрletelу off toρiс but I hаd to
    share it wіth ѕomeоnе!

    Alѕo viѕit my ωeb page: hair scarvеs :: nuke-vfx.com :
    :

    ReplyDelete
  33. Нiya! ӏ know thіs is kinda οff topіc
    hoωevеr I'd figured I'd aѕk. Would you be interested in exchanging links οr maybе guеst
    authoring a blog artiсle οr vice-versa? Μy
    website goеs over a lot of the ѕamе ѕubjectѕ as yours and I beliеvе we could greatly benefit frοm each other.
    If you might bе interested feel free to ѕend
    me аn emaіl. I look forwarԁ to hearing from уοu!
    Excеllent blog by the ωaу!

    Also visit my blog рost - bügeleіsen tеst ()

    ReplyDelete

The Petition moves along...

May 1: Laurie Hawn, M.P. agrees to support petition
April 30: Sent draft petition to The Dominion Institute to seek their sponsorship
April 28: Sent draft petition to Captain(N) Pickingford, Project Manager, Canadian Navy Centennial Project
April 27: Sent petition to Blaine Barker of the Royal Canadian Naval Association and Bob Nixon of the Naval Officer's Association of Canada and Peter Dawe, Executive Director of the RMC Club
April 26: The Monarchist League of Canada members are supportive
April 25: Interesting - even heated - debate over at the Navy, Army, Air Force Forum, where the "Yeas" have it by a two-thirds majority.