Thursday, June 17, 2010

Remembering Rear-Admiral William Moss Landymore, OBE (1916-2008)

Statement made on 28 January 2009 by Senator William Rompkey

Honourable senators, I rise to pay tribute to a great Canadian to whom we are all indebted for both his valiant defence of our country and his valiant defence and steadfast support of our navy. Rear-Admiral William Moss Landymore, crossed the bar in Halifax on Thursday, November 27, 2008, at the age of 92.

Admiral Landymore enrolled at the Royal Military College in Kingston in 1934 and entered the Royal Canadian Navy in 1936. He distinguished himself in both war and peace, serving in 13 ships of the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. Additionally, he trained the gunnery crews of seven allied ships at Scapa Flow. He survived the sinking of HMCS Fraser and HMCS Margaree. He saw active service in Palestine, the North Atlantic, the Pacific, and was awarded a Mention-In-Dispatches on the Murmansk Convoys. During the Korean War, Admiral Landymore commanded HMCS Iroquois on two tours, was awarded a second mention in dispatches, was appointed Canadian Commander Destroyers Far East and awarded the Order of the British Empire. Following the war, he commanded HMCS Bonaventure, our last aircraft carrier. He also served as Flag Officer Pacific Coast and Flag Officer Atlantic Coast.

However, it was his final act of service that earned him a place of honour as one of Canada's greatest naval heroes. A staunch opponent of unification, Admiral Landymore refused to sacrifice his principles to save his career. He foresaw the many problems unification would bring for the navy and to the morale of his sailors and he fought with a true "Heart of Oak" to serve his navy and keep true to the motto of the RMC: "Truth, Duty, Valour."

History has vindicated Admiral Landymore. Many of the initiatives that ended the Royal Canadian Navy have since been reversed and, today, we once again have a navy we can be proud of and depend upon. However, his legacy extends far beyond the navy of today.

Admiral Landymore established a tradition of principled leadership and uncompromising care for the welfare of subordinates that has since spread through generations of future military leaders. Without his great example of courage and conviction we would not generate leaders like General Rick Hillier; leaders who tell truth to power and who are unwilling to compromise on the welfare of the men and women who protect and defend this country.

After he was shamefully removed as head of our navy, Admiral Landymore continued to give to our country. Serving on the Board of the Grace Hospital in Halifax, he was awarded the Salvation Army Cross of the Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service. His work to promote health care, education and care for those with special needs brought many accolades that he never sought but so clearly deserved.

Honourable senators, I am honoured to pay tribute to a great sailor and a great Canadian, Admiral William Moss Landymore.

***

And this tribute from Gord Crowe:

In the 1960s I was a very young sailor on board HMCS Kootenay. The big news at the time was the government unifying the military. The day Rear-Admiral William Moss Landymore left the fleet the COs from all the RCN ships pulled him from the south gate to the north gate of the naval dockyard in a 26-foot whaler fitted with wheels for the occasion. The ships' companies lined the roadway cheering wildly as he passed. In front of the old dockyard fire hall the whaler was stopped, the admiral mounted the dias and in his address to us, he asked us to return to our ships, saying it was his fight with Ottawa and we were to continue to do our duty and serve to the best of our ability.

I saw many a tear that day especially from senior sailors. When his speech was over he was pulled the rest of the way to the north gate. There were many upset sailors returning to their ships, and then as now, I truly believe that had the admiral said "Follow me lads!" the dockyard would have emptied, and the military police would have had their hands full.

It was a historic day in my mind, forgotten by many, especially the government. Admiral Landymore was right. The RCN lost its identity, lost a great leader and consequently never fully recovered. God bless Admiral Landymore. He is one of the few military officers that stuck to his beliefs in spite of the dire consequences to his career. Admiral Bravo Zulu!

Gord Crowe

Halifax

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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.