Saturday, December 11, 2010

Senators get Letters

Just a small snapshot of the hundreds of letters sent to Senators that were copied to us.

I told Dewolf Shaw that he wrote the fightingest response, and that it must run in the family. For those that aren't aware, Admiral DeWolf was Canada's most distinguished naval hero in WW2, who commanded the immortal HMCS Haida (now a floating museum in Toronto), which was recognized by our 400 ship fleet at the time, as the fightingest ship in the Royal Canadian Navy:


You may recall your interviewing me regarding Dome and the Beaufort Sea, long ago on Canada AM, when I was at McCarthy Securities in Toronto.

My late uncle and godfather was Harry DeWolf. See The New York Times Obituary attached.

He left funds to Halifax in his will. His ashes were scattered over the Bedford Basin where I summered every year.

Admiral DeWolf Park bears his name there on the Bedford waterfront.

It is my understanding that your committee could cause the restoration of the Royal in the former Royal Canadian Navy.

For most Canadians, and certainly for most in Nova Scotia, and those would have served in the navy, the deletion of the “Royal” from the RCN, causes offense similar to what Saskatchewanians and most Canadians would feel were the “R” to be deleted from the RCMP.

This needs to be fixed.

Thank you for all your hard work.

Best Regards,

This succinct letter from a retired RCAF Squadron Leader:

As one who served in the RCAF and the hybrid CF, I request your indulgence to record wholehearted support for having the current government restore the Royal prefix for our Navy and Air Force.

Canada is not a Republic, but a Constitutional Monarchy, as are a number of our NATO allies who designate their forces as Royal. We should do likewise and so recognize those who served and honoured our country as members of the RCN and RCAF.

John Glover, Squadron Leader ( Ret ) RCAF

Wonderful to note that we have the support of the Chairman of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust:


I would like to add my voice to the many others who would like to see the Royal designation restored to the Canadian Navy. Our navy came of age during the longest battle of World War II, the Battle of the Atlantic. Without victory at sea there could not have been victory in Europe. The Royal Canadian Navy won that battle with its 100,000 young men and women and its 400 ships.

The restoration of the Royal designation honours all those who served and the 2000 who made the supreme sacrifice.

Yours aye

John Jay, CD. LCdr RCN(R), (Ret'd)
Canadian Naval Memorial Trust.

Robert Lawrence articulates a frustration felt by all of us:


Please restore officially the titles Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Army to the appropriate branches of the military. This could be done by amending the National Defence Act and require almost no change in the current organization of the forces.

I served in the Naval Reserve for seven years and I, like everyone else in the service, referred to our branch as the 'Navy' and not the unwieldy and overly bureaucratic official name, Maritime Command. Restoring the Royal title officially restores a proud connection to our past and provides a source of pride for current members.

Undoing the most egregious elements of the Hellyer-era unification disaster are long over-due. The government of the day treated the forces with contempt and expressed its contempt by acquiring poorly-made and incongruous green uniforms for all members of the services. These were a supposed attempt to "Canadianize" the look of our military, but somehow foisting uniforms and rank insignia that were clearly American in inspiration did nothing of the sort. How US Navy rank insignia (borrowed for officers) and US Air Force patterned uniforms and USAF inspired rank insignia for non-commissioned members of the military resulted in "Canadianized" uniforms beggars common sense. That nations such as India, Pakistan, and other republics have retained their British-style uniforms long after they became independent speaks volumes about the misguided, and frankly, narrow-minded thinking that led to the repulsive green uniforms and the nonsensical unification debacle.

Fortunately the worst aspects of the "green" bus driver uniforms were addressed in the 1980s, but there are still things that should be done to show that the current government is not willing to perpetuate Paul Hellyer's agenda that grew from his own desire to draw attention to himself at the expense of our military.

It is time, sir, to right the worst of the errors of the past. Time for the bureaucratization of the forces to be ended and the best elements of what made this a great nation in the past to be restored. Time to have an official Navy, Army, and Air Force once again with their Royal honourifics restored.


Robert E. Lawrence, MA, CMA, CIA, CCSA, CFE

A classmate of Senator Joseph Day writes:

Dear Committee Members,

I was one of the "more than 5000" petitioners who would like to see the navy and air force renamed "Royal Canadian Navy" and "Royal Canadian Air Force". I joined the Royal Canadian Navy with pride in 1964, graduated with Senator Day from the Royal Military College of Canada, but left the Canadian Armed Forces three years later. I served in the navy with, at first, a blue uniform and then switched to the "bus driver" green uniform before I left. Both the new uniform and the new name were very demoralizing to the navy (and, I'm sure, the air force). It was pleasing to see the reversion back to the old colours for the uniforms a number of years ago. I understand that morale came back with them.

I truly believe that serving sailors deserve more a better name for their service than "Maritime Command" but I don't think that "Canadian Navy" is quite the right thing.

In Canada we use the term "Royal" with pride - think of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Royal Canadian Legion and, of course the Royal Military College. (Unfortunately the Royal Canadian Air Farce is a thing of the past).

Let's keep that pride.


Eric J. Ruff, FCMA
Curator Emeritus
Yarmouth County Museum

This one to Senator Mitchell (who has a colonial chip on his shoulder the size of the British Empire), who is against restoration of the royal honour, but heh, the good Senator is from Alberta which has to be worth part marks and enough to give the old college try:

Dear Senator Mitchell,

As the Senate member representing Alberta and as the closest Senator to British Columbia on the Security & Defense Committee I wish to make my opinion know that I support the moniker "Royal" being added to the Canadian Forces Maritime & Air Force entities.

I look forward to your support for both services being renamed the traditional "Royal Canadian Navy & Royal Canadian Air Force".

I would also like to state, that I have no connection to either the Navy or Air Force but believe that Canada has a long tradition that should be honored.

Yours truly,

Trevor Sandwell.

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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.