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CANADIAN EPICS IN RADIOCOMMUNICATION

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Radio Operator's Table onboard Canadian Submarine HMCS CC1 in 1914

Looking at the photo above, we can see on the port side (left of the photo) the radio operator's table onboard Canadian submarine HMCS CC1 in 1914. The table was located in the forward torpedo room. You can also see the two forward torpedo tubes in the photo. Torpedos on the port side had to slide under the radio operating table when being loaded in the port side tube. It is also likely that a torpedo was stored under the radio operator's table when there was a full complement of torpedos onboard at the beginning of a mission. I believe I also see a morse key on the radio operator's table.

 

The story of submarine HMCS CC1 and her sister HMCS CC2 is quite interesting. Both submarines were built at Seattle, Washington for Chile but the Chileans had a dispute with the Americans and refused delivery in 1914. The submarines were originally named "IQUIQUE" and "ANTOFAGASTA". At the beginning of World War One, British Columbia was very concerned that the Dominion of Canada Government was not doing enough to protect the west coast. So the Premier of British Columbia Sir Richard McBride, who knew about the dispute between Chile and the Seattle builders, made a secret deal with the Americans and purchased the two submarines. As everyone slept, the two submarines left the Port of Seattle in the middle of the night and sailed for Canada. They entered the port of Vancouver and came alongside the jetty without the knowledge of the Coast Guard and the Navy. For the next few days, British Columbia had a Navy.

 

When the Dominion of Canada Government became aware of McBride's secret deal, they had no choice but to go along with British Colombia. The two submarines were commissioned on August 6, 1914 into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS CC1 and HMCS CC2. Both submarines were based at Esquimalt, B.C. for the next three years and were used for the defence of the west coast. They were transferred to Halifax in 1917 and were the first Canadian warships to transit the Panama Canal under the White Ensign. They were subsequently ordered to Europe but it was discovered that they were unfit for a transatlantic crossing so they remained in Halifax until the end of the war and were sold for scrap in 1920.

 

Donald Courcy

Radioman (Radio Sparker) onboard Canadian Oberon Class Submarines

First Canadian Submarine Squadron

Royal Canadian Navy

1965 to 1973

 

 

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