Oral and Written History Program
The following have been interviewed with links provided for those transcripts that are posted:
Gillis, Hal: The subject of this interview is the quality assurance procedures of the Canadian Navy in the early 1950s and most of the 1960s. In 1969, the regime changed when the Canadian Forces Technical Services Agency assumed the responsibilities for the ship and equipment acceptance from suppliers. The participants in this program were the service and civilian personnel of the Royal Canadian Navy, the then Department of Supply and Services (DSS) and various shipyards and suppliers.
Bennett, Tom: This interview took the form of a verbal presentation and discussion at a special meeting of the CANDIB Committee. Mr. Tom Bennett presented to CANDIB several boxes of data relating to the Bras d’Or naval contract which had been awarded to de Haviland. Mr. Bennett had collected this data whilst employed by this company and engaging in the design, construction and trials of the vessel. These boxes included many pictures, reports and personal notes, which he referred to in his presentation. Mr. Tony Thatcher, chairman of the CANDIB Committee introduced Mr. Bennett, who then proceeded to make his own introductory remarks followed by a commentary on a number of design aspects of the Bras d’Or, referring throughout to the documentation he had brought with him. Following this presentation, a discussion took place in which members of the CANDIB Committee commented on the vessel and its design, and posed questions to which Tom Bennett responded. Those contributing to the discussion included Don Cruickshank, Admiral Michael Saker, Jim Williams, Don Wilson, Pat Barnhouse, Brian McCullough, and Doug Hearnshaw.
Chiasson, Roger: The subject of this interview is the Multi-ship Refit Program that the Canadian Navy undertook between the mid-seventies and the mid-eighties. It was a significant program within the Navy’s Ship Maintenance Program and was designed to address particular issues relating to the fleet of ancient ships. The three participant groups in the refit program were the Navy, the Department of Supply and Services as the contracting agent for the government and the contractor Canadian Vickers Limited of Montreal. This interview will present this interesting story from a naval perspective and covers the period from 1979 to 1982.
Smith, Gordon: This interview relates to the DDH 280 program which spanned a period from 1964 to 1973. It reflects the particular experience of our interviewee who was directly involved in several aspects of the project both during the design development phase and subsequently, right up to 2005. As a naval engineer Gordon Smith took part in the development of the design concept for the class and participated in the building, setting to work, and trials phases through his subsequent employment roles in industry.
Allan, John: This interview covered the start-up procedures and the management processes involved in the administration of the DDH 280 Destroyer Project and is presented from the naval prospective - from the Project Manager (PM 280).
Christie, Bill: This interview relates to the DDH 280 [Destroyer] program which spans a period from 1964 to 1973. It reflects the particular experiences of our interviewee who was directly involved in several aspects of the project. As a Naval Engineering Electrical Officer, Bill Christie took part in the development of the design concepts for the class and participated in the building and setting to work phase.
Broughton, Bill: This interview deals with the DDH 280 Program from the naval perspective.
Wilson, Bruce: Given that the first ships to be designed and built in Canada for the RCN were the St. Laurent 205 Class in the early 1950s, some information of the ways and means the Navy used in securing the equipment for the 205s would be of interest to our readers and since Bruce Wilson had some naval service associated with Canadian industry at that time, some record of his experience may be useful for future historians.
Welland, Bob: The subject of this interview is the controversy relating to the early negotiations for the acquisition by the Canadian Navy of what became the four DDH 280 destroyers in the time frame of 1960 to 1965. The choice of propulsion machinery, number of helicopters and the armament all contributed to the expanded requirement of the ships, which the government [politicians] thought would be a repeat DDH 265 Annapolis Class Destroyer [General Purpose (GP) Frigate].
Stephens, R. St. J. - Interview: Admiral Stephens attended a meeting of the CANDIB team and was invited to answer questions concerning his interesting and extensive naval career, with particular reference to the several occasions on which he has been involved in contractual relationships with the defence industry of Canada.
Stephens, R. St. J. - Written: In this posting, Admiral Stephens responds in writing to a series of questions put together by the CANDIB volunteers. There is a broad range of topics, some probing questions and some excellent responses.
Kerr, Donald: The aim of this interview is to capture Donald Kerr’s knowledge and perspective of the CPF project from his experience as Quality Assurance manager in SJSL during the CPF project.
Shepherd, John: The subject of this interview is Mr. John Shepherd and his association with the Canadian shipbuilding industry in general and Saint John Shipbuilding Limited in particular.
Struthers, Joseph: The subject of this interview is the project management of the Canadian Patrol Frigate, or CPF project, from the perspective of the prime contractor, Saint John Shipbuilding Limited, or SJSL, located in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Mustard, Bob - ASW: The subject of this interview is the development of several anti-submarine warfare equipments during the latter 1970s and their involvement with Canadian industry. The particular equipments are the active sonars, the [AN/] SQS-505 and the [AN/] SQS-510, the underwater telephone, sonobuoys and the advanced signal processor, the ASP, and CANTASS, the Canadian Towed Array Sonar System. Also described are the events leading up to the purchase of the ASWDS, the Anti-submarine Warfare Data System from Holland, for the [DDH] 280 class during the late 1960s.
Mustard, Bob - MCDV: The subject of this interview is the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels or MCDV Project. This project took place in the late 1980’s and through the 1990’s and was for the design and build of twelve vessels about one thousand tons to be operated by the naval reserve. Today’s interview will present this interesting story from an industry prospective.
Porter, Frank - TRUMP: The subject of this interview is the Tribal Class Modernization Project or TRUMP that the Canadian Navy undertook between 1985 and 2000. The three participant groups in this program were the Navy, the Department of Supply and Services as the contracting agent for the Government and the contractor, Litton Systems Canada of Toronto. This interview presents these interesting stories from a naval perspective.
Porter, Frank - Submarines: The subject of this interview is submarine refits undertaken by the Ship Repair Unit in HMC Dockyard, Halifax during the period 1975 to 1978 and the design authority for submarine refits in the National Defence Headquarters during the period 1979 to 1984.
McNally, Brian: This entry into the Archives resulted from an enquiry by Rolfe Monteith, for whom Brian McNally prepared this report. Brian was assigned by DDP to the Hydrofoil Project Office where there was increasing concern that the prime contractor’s costs were rising at an alarming rate. His report of this critical phase of the project is an invaluable addition to documentation already in the public domain. The significant point is that the lessons learned were effectively applied to future joint project offices.
Steam Club: Having pioneered the introduction of steam turbines for marine propulsion at the turn of the twentieth century, which greatly increased the propulsion power and speed of vessels, the Royal Navy in the 1960’s again took a revolutionary step in abandoning steam propulsion for future surface warships and committing to aero derived gas turbine engines. This radical change of course did not offer such clear advantages as the earlier one had done and a main purpose of this article is to review the merits and demerits of the case for the change with particular reference to the unrealised potential offered by more modern steam plant. The article combines the contributions of a number of retired engineers who have had direct involvement in the design of marine propulsion machinery since the 1940’s and knowledge of earlier developments of steam plant, which are briefly covered as an introduction.
Maw, John: This interview focuses on Lt. Maw’s war time experience and later in civilian industry in various manufacturing plants and shipyards with naval equipment programs. Lt Maw served in HMCS Prince Robert as one of the engineering officers.
Roberts, Dick: This interview dealt primarily with Cdr Roberts’ industrial base experience dealing with the destroyer main engine gearing produced by Dominion Engineering in Montreal and his experience in HMCS Bonaventure.
Mason, John (1): This interview explores Captain Mason’s experience in two shipyards and as Engineering Officer taking over three vessels; HMC Ships BUCKINGHAM, OTTAWA and CHAUDIERE.
Mason, John (2): This interview explores some of the elaborations on HMC Ships BUCKINGHAM, OTTAWA and CHAUDIERE and to look at some of the later experiences of Captain Mason as a senior officer in the fields of diplomacy and naval intelligence.
Farrington, Stephen: Cdr. Stephen Farrington was invited to write about his experiences during an exchange posting in Canada where he spent two years in Esquimalt as a member of the Commander, Training Group Pacific.
Farquaharson, Ken: The subject of this interview is the HMCS PROVIDER project.
Blattmann, Bert: There are several subjects addressed in this transcript. In Part 1, Captain Blattmann offers his recollections from his involvement in the Protecteur Class program and the project to convert a deep sea trawler into HMCS CORMORANT. He then provides some recollections from his involvement in the CPF Project. In Part 2 we learn a great deal about the Ship Repair Unit (Pacific).
Healey, Ed: Admiral Healey has had a remarkable career in the Canadian Navy within the Department of National Defence. He has had experience with many ship procurements from HMCS PROVIDER in 1963 through to the Canadian Patrol Frigate (CPF) and the Tribal Class Update and Modernization (TRUMP) in the 1980s. He was Project Manager for the CPF Project in the first half of the 1980s and later became Assistant Deputy Minister Materiel ADM (Mat), responsible for all procurements within DND. In this interview Admiral Healey has kindly offered to review the Naval Procurement Process over this period – a period when the process changed considerably and hence had a considerable effect on the industry supporting Canada’s Navy.
Wilson, Don: These are the recollections of Captain (N) Don Wilson who was involved in the DDH 280 Shipbuilding Program and was the first Engineering Officer of HMCS HURON. This interview relates to Don’s time on the Staff of the Technical Services Detachment (202 CFTSD) when the HURON was being built, set to work and during the trials program. He took over from Gordon Smith who was the Chief Engineer under contract with MIL Sorel. HURON commissioned December 16th, 1972 and braved the ice-packed St. Lawrence River for passage to Halifax.
Nixon, C.R. (Buzz): Buzz Nixon was invited to share his recollections with respect to shipbuilding programs, particularly with respect to project management. As noted in the transcript, Buzz indicated that he found the comparisons between the DDH 280 Program and the CPF to be confusing. He also wished to make some changes in the first part of the interview record and decided to do so by submitting an update to the transcript. It is the updated transcript that has been posted.
Charles, John: The interview covers the experiences of this fascinating officer who was able to serve in a very broad range of locations and duties – from Midshipman of the Boat in a Picket vessel early in his career to Commodore of the Barracks in Esquimalt and other impressive positions in between and afterwards. He includes a wealth of perspectives on the life and times of many RCN officers known to our readers.
MacArthur, Andrew: Mr. McArthur has a unique insight into the company’s response to the first Canadian Naval turnkey procurement in which a prime contractor assumed responsibility for the design, construction and integrated logistic support for a complete class of war ships. Later in 1985 Mr. McArthur became the President of Halifax Dartmouth Industries Limited or HDIL and held this position until March of 1994 during the construction of the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels or MCDVs. The MCDV project was the first Canadian Naval project to include in‐service support as part of the main contract. Mr. McArthur has a unique global perspective on the MCDV project.
Van Dinther, Bill: The interview focuses on Victoria Shipyards, the contract and build of the ORCA Class auxiliary vessels. Eight ORCA Class vessels have been built and are currently in service providing watchkeeping and navigational training to junior officers and officer cadets. The vessels operate from HMC Dockyard in Esquimalt B.C.
McArthur, Leonard: [Oral History]. This interview of LCdr Lenny McArthur, EO of IROQUOIS was conducted by Gordon Smith and was recorded digitally to be posted to our website in that form. This is CNTHA’s first posted oral history.
Arnold, Chris: This interview deals with the effect that Naval procurement of various projects including ship procurements had on the Canadian companies that Chris was involved with and his experiences while in the Federal Public Service.
Hansen, Ken: The subject of this interview is naval operational logistics. The subject, which has not received much attention to date among naval historians, is however a subject in which Mr. Hansen has taken a keen interest for a number of years and a subject which formed the basis of his master’s thesis.
Reilley, Dennis: As with other CANDIB interviews this interview deals with the Canadian Navy’s relationship with Canadian industry. Commodore Reilley has had extensive dealings with Canadian industry through a number of positions he held during his long and distinguished career as a maritime engineer in the Navy.
Cunningham, Joe: This interview covers a great deal of technical history, in which Joe Cunningham discusses his experiences in a wide variety of technical positions throughout a long and distinguished career as a Maritime Engineer in the RCN/CF. Joe’s last posting was on the West Coast and he had lots to say about the differences he encountered while working in both the east and the west.
Thomas, John In this interview, John Thomas describes what important lessons he learned and what his accomplishments were starting as a Naval Architect in the Navy and continuing in DND Headquarters and government and industry.
Cairns, Peter This interview relates the Canadian Naval shipbuilding programs which span the period from 1990 to the present time with predictions for the future and reflects Peter’s experience during that period. Peter retired from the Navy in 1994 with the rank of Vice Admiral after 37 years of Naval service. He had extensive command experience, is a qualified submarine officer and has had significant international experience having completed two tours in the Royal Navy, the United States Navy and on NATO’s maritime staff.
Smith, Jeffrey This interview has a particular focus on the decommissioning and disposal of RCN ships and Jeff describes the process with experience as the last Engineer Officer of HMCS QU’APPELLE.
*Histories are not yet available.
The following have provided written histories which have been posted for which links are provided:
Harris, William: In response to a request from Rolfe Monteith, these recollections were provided by LCdr W.B. Harris who was appointed to serve on exchange service with the Canadian Armed Forces at NDHQ, Ottawa. He was working in DMEE3 under Don Nicholson, with direct responsibility for design matters concerning marine propulsion transmission systems and propulsors.
Tarum, Gerry This written history is a description of the employment of a small team of technical personnel led by LCDR G. Tarum responsible for installation and maintenance of communications and other electronic systems associated with DDH 280 and AOR Class ships. This also included maintenance support of all ship borne systems and equipment. Time period was from 1962 to 2010.