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CHAPTER IX

 

CANADA IN THE WAR AT SEA

THE official annual reports of the Director of the Naval Service are noticeably brief. That for the fiscal year ending March 31st, 1915, says merely: "With regard to the activities of the Naval Service Department in relation to the war, preparations having previously been made to meet all contingencies which could be foreseen, it was only necessary to carry out or expand these preparations when war appeared imminent."

In time of peace the activities of the department are mainly concerned with the general administration of the Dockyards at Halifax and Esquimalt, the Naval College at Halifax, Fisheries Protection Service, Life Saving Service, Tidal and Currents Survey, Radio-telegraph and Hydrographic Survey. When war actually broke out the Rainbow had been commissioned for patrol duty in Behring Sea and was therefore ready for immediate service, while the Niobe was laid up at Halifax with a care and maintenance crew on board, which ensured her being kept in such a condition as would enable her to be placed in commission at short notice. Both vessels, with their officers and crews, were placed at the disposal of the Admiralty immediately on the declaration of war.

Arrangements were at once made to commission the Niobe and to complete her crew to full sea-going requirements. This was done partly by the transfer of the Imperial officers and men of the sloops Algerine and Shearwater, which, owing to their small fighting value, had been ordered by the Admiralty to pay off at Esquimalt, and partly by the inclusion of one hundred Newfoundland naval reserve men, the remainder of the crew being recruited from men who had served in the British Navy and were resident in the Dominion. A

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