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164   DAYS OF PREPARATION

utility both in connection with the Canadian and Imperial services.

The history of the Niobe is shortly as follows. She was completed in 1907 and was purchased by Canada three years later, and used as a training ship at Halifax. There were difficulties in keeping her crew up to full strength, and in 1913 it was decided to reduce the crew, and most of the ratings lent by the Admiralty to the Canadian Government returned to England. When the Rainbow was commissioned for service in Behring Sea in the following year, most of the ratings still on the Niobe were utilized to make up her complement, and for this reason only a few men were on board at the beginning of war. Later on, when it was settled that she should be laid up, a nucleus crew sufficient to keep her in proper condition, and a staff of men to provide for transient ratings, were retained, all these arrangements being made after consultation with, and by the approval of, the Admiralty. The number of men and officers on the books of the Niobe is about eight hundred, but not half of these are attached to the service of the ship. The others compose the crews of various auxiliary services at Halifax, St. John, Sydney, and elsewhere, and are borne on the books of the Niobe for purposes of discipline and of accounting. During some months from four to five hundred Imperial ratings are accommodated on the Niobe. The vessel is therefore discharging her duties as a depot ship and is being made useful within the limits of her present capacity. A large number of other vessels, both Government and private, are being utilized in connection with the naval defence of the coasts on such duties as examination service, mine-sweeping, patrols, and other necessary work. The boats of the Fisheries Protection Service, the Fisheries Patrol Service, the Marine and Fisheries Service, the Hydrographic Service, one of the Public Works Department, and one of the Customs Department, have all been employed on the various special war services being performed by the


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