Saturday, January 23, 2016

Context for Combined Ops, "Nova Scotia on Alert, 1941"

Newspapers Create a Buzz While Men Train in RCNVR

As published in The Halifax Herald, November 24, 1941

In November, 1941, raw recruits in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve at HMS Stadacona, Halifax (very near the time they also volunteered for "special duties oversea" with Combined Operations) would have completed their training exercises while the following news items were published in one of the local papers.

Caption for above photograph: A keen-eyed shore fisherman scans the sea for the tell-tale "white feather" of foam which a submarine's periscope leaves behind as it cuts through the water, and for Axis bombers approaching Canada. The coast watch for enemy planes and naval vessels has been extensively organized it was revealed today, and 750 civilian watchers, serving without remuneration, are on duty in Nova Scotia alone, with many others elsewhere in the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Somewhere on the Nova Scotia Coast

By Arthur Merkel, Canadian Press Staff Writer

HALIFAX, Nov. 26 - (CP) - The Royal Canadian Air Force permitted disclosure today that a force of 2,000 civilians scattered throughout Eastern Canada and newfoundland has been trained in the job of speedily reporting any suspicious aircraft or naval vessels in their districts.

This disclosure, coming some two weeks after Navy Minister MacDonald's statement that German U-boats have been operating within sight of the Newfoundland coast and a warning by Vice-Admiral Percy Nelles that enemy submarines might soon be operating off Canada, stressed the importance of the work of these volunteer observers in the Dominion's defence set-up...

The observers are concentrated chiefly in Nova Scotia, where there are approximately 750, in Newfoundland, with better than 500, and throughout New Brunswick and prince Edward Island. Others operating for the Eastern Air Command are located in Quebec, along the Labrador coast, and in northern sections of Ontario and Manitoba, principally around Hudson Bay. In addition, vessels with ship-to-shore radio communication also act as observers. Operating for the Western Air Command of the Royal Canadian Air Force is another branch of this corps of observers, stationed west of Manitoba.

In selecting its observers, the corps was governed in its choice of posts by the availability of speedy communications - telephone, telegraph or wireless....

For a related article, please link to Short Story re "Early Days in Combined Ops" Part 1

Photos from The Halifax Herald, November 1941

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