Canadian Navy has a long tradition of naming ships after Canadian towns,
cities and geographical features such as rivers. This tradition continues
to this day with the modern city class frigates named after major Canadian
cities. Although there are no current naval vessels in commission in
the navy with Okanagan Valley related names there were two ships named
after Okanagan Valley place names during WW II:
by A.C. Benson Shipyard Ltd. of Vancouver, HMCS Kalamalka was commissioned
in the Canadian Navy July 4, 1944. She was assigned to the Local Defence
Force and was continuously employed on precautionary sweeps of the approaches
to Esquimalt and Prince Rupert Harbour. Initially paid off in November
1945, she was reactivated and sent to Halifax where she served as a
guard ship for the reserve fleet. Paid off again, she was restored to
service in the summer and fall of 1952 and 1953 for use as a tender
at St. John’s and was finally paid off on Oc. 23, 1953 and transferred
to the Department of Indian Affairs.
||4 x. 50 cal machine guns
||23 (3 0fficers)
RCN at sea during WWII
allied maritime supply lines to the Aleutians and Alaska were especially
important from the initiation of the war in the Pacific with the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbour in December, 1941. The threat posed by Japanese
Imperial Forces in 1942-43 was especially great with the occupation
of two Aleutian Islands, Attu and Kiska by Japanese forces. In addition,
Japanese aircraft carriers and submarines presented the constant potential
of attack on sea lanes and BC itself.
battleships attacked at
Pearl Harbour, 7 Dec. 1941
Imperial Japanese Navy
submarine with the range to
strike at Canada's west coast.
Japanese carrier planes
on deck with another carrier in the wake.
main Japanese threat to BC was removed by the victories of the United
States Navy in major battles in the far-flung Pacific Campaign however
a submarine threat remained throughout the war and HMCS Kelowna and
the other ships of the RCN maintained their patrols against this danger
throughout the war.
HMCS Kelowna was commissioned
in the Canadian Navy at Prince Rupert on Feb.5, 1942. She was assigned
to the Local Defence Force and was continuously employed on precautionary
sweeps of the approaches to Esquimalt and Prince Rupert Harbour until
being paid Oct. 22, 1945. She was sold for commercial purposes and first
renamed Condor and later, in 1950, Hung Hsin. She subsequently disappeared
from Lloyd’s Register.
||83 (6 Officers)
RCN warship in heavy seas during WWII
HMCS Okanagan, a Canadian O - class submarine
In the post-war era the
Canadian Navy went through a series of changes as Canada's maritime
defence policies adapted to the changing realities of the Cold War and
Canada's role in NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The Canadian Navy had built
the third largest navy in the world by the end of WW II and although
the navy was drastically reduced in peacetime the tremendous expertise
in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) developed during the war continued to
serve the Canadian Navy well. Within NATO navies Canada specialized
in this field of maritime warfare with the Canadian Navy pioneering
major developments such as the incorporation of ASW helicopters on ASW
specialized destroyer escorts with advanced sonar sensors.
HMCS Nipigon with Seaking helicopter hovering over flight
had historically played an important role in training Canadian ASW forces
during WW II and the immediate post-war era using Royal Navy and ex-United
States Navy submarines for this role. Submarines have a critical role
in developing the combat readiness skills of the surface fleet in countering
potential submarine threats. This important function was continued with
the acquisition of three British subs in the 1960s. The post-war O class
submarines took their class name from the first letters of their names.
In the Royal Navy, the lead boat was Oberon. (Customarily, submarines
are called “boats,” not “ships,” no matter what
their size.) The Canadian boats were named after First Nations tribes.
A bow shot
of HMCS Okanagan at sea
Built at the Chatham Dockyard
in England, the Okanagan was named after a tribe of the Interior BC
Salish Nation. Commissioned into the Canadian Navy on 22 June 1968 the
boat served in the Atlantic fleet based in Halifax until 14 September
1998. A special paying off ceremony (the term for bringing a ship's
naval service to an end) including a celebration of 30 years of service
in the navy was held soon after on the 28th September that year.
||1,610 / 2,410 tons surfaced / submerged
||295 x 29 x 18 feet
||Mk.37 Mod 2 electric homing torpedoes
6x 21" tubes forward, 2x 21" "short" tubes -
stern firing- with Mk.37 Mod 0 electric straight running torpedoes.
||2 x 3,680 hp V16 diesels, 2 x 3,000
hp electric motors, diesel-electric, 2 shafts, 6000 shp, 12/16 knots