Day: January 23, 2021

When the NAVY won the Grey Cup
Humour Hunt

When the NAVY won the Grey Cup

– Illustration by Malcolm Jones –   The Royal Canadian Navy racked up an admirable record in the Second World War, but one of its triumphs is little known. While the navy was battling U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean and aiding in the D-Day landings, it also managed to win the Grey Cup. Yes, that Grey Cup. In 1944, for reasons that are vague, navy brass decided to organize a football team from two Montreal establishments, the naval reserve division HMCS Donnacona and the communications training school HMCS St. Hyacinthe. John Crncich, who played for the team—known as the St. Hyacinthe-Donnacona Navy or the Navy Combines—said it was a Cinderella outfit. “They formed a team of football, got into a league that might and, eventually, did vie for the Grey Cup and as it turned out, to ...
The explosion that changed the Navy
Navy

The explosion that changed the Navy

An overheated gearbox on HMCS Kootenay set off a fire that took nine lives The worst peacetime disaster in Canadian naval history occurred on Oct. 23, 1969, when nine crew were killed and another 53 injured in an explosion and fire aboard HMCS Kootenay. The incident marked the last time Canadian service personnel were required to be buried overseas and it helped bring about sweeping changes to shipboard fire-prevention and firefighting systems. The Restigouche-class destroyer was part of a task group that included the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure and eight destroyer escorts sailing in European waters. The group was homeward bound, crossing the English Channel, when Kootenay and HMCS Saguenay broke off to conduct sea trials 320 kilometres off Plymouth, England. Kootenay was r...

Sign up today for a FREE download of Canada’s War Stories

Free e-book

An informative primer on Canada’s crucial role in the Normandy landing, June 6, 1944.