HMCS Algonquin Badge & RMC Connection

HMS Algonquin’s name had been Valentine before she was turned over to the Canadians, and HMS Valentine’s ship badge would be easy to visualize. HMCS Algonquin was not as simple. I went to the library to learn about the tribe for whom we were named. Algonquins lived in Ontario and Quebec, and the name in their tongue indicated “the place of spearing fish and eels.” I made a drawing of an arm holding a spear over heraldic waves. Impaled on the spear writhed an eel, which was meant to represent an evil German submarine. I showed my drawing to the captain. His reaction was to show the arm coming up out of the water bent, exactly like the arm on the Royal Military College of Canada’s badge. I adjusted my drawing and we passed the design on to John Brown’s, our builder . . . .” The above quotes are taken from Latham Jenson’s book “Tin Hats, Oilskins & Seaboots”, published by Robin Brass Studio Inc., Toronto. 

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Canada’s Centennial of Flight: RMC circa 1919-1920

These aerial views of Royal Military College with Martello tower in foreground are part of the Canada Patent and Copyright Office collection, Library and Archives Canada (www.collectionscanada.gc.ca). Three of the photos were taken by McCarthy Aero Service Ltd. in 1920. One photo was taken by Bishop Barker Co. in 1919.

One Comment

  • Matthew Berry

    February 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    With reference to the ALGONQUIN (224) DDE:

    The symbol of the ship’s badge is very appropriate, particularly with reference to my late father, Commander Peter C. Berry, CO of HMCS Algonquin from 29.10.62 to 14.7.64

    Excerpts from special article to The Globe and Mail (10/03/2006) by F.F. LANGAN:

    PETER BERRY, NAVAL OFFICER 1923-2006

    During the Second World War, he had a hand in sinking three U-boats and later became a pilot on Canada’s last carrier

    TORONTO — Peter Berry was just a couple of years out of Lisgar Collegiate in Ottawa when the Canadian destroyer he was on sunk a German U-boat in the English Channel. HMCS Kootenay and its sister ship, HMCS Ottawa, helped by a British corvette, sank the German submarine U-678 on July 6, 1944, just off the English coast near the seaside resort of Brighton.

    The chase had taken more than two days and sub-lieutenant Berry was awake for almost all of it. He was the operations officer working in a room just below the bridge. Chasing down a submarine wasn’t as easy as it looked in the movies. It took hours, even days, and required sonar and radar and all the other leading-edge technology of the time.

    “He worked at a table with a mechanized control underneath with lights that calculated the course of the ship. He worked to plot the course of the submarine we were chasing,” said Ray Creery, later a captain in the navy who also served on the Kootenay with Mr. Berry during the war. “I don’t think he could have had more than a couple of hours sleep, here and there.”

    The Kootenay was one of the top submarine hunters in the Royal Canadian Navy and sub-lieutenant Berry was on board for all three of her kills. The next two U-boat sinkings were in the Bay of Biscay, on Aug. 18 and Aug. 20. Mr. Berry was mentioned in dispatches.

    When Peter Berry joined the Royal Canadian Navy he was assigned to the Kootenay in the North Atlantic. The warships ran from St. John’s, Nfld., to Londonderry in Northern Ireland. By chance, he and Mr. Creery served on the same ship. They had been in Grade 7 together at Rockcliffe Park Public School in Ottawa. The winter of 1943-44 was particularly bitter, and Mr. Creery remembers gales so strong that the underpowered merchant ships they were escorting would make no headway. “We had to go and round them up and bring them back into the convoy. Maybe the toughest part was refuelling the warships at sea from tankers.”

    In the spring of 1944, the Kootenay and other ships were taken off convoy duty and assigned to Escort Group 11, one of the specialist submarine hunting groups in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. There were 126 Canadian vessels involved in D-Day, June 6, 1944. The Kootenay was patrolling the western approaches to the English Channel, acting as a blocker against German U-boats.

    “Escort Group 11, of which Kootenay was a part, was the most successful inshore submarine hunting group in the Normandy campaign,” says Marc Milner, professor of history at the University of New Brunswick and author of The U-Boat Hunters, The Royal Canadian Navy and the Offensive against Germany’s Submarines.

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