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All about UNTD's
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Monday, 20 February 2012
HMCS Little Belt
Never heard of it ? Had circumstances unfolded differently, you might well have.
Between 1923 and 1941 the Naval Reserve establishments were named for their host Cities as either Companies (or Half-Companies) and later as Divisions and in anticipation of Commissioning them as HMC Ships in 1941, the issue of naming them obviously arose.
The machinations leading to those names, that we've all come to know, and indeed the naming of the multitudinous vessels built in WWII, are covered extensively in the excellent book "Canadian Warship Names (Vanwell, 2000)", by David J Freeman [UNTD NONSUCH '60 U-1049].
The initial idea was that the Reserve Divisions would be named for the earliest Warships built in Canada, which was taken to mean those builds on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. Later this was revised to be applicable only to those Divisions in the vicinity of the Lakes and that others could use more locally relevant names. A List was finally collated in the summer of '41 by the Naval Historian and submitted for approval. There were 18 cities involved and in some cases choices were given.
There was a sense that these names could be around for a long time and so 'getting it right' was paramount.
In the case of London, ON, the Minister rejected both choices, which were 'Lady Prevost' and 'Little Belt'. In his comments and perhaps anticipating raised eyebrows, the Naval Historian added the following remarks concerning 'Little Belt'; "The name is a very good one, and would cease to annoy the officers and ratings after the first week".
The Navy of then (indeed of now) would have been a tough crowd, both Ratings and Officers. In the case of the soon-to-be UNTD's, a 'Little Belt' might have become a Gunroom mantra. In any case it was unlikely to succeed and members of PREVOST are fortunately not referred to as Little Belters.
One has to wonder where a Ship's Name like that would have come from anyway. Was it of Aboriginal origin, like Canada itself, or referring to a Wampum Belt ?
The original namesake ship goes back to The Danish Navy 22-gun Frigate LILLEBAELT launched in 1801. The name itself refers to one of the smaller Danish 'straits' connecting the North to the Baltic Seas. The Danish Navy was seized by the RN at the 2nd Battle of Copengagen in 1807, and LILLEBAELT was returned to Britain and Commissioned as HMS LITTLE BELT.
In the run-up to the War of 1812, HMS LITTLE BELT found herself attached to the North American Station, harrassing US Naval and Mercantile shipping as part of the campaign to isolate France during the Napoleonic Wars. Although not directly involved in any of those actions herself, she was attacked on May 16th, 1811 by the much superior USS PRESIDENT off the North Carolina coast, who had mistaken her for another ship that they were hot on the trail off.
LITTLE BELT sustained heavy damage and casualties and the skipper of PRESIDENT later apologized. It blew up into yet another incident between the US and Britain. LITTLE BELT as a sort of heroic David, repaired to Halifax, thence to the UK and was ultimately broken up at Battersea late in 1811.
Finally on 18 June 1812, President Madison Declared War against Britain and the panoply of famous battles unfolded.
In 1810, the US Merchantman FRIEND'S GOOD WILL was built at River Rouge, MI. The ship was captured by the British at the 1st Battle of Mackinac in July 1812 and renamed as HMS LITTLE BELT (2nd) in honour of HMS LITTLE BELT (1st). Recaptured by the US in Sep, 1813 at the Battle of Lake Erie, she ran aground off Buffalo in Dec 1813. The US tried to salvage her, couldn't, and unceremoniously burned her, to prevent recapture again by the Brits.
In 2004, a full scale replica of the FRIEND'S GOOD WILL was built and still operates out of the Michigan Maritime Museum at South Haven, MI on the East shore of Lake Michigan.
So then, to that extent, the legacy of LITTLE BELT tenuously lives on, without us having to refer to our PREVOST UNTD's as Little Belters. A win-win, just like the War itself.

Bill Clearihue

Posted by on2/UNTD at 2:36 PM EST
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Damaged Sub



Recently our Victoria Waterfront Correspondent, Murray Polson, caught some dramatic images of HMCS Cornerbrook being docked in the floating drydock Seaspan Careen. HMCS Cornerbrook (SSK-878) is a Victoria-class diesel electric submarine of 2,400 tons displacement. A startling view of the damaged bow was shown on TV recently. In June 2011 she ran aground during exercises off Vancouver Island and suffered damage to her bow (which is evident in the images) - the pressure hull is reportedly intact. This incident brought forward pre-maintenance work on the submarine, in expectation of a previously planned extended 2.5 year planned maintenance program which has been developed for all the submarines in its class. The RCN states categorically that she will return to active duty status about 2016. See the article at


John M. MacFarlane F.R.G.S.

Posted by on2/UNTD at 4:35 PM EST
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Friday, 3 February 2012
Day Named for a UNTD
A unique UNTD VIP circumstance ...
Referring to:
BEANLANDS, Donald Stewart (Don) [UNTD SCOTIAN (Mt A) '51 U-511x] (1932 - )

... who may well be known to local Ottawa UNTD's.
Founding Chief of Cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, he retired on April 30, 2008 at the age of 75, leaving behind a trail of significant accomplishments.
The Donald S. Beanlands Ambulatory Care Centre at the Institute is named for him.
What is especially unique is that the day after he retired, May 1, 2008 the then-Mayor of Ottawa, Larry O'Brien proclaimed it to be "Dr. Donald S. Beanlands Day in Ottawa".
This is the only case I'm aware of where a "Day" has been named for an ex-UNTD.
Bill C

Posted by on2/UNTD at 2:08 PM EST
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Monday, 30 January 2012
UNTD and JFK ... an update.
The story of ex-UNTD Gordon Wells meeting JFK in the summer of '55, originally appeared in the UNTD Newsletter and also in Bob Williamson's SPINDRIFT.
Bill Milne subsequently added to the story in another Newsletter article, wherein he identified the 3 C/C's who were invited to JFK's private club.
John MacFarlane has summarized the complete story on his Nauticapedia website at the link below;
A number of months back, I read a review of ex-UNTD Roy MacLaren's memoirs, entitled "The Fundamental Things Apply" and was surprised that mention was made of his meeting JFK as a UNTD C/C.
At that time I wrote to him for clarification, but rec'd no reply; in fairness the only contact point I had was an organization that he was a Director of, and asked that the message be forwarded. So he may well have not rec'd the msg.
Subsequently I contacted Bill Milne on the subject and he had no recall of Roy MacLaren's participation but was able to identify the location of the Club that JFK brought the 3 UNTD C/C's to.
It was the New Ocean House in Swampscott, MA, a large resort just north of Boston, along the coast and owned by a Kennedy relative. Bill recalled how he had tried to find it once on a drive down south in the 80's, but had heard that it was destroyed. Indeed, it burned to the ground in May '69.
I did get a hold of MacLaren's book and in Ch 1 starting at page 12, he does give a good outline of his UNTD career. He mentions meeting JFK, but not being one of the 3 invited to the Club and does reference Gordon Wells' account of that.
I have scanned that Ch 1 and it makes for good reading, not only on the JFK matter, but on MacLaren's entire UNTD experience. See link below for downloadable .zip file.
He later went on to senior Ministerial and Diplomatic posts including High Commissioner to the UK.
Ironically, Roy MacLaren was my MP in Etobicoke North in the late 80's.
I had no idea then of his UNTD Bona Fides, nor had I undergone my own UNTD reincarnation.
Bill C

Posted by on2/UNTD at 4:38 PM EST
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Monday, 1 August 2011
In Memoriums
Topic: Concerning Deceased UNTDs
The increasing number of obituaries has triggered a deluge of e-mails filled with annecdotes and recollections of former colleagues - add yours here.

Posted by on2/UNTD at 4:06 PM EDT
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Topic: All about UNTD's

Feel free to post any comment or reply on any subject related to UNTD's. Just clik on the bttons below and type away! Be advised that the webmaster will remove any profane, libellous, or otherwise inappropirate comments.

Posted by on2/UNTD at 4:01 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 1 August 2011 4:02 PM EDT
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Thursday, 28 August 2008
New Navy Book from Fraser McKee
  You all will no doubt be fascinated that my 7th book is now published - "Three Princes Armed", again co-authored with Capt. Bob Darlington (like our "Canadian Naval Chronicle" - Vanwell, 1998).
  It tells the complete history of the CNR's Prince ships, Prince David, Prince Henry and Prince Robert.  Built in 1929/'30 for the B.C. triangle run between Vancouver, Victoria & Seattle but mostly employed in cruising,  they were taken up by the Navy in 1939 as Armed Merchant Cruisers.  Converted in 1943, David & Henry were Landing Ships Infantry on D-Day and at the South of France, etc.,  and Robert was an A/A cruiser.  Sold at war's end, Henry became Empire Parkeston for trooping duties, and David and Robert went to Greek interests, and Robert finally to Italian hands.
  The book, in semi-soft cover, tells their whole history, including their rationale enthusiastically promoted in 1929 by the CN's President, Sir Henry Thornton, until the last was scrapped in 1962.  There are numerous photos throughout. I did the pre- and post-war histories, Bob did the wartime stuff, much based on DND's Directorate of History and NAC files, and a long article in 1970, when I could still speak to most of their C.O.'s and even pre-war sailors.  It is self-published by Bob Darlington as no Canadian publisher showed sufficient interest and we were anxious to get it out while there is still interest of those involved.  It will not be available in stores probably, as their required discount is too much.
  It is available by return mail, on receipt of $25 in Canada, $30 to the U.S.A., and $35 to any overseas address.  For yourself, naval friends, or family for Christmas, or to donate to local schools or village libraries.
  Cheques or money orders to:  Fraser McKee,  Ste. 2104,  1320 Islington AV., Toronto,  ON,  M9A 5C6.
I anticipate hearing from you!  If you would like a coloured flyer on the book to post locally, I'd send one along if I have your address. I'll even sign the copy, if you ask!!
Blessings on all present as the Irish say....
Fraser McKee

Posted by on2/UNTD at 7:27 AM EDT
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Thursday, 29 November 2007
Topic: Fairmiles
John Chance of Oakville Ontario commanded Fairmiles during WWII, and  during his command of HMCS Cataraqui after the war. You can contact him through the UNTD Chaplain & President, Bill Thomas.

Posted by on2/UNTD at 2:00 PM EST
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Saturday, 27 May 2006
Last UNTD in uniform??
Ken Stephens, U2689 (class of 1968) is, thanks to a change in CRA, still parading in uniform at HMCS Hunter.

Andy McCullough, who is preparing a history of Hunter, would like to know if Ken is the last, or if there are other UNTD's out there still in active service.

Posted by on2/UNTD at 7:58 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006 7:59 PM EDT
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