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Fall Newsletter 2002


Bob Willson joined the UNTD at HMCS STAR while attending McMaster University in 1951. He remembers parading one night a week at STAR where they seemed to spend most of their time at Divisions or Evening Quarters, although there was instruction in Pilotage, Divisional Work and Canadian Naval History, specifically reading "The Far Distant Ships". In May of 1952 he headed for the west coast by train, along with the UNTD Cadets from Western and Assumption.

That first summer was spent in a one-week Communications Course and a two-week Divisional Course at the Reserve Training Establishment in Dockyard. There was a four-week Nav. Course at Royal Roads in addition to a seven-week cruise in SIOUX with a visit to Long Beach. As an extracurricular activity, Bob also played drum in the Cadet Band. He can't remember exactly when the Annual Cadet Ball was held but it took place, as is evident from the photo, in the Crystal Gardens. All former UNTDs will remember that dates were usually arranged or selected from a Duty Date List and if you didn't have a date, you ended up on the Duty Watch wearing a white belt and gaiters (Note the cadet on the right of the picture). At these affairs, female acquaintances were fleeting and Bob only remembers that his date's last name was Nixon and that she was the daughter of a RCN Captain (S).

In September 1952 he was able to transfer to the University of Toronto and live at home. In December he was accepted into the ROTP. (It would be interesting to know how many UNTDs made this transition). At this point Bob notes an idiosyncrasy. As a member of the ROTP in 1952, he only had to complete two years of university because the RCN considered that it was more important for a junior officer to go to sea than to earn a degree. However, Bob did eventually graduate from Carlton University as well as the Royal Naval Staff College in Greenwich.

During his second summer of training (UNTD & ROTP were combined at this time), he spent two weeks in Communications and one week of Damage Control & Fire Fighting at RTE, with six weeks of Astro Nav. at Royal Roads. The program called for six weeks at sea in the frigate BEACON HILL including a visit to Astoria, Oregon. He only completed two weeks because he was sent on leave before joining the cruiser ONTARO as a Midshipman in September 1953. This was considered a promotion from UNTD Cadet but Bob makes another interesting observation. As a ROTP Midshipman he took a pay reduction from $172.00 to $103.00 per month. Although Bob lost his Midshipman's Journal, he still has his UNTD Journal and recalls a few names that appeared there: Lt. A Rowney RCN(R), Cdr. Hayes RCN (RTC), LCdr. I Morrow RCN (OIC Training Royal Roads), Lt. Steele, Cmdre Ken Adams RCN (Commodore of the Barracks), Lt. Currie YORK, Cadets - Ted Horsey, Valevand, Perozak, Gowan, Ferens, McKeough & Cox, as well as CPO Wooley.

Bob Willson served in the Royal Canadian Navy for 35 years, sailing in HMC Ships: SIOUX, BEACON HILL, ONTARIO, TORONTO, MAGNIFICENT, HAIDA, COWICHAN and RESTIGOUCHE. He was the Captain of the destroyer, HMCS ANNAPOLIS from 1975 to 1977. He also served in shore appointments in Halifax, Esquimalt, Ottawa, Portsmouth, London and Oslo Norway.

After retiring from the Canadian Navy in 1986, he served as Captain of HMCS HAIDA, the naval museum and maritime memorial at Ontario Place until 1997. Since then he has served as a volunteer Executive Director of Friends of HMCS HAIDA, the registered charity that supports Canada's most famous warship of WW II. He is delighted that Parks Canada has taken ownership of HAIDA and that she will be located at HMCS STAR adjacent to the Canadian Maritime Discovery Centre in Hamilton.

Bob is a Past Commodore of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (Halifax Squadron), Past President of the Navy League of Canada (Ontario Division), Editor of BUMPH, the NOAC Toronto Branch Newsletter and ANCHOR WATCH, the quarterly newsletter of the Historic Naval Ships Association.

Editor's Note. - Bob Willson's story, The Summer of '52, is another fine example of the way that the UNTD program has shaped the lives of many young Canadians and contributed, in a significant way, to the naval heritage of this country.


The Naval Officers' Association of Canada is dedicated to increasing the awareness of Canada as a Maritime Nation. To financially sustain this objective, an Endowment Fund has been created to support the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust (Sackville), HMCS Haida, Naval Museums & Monuments, NOAC publications, the Navy League and Sea Cadets. This Endowment Fund is designed to raise funds through "Legacy Giving", such as: Wills, Gifts in Kind, Life Insurance, Gift Annuity and Memorial Gifts. For more information write to: NOAC Endowment Fund, PO Box 2402, 349 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3W7.


Since publishing the tentative 2003 Reunion schedule in the Newsletter, the Planning Committee has run into some snags that caused it to postpone the event until 2004. This was not a happy decision, especially for those who are getting long in the tooth and finding it more difficult to travel with each passing year. The reasons for the postponement are as follows.

After making reservations for two events in the STAD Wardroom, it was subsequently discovered that the building was going to be demolished in late 2002 and replaced by a new one some time in 2004. There is a better chance that the Wardroom might be available in 2004 including some accommodations. It was understood that the Nova Scotia International Tattoo ran for the last weekend in June. It was expected that the first performance was Friday June 27. Upon closer examination it was discovered that the first 2003 performance open to the public was scheduled for Sunday June 29. Therefore, reunion delegates going to Halifax for the weekend would be unable to attend the Tattoo. Holding the Reunion a week later created unending problems. Accommodations and dining reservations for large groups at the height of the tourist season were very limited. It would also mean missing the July 1st Canada Day celebrations which are considered quite spectacular in Halifax.

Reunion plans for 2004 have been designed to accommodate not only those participating in the weekend activities but also for those wishing to spend more time in Nova Scotia to enjoy the many attractions that the province has to offer. The STAD wardroom has not been factored into the plan, as there is no guarantee that it will be ready. That can be arranged later.


Wednesday June 30, 2004 Meet and Greet Reception, 1600-2000 Alumni Lounge Engineering Building, Dalhousie University.

Thursday July 1, 2004 Halifax Canada Day Celebrations Evening Lobster Supper

Friday July 2, 2004 Dockyard Tour & Shipboard Lunch Supper and Evening Tattoo

Saturday July 3, 2004 Halifax Tour & Lunch Free Afternoon Mess Dinner

Sunday July 4, 2004 Church Service King's College Chapel Up Spirits & Lunch King's College


Tuesday June 29, 2004 Overnight Trip to Digby & Lunch @ Digby Pines Cornwallis Military Museum / Tidal Power Plant. For those travelling independently, accommodations could be available at the Digby Pines or local hotels with golf or Whale Watching privately arranged.


Sunday July 4, 2004 Pub Supper with local entertainment

Monday July 5, 2004 South Shore Bus Tour, Lunenburg & Peggy's Cove. Optional Return Boat Trip from Peggy's Cove.

Tuesday July 6, 2004 Maritime Command Museum & Harbour Tour Lunch @ Alexander Keiths Waterfront Brewery

Accommodations have been reserved for long and short stays at O'Brien Hall, Dalhousie University with overflow to be accommodated at other campuses. Types of accommodation include single rooms, double rooms and apartments. Rooms include free continental breakfast and free parking. For those desiring more than a student residence, rooms have been reserved at the Lord Nelson Hotel.

We are still in the process of gathering information, determining costs for various events and fine tuning some of the events planned. We hope to make the Reunion as attractive as we can to a broad spectrum of UNTD interests.

We look forward to your comments and feedback at the Annual General Meeting at the Staff College on September 25, 2002. Plan to be there.

Jack Kilgour

CONGRATULATIONS - Another UNTD Alumni Recognized

Hugh Franks was recently awarded the NOAC National Award of a Silver Medallion for Exemplary Achievement in Service to the NOAC and Canada. He was one of the most active members of the NOAC team, which raised the money for the complete renovation of the HMCS YORK Wardroom. Hugh has been on the Board of Directors for the Toronto Branch of the NOAC for two extended periods as well as an executive member of the UNTD Association.

Hugh joined the UNTD while attending the University of Toronto, Trinity College in 1953. He graduated in Political Science and Economics in 1957. Like most of us, Hugh has some very fond memories as a UNTD Cadet. A cruise in the frigate HMCS Ste. THERESE in 1954 took cadets to Newfoundland and up the Labrador coast as far as Ungava Bay carrying Lt. Gov. Butterfield on a tour of the scenic outports. He recalls using icebergs for 4-inch gun practice. On his way west in 1955 he stopped and did some spring skiing at Mount Baker. He enjoyed Royal Roads and avoided P.T by playing snare drum in the cadet band. 1956 had to be the most memorable year. He was a member of the UNTD contingent that participated in TRAMID, a three-week amphibious training course with West Point Cadets and Annapolis Midshipmen near Norfolk, Virginia. Hugh was placed in charge of one of the landing craft.

In 1959 he got an unexpected cruise to Bermuda. He had been put in charge of hosting the officers of HMS ULSTER that had arrived in Toronto during the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Captain of ULSTER, Cdr. Rusby was so pleased with their reception at YORK that he invited Hugh to come and visit him in Bermuda. Hugh had to decline, as he was about to depart for Halifax for his annual two-week compulsory Reserve training. A week later when he arrived in Halifax, he found that the ship that he had been assigned to for sea training was in dry dock. He noticed that the ULSTER was at anchor in the harbour and arranged a visit. To make a long story short, within 12 hours he was transferred into the RN for temporary duty and had a marvellous time in Bermuda. Hugh's international lark at the coast guard station at Fort Niagara will be told some other time.

Hugh retired from YORK in 1967, having attained the rank of LCdr. He spent twenty years working for Dominion Securities and now is a partner in Stuart Investment Management. One of the things that Hugh finds most gratifying is his 24 years of service on the Board of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. He is also on the Executive of Trinity College


July 24, 2002 Ottawa, ON.

Dear Editor, Thank you for sending a second copy of "UNTiDy Tales" to me. My original went adrift during the move from Toronto to Ottawa upon my appointment to the Superior Court of Justice. When you were soliciting stories for the book, I persuaded Gordon Wells, one of my fellow UNTD Cadets at HMCS CATARAQUI to share a story of a cruise in 1955 from Argentia, NFLD to Boston. The anecdote appears in the book under the heading, "The Senator from Boston". Gordon went on to great things in his native country, Jamaica. I am on the mailing list for the UNTD Newsletter and enjoy reading it very much. You consistently maintain a high level of interest and quality. Congratulations and again thank you.

Justice Gordon Sedgwick, Superior Court of Justice, UNTD Cataraqui 1952-56

Editors Note. "The Senator from Boston" is probably one of the best-contributed anecdote in "UNTiDy Tales". I was so thrilled to have received it, but I always wondered how a Jamaican found out that I was soliciting stories for a UNTD book. Now I know. Thanks to Justice Gordon Sedgwick.


After a great deal of discussion by the UNTD Executive and lobbying by the Newsletter Editor based on feed-back from members, Doug Hain, our Secretary / Membership Chairman has put together a UNTD Roster. It will be very similar to the NOAC (Toronto Branch) Roster (384 listings). The UNTD Roster will contain 16 pages with 16 names per page, or 256 listings.

Much of the Executive discussion centred on cost and names for inclusion. Because of the cost factor (printing & mailing), it was decided to include only names of paid up members and those who have actively supported UNTD programs (reunions & dinners) over the last several years. Otherwise addresses could be too stale dated to be of any value.

The rosters should be ready for distribution at the Annual General Meeting in September, the Reunion Mess Dinner in November or mailing thereafter.


While searching through some of my old navy correspondence, I discovered a document that I had written to the Maritime Commander fifteen years ago. As I scanned the precise style of military writing. I recognised that here was an idea whose time had come.

The letter was written shortly after all the heritage hype for the 75th Anniversary of the RCN. At the time, as Commanding Officer, I was lobbying for repairs or replacement of my fifty-year old training establishment, HMCS STAR. In light of the Heritage Minister's recent announcement to spend $5 million dollars to move the destroyer, HMCS HAIDA to the Hamilton Division's waterfront, the letter seems quite prophetic. The following is an extract from that letter.

With examples of the successful preservation of HMCS Haida and Sackville before us, we now have the opportunity in the next few years to preserve an example of the all-Canadian designed and built St Laurent class destroyer. As these ships come up for retirement, and before they reach a state of costly disrepair, it is proposed that plans be implemented to save one of these vessels as an example of Canadian maritime technology. It could be placed along the unused sea wall in front of HMCS Star where it could fulfil the following multi functions. A training platform for Naval Reserves Summer accommodation & training space for some trades to relieve congestion at coastal centres. Temporary accommodation for Hamilton's Naval Reserve when our aged facilities are demolished. An excellent recruiting show piece. A training facility for the regions 15 sea cadet corps. A naval museum and tourist attraction for Central Ontario.

No other Naval Reserve Division has a central waterfront facility comparable to HMCS Star. This deep-water sea wall has been under used since the closure of Great Lakes Training Centre in 1968. Current municipal planning is designed to bring a greater focus on the western portion of the waterfront for recreational use. We need to take action to be a part of that plan or be pushed aside.

The Maritime Commander's response was that of a Mother Hubbard with too many mouths to feed. So the first all-Canadian designed and built destroyers went up for disposal. Some of them became artificial reefs along our coastal waters but none were preserved as a museum. At the time of writing this letter, the thought of HAIDA coming to STAR was not in my wildest dreams.


On Sunday June 9, 2002, the UNTD Association Spring Event was held once again in HMCS STAR and this year there really was a harbour cruise. The 30 attendees from the Hamilton and Toronto area gathered in the Wardroom for drinks with a magnificent view of Burlington Bay. Next year the same view will include HMCS HAIDA.

This was followed by a one-hour tour of Hamilton Harbour aboard the hospitably appointed Port Authority Yacht, the JOHN AGRO, commanded by a militia Captain, Cliff Tootell and his First Mate Mrs. Jeannette Tootell. The weather was warm and hazy with a fresh breeze. Everyone was able to view the harbour from a perspective few people ever get to appreciate. The scenery included heavy industry, marine terminals, Burlington's luxury apartment towers, and millionaire's homes like Hortons doughnut owner Ron Joyce in Aldershot. Almost 40% of the shoreline of the bay is park land, including large unspoiled forests of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Even STELCO has landscaped some of its harbour front as part of a harbour beautification program. The cruise concluded with an excellent, cut-with-your-fork Steak Bar-B-Q. Many thanks to the Hamilton Port Authority and CEO, Bob Edwards, for their outstanding generosity and hospitality in providing us with a new perspective of Hamilton Harbour.

The UNTD Association of Canada publishes this newsletter twice a year. Send letters, anecdotes, or suggestions to Newsletter Editor: CDR Robert Williamson, 1 Clonmore Ave., Hamilton, Ontario. L9A 4R2; Phone (905) 383-6084 or e-mail