The Government of Canada has a fantastic section on their website that provides us with all kinds of information about our Country. We hope you have enjoyed our series on the history of the Naval Service of Canada! Make sure to visit the Government of Canada website History and Heritage to find more interesting reading! Up next…1945-1960!
A Brave New World – Post World War 2 – 1945-1960
A short- age of well-qualified officers and ratings became the gravest problem facing the Canadian Navy almost immediately at the war’s end. On 28 September 1945, the Canadian Cabinet optimistically approved a permanent naval force ceiling of 10,000 and a reserve naval force ceiling of 18,000. In truth, even as the RCN began the unpleasant task of demobilizing its personnel from a high of 92,529 in April 1945, there were fewer than 4,600 all-ranks in the “permanent force” RCN.
The first to leave the navy were the “hostilities only” personnel who had not committed to serve after the war’s end. However, due to shortages of certain trades needed to help manage demobilization, such as naval writers, administrative staff, and firefighters, some of these personnel were not permitted to leave even after Minister Abbott made his public promises in Parliament. As their more fortunate colleagues found better paying civilian jobs and returned to their families, resentment in this group grew.
Others who had joined the RCN in 1940 and 1941 for seven years of service expecting the war to last at least that long and who now hoped to leave “early” also became restless. In the end, the RCN had to rely heavily upon a small “interim” force of naval reservists — not all of them willing — to beef up the numbers until March 1947. As has been seen in the wartime chapters, differing perspectives and poor communication between the pre-war professional navy and wartime naval reservists had resulted in deep-seated bitterness. While some talented reservists such as the controversial Jeffrey Brock joined the permanent navy, most left for more promising civilian careers. Brock believed that the pre-war permanent officers contained many mediocre individuals who clogged up the promotion process, while some permanent force officers believed the former reservists lacked proper training and did not enforce discipline.
Abbott recognized that the key to reducing these tensions, while establishing a larger and more effective permanent force, was the better peacetime integration of the reservists. For that reason, his October 1945 pronouncements also included the establishment of a single reserve service combining the wartime RCNRs and RCNVRs, as well as incorporating new groupings of naval air reservists and university naval training divisions, all serving under one set of regulations and wearing a uniform similar to the permanent force — the latter point underscored by ending the wartime practice of officers sporting different stripes to distinguish the three former “services.”
However, despite these and many other well-intentioned reforms, the post-war Canadian Navy was not a happy institution. Desertions, absence without leave, and a host of other personnel problems plagued the navy from 1945 to 1949, although the poor morale of 1947 had improved slightly in 1948 as modest reforms were implemented.
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