HMCS Aldergrove

There has been only one establishment named Aldergrove in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Aldergrove (NRS)

During the early years of the Second World War naval radio communications on the Pacific coast were handled by a radio station in His Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard, Esquimalt, British Columbia. As the base grew in size and complexity its unsuitability as a site for a radio communications station became increasingly apparent; interference from the base created a problem for receiving radio signals. In 1942, it was decided to build new stations, locating the Radio Receiving Station at Aldergrove, British Columbia, and the Transmitting Station at nearby Sumas. The first buildings at Aldergrove were not ready for occupancy until more than a year later. Throughout the remainder of the war, Aldergrove handled the great bulk of naval communications traffic and continued to grow in size and add ever more modern equipment.

After the war the station continued to function as the naval communications centre for the Pacific Command, though it suffered, as did all Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships and establishments, from the acute manpower and money shortages of those years. With the growth of the RCN, which began in the early 1950’s following the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, Aldergrove also began to grow and many new buildings were added to accommodate the increased company.

On June 1, 1955, a change in administrative arrangements was made and the establishment was commissioned Her Majesty’s Canadian (HMC) Naval Radio Station Aldergrove. On July 1, 1956, the station finally became Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Aldergrove. This change was made largely for morale purposes, as the commissioning of the station made possible the issue of an official ship’s badge and the wearing of a named cap tally on the sailors’ headdress.

As a result of unification (when the Government of Canada merged the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force into an unified structure), HMCS Aldergrove was again re-named Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Aldergrove in 1967 and manned by members of all 3 elements. Its role was to maintain continuous communications with maritime authorities at sea and in the air, and to relay traffic to and from shore authorities. It was responsible to Maritime Command Pacific and was also part of the Commonwealth Worldwide Radio Organization. Downsizing and automation in the mid-1990s led to the facility becoming an attachment of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, rather than an independent Canadian Forces Station. The detachment was renamed Naval Radio Section Aldergrove in 1996 to officially acknowledge the unit's naval heritage. The transmitter and receiver sites are still staffed with technicians who perform routine maintenance and repair equipment failures.

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