HMCS Chatham

There have been two establishments named Chatham in the Royal Canadian Navy.

HMCS Chatham (1st of name) / Tender to Shore Establishment

The Naval Officer In-Charge (NOIC) established in Prince Rupert, BC, in June 1940 was commissioned in 1942 as HMCS Chatham, named after the consort ship of HMS Discovery in which Captain George Vancouver, RN, explored the West Coast of North America in the 1790s. Although it occupied the former quarters of the local RCNVR half-company (see below), during the war Chatham was not considered to be a reserve division, and served instead as a routing centre for convoys and patrols along the northern British Columbia coast until paid off in August 1945.

HMCS Chatham (2nd of name) / Naval Reserve Division

HMCS Chatham in her post-war facility

Badge of HMCS Chatham

The RCNVR half-company in Prince Rupert, BC, was established in 1923, but initial recruiting was slow and it was closed down in 1926. Recommissioned in 1928, by 1931 the complement consisted of five officers and 75 ratings. When war was declared, the entire ship’s company engaged for active service. The unit was paid off in June 1940, and the quarters turned over to the Fisherman’s Reserve and in turn the local NOIC (see 1st of name above).

HMCS Chatham was recommissioned formally as a peacetime Naval Reserve division on Trafalgar Day in 1946, in modern and far more spacious accommodation than the pre-war facilities. However, the unit was paid off as a cost-saving measure in 1964.


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