The Precarious Canadian West Coast during the Great War
Canada's West coast was largely unprotected before the Great War. Although Japan, an ally of the British Empire, was tasked to protect the northern Pacific, the stationed Royal Navy -- and later the Royal Canadian Navy -- units at Esquimalt (RCN's only West Coast Base) in BC units was virtually nonexistent. The aged cruiser HMCS Rainbow lay at the harbour, and the two nearest sloops were the Shearwater and Algerine. It was known at the time that two modern German Cruisers, Leizig and Nurnbeg, was stationed in the Pacific, specifically by the West Coast of Mexico; some local sightings affirmed their proximity even closer to the ...view middle of the document...
Not only was he risking the provincial funds netting just slightly over a million dollars, but this was a risky political action that transcended the role of premier; however, this gambit payed off when Ottawa and London officially approved his transaction at the end.
The Precarious Transaction
McBride's seemingly rash move was made in order to circumvent the inevitable embargo that would take prevent this transaction. Due to US neutrality, the acquirement of ships would have been next to impossible. The submarines had to discreetly leave the Seattle harbour in order avoid any attention. The transaction was so precarious that a US cruiser was even deployed to retrieve the submarines later on the same day; however, their search was thankfully unsuccessful. The Premier saw the necessity in these vessels for protecting the Canadian West Coast, and without any moment to spare, heroically seized the opportunity of acquiring these two submarines – submarines that would usually have taken anywhere from 6 months to even a year to build.
CC1 and CC2's service to the Royal Canadian Navy on the West Coast
For almost the next three years, the submarines remained on the west coast and were engaged with cruising and training -- and almost half the time was spent on maintenance. The submarines were successful on two points: it was believed to be an effective deterrent for the German cruisers to attack , and it provided a a sense of security which helped the residents in the province feel safe. A majority of the crew were volunteers, and under Liutenant Keyes guidance and exigent training, were rendered into a competent crew within mere weeks. Usually it would takes months upon months and even years to train a submarine crew.
The Arduous Voyage
Nearly three years later, in June 12th, 1917, as per Admiralty orders, CC1 and CC left Esquimalt for Halifax so they can make their way to Europe. Naturally, the Shearwater, the...