May 26, 1919

L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

She passed Quebec on the 2nd, and her movements were watched and telegraphed to the Naval Department all down the St. Lawrence. Furthermore, the vessel Canada was held in readiness to intercept her in the event of war being declared while she was in (Canadian waters.

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

On the 4th of August she was outside of Canadian waters on her way to Boston, where she arrived on the 5th of August. But, said the hon. member, while she was going down the St. Lawrence, the Naval Service did not watch her, nor make any attempt to capture her. It must be obvious that the reason we did not do so was that war had no.t been declared at that time. The hon. member said, in regard to the Princess Cecelia:-

It was humiliating for Nova Scotians to know- that the North-German-Lloyd SS. Princess Cecilia left Boston a day or two after the war was commenced, with the most valuable

cargo ever shipped1 from that port.and

that no effort could be made by the Niobe or any Canadian cruiser to go out and capture that ship.

The facts are these: The Princess Cecelia left New York on the 28th July, 1914, one week before the declaration of war, bound for an European port. When matters assumed a threatening aspect she was half way across the Atlantic. She was ordered to return to a United States port by wireless and reached Bar Harbour on August 4th before the declaration of war. She left Bar Harbour on the 6th November, 1914, under an agreement between the Imperial and United States Governments, for Boston, in order that better supervision might he exercised over her. She did not leave Boston ['Mr. Rallantyne.]

until after the entry of the United States into the war in 1917, and then flew, the United States flag. The value of sea power was never more startlingly demonstrated. No prizes were made on the North Atlantic coasts, as the German ships simply stayed in neutral ports or fled to them for shelter, making a rich harvest for those neutrals at a later date, when they in turn entered the war and took over hundreds ot thousands of tons of the finest shipping in the world without an effort.

The hon. member's next charge is that relating to what he calls the waste of money on small patrol vessels. I do not suppose the hon. member knew that the Canadian Naval Service had to provide an extensive system of patrols. Not only did we have to have patrols outside our principal Atr lantic seaports such as Halifax and Sydney, but we had to furnish escorts for the numerous convoys conveying Canadian and American troops across the Atlantic from Montreal, Quebec, Halifax and Sydney. These men of our patrol service who have served on small trawlers and drifters in all kinds of weather, performed as good service, and deserve as much commendation for that service, as our gallant soldiers who fought in the trenches in France for all that we hold dear. I cannot help feeling annoyed that the hon. member for Lunenburg should make such slighting and sneering references to the naval men who have performed such signal service for Canada. It might interest the members of the Committee to know what we have done ifi the way of Atlantic coast patrol. The patrol squadron consisted of:

10 Auxiliary Patrol vessels.

12 Canadian Trawlers (named).

7 Trawlers Sweepers Type known as P.V's and numbered).

36 Trawlers (known as T.R's and numbered). 36 Drifters (known as C.D's and numbered). 15 Drifters (Imperial and temporarily lent, known as I.D's and numbered)

6 United States Submarine Chasers.

1 United! States Torpedo Boat (allocated to Air Service, Halifax).

The whole of the above were manned by Canadian Naval Service ranks and ratings (with the exception of the United vessels), the total number of ranks and ratings employed being approximately two thousand.

The area to he patrolled, and over which practical operations were continually carried out, extended from Belle Isle to Shelburne, and from Point Des Mon's (St. Lawrence) to the Virgin Rocks, including the Nova Scotia Banks and Grand Banks. This area gave some 1,800 miles of coast line besides open sea areas and routes which had to be patrolled.

The operations on which the vessels of the Patrol Squadron Area were employed are:

Coast patrolling and investigation at all points of the coast line of reports of suspicious crafts sighted, suspicious lights, possible mines, etc.

Constant patrol of certain positions of strategic importance.

Frequent patrols of the Grand Banks and Nova Scotia Banks and giving warning to fishing vessels of enemy submarine activities.

Port patrols off Halifax and Sydney.

Daily mine sweeping of the approaches, to Halifax, Sydney and St. John's, Nfld.

Frequent exploratory sweeps over mineable waters along the coast routes of shipping.

Convoy escorts to the slow convoys transporting stores overseas for some 150 to 200 miles out to sea. (These convoys number 25 'to 43 vessels in a convoy) .

Convoy escorts to the troops convoys leaving Canada.

Convoy escorts continually along Canadian and Newfoundland coastal routes.

Organized searches over areas where any enemy submarines were known or believed to be operating. In addition to which a very considerable amount of salvage work has been done by the Canadian patrol vessels.

The force was divided between the bases of Halifax and Sydney in proportion to the measure of activities required in the neighbourhood of these ports and the force based on each of these ports were further divided into separate flotillas utilized respectively for patrols, convoy escorts, minesweeping, etc. The main principle guiding the amount of sea time for patrol, convoy escort and other flotillas engaged in work beyond the minesweeping of harbour approaches was that two-thirds of the force were actually in active employment, one-third being in harbour undergoing necessary overhaul, coaling, storing, etc., and their personnel receiving instruction in gunnery, minesweeping, signal, hydrophones, depth charges, etc.

By this it is seen that force was maintained actually at sea for two-thirds of its time, which, when the weather conditions of the coast, the class of vessels employed, the small number of their crews, and consequent strain are considered, together with the amount of work which has to be carried out even when in harbour, is considered as much as can be expected of the

crews and at the same time maintain a good and efficient lookout.

When the war was on, a strict censorship prevented both my predecessor and myself from giving the public any information as to the splendid work the Canadian Naval Service was performing, and in one sense the country should be thankful to the hon. member for Lunenburg for making these charges, because it gives an opportunity not only to refute them in toto, but to place on Hansard the record of the splendid work of the Canadian Naval Service during the four and a half years of war.

I might also say that our Canadian patrols discovered several German mines, and no one can tell how many ships and how many lives have been saved by their vigilance in that respect. There is another thing. The people of Halifax and of Sydney, not familiar with the work of the patrol service, and observing these trawlers and drifters, which look very much alike, as they strolled along the port of Halifax or Sydney, were under the impression that the trawlers and drifters never went out to sea, and that has led sometimes to the unfair charge that the men of the patrol service doing nothing but attending pink teas and wasting the country's money and their own time. As a matter of fact, these trawlers and drifters proceeded to sea as divisions, and when they had stayed out the requisite number of days, they came back to port to refit. Surely no one will begrudge these men the short leave they were granted when they returned to their base.

1 shall not refer to what the hon. gentleman had to say about chartered ve '.sels and motor launches, but here is a statement that T cannot allow to go unchallengj l. He said:

When it was found that Halifax was full of these boats a base was established at Sydney. I have no hesitation in saying that the large expenditure of money for naval purposes at Sydney harbour was absolutely wasted, and there was no good result from having these boats in that harbour.

That is a very strong statement for an hon. member who was not conversant with the facts to make. In view of the brief outline I have given of the work of the patrols at Halifax and Sydney, I cannot understand how the hon. member could get up and state they had performed no service whatever for Canada, and that the expenditure in maintaining the base at Sydney was a waste of money. The hon. member for Lunenburg shakes his head. What I read were his actual words. I will read them again. He said:

L have no hesitation in saying that the large expenditure of money for naval purposes at Sydney harbour was absolutely wasted.

There I take sharp issue with him. I say there was no money wasted at the base at Sydney or at the base at Halifax. Words fail me to do justice to the splendid gallantry and efficiency of the men of our patrol service. Here again is another evidence that the hon. member could not have gathered this information from any trustworthy source.

The naval base at Sydney was first established in the spring of 1915. It was made a permanent base in 1916. During the summer practically the whole export trade of Canada passed through Cabot Straits. During the war Sydney became more important and in 1917 the Admiralty used it as a port for collecting the-convoys proceeding from the North American ports to Europe. Convoys consisting of thirty, forty, or more merchant ships would leave Sydney regularly every week throughout the summer. Sydney was certainly a most important base and was used not only on the judgment of the technical officers of the Canadian naval service but also on the advice of the Admiralty. I think the advice I had, as Minister of the Naval Service, was more to be relied upon than the inaccurate information that the hon. member has received. The hon. member for Lunenburg follows along with this other statement:

Captains and mates were taken from the merchant marine service and held around Halifax for months doing nothing.

That might sound all right if there was a general election on but I do not see why the hon. member should make such an absurd statement as that these men were taken from the merchant marine service and held around Halifax for months doing nothing. What are the facts? When it was decided by the Admiralty to build 60 trawlers and 100 drifters, the department agreed to assist by providing crews for those in Canadian waters. This meant the addition of at least 1,600 officers and men. It is obvious these men could not be recruited, and instructed in their special work in a day, and, therefore, they were recruite .1 and held in readiness, so that as each vessel was ready at the builders the whole crew could be despatched to bring the vessel out to sea without loss of time. That is what these men were doing at the port of Halifax when the hon. member says they were lying around doing nothing.

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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. OOPP:

Could the minister tell me what year it was and at what time of the

Illr. Ballantyne.]

year these men were waiting for these trawlers?

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

If you get down

to such details as the name of the month or the day of the month they were there, all I can say is that I have not that information before ine; nor can I tell you whether it was full moon or half moon, but I can find that out if you want to know.

Mr. J. H. iSIN'OLAilE: Does the minister say that these men were not kept at Halifax at all waiting for ships to be ready for use?

Mr. iBiALLANTYNE: No, I do not say

that.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

Will he say they were not kept there for a whole winter by the hundred? ,

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I say that they

were not kept there for a whole winter and they were not kept there by the hundred, but there was of course a certain number of men held there waiting to man these ships. Then the hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) makes another statement about the craft. He says:

Owing to their condition they were constantly undergoing repairs, most of them were unseaworthy and were not fit to go outside the headlands.

I do not know where the hon. gentleman got such information as that but I want to say that in view of the importance of their duties, these vessels were always kept as far as possible at the top notch of efficiency. There was room for a possible failure when these vessels were ordered out for duty. They were, therefore, always immediately overhauled on their arrival in harbour and any small defects made good, and as much time as possible was given in harbour for this purpose. Of course owing to the rapidity with which they were built, on account of the emergency, many of the vessels developed more minor defects than would be normally the case.

Then the hon. gentleman speaks of the crew of trawler No. 30 and he makes certain charges about that vessel. In July 1918, trawler No. 30 was engaged in escorting convoys and merchant ships to sea. The hon. member referred to the court martial-ling of certain members of her crew. Her crew had complained of leaks in the forecastle deck. All available caulkers were engaged in more urgent work and repairs could not be taken in hand at once. On the morning of the 18th, the men refused to take the ship to sea, and consequently

she was unable to take her part as escort to the outgoing convoy.

The ship was inspected by the shipwright officer, who reported that there was a slight leak over the starboard after bunk, also over the mess table; a leak in the captain's cabin, the worst on the ship.There were three or four leaks in the engineer's quarters. He further reported that the leaks were no more than might be occasioned in the case of a ship sweating and in no way impaired the ship's seagoing efficiency. In view of the fact that the country was at war, and these men put their

comfort before the safety of valuable lives and ships in the convoy, the crew were tried by courtmattial for refusing duty and sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment. This sentence was considered not excessive.

The captain of the Hochelaga I wish to inform the hon. member, was not a member of the court which tried these men and the statement of the hon. member that he was a typical example of the distortion and misrepresentation employed by him throughout his speech to work up a case against the naval service. Then the hon. member had gathered certain shreds of information regarding the Hochelaga. He stated:

There was a steamer on naval duty called the Hochelaga, which was commanded by a certain gentleman and which was sent to sea on (patrol duty. The lookout on this naval patrol boat one morning sighted a submarine; he reported the matter to the captain, and1 the captain, who was in charge of eight or ten small boats in addition to his own, at once put up signals to return to port, and instead of stopping and endeavouring to get that submarine or be sunk in the attempt, the captain of the Hochelaga deliberately turned tall and proceeded back to pout.

And yet, the hon. gentleman says that he has not made any charge against the officers and men who comprise the Canadian naval service.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I did not say that at all.

Mr. BALLANTY'NE: Hansard makes the hon. gentleman state that the captain-

At once put up signals to return to port.

That is a direct charge against the officers and men of the naval service.

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

My hon. friend need not try to draw the line too fine because his statements were general and sweeping. The particular charge that he makes in this

connection is against the officers and men who were on board the Hochelaga. The facts are: On the 25th August the patrol ships Cartier, Hochelaga and trawlers Nos. 32 and 22 were patrolling, ships three to four miles apart. About 1.45 p.m. the ' Hochelaga sighted two schooners which being reported to the captain, he altered course to intercept them. When about four miles from the schooners a submarine was sighted close to them, and at the same time one of the schooners sank. The captain then ordered his crew to stations for "action," altered course towards Cartier, his senior officer's ship and away from the submarine, and reported the presence of the submarine by wireless. Cartier immediately steered for the position of the submarine, accompanied by Hochelaga, but the submarine had by that time disappeared. Then the hon. member for Lunenburg asks:

Why in the name of common sense was he allowed to go with an honourable discharge?

There again the hon. gentleman's information is totally inaccurate. Here are the facts in that case: When the circumstances were reported, the captain of the Hochelaga was tried by court-martial on the following charge:

That he did not, from negligence or other default, on sight of a ship of the enemy, which it was his duty to engage, use his utmost exertions to bring his ship into action.

He was found guilty and sentenced to be dismissed from His Majesty's service. By no stretch of imagination can this sentence be called an honourable discharge. There can be scarcely any greater disgrace than such a sentence in time of war, which carries with it not only the forfeiture o'f his commission as an officer, but also of all claim to pension, war service gratuity, medals, or other benefits. Surely that was enough punishment for a man who showed some neglect in the performance of his duty. This officer was not on the court which tried the crew of Trawler 30, for refusal of duty, although the hon. member says that he was.

Then my hon. friend unearthed another mare's nest and he referred to the oil tanker Luz Blanca, which was either sunk by a shell, or torpedoed by a German submarine, seventeen miles off the gas buoy at the port of Halifax. The hon. member made a nunp ber of charges of culpable negligence against the officers of the department in connection with the sinking of that ship. Here is further evidence that the hon. member made charge after charge against the

REVISED EDITtON

officers and men of the Naval Service of Canada. At the opening of my remarks the hon. member disclaimed having done so; but as we consider his speech we find that as he proceeded he time and time again ' makes absolutely unfair and inaccurate references to these gallant men. Then the hon. gentleman goes on to say:

While this vessel was being sunk a number of the officers at Halifax were at pink teas and playing bridge whist. This is the way we were protected on the Nova -Scotia coast.

I am glad of this opportunity to absolutely refute the accusation-the unfair accusation-that the hon. member has

brought against British officers with a splendid record in the Imperial navy, and against the excellent officers and men who comprised the Canadian Naval Service of Canada. For the hon. gentleman to allege that in time of war these men who had donned the King's naval uniform would be guilty of attending pink teas and playing bridge while an oil tanker was being shelled and sunk outside of the port of Halifax, is absurd and nonsensical, and I hurl the charge back at him as unfair and totally inaccurate. Now, here are the facts in regard to the iLuz Blanca, which may afford some information to the hon. gentleman: She left Halifax about 7 a.m. on the 5th of August, 1918. She was struck by a torpedo on her starboard side when about 35 miles southwest of the Outer Gas Buoy of Halifax harbour. There was a considerable amount of haze on this day. Her report of the attack was received by the senior officer of patrols at 1.45 p.m., and action was taken immediately. At this time there were at sea-one division of patrol vessels (i.e., four vessels) and two United States submarine chasers. The former had just left the convoy, and the latter were still in company with the convoy. The W/T. message was sent to both divisions, which was coded, sent, decoded and acted upon by 2.30 p.m.

That is very prompt action. This is how the officers were employed instead of attending a pink tea and (playing bridge whist. The patrol vessels were uncertain of their position, as they had been at sea for some time in fog. Unfortunately, -the senior officer made a wrong decision as to his position on the advice of -a fisherman whom he happened to pass-, and in consequence -did not get into touch with the Luz Blanca. He was absolved from blame by the court of inquiry and -the department concurred in this. Any man who knows- anything at all about navigation-and I do not think my hon. friend (Mr. Duff) knows much about

[ ilr. Ballantvne.l

it-is aware that when a ship is in a dense fog it is nothing unusual for a navigator not to be able to determine what his right course is.

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I do. I suppose my hon. friend later on will assert that there was no fog on the -day in question.

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L LIB

William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I absolutely assert that there was no fog on that day, and I will put up $1,000 to prove the assertion.

Mr. BALLANTYNE! Hon. gentlemen will appreciate, from what II have said already, whether the accuracy of the statement of the Minister for the Naval 'Service, or the accuracy of the statement of the hon. member for 'Lunenburg, is the .more to be depended upon. The submarine chasers arrived on the scene too late to save the ship, but picked up survivors. Those are the facts in regard to the sinking of the Luz Blanca.

It now becomes my duty to deal with another statement by the hon. gentleman; and it appears that the further he proceeded with his speech the more intoxicated he became with his inaccurate statements.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

He had been taking pink tea.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

Probably he had been taking tea, and I hope it was not anything stronger.

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William Duff

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DUFF:

I must ask the hon. member to take back his suggestion that I was indulging in something stronger than pink tea.

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UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

I will withdraw the observation, because I am satisfied the hon. gentleman would be perfectly satisfied with tea, and more especially " pink tea."

Now here is another statement by the hon. gentleman:

That whilst a German submarine was off the coast, the Lady Evelyn was sent to Magdalen islands with six lead pencils.

It is a shame that the hon. member should occupy the time of the House with such frivolity as that, and to take up my time and the time of my technical officers in looking up accurate information to reply to any such nonsensical charge as that the Lady Evelyn was sent to the Magdalen islands with six lead pencils. The facts are that the Lady Evelyn left Sydney at five a.m. on the 3rd August on patrol duty in the gulf of St. Lawrence. Whilst on this duty she visited, in the ordinary course,

the various war signal stations in her area, at the same time landing any supplies required by them. She continued patrolling until seven a.m. on the 7th August, when she returned to Sydney. The submarine on the 5th August was operating off Halifax, and not in the area of the Sydney patrol to which the Lady Evelyn belonged.

Then the hon. gentleman dealt with the assistance rendered by naval vessels from the country to the south of us, and here is what he said:

An American destroyer was off Cape Canso, she received a call to return to Halifax. When the commander of the destroyer received the call, he wired back that he had information a submarine was in his zone. Nevertheless 'he was ordered back to Halifax on some paltry excuse, and when he got there he was sent out on convoy with the ship that was to take Prince Arthur of Connaught to England.

The facts of the case are as follows; The Halifax subdivision of United States chasers were ordered to leave Halifax and to search Banquereau bank and return to Halifax, in order to escort H. M. S. Shannon, which ship was to convey Prince Arthur of Connaught to England. No submarine was sighted or reported by any of these vessels, and their programme of search was not curtailed in the least degree for the purpose of returning to Halifax. The normal routine was maintained, which would have been used in the .case of any ship of the size of fhe Shannon proceeding to sea.

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L LIB
UNION

Charles Colquhoun Ballantyne (Minister of Marine and Fisheries; Minister of the Naval Service)

Unionist

Mr. BALLANTYNE:

It is available.

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR; Can the minister tell us where she was on the 5th August?

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May 26, 1919