“Hon. Angus Macdonald, Minister for Naval Services, regrets to announce that H.M.C.S. Spikenard, a corvette, has been sunk by enemy action. All five officers and fifty-two of the sixty ratings are missing and must be considered lost. The next of kin have been informed.”
rI^HE announcement comes from Ottawa as A this special Navy Number of Maclean’s goes to press. It is not the first of its kind. It will not be the last. The casualty lists oí the service lengthen; the spread of our sympathy widens. It is part of the grim chapter in a nation’s war record. But that chapter is one of fearlessness, of honor, of nobility—of jobs well done.
In the pages that follow, an attempt is made to convey an impression of the broad story of our Navy. They chronicle, these pages, a wartime achievement that commands Canadian pride.
The Royal Canadian Navy is but thirty-two years old. It started with two cruisers, the Niobe and Rainbow (one stationed at Halifax, the other at Esquimalt), and a handful of men.
At the outbreak of the war, it had some fifteen vessels of all types, and a personnel numbering about 1,800.
Today it has more than 300 ships of all types; some 28,000 officers and men.
It has performed many tasks quietly and efficiently. The biggest has been that of helping to convoy more than 8,000 merchant ships across the Atlantic ships bearing 50,000,000 tons of cargo.
It has seen action; quite a lot of action. And it has upheld the traditions it followsthe traditions of the Royal Navy.
They are old traditions. The history of the British Navy started in the reigns of Ecgbert and Ethel wulf, first kings of England, 1,100 years ago.
It was molded when the ships of Alfred the Great, the first King’s Ships, defeated the Vikings; when, under the threat of Norman invasion, every shire in England was called on to provide ships in proportion to its size and wealth; when armadas dashed themselves against its wooden walls; when the first steam destroyer was built in 1893; the first dreadnought in 1905.
Traditions born of names— Anson, Hawke, Rodney, Hood, Jervis, Collingwood, Nelson, Jellicoe, Beatty.
This number, then, is in tribute to The Navy — to the officers and ratings of the Dominion’s permanent service, the Royal Canadian Navy; to the men who joined via the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve; to the men from our peacetime merchantmen who comprise the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve; to the men who, in dockyard and shipyard, labor unceasingly to keep our ships in all respects ready for sea.
It is a tribute to the men on the bridge; to the men above and below decks, behind the guns and in the engine room; to those who, whether on knife-bowed destroyers or on foam-riding exfishboats, are in the Navy.
Rubber That Won’t Stretch
L^OR YEARS before the war the civilian A populations of Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia were subjected to iron discipline in the matter of conservation of supplies so that the full resources of those nations would be ready for the zero hour of total war. They knew the reason.
On this continent, in the third year of total war, there still are people who cannot understand the whys of this or that restriction; who haven’t yet realized that we are being blockaded.
For instance, the matter of rubber. The Controller of Supplies for the Department of Munitions and Supplies, A. H. Williamson, has stated that there are sections of the Canadian
public who still do not grasp the fact that the rubber shortage is so serious that “our very ability to fight an all-out war is imperilled.”
In the South Pacific, Japan has seized control of ninety-seven per cent, of the world’s rubber supply. In 1940 world production was 1,392,000 tons. The United States imported 648,000 tons. Last year’s consumption was 750,000 tons. Canadian consumption was in relative proportion.
Last December, when Japan struck, stocks on hand in the U.S. totalled 500,000 tons of crude rubber. In mid-ocean were an estimated 125,000 tons. An additional 114,000 tons has been shipped since. Some of it has arrived. Some hasn’t.
Production in South America (original home of the rubber tree), once supplying half the world’s supply, during the past quarter century has slumped to small quantities. Costs, lack of labor, fungus disease, not to mention discouragement, have slashed output to not more than 16,000 tons.
Last year, production of synthetic rubber in the U.S. amounted to but 12,000 tons. Vast expansion projects are being established, but on both sides of the line predictions of fairly adequate supplies by the end of 1943 are regarded by experts as being overconfident.
When Mr. Williamson stated that “every pound of rubber used for civilian purposes means a pound less for the mechanized forces and a reduction in our fighting strength,” he stated a cold fact.
ARISING from the rubber shortage there looms for the larger cities a gigantic problem. Entirely apart from pleasure driving, thousands of privately-owned cars constitute a major transportation system used to convey a large section of the community from home to work, often over long distances. As these cars go off the road, street-car and bus lines, even with staggered hours of work, cannot possibly take care of the overflow. Under present controls, additional public transportation equipment is almost unobtainable. Relaxation of those controls would mean diversion of materials needed for war purposes.
In effect we are faceci with the enforced scrapping of one transportation system and inability to expand alternative systems. And bicycles, horses and shanks’ ponies cannot make up all the deficit.
It looks as though the solution would have to come from a scientific laboratory in the shape of something to take the place of pneumatic wheels.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.