The Second World War Vancouver Volunteer Yacht Patrol

Unique in Canadian Naval history was the formation of the Vancouver Volunteer Yacht Patrol during the Second World War.

In a chapter of The Annals of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club 1903–1965 (Pages 163–168) the efforts of members of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club to assist the Royal Canadian Navy in the early Second World War effort. Here is an extract from the article:

... "through the foresight of Commander B.L. Johnson D.S.O., who had been appointed N.O.I.C. (naval officer in command), Port of Vancouver, a group of R.V.Y.C. members were receiving training in navigation, signalling and other basics to fit themselves to be of value to naval authorities should local emergency arise."

"At a meeting of sundry members called by Fleet Captain C.J. Dilland Staff Captain Dr. J.A. Sampson in the Jericho Clubhouse July 27th 1940, it was moved by E.R. (Jack) Cribb, seconded by Rear Commodore J.A. Longley. "that we form ourselves into a unit and request naval instruction to fit ourselves to be of value to the naval authorities."

"Commander Johnson, addressing the group, stressed that no official naval standing could be given, and that in offering to provide qualified naval instructors on a voluntary basis he was doing so as a senior member of the R.V.Y.C. and not as a member of the naval service. He recommended that the group be limited to twenty-five members and that five suitable power cruisers be formed into a half flotilla, five men to a boat."

"Commander Johnson arranged for a member of his officers to give the necessary instruction under the general direction of Lieutenant–Commander McCulloch, and a semi–weekly series of lectures were commenced August 20th, 1940, with the full complement of twenty–five members attending."

"Five members of the group, W.G. Dolmage, T.N. LePage, G.H. Phillips, Owen Wright and Temple Wright were immediately accepted for active service and their places in the training group were quickly filled."

"In September 1940 Lieutenant‐Commander J.M. Smith RCN, assumed direction of the training programme, which was stepped up three evenings weekly with manoeuvres, lamp and flag signal exercises between vessels on weekends. From August 1940 to April 1941 a total of 67 exercises, lectures and parades were held. On resumption of active training in September 1941 the Patrol carried out a survey of Sturgeon Bank and the mouths of the Fraser River at the suggestion of Commander Johnson. Soundings were taken and charts prepared by A.H. Jefferd, hydrographer for the patrol, the motor vessels taking part being Tequila, Dorisar, Kennett II, Latona, Diana Joan and Coal Harbour."

"On the declaration of war between Japan and Canada December 8th, 1941, the commanding officer of the Patrol, Dr. J.A. Sampson, received a call from N.O.I.C. Vancouver to hold the group in readiness for immediate duty to assist in immobilizing the local Japanese fishing fleet consisting of approximately 1000 fishing boats of all sizes in the Fraser River, Burrard Inlet and adjacent waters. On December 9th, 1941 our six vessels (above) were ordered by N.O.I.C. to instruct all Japanese fishing boats to proceed to selected anchorages in the Fraser River and at Bedwell Bay, North Arm, Burrard Inlet. Assisting the local naval forces, approximately 1182 Japanese fishing boats were impounded in the Fraser River at Annacis Island. Our half flotilla of six motor vessels ... Tequila, Captain J.A. Sampson; Dorisar, Captain Basil Rae; Latona, Captain O.H. Bell; Diana Joan, Captain G.D. Wilson; Coal Harbour, Captain C.J. Dill; Kennett II, Captain C.H. Gyles, with four–man crews, assisted in this work under the direction of naval officers assigned by N.O.I.C. Vancouver, remaining on full&nash;time duty from December 9th to December 22nd, 1941."

The members of the Vancouver Volunteer Yacht Patrol were:

  • Alex Aitken
  • Dr. Alan Anthony
  • Dr. Gordon Baker
  • Harry Barrett
  • O.H. Bell
  • Tom Baird
  • Harry J. Bird
  • J.M. Black
  • Don Brooke
  • K.A. (Bert) Cruise
  • G.A. Cran
  • Bill Cunningham
  • Dr. W.J. Currie
  • Jack Cranham
  • George Cutler
  • Cedric Dill
  • W.G. (Bill) Dolmage
  • Derry Dwyer
  • W. Fred Evans
  • Gordon Ferris
  • Dave Fladgate
  • Les Grant
  • Cedric Gyles
  • Les Golman
  • Clarke Gibson
  • Claude Hill
  • Norman Hanly
  • Jack Halse
  • George Halse
  • John Hockin
  • Frank Insley
  • Art Jefferd
  • J.M. Kerr
  • Ted LePage
  • Jack Lewis
  • J.A. Longley
  • Sid Miller
  • Phil Miller
  • A.P. (Bert) Morrow
  • Stan Morton
  • Oswald Moseley
  • Ken McCandless
  • T. McFeely
  • Gordon Oliver
  • O.B. Omundsen
  • R.B. Pinney
  • W.R.C. Patrick
  • George Parsons
  • G. Hazen Phillips
  • Forrest Rogers
  • W.A. Roedde
  • B.H. Rae
  • Jack Skinner
  • Dr. J.A. Sampson
  • Jack K. Storey
  • Ed Thompson
  • Hugh Thomas
  • Ed Towns
  • Geoff Tullidge
  • Douglas P. Urry
  • Gerry D. Wilson
  • Art Way
  • Jack Williamson
  • Owen Wright
  • Temple H. Wright

The symbol denotes members who went on in 1940–1941 to active service with the Canadian forces.

"On the establishment of blackout regulations throughout the Vancouver area in 1942, the Naval Patrol was requested by Lieutenant–Commander J.M. Smith RCN, Naval Control Station, Vancouver, to assume the patrol of five designated zones in Burrard Inlet, and this work was carried out for the duration of the regulations until December 16th 1943."

The group was thanked by the Commanding Officer Pacific Coast in February 1944 and asked to stand down. The threats to the west coast had diminished to such a point that the need for their existence had passed. They were never given official status under the King’s Regulations.

The group is believed to have been unique on the West Coast. On the East Coast of Canada a similar group developed in Newfoundland but whose members were given official status and wore naval uniforms. See the article on The Cornerbrook (Newfoundland) Patrol Force for details of the origin and history of that unit.

Reference: The Annals of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club 1903–1965 (Pages 163–168)

To quote from this article please cite:

Anon. (2017) The Second World War Vancouver Volunteer Yacht Patrol. 2016.

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