Sunday, September 26, 2004

HMCS KINGS Posted by Hello

HMCS KINGS by LCdr Owen J.W. Parkhouse, RCN

The University of King's College has a long and splendid history-founded in 1789 by Royal Charter granted by King George III. The university, the oldest in the overseas British Commonwealth, was founded because of a war, namely the American Revolution which forced Loyalists from the rebelling colonies northward into British North America. The college was originally located in Windsor, Nova Scotia, however a fire forced it to relocate, and it was rebuilt on the campus of Dalhousie University in Halifax.

The close and amicable relationship between the University of King's College and the Navy which exists today, dates back to the early years of WWII. In May 1941, Angus L. Macdonald, Minister of Naval Services, requested the use of King's College as a Naval Officers' Training School for the summer period of that year. It was later determined "that the national emergency was such that it was necessary to use King's ... for the duration of the war." Accordingly on May 24, 1941, the Stadacona section of the RCN's Officer Training Establishment was transferred to the University of King's College, and a few months later, on October 1, 1941, it was commissioned HMCS Kings.

It was in HMCS Kings that young officers took at 12 week course in seamanship, gunnery, torpedo, navigation and signals before proceeding to sea. Later the course was lengthened to 20 weeks and modified with a view to placing greater emphasis on anti-submarine operations.

Training of officers continued in HMCS Kings until after the war in Europe had ended. When Kings was paid off on May 19, 1945, it had graduated a total of 96 classes and turned out some 4,000 officers for wartime service in the RCN. 42 of these officers paid the supreme sacrifice. Today, the naval yardarm still stands tall in the centre of the quadrangle, and the student pub is officially named HMCS Kings' Wardroom. The ship's bell serves as the Baptismal Font in the Chapel.


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