Remember the Rainbow Redux: An Alternate Royal Canadian Navy

Little would he know that his friend, Keyes, would draft him into the Navy and haul him off to Esquimalt. Technically a deserter, Edwards hid his rifle under his bed at home and threw his uniform off the train on their way for Esquimalt.
that lucky ross rifle was spared the mud and torture of the western front hahahah.
 
Hang on...
Plucky crew of random sods pulled off the dockyard; second-hand torpedoes intended for another type of ship entirely; retired officer volunteering back into service; eminent doom in the form of Leipzig approaching...
If the tale of CC-1&2 doesn't become a Canadian Heritage Minute followed by a lampooning on Royal Canadian Air Farce ITTL there's no justice in the world.
If there’s one thing I can say at this moment regarding the outcome on the West Coast, it’s gonna be the fact that a lot of Heritage Minute content will be available afterwards. Move over Avro Arrow, here comes the Navy!
 
Metallic Sausage New
The following partial transcript was retrieved from an interview with Frederick William Crickard, former Able Seaman in the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve. This document is property of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, December 13, 1949 as is being used with all legal permissions.


Able Seaman Crickard in 1914.

“I enlisted in the Volunteer Reserve branch of Victoria sometime around June of 1914. I had not been undergoing training for more than a month before war broke out. My last job as a grocery store clerk must not have been particularly appealing to Commander Hose, so I was left ashore when Rainbow departed for her patrol down the coast. Looking back, I was damn lucky I was not aboard, not much I could have done in that situation. I was present in the dockyard when Lieutenant Keyes did his rounds looking for volunteers to man the newly arrived submarines.....but for reasons I don't understand even to this day, I have no clue why the Lieutenant choose me. Being assigned to CC-1 first, I was occasionally rotated between both boats as one of the men operating the torpedo room. One of my fellow crew members described the pair of boats as floating metallic sausages which I thought was rather funny but fairly accurate. Both ships were fairly small at just around 150 feet long but could easily be told apart by their length and bow shape. CC-1 had 4 torpedo tubes forward which gave her a much fatter bow compared to CC-2 which only had 2, giving it a much sharper and longer bow. Both of these sausages had flat steel decks over their pressure hulls, these decks were only maybe 6 feet across at their widest and stored all of the various mooring lines, anchors, and other miscellaneous equipment. The conning tower was placed right on top of this flat deck and only allowed a few feet of visibility over the surface at best. The tower gave almost no protection against the weather, so it was not uncommon for the crew to build a rough canvas structure around it to help keep everybody just a little bit drier.

Down the hatches in the upper tower is where the lower conning tower was found, this is also where the periscope and engine vents were located alongside all of the instruments needed to sail the ship. There was roughly 5 glass ports around this area which allowed a full view of the surrounding area alongside navigation and engine controls. Once you had made your way down through the hatches and into the submarine proper, the hull was divided into 5 sections. Every inch of these spaces was plastered with numerous wires, pipes, valves, gauges, and buttons which I never truly understood the purpose for. The deck on which the crew worked was made of wood and covered all of the fuel tanks, ballast, and batteries. One of the things that almost instantly hits you as soon as you go into a submarine was the putrid, damp air in the bowels of the boat. We had no air filtering systems, heating, or air conditioning so the environment below became very uncomfortable. Our commanding officers were very understanding, and we did not share the same dress regulations as the other vessels in the navy, we generally wore whatever was most comfortable. I will say in advance that I am not very familiar with any of the sections besides my own, so my descriptions may be very surface level. We received cross training whenever possible to take over other duties during emergencies but we only could get so much done in such a short time. As you came down the main ladder, you would be directly in the heart of the boat. The control room was only roughly 7 feet long but it contained all of the various controls required to effectively operate the boat. The room was rather cramped as alongside all of the controls, it was also where the commander launched attacks using his periscopes. I was once allowed to look through the periscopes while we were alongside in port, one allowed you a natural view while the other was magnified. The control room was also where the white mice lived, these critters were kept inside cages and used as a measure of the air quality within the submarine. If the mice began to squeak uncontrollably or lose consciousness, it was a sign that the submarine needed to surface quickly to ventilate the vessel.


Control room of the CC class submarines. The search periscope can be seen in the raised position in front of the ladder, the chain on the forward bulkhead was used to move it. The large pair of wheels on the left operate the hydroplanes on the exterior of the boat. Various other pressure release gauges and mechanisms can be found here alongside the main helm.

Stepping through the watertight door aft would place you in the compartment we called the 'after battery', named because the aft half of the ships batteries was stored under the decks. The controls for the electric motors and power for the ship were found here but it also doubled as the ships mess. We had a very small galley on the left of the compartment, which was very modern, it had a sink, water boiling burner, oven, and an electric range top stove. The pantry was on the right side of the compartment under a very long dinner table, this table doubled as a sleeping area for 4 men while 2 more hung from the ceiling in hammocks. The largest compartment aboard was the aftermost engine housing. You could find the diesel engines and main electric motors, which would propel the boat above and below the surface respectively. Over 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel was stored in tanks below the deck and thankfully, I rarely had to go into this compartment. The noise here was almost unbearable, the smell of diesel always worked its way into your nose and the crews here had to communicate through sign language. The only reason I would be found aft was to service the after most torpedo tube which was nestled into the aftermost bulkhead, between the boats pair of shafts. Stepping back forward through the previously mentioned compartments would find you inside the forward battery. This was where most of the crew relaxed, ate, slept and most importantly, stored their very limited belongings. A pair of canvas bunks were strapped to the ceiling and wooden footlockers for personal items were bolted to the floor, a pair of small toilets were also to be found here. The boat would quickly become a rather rank place as the only sink present in the ship was in the kitchen and the boat had not a single shower. All of the other sailors here would sleep in hammocks hung wherever possible.


Forward torpedo room aboard HMCS CC-1, torpedo reload stands can be seen to the left and right alongside the escape ladder in the middle.

The last compartment and the most forward was the one I spent the most time inside, the ‘fore-ends’. Between the watertight doors, there was a small office where the wireless room and a pair of bunks for the officers was located. Past this, this is where the torpedo tubes were found, and the boats main weapons were stored. On CC-1 there was 4 tubes here and on CC-2, there was only 2. In order to fire the torpedoes, the bow caps had to be moved out of the way using handwheels or gears and from the control room, compressed air would be used to launch them. CC-1 had the caps placed into pairs, meaning each vertical pair would open at the same time. The remainder of the crew slept here, amidst the torpedo reloads on the floor. A torpedo loading hatch and an escape hatch could also be found here. I didn’t mind the company occasionally however, there was quite a few times I had to throw everybody out of the torpedo compartment in order to do my job effectively.”
 
excllent description of the submarines, it really helps to get an idea of what these men went through as crew. i was surprised they had such kitchen appliances in this era and on such a tiny ship, i guess they must have eaten fairly well. lets hope mr crickard and his fellow crew have some luck in their future, who knows what kind of a boost a major victory would give the canadian sub service in the future!
 
excllent description of the submarines, it really helps to get an idea of what these men went through as crew. i was surprised they had such kitchen appliances in this era and on such a tiny ship, i guess they must have eaten fairly well. lets hope mr crickard and his fellow crew have some luck in their future, who knows what kind of a boost a major victory would give the canadian sub service in the future!
Either a major victory or a humiliating failure, both are possible. If nothing else, the crews of the submarines are definitely in high enough spirits to do something. Skill wise and mechanically, we shall see. So take your pick between nuclear submarines and nothing at all later down the road :openedeyewink:
 
So take your pick between nuclear submarines and nothing at all later down the road :openedeyewink:
Oh, I think a modern RCN in this timeline will keep it non-nuclear. There are a lot of good diesel boats out there (although they're mostly using fuel cells now) so my real wonder is if Canada would import or make their own. There's a lot of history between Rainbow's end and now, who knows the state of Canadian shipbuilding between!
 
Oh, I think a modern RCN in this timeline will keep it non-nuclear. There are a lot of good diesel boats out there (although they're mostly using fuel cells now) so my real wonder is if Canada would import or make their own. There's a lot of history between Rainbow's end and now, who knows the state of Canadian shipbuilding between!
I don't know, in OTL Canada nearly bought nuclear subs as it was. The preliminary studies and a defence white paper were completed but the whole thing fell apart because of multiple factors including cost, Chernobyl which made nuclear a dirty word and strong US opposition (they did not want Canadian nukes in the Arctic).
 
Oh, I think a modern RCN in this timeline will keep it non-nuclear. There are a lot of good diesel boats out there (although they're mostly using fuel cells now) so my real wonder is if Canada would import or make their own. There's a lot of history between Rainbow's end and now, who knows the state of Canadian shipbuilding between!
I don't know, in OTL Canada nearly bought nuclear subs as it was. The preliminary studies and a defence white paper were completed but the whole thing fell apart because of multiple factors including cost, Chernobyl which made nuclear a dirty word and strong US opposition (they did not want Canadian nukes in the Arctic).
Whatever happens in regards to future submarine procurement, I can guarantee that the RCN will have better names/naming schemes than CC-1 and CC-2.
 
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Trojan Horse New
August 14, 1914. HMS Algerine, waters off Teahwhit Head, Washington State.

Able Seaman Sydney German let the pair of binoculars hand loosely around his neck as he stared across the late afternoon sky, its wispy white clouds creating a stark comparison to the coal dust and occasional grunting of his fellow sailors below. He had originally thought the role of lookout to be one of endless boredom, treacherous weather, and perilous heights but from his current perch up in the foremast of the sloop, he was rather content with the situation. The pleasant seas and warm breezes of the Mexican Coast were long gone, Algerine had quickly been ordered to undergo a breakneck sprint back to good old Esquimalt before a German cruiser swooped in to gobble her up whole. The first legs of their journey had been fairly uneventful, Shearwater kept them in good spirits with her company but as morning dawned on August 10, she was nowhere in sight. Both ships lacked wireless sets, so any communication had to be made from visual range, they were essentially steaming blind back towards the safety of Esquimalt with the hopes of running into any friendly vessels to bolster their number. That plan had been put into motion fairly successfully until the late hours of the previous night, Algerine had begun to slow rather significantly. The stokers aboard were down to just shoveling coal dust and in order to get all of the range possible out of the old ship, Captain Corbett had ordered the crew to break up all wooden material aboard and feed it down to the engineers. It broke the young man’s heart to watch such beautiful handmade furniture be reduced to kindling but it was better that than attempting to rig up the old vessels sails and suffer that way. Hopefully supper would be ready after the coal had all been loaded, the lookouts stomach grumbled

They had been extraordinarily lucky in finding the collier SS River Forth seemingly also making a run towards Esquimalt as well. Not a moment too soon as the amount of clinker, ash and debris from the burnt wood was not sitting very well with the ship’s old boilers. Able Seaman Sydney was enthused when he was ordered up the mast on lookout duty instead of being involved in any of the grueling operations below. He had watched as both ships anchored nearby each other and Algerine’s boats were slowly filled with men and lowered, slowly meandering between both vessels with that valuable black gold in hand. The remainder of the crew was making good use of the fairly calm seas and ample free time, painting parties dangled over the side in their rope chairs as they went about their work. The splendid Victorian style white tropical paint was being slowly covered in careful sheets of bland wartime grey. A group of stokers popped their heads up onto the deck periodically to cast buckets of debris from the boilers out into the sea, likely muttering profanities all the while. Besides the men dutifully working away down below, a lone Lieutenant alongside a signalman and a handful of fellow lookouts were the only men not actively engaged in any other work. The Captain alongside the majority of his officers must have below in a meeting or preparing for their upcoming supper, whatever officers do away from the common sailor. Turning back to scan the horizon once again, the young man’s eyes came across a particular shape far out across the sea. It took a moment before his brain processed what was in front of him, it was another ship! The vessel in question looked to be approaching their direction off their port quarter, although currently at a distance which made any identification impossible. Reporting down to his superiors, the other lookouts joined him in staring intently at the approaching ship. As the distance was slowly closed and the vessel changed its course somewhat, its features started to become apparent. The ship in question had a trio of tall funnels and was moving faster than the average merchant, could this be a German cruiser? It definitely was not HMCS Rainbow or HMS Shearwater, perhaps it was the Japanese cruiser Izumo following them up from Mexico? Before he could make his report, his contemporary on the aftermost mast beat him to the punch. Able Seaman Sydney tried to look closer and focused on the white flag dancing in the wind, it looked white with some kind of detailing on it. It could easily be a German naval ensign or perhaps a British one. Soon after, he took his turn to call down to the Lieutenant below.

“Ship appears to be flying the White Ensign from her masts.”


HMS Algerine moored alongside a pier somewhere on the West Coast of Canada. Her outdated appearance is made rather clear by this photo.

Below, the officer on duty grumbled orders to the signal man who quickly began flickering his light towards the unknown vessel. Sydney craned his head down to catch whatever signal was going out. As the other ship replied, he tried his hardest to keep up with the conversation, jotting notes in his logbook. Morse was not his strong suit but he caught the occasional signal going through.

HMS ALGERINE ASKS WHAT SHIP?

HMCS PRINCE GEORGE BOUND FOR ESQUIMALT was answered to the challenge.

The young seaman was briefly confused, he had not heard of or seen such a vessel in Canadian service during his time in Esquimalt. Could this be a ruse or perhaps simply a civilian vessel taken over for wartime service? He cursed their lack of wireless, they could have likely been warned about such a vessel being operational in the area prior to this happening.

Their signalman quickly responded, DAMN GLAD TO SEE YOU.

The body language and grumbling of the men below seemed to relax at their newly located ally. A few minutes passed before HMCS Prince George replied sent out another message.

WHAT IS YOUR STATUS DO YOU REQUIRE ASSISTANCE.

Sydney watched a runner being ordered down into the bowels of the ship before emerging a few minutes later.

The next signal read, TAKING ON COAL FROM FRIENDLY COLLIER SMALL BOATS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

HAVE SPARE BAGGED COAL ABOARD CAN TRANSFER BY CRANE.

AFFIRMITIVE CAPTAIN INVITES OFFICERS ABOARD ALGERINE FOR SUPPER.

Sydney rolled his eyes at the last message, officers would be officers no matter the circumstance. He peeled his gaze from the incoming ship and continued to scan the horizon for any potential intruders to their little get together. For a few short minutes, he thought he could spot some smoke on the edge of the horizon, but it was dismissed as potentially mist after a few minutes of inspection. With the nearby waters seemingly clear of any traffic, the curious lookout turned his attention back to Prince George as she closed. He could very clearly see her black and white civilian livery with it’s sloppily painted outlines, it was obvious she had been sent into service in a hurry as she didn’t even sport something like the standard navy wartime grey. The young lad could not help but gaze intently at the vessel, her sweeping high freeboard and clean lines were quite modern and dashing in comparison to their antiquated three masted little warship. She dwarfed Algerine by easily a hundred feet or so and as she came up alongside them, Sydney spotted the other ships lookout from across the water. He gave a small wave to his contemporary who seemingly either did not see or ignored him, what a shame. The former liner adjusted course several times before she slowed, deftly positioning herself to come directly alongside the smaller sloop. Slipping alongside her already painted port side, Sydney looked down across the decks of the ship as the crews below moved to tie her up. Something felt dreadfully wrong. The decks were almost completely devoid of any crew except some at the main mast and after mast. He thought he could see figures moving about inside the bridge but it was hard to tell.


Royal Marines from HMS Algerine at a much happier time pose for a photo with one of their mascots.

What happened next threw the Able Seaman for a loop, the White Ensigns dropped down to the decks and quickly was replaced by a Black Cross adorned by the Imperial Eagle. Before he could open his mouth, all hell broke loose below. Various tarps aboard what they thought to be Prince George were thrown aside, revealing the various mounted weapons aboard. Men wearing German uniforms swiftly manned the weapons, a multitude of machine guns and cannons pointed as low as they could down onto the decks of Algerine. The large double cargo doors built into the hull of the liner were flung open as German sailors began to pour out onto the decks of the surprised sloop, the Lieutenant on duty who was ready to greet them being quickly grabbed at gunpoint by a German sailor. Caught completely off guard, the crew of the top deck were completely unready to repeal borders however, that did not stop one sailor. Amidst the yelling and chaos, he bolted towards one of the pinnacle mounted Maxim guns on the superstructure, only to be cut down mid stride by a burst of machine gun fire from the watching Germans. Roughly 20 men armed to the teeth with various pistols and rifles crawled across the top decks like ants, rounding up the few crew members on her prow as reinforcements began to make their way across to join them. A fair number of them quickly spread out below decks with what looked like officers and their short-barreled carbines leading the charge. Sydney was broken out of his thought by a voice yelling from below and as he looked down, he found himself staring down the barrels of multiple rifles. He instinctively raised his hands high in the air as the Germans yelled incomprehensible commands towards him, eventually beckoning with their hands to come down from the mast. For a moment he looked over the side, juggling the idea of swan diving off the mast into the waters below instead of turning himself over to the Germans. Letting out a long sigh, he began the climb down the mast. That would not accomplish much more than a few angry Germans and a wet uniform, might as well comply and stay dry for the foreseeable future.
 
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he was rather contempt with the situation
Minor edit, I assume you mean "he was rather content with the situation".

Either way, Prince George/Prinz Georg has neatly removed the last Royal Navy ship on the whole of the west coast, it's going to be interesting if Izumo makes a run from Mexico to Vancouver straight into the teeth of Leipzig's growing flotilla.
 
Some interesting divergences from OTL starting to happen. Looks more like something from the 18th century given all the boarding.
Indeed, the timeline up to this point has been somewhat reliant on boarding actions although I would point out that in atleast one of the cases here, the action was completely unopposed due to the situation at hand. Funnily enough, the situation Algerine has found herself in happened in OTL as is listed in the link below. Obviously Rainbow isn't around and Prince George has switched teams. The time frame was adjusted but the collier was still met and taken coal from.


Minor edit, I assume you mean "he was rather content with the situation".

Either way, Prince George/Prinz Georg has neatly removed the last Royal Navy ship on the whole of the west coast, it's going to be interesting if Izumo makes a run from Mexico to Vancouver straight into the teeth of Leipzig's growing flotilla.
Yes thank you very much for the correction, fixed. Depending when HMS Newcastle and Izumo arrive on the coast and when the Germans decide to attack, there is all kinds of outcomes that could happen, most of them definitely not good for the Germans on paper.

HMS Shearwater, a sloop very similar to HMS Algerine, is still lurking somewhere ITTL, probably around Esquimalt.
Yes as of the last chapter, she arrived on August 13th and is currently docked in Esquimalt without a crew as they were sent to Halifax to bolster the compliment of HMCS Niobe. If she will attempt to be brought back into service with what scraps of crew remain on the West Coast will be covered in a later chapter, although will likely follow OTL fairly closely.
 
Huh, the Wikipedia page had no mention of her ever being captured. Was there another sloop with the same name?
My apologies, I meant that Algerine would have been found in that location anchored alongside a collier on the afternoon of August 14, not that she was captured in OTL. The link I posted above has a good recap of what happened that day,


14 August 1914
Mazatlan to Esquimalt
Lat 47.87, Long -124.62
4.50am: Stopped and communicated with Hospital SS Prince George
5.50am: Proceeded as required inshore
10.00am: Stopped ½ mile SW of Teahwhit Head; hands employed throwing all woodwork overboard and painting ship grey
Disposed overboard:
Steamboat no 413
Sailing cutter 26 feet
2 whalers 27 feet
Skiff dinghy 16 feet
Copper punt 8 feet
Fire engine Pattern 2A
Anchor and shackles cable
Cabin furniture
12.15pm: Sighted SS River Forth (British)
12.30pm: SS River Forth closed and anchored
2.00pm: Let go port anchor in 19½ fathoms, veered to 5 shackles
3.00pm: Hands coaling ship by boats from SS River Forth
3.00pm: HMCS Rainbow closed
4.30pm: Slipped cable and proceeded NW
6.42pm: Umatilla Light Vessel abeam, ½ mile
8.38pm: Altered course as required for Jean de Fuca Straits and Esquimalt; HMCS Rainbow in company astern
OTL, Algerine served as a depot ship in Esquimalt and was eventually used as a salvage ship before being scrapped in 1924, ironically after going aground and needing to be salvaged herself. You can still find part of her mast in Bastion Square, Victoria, BC to this very day.

 
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They had been extraordinarily lucky in finding the collier SS River Forth seemingly also making a run towards Esquimalt as well.
wow so if the germans manage to succesfully capture algerine alongside the collier she is with, that will be a big game changer regarding fuel for them. that other collier scuttled itself, lets hope this one doesnt for the sake of the germans.
 
wow so if the germans manage to succesfully capture algerine alongside the collier she is with, that will be a big game changer regarding fuel for them. that other collier scuttled itself, lets hope this one doesnt for the sake of the germans.
Very much so! If anything though, the Germans are going to find that they might have too many ships and not enough men....
 
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