Remember the Rainbow Redux: An Alternate Royal Canadian Navy

how many men does it take to man each gun? rainbow seems to have one 6 inch gun on the bow and stern with three 4.7 inch guns on each side and there is 12pdr secondary guns thrown in somewhere too. it is obvious that the big 6 inch guns would be manned but maybe not the smaller guns? the more i hear about rainbow, the worse i feel for the poor little ship.
 
The preamble to Rainbow's date with destiny has been fantastic, I'm greatly looking forward to discovering what happens after we finally pass the POD.
 
how many men does it take to man each gun? rainbow seems to have one 6 inch gun on the bow and stern with three 4.7 inch guns on each side and there is 12pdr secondary guns thrown in somewhere too. it is obvious that the big 6 inch guns would be manned but maybe not the smaller guns? the more i hear about rainbow, the worse i feel for the poor little ship.
I won't spoil that info as it's coming up very soon.

The preamble to Rainbow's date with destiny has been fantastic, I'm greatly looking forward to discovering what happens after we finally pass the POD.
Thank you! It's a bit difficult to make my timeline differ from another popular one but I think it's going fairly well. The battle itself should be an interesting one I'll say that :)
 
A Detour from Destiny
August 4, 1914. HMCS Rainbow, Waters off Washington State.

Louis Blanchet stepped out from the aft superstructure of the Rainbow, patting his stomach as he came to the deck railing. Supper had been rather late that evening, after 10 pm to be more specific. This was mostly due to the fact that the officers had been working them to the bone all day. He could not help but crack a smile at the recollection of his brother’s face staring out at him from the galley as he collected his meal of smoked kippers and potatoes. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think he would be aboard a warship at sea, he would have been content standing alongside her in port. Mother had been strangely approving of the pair joining the Naval Reserves, although he was almost sure their Uncle had not been the most truthful about the purpose or seriousness of the unit itself. The enthusiastic younger brother was followed by his older counterpart through the year of training in the dockyard, aboard this very ship many a time and port side in Esquimalt. Rifle drills, proper parade etiquette and even operating the big guns of Rainbow, it had been quite the interesting time! When the Navy had officially set up the Reserves, the boys were both issued their proper uniforms which, at least for Louis, had only served to cement the allure of the service.

While they had missed Rainbow’s journey to force out the Indians from Vancouver harbor, the pair were snatched up shortly before Rainbow had weighed anchor the previous day. George had been drafted into assisting the personnel in the galley, even with his grumbling, Louis had thought it was the best place for him. He was never very fond of the entire idea of joining the reserve, quite evidently, he only did it to be with his brother. Himself on the other hand, he would not be caught dead peeling potatoes! Almost as soon as he had come aboard, Petty Officer Carr had requisitioned him into service with the rear 6 inch gun as a gun layer. As it was explained by the mountain of a man, Louis's job was to make sure his gun was accurately aimed up or down at the target. The best part though? He was also the one to fire the gun when the orders came down! Over the afternoon, the entire ship was firing practice shells at canvas targets they had been throwing overboard. The Commander had personally congratulated the gun crew of his turret when they had scored a 100% hit rate against one of their targets, 6 hits out of 6 shots fired. That being said though, there had been times through the day where he had incorrectly inputted the elevation data or fumbled with the wrong dial, followed shortly after by a stern talking to from PO Carr.



It has been said that Petty Officer Carr prided himself on the competency of his turrets crew. To quote a former Rainbow crew member, "Carr pushed his turret to hit first, hit hard and keep on hitting!"

The sound of hurried footsteps clattered across the deck above him, bringing the young boy back from his sweet reminiscing. Louis quickly tucked himself into the space below the aft superstructure, huddling close around the thick armored walls of the conning tower. As he did, the ship aggressively heeled into a turn, sending the boy headfirst into the armor plating. 3 inches of plate won over the 15 year old’s noggin, sending a jolt of pain through him as he tried to collect himself. That had been the third course change within the hour. Above his throbbing head was the rear bridge, he had become rather familiar with the stern-faced officer watching their gunnery exercises through the day from it’s deck house. From his location, he could just about make out an ongoing conversation above.

“Sir, message from the Commander. We are belaying the planned course correction to patrol off San Francisco for the moment. Alongside the earlier declaration of war with Germany, NSHQ has just informed us that a train carrying high explosive shells from Halifax should be arriving on August 6 at Esquimalt. The Commander wishes to restock before returning to the sea lanes.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes sir.”

“Thank you, dismissed.”

Louis could just about hear the half running steps of the message running over the state of his aching head. They were at war with Germany now? Had he heard that right or was his brain scrambled? He had heard many rumors throughout the ship that it was only a matter of time, but it was seemingly official now. The young lad took a minute to collect himself before checking around the decks to see if the coast was clear. He could barely contain himself as his thoughts raced to that of his heroic gunnery putting a German warship on the bottom, that would definitely put a smile on his Mothers face! George had to be told as soon as he could get away from his duties, this was big!

On the opposite end of the old cruiser, Commander Hose stood on a bridge wing facing into the headwind. Likely reminiscent of a gaunt faced English Pointer with the scent of Lyddite on his brain, the old salt allowed his mind to wonder into optimism for a short time. This was fleeting as just like the ship he stood on, his mental course was quickly changed once again.



The Blanchet brothers posing for a photo in their newly issued uniforms, sometime in 1914. George is sitting in the front while Louis is standing in the back.
 
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Usually proud Québécois would have nothing to do with an "Anglo Institution" as his mother had previously put it but with their father being away on business and mother being back home in Quebec, perhaps Louis and his determination would trump their Uncle.
i just realized that both of these boys are originally from quebec and also french due to their last name. quebec seems to already hate the navy from the many previous chapters but likely losing a pair of young boys down with rainbow is going to be incredibley interesting to say the least. will quebec get behind the war now or will they deflect this as the imperials taking young french boys of to die?
 
i just realized that both of these boys are originally from quebec and also french due to their last name. quebec seems to already hate the navy from the many previous chapters but likely losing a pair of young boys down with rainbow is going to be incredibley interesting to say the least. will quebec get behind the war now or will they deflect this as the imperials taking young french boys of to die?
That is a very interesting theory, stay tuned.

Another note, there will be another small chapter coming out tomorrow. Sadly I cannot cram absolutely everything I require into these first person chapters especially with my normal three post a week schedule. A full sized chapter will still be posted on Wednesday as well, so worries there.
 
So Close Yet So Far
August 5, 1914. HMCS Rainbow, coast off British Columbia.

Off the now too familiar bridge wing, Commander Hose could just about begin to spy the inner works of Esquimalt through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Part of him had not expected to ever see British Columbia again but with the changing of his fortunes somewhat, perhaps this would not be the last time. Magazines topped up with 100 lb Lyddite shells would allow Rainbow’s 6”/40 guns to wreak havoc on any German cruiser. High explosive shells would likely fair poorly against the armored decks of his enemies but to all of the irreplaceable equipment on deck and just inside the ships hull, such shells could quickly end the future career of a raider. Even if his ship went down without taking his enemy with them, perhaps the accumulated damage would spare British Columbia from a rampage. Pushing those somewhat melancholy thoughts aside, Hose allowed himself a small smirk as he watched skyward, the setting sun throwing it’s early evening hue across everything in sight.

“Sir, message from NSHQ.”

Hose broke his gaze from the horizon as he turned to the runner, “Let us see it then lad.”

As the runner saluted and quickly left the bridge wings, Hose clutched the piece of paper in his hands.

“Received from Admiralty. Nurnburg and Leipzig reported August 4th off Magdalena Bay steering north. Do your utmost to protect Algerine and Shearwater steering north from San Diego. Remember Nelson and the British Navy. All Canada is watching.”

Hose read the message. He read it again, twice and then a third time once more. The less rational part of his brain contemplated crumpling the piece of paper in his hand and launching it out into the strait, it certainly would have made the old sailor feel better, as unbecoming an action as it would be. His patience was quickly approaching its breaking point, one man could only take so much abuse. To be so close to one of the only things potentially allowing him to die something approaching a satisfactory death, only to have it snatched away by the powers that be. It was completely clear why Captain J. D. D. Stewart had departed from the service in the first place, such neglect was not found out of place regarding a flea bitten stray dog, let alone a naval officer. As much as he enjoyed basking in the self pity and indignance of his situation, Hose’s mind wondered to the second half of the massage. HMS Algerine and Shearwater had both been operating off Mexico with a multinational task force days before yet now the pair of ships scramble home under threat of Leipzig’s mighty guns.

He could not help but feel guilty about his previous thoughts. He knew both ships commanding officers as well, Commander Trousdale of Shearwater in particular was a keen pistol marksman and quite often invited Hose out to the firing range to practice. Hose was never much of a sharpshooter himself but the brimming enthusiasm of Trousdale's company always seemed to brighten his day. He stood here and complained while these men and their crews fought against the seas in their outdated sloops to make it home. Rainbow had definitely seen better days herself however this pair of sloops had originally been fitted with rigging for sails, a paltry speed that even Rainbow could beat and a rather pathetic armament of short barreled 4” guns. Such ships would be easy prey for a cruiser like Leipzig, even a ship such as Rainbow could put them on the bottom rather decisively. If nothing else, Hose decided, he would follow his orders and ensure the safety of these ships. Even with that being said though, the ending of the message had been rather blunt.

All Canada is watching? They had better avert their eyes quite soon.’ Hose thought to himself as he turned from the wing into the bridge itself.

“Navigator, bring her around and set a course for San Francisco. Have all lookouts keep their eyes open for HMS Algerine and Shearwater. Helmsman, I want 3/5th power on the engines once our course is properly plotted.”

With the prompt acknowledgement of his orders followed by Rainbow’s tired rudder heeling around once again, Hose departed the bridge for his cabin. Without the shells and having not topped up his coal, his options for staying combat effective were limited. NSHQ had assured him days ago that the United States did not prohibit belligerents such as himself from coaling in her ports, which was positive as he had credit for arranged for 500 tons of coal waiting in San Francisco. That being said, Leipzig was also a belligerent and could utilize the same role just as well. Catching the enemy cruiser in port coaling would be a boon but alternatively, the same could befall himself. Placating the United States was an utmost priority, offending their neutrality in any way was surely career suicide if he was not already dead in the meantime. No matter, the weary old salt needed some time alone to rest his head and try to think of some strategy in these trying times. If he was to throw their lives away for King and Country, he would prefer it be on best possible terms if at all.



HMS Shearwater departing Esquimalt sometime before WWI. Her outdated arrangement of masts and rather unintimidating silhouette was rather fitting for a ship largely designed to colonial patrols and peacekeeping duties.
 
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Bremen’s surprise visit to Saint Johns in May of 1912 proved to be a particularly eventful endeavor. Clad in the white and yellow of the German East Asia Squadron, Bremen contrasted heavily with the dull grey of Royal Navy vessels normally found around the coast of Canada.
While this statement may be technically correct, St. John's isn't IN Canada at this point.
 
The Great Submarine Caper Part I
One of the most interesting yet forgotten stories in regard to Canadian Military Procurement is that of rather blandly named HMCS CC-1 and CC-2. While historians are familiar with the ships themselves, the climate in which they were acquired and their accompanying tale are rather conveniently left out of many an official publication. The story of their purchase and daring acquisition seemed to come straight out of a cheap adventure novel although as will soon be clear, truth can be stranger than fiction. Submarines had been considered for Canada for many years although as with almost everything related to military spending, they were never acted upon before the outbreak of the first World War. These diminutive vessels were a rather effective weapon for any small nation requiring mobile defenses while also working within a small budget. Crew compliments were almost always very small, allowing a perspective nation to potentially man 2-3 submarines for the same the manpower required to operate a single destroyer. Looking back through the lens of hindsight, the officers and men of the period were almost completely unaccustomed to defending themselves against the submarine threat. Anti-submarine warfare as we know it was not developed until into the conflict itself. The German submarine U-9 sinking a trio of British armored cruisers late September of 1914 clearly showed that even larger warships could be sunk by a well positioned single submarine. The ability of these vessels to sit or move rather undetected in comparison to surface warships was another key advantage they held. With proper warning and a good positioning, submarines would be a deadly adversary for an unsuspecting raider.

Although it should be remembered that while submarines had significant advantages, the flaws present in such early boats rather dampened their effectiveness. Submariners of this period were very much operational pioneers; training was provided but the technology was far from proven. Early diesel engines utilized within these submarines required frequent maintenance and replacement of parts as the material science was not quite up to the future standards of World War II or even the interwar period. Submarines were incredibly cramped even with the small crew compliments and their machinery was rather dangerous, seawater contaminating their batteries could result in chlorine gas being expelled into the interior of the submarine which also lacked ventilation. Torpedoes of this period also had limited range and therefore effectiveness, somewhat nullifying the advantage of surprise that these boats enjoyed. Operational range and the combination of effective torpedo range limited these ships to laying in wait and in open waters, this drastically reduced their usage. In confined waters though such as straits, harbors, etc, submarines had few challengers to their deadliness.

The beginnings of Canada’s Submarine Service occurred in an unlikely place, within its neighbor to the South. As part of it’s July of 1910 Naval Bill, the nation of Chile placed an order for a pair of submarines with the Electric Boat Company of New Jersey. The pair of boats were designed so that while they were originally built in New Jersey, they were disassembled and transported across the country to the Seattle Construction and Drydock Company. This second company was subcontracted to rebuild the boats and deliver them to the Chilean Navy. The pair was laid down in 1912, launched in 1913 and completed in August of 1914. For a total construction price of $818,000, the pair of submarines was a tidy bargain however when the Chilean delegation inspected the ships, the reason for this pricing became clearly evident. The quality of both boats was rather lacking, fit and finish of parts were incredibly rough in places once a closer look was had. What was most worrying to the Chilean delegation was the fact both boats failed to meet the contractual obligated range requirement and in diving trials, both ships displayed worrying dive patterns with dangerous performance underwater. These issues alongside what was likely cold feet on the part of the Chilean government, caused them to fall behind over a year in their payments. Chile's constant threatening to back out of payments left the Electric Boat Company with two boats and no owners, their construction and details being evident to the US Navy which would almost certainly decline to purchase.



Antofagasta and Iquique, named after Chilean port cities, are shown above moored beside each other.

This all laid the foundation for the events of July 29, 1914. A group of influential figures and politicians had gathered for a dinner at the Union Club in Victoria and having caught wind of the impending war, the topic of reinforcing British Columbia’s almost non-existent defenses was raised. It just so happened that one of the men in attendance was James Paterson, President of the Seattle Dry Dock and Construction Company. After sitting through the various discussions and potential answers to rectify the provinces problem, Paterson chimed into the conversation with the tidbit that his company happened to be in possession of a pair of submarines that could possibly be up for sale. Yet another figure present at this meeting was Captain William Logan, a master mariner and representative of Lloyd's of London. As a local maritime insurer for Lloyd’s, Logan was seen as a very reputable and trustworthy figure within the greater Victoria area. Logan himself would be contacted by a committee of concerned citizens on August 2 who asked him to join in their attempts at purchasing a dreadnought for local defense. Hearkening back to the details he skimmed on July 29, Logan mentioned that perhaps they should look into purchasing Paterson’s submarines and later into the day, another citizen asked that he use his connections to inform the Premier of the possibility. Premier McBride received a telephone call from Logan early the next day and upon hearing the news, he was elated. He had been long looking for any kind of supplementary defenses for the province and with war on the horizon, the time could not be better. McBride was also a staunch supporter of the navy in general, although he had generally fell alongside Robert Borden in the contributionist camp. With Logan placed at the head of the submarines acquisition, he immediately contacted Paterson by telephone and confirmed the subs were still available. Logan was initially worried due to the fact that the submarines and their contract were in the end held by the Electric Boat Company, Paterson assured him that the sale would be legal given how Chile had defaulted on their payments and the ships were laying finished but unused. While a price was not established, Logan sent this news through to McBride who in return, brought Logan, a cabinet Minister from Ottawa, a local MP and the Attorney General of BC into his office to discuss the purchase. All parties agreed with the fact that Canada needed the submarines and a preliminary estimate was assigned of $375,000 each for the vessels.

Even with their agreement, the party wanted the opinions of a naval officer to back their decision. As Commander Hose had departed aboard Rainbow previously, Lieutenant Henry B. Pilcher of the Royal Navy had been brought in to act as the overall commanding officer of Esquimalt navy base. Previously an officer aboard Rainbow, Pilcher was quickly thrust ashore and had been dutifully attempted to bring Esquimalt and BC as a whole up to a war ready state. The poor man had already been under extreme pressure even before Logan and the federal Minister of Agriculture arrived in his office. Pilcher was dumbfounded at the questions regarding the submarines as he had never been in command of one however, adding additional defenses to his meager offerings was in his best interests, so he was quickly won over. Using his office telephone, Logan called Paterson to finalize the overall pricing. With his clients up against the wall, Paterson jacked the price for the submarines up to $575,000 each with the caveat that no negotiations would take place, he also pushed for the payment to be made in whole by government cheque. Even with the hefty markup of $332,000 over what the Chileans were originally planning to pay, the Canadians had little choice but to accept. After having the federal Minister witnessed the agreed upon price, the group wrote out a telegram informing Ottawa and Admiral Kingsmill of the possibility of purchasing the vessels.

“Two submarines actually completed for Chilean Government Seattle, estimated cost $575,000 each. Could probably purchase. Ready for action torpedoes on board. Chilean Government cannot take possession. I consider it most important to acquire immediately. Burrell concurs. Provincial Government will advance money pending remittance.”



Lieutenant Pilcher aboard HMCS Rainbow, very likely in higher spirits and a sounder mental state.

Ottawa was unexpectedly slow on the roll in regard to the ongoing situation and much to the dismay and protests of Lieutenant Pilcher, the purchase went ahead regardless. It's relatively easy to show sympathy for Pilcher given his overall situation, his rapidly deteriorating physical and mental health were beginning to be noted by people around him. Paterson attempted to jump the gun and get the submarines ready to depart that very night however, Logan had to stall the overeager man from stirring up suspicion over the purchase. The United States was to pass the Neutrality Act any day and if they did before the submarines were out of US waters, there would be political hell to pay. Logan departed for Seattle immediately alongside Able Seamen Thomas A. Brown, a naval reservist picked at random by Lieutenant Pilcher to accompany the insurer on his trip. As the men moved to get the submarines into custody, McBride quickly lobbied the BC Cabinet to get a $1.15 million dollar cheque and through an order in council, the funds were passed through to McBride.

The Committee of the Privy Council have had before them a report, dated August 3, 1914, from the Officer in command of Esquimalt Naval Base, submitting that, in view of the existing emergency, it is necessary to provide some additional means of Naval Defense on the Pacific Coast of Canada. The Officer states that two submarine boats have been offered to the Dominion Government; that these boats were originally built for the Chilean Government, which was unable to receive them, and that their dimensions are as follows:

Displacement - 313 tons.
Length - 144 feet and 152 feet, respectively.
Beam - 15 feet.
Speed - 13 knots.

The Technical Officers of the Esquimalt Naval Base report that these boats are very suitable, and recommend their purchase. The Minister concurs and recommends, therefore, that these boats be purchased for the sum of One Million and One Hundred Fifty Thousand ($1,150,000) Dollars and that as the necessity is urgent, a Governor General's Warrant
be issued covering this expenditure, the Minister of Finance having reported that there is no Parliamentary Appropriation from which this expenditure can be defrayed. The Committee advise that a Governor General's Warrant do issue as recommended accordingly.

Signed Rodolphne Boudreau,

Clerk of the Privy Council.


Ottawa would be rather lucky that unlike themselves, Provincial politics had much less baggage to them and without this quick thinking, the submarines could have very easily have slipped away. With both parties working their absolute hardest, the Great Submarine Caper had begun.
 
The German submarine U-9 sinking a trio of British armored cruisers late September of 1914 clearly showed that even larger warships could be sunk by a well positioned single submarine. The ability of these vessels to sit or move rather undetected in comparison to surface warships was another key advantage they held. With proper warning and a good positioning, submarines would be a deadly adversary for an unsuspecting raider.
i think a relevant example that could relate to this story would be hms pathfinder, as its one ship sunk by a submarine. i have been waiting for you to cover the submarine adventure for awhile, its looking good!

 
how many men does it take to man each gun? rainbow seems to have one 6 inch gun on the bow and stern with three 4.7 inch guns on each side and there is 12pdr secondary guns thrown in somewhere too. it is obvious that the big 6 inch guns would be manned but maybe not the smaller guns? the more i hear about rainbow, the worse i feel for the poor little ship.
You would want the 4.7" manned at least, after all both German cruiser have 105mm main guns (5 each side) so having 4.7" (120mm) even if its old would be worth it.the 12pdr are less so but you would want the crew anyway for shifts and to man inspection boats or do damage control anyway.

Note rainbow might be slower and much older and with far less upkeep and crew training but at close range she is probably deadly for a single German cruiser?
 
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You would want the 4.7" manned at least, after all both German cruiser have 105mm main guns (5 each side) so having 4.7" (120mm) even if its old would be worth it.the 12pdr are less so but you would want the crew anyway for shifts and to man inspection boats or do damage control anyway.

Note rainbow might be slower and much older and with far less upkeep and crew training but at close range she is probably deadly for a single German cruiser?
I suppose it all depends on the range the engagement happens at. Both weapons have older less reliable gunpowder shells but the overall effective range for the 6”/40 and the 4.7”/40 are basically the same. If you wanted rapid fire or hitting power I suppose you could pick which battery to focus on.

That is if Rainbow gets to choose the fight, she could easily be caught off guard and have to scramble into action. The opposite could also be true.

Or at least capable of mission killing her.
Correct, even if Rainbow goes down, the amount of damage she inflicts has serious implications regarding Leipzig’s future movements.
 
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The Great Submarine Caper Part II
While the various parties were rapidly closing on their objective, the bureaucrats in Ottawa seemed content with their usual glacial pace. Admiral Kingsmill had been attempting to get a straight answer out of the Admiralty in regard to if the purchase was sensible or not, leaving poor Lieutenant Pilcher hanging on the few shreds of sanity he had remaining. Rather humorously, Pilcher would send a telegram to Kingsmill stating, “I shall not act without authority” but he would soon be made a liar as events began to move independent of his control. The German declaration of war at 3 pm on August 4 would add a sudden urgency to the procurement as very soon, America would put into effect it’s neutrality laws which barred any belligerent states from acquiring military equipment from inside it’s borders. Brown and Logan had arrived in Seattle in the afternoon of August 4, being quickly spirited away by Paterson once they had met. Once the trio had arrived in the yard, Logan and Paterson proceeded to a private office to discuss their plan while Brown was left to patrol the dockyard. A few exaggerations come up around this time in the narrative, some sources describe how Brown had dressed himself as a scruffy looking ‘hobo’ to mingle with the dockyard workers and attempt to root out any German spies or parties looking to disrupt the deal. This is likely untrue given the fact that Brown’s own son has went on record saying his father did no such thing, although he was tasked with mingling into the dockyard to recruit sailors for the trip, he likely did not do so dressed as a homeless man.

Within Paterson’s office, McBride was called by telephone to finalize the details of the escape. Paterson first attempted to get the payment before the submarines even left, likely to cover himself in case of the plan falling apart. McBride convinced him to accept the payment upon the delivery of the boats into Canadian waters and also confirmed that the tug Salvor would be waiting for them at dawn off the Strait of Juan de Fuca in international waters. An hour later at 9 pm, the group alongside the crew for the voyage snuck through the yard and down to the submarines themselves. The Chilean naval staff present in the yard did not suspect a thing and after another hour, the lights of the yard were extinguished for the night, signalling their departure. Without any authorization, navigation lights or clearance, both vessels crept on their batteries through the foggy night. Likely not expecting to intercept ‘enemy’ vessels the night of war being declared, patrols and coastal defenses were rather content to enjoy their last night of relaxation away from taxing neutrality. Antofagasta carried Paterson alongside Logan, an Electric Boat Company manager, and a retired US Navy officer while behind on Iquique, Brown stood among unfamiliar faces. Once in clearer waters, their diesel engines were switched on and the pair of ships rocketed at full speed towards their destination. After a nail biting night, both vessels spotted Salvor at the meeting area at 4:30 am and shortly after, followed the waiting tug into Canadian waters.

Unknown to the men aboard, the had escaped by the skin of their teeth. The Admiralty finally cabled Pilcher at 3:30 am with the recommendation to purchase the vessels if they were still available. Pilcher rather cheekily responded with, “Have purchased submarines.” Although this time thankfully, the man would not be made a liar. As President Woodrow Wilson signed the neutrality act at 5:30 am, the sale would remain legal. This fact was unknown to Paterson who was nervously pacing the decks of the submarines as they were rafted alongside Salvor, being inspected by Canadian officials. Paterson repeatedly insisted on the payment being handed over right then and there but the recently acquired Lieutenant Bertram Jones was the holder of the cheque and had strict orders to give the boats a through inspection before handing the money over. Jones had retired to British Columbia the year prior, leaving his half decade as a submariner in the Royal Navy behind, it was almost a miracle that such a person was to be quickly recruited into assisting the operation. The shaking Pilcher had handed the cheque over to Jones at the dockyard, the cheque itself being worth almost three times the budget of the entire Canadian Navy from 1913 to 1914. As 7 am came around and the inspection concluded, Jones produced the cheque and handed it to a relieved Paterson but not before insisting in a receipt also be issued. Paterson retrieved an old envelope from a jacket pocket, holding it to the conning tower of Antofagasta as he wrote the document out.

While the submarines were now in Canadian hands and headed for the safety of Esquimalt, the freshly minted Canadian Submarine Service was nearly strangled in its crib. As the pair of boats sped into Esquimalt Harbor, they were spotted by the Fisheries Protection vessel CGS Malaspina, freshly drafted into inspections duty. Due to the utter secrecy of the mission, nobody had informed the base and its defenses that the ships were on their way. Malaspina quickly sighted the vessels and instead of challenging them by signal, quickly misidentified the slow slung vessels as German torpedo boats and ran back towards the harbor at all possible speed. Flying past the iconic Fisgard Lighthouse, Malaspina wailed like a banshee as her collision siren screamed in distress, her crew wild signaling by semaphore as they went. The pair of 12 pdr coastal defense guns located at the Black Rock battery rammed home their shells and took aim at the pair of supposed torpedo boats, only being ordered to stand down as their inquisitive commanding officer thought about the situation. German torpedo boats could not possibly reach British Columbia undetected with what little fuel they carried, these ships also resembled British submarines as well. As he correctly identified the pair as friendly due to the fact both were cruising on the surface, not submerged as an enemy would be. Again there is some debate in the exact details of these events. Some stories say the submarines flew up White or Red Ensigns at the last minute while another says pillowcases were run up the flag mast. Local newspapers cover various versions alongside testimony from the men themselves but there is still no clear version. Whatever transpired that day, the submarines successfully averted disaster and docked in Esquimalt, meeting McBride and Pilcher dockside. The anxious McBride asked one of the crew departing from the submarines if they had got a fair price and was assured by the man they had, it would later turn out this man was Paterson himself who in the end, pocketed at $40,000 commission fee for the sale of the vessels.



The freshly promoted Sub-Lieutenant Brown poses for an official photo.

With both boats safely docked in their home port, many tasks had to be seen. Crews were beginning to be formed and former Royal Navy submarine experts were being hunted down within Canada and asked for their assistance. The overworked Lieutenant Pilcher was on his last legs, handing out increasingly nonsensical orders as his mental state deteriorated. He would order the pair of submarines to be renamed to HMCS McBride and HMCS Paterson while he recommended several men for promotions, the only one which was followed through on Ottawa’s part being that of now sub-Lieutenant Brown. McBride sensed Pilcher’s erratic behavior and after a medical examination, the poor officer was finally allowed to rest at home. This 24-hour rest period was then extended to indefinite sick leave following a diagnosis of ‘nervous exhaustion’. St. Louis-class protected cruiser USS Milwaukee was dispatched on August 5 to locate the vessels once the authorities had realized the situation however, the cruiser did little but putter along aimlessly before slinking back into harbor. Chile was furious at the events that transpired but due to the fact they had fallen back on their payments, they held no actionable legal power. McBride himself seized the potential propaganda value the very next day and had a piece regarding the submarines published in The Daily Colonist.


Daily Colonist excerpt regarding the purchase of the submarines.

Canada has finally found for itself some luck in these trying times, although such fortunes would be fleeting.
 
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