The rise and fall of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1945-1964 : a critical study of the senior leadership, policy and manpower management

dc.contributor.authorLund, Wilfred Gourlay Dolphin
dc.contributor.supervisorZimmerman, David of Historyen_US of Philosophy Ph.D.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study examines how well the senior leadership of the Royal Canadian Navy managed the personnel component of its post-World War II expansion from 1945 to 1964. It challenges the popular myth that the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) experienced a “golden age” during this period because of the persistence of inadequate personnel policies and poor manpower management that negatively affected the operational capability of the fleet. The two themes of the postwar period are the effort of the Royal Canadian Navy to build the fleet and the challenge of producing trained personnel in sufficient numbers to man the ships. After demobilization the navy had virtually to be rebuilt. Canada joined NATO in 1949, and the RCN assumed a heavy commitment to anti-submarine warfare (ASW) that drove expansion. In its zeal to be a strong alliance partner the RCN was over-committed from the outset through its open-ended policy of providing as many anti-submarine escorts as possible. Over-commitment, trying to man too many ships with too few trained personnel, immediately became the major factor affecting personnel policy. The study shows that the Royal Canadian Navy was relatively successful in achieving its goal of providing the maximum number of ASW escorts possible but that over-commitment constantly outstripped manning resources and defeated an inadequate personnel management system. Instability in ships' companies became chronic. The navy continually fell short in its training and manning requirements which lowered fleet operational readiness. The deliberate over-commitment in the ratio of ships to trained personnel replicated in many respects the problems that the navy had experienced during the Second World War. Personnel shortages, particularly in trained tradesmen, resulted from structural and morale problems created by policy decisions. The situation was exacerbated by poor personnel planning and management. The training system was starved in order to man obsolete ships to meet NATO force goals. The wastage rate was unacceptably high because the navy failed to offer an attractive career. There was reticence by senior leadership to implement changes in the personnel structure in response to contemporary demands and pressures. When sweeping radical changes were introduced simultaneously in 1960, the already stressed personnel system was overwhelmed. An acute shortage of technicians resulted that led to a collapse in manning on the east coast in 1964. The study demonstrates that although the RCN identified deficiencies respecting the personnel system and structure, it had limited success in developing adequate policies for either correcting problem or implementing changes. Personnel policy is also used as a vehicle to examine naval policy in general and to identify and discuss the dominant themes, issues and personalities that defined requirements and influenced the decision-making process. Particular attention is paid to roles of the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Naval Board. The effect of inconsistent government support on long-term naval planning and civil-military relations during the period are also analysed.en_US
dc.rightsAvailable to the World Wide Weben_US
dc.subjectRoyal Canadian Navyen_US
dc.titleThe rise and fall of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1945-1964 : a critical study of the senior leadership, policy and manpower managementen_US


Original bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Thumbnail Image
16.4 MB
Adobe Portable Document Format
License bundle
Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
No Thumbnail Available
1.71 KB
Item-specific license agreed upon to submission