Cornwallis tally

Some of the original photos are quite large and have been resized to reduce the download time but may be clicked on for enlargements.

Five months basic training may sound like a long time but thinking back, I wonder how how so much could have been crammed into so little time.  Marching, rifle drill, semophore, morse code to mention a few, but above all.. seamanship.  But I guess that's the main ingredient of a sailor.

Thus began the best five years of my life.

Click on the photo for an enlargement.


This photo was taken in August 1951 when I was in the Sea Cadets.  I'm somewhere in the group of cadets in the port side aft. It was only 14 months later (Oct 52) that I was on that same parade ground as an Ordinary Seaman in the Royal Canadian Navy.   I can still recall how far it was around the perimeter with the Chief's voice bellowing, "At the double. You're not out for a Sunday stroll." There were a few other words included in that statement but I decided to leave them out.  

Iroquois Division

Click on the photo for an enlargement with a list of names.

Iroquois Division.  27 October 1952 - 7 March 1953

I am #1, Bruce is #2 and Ron is #3

Route March

Click on the photo for an enlargement.

This photo was my brother's (deceased) photo and I assumed it was his division on a route march which was part of basic training.  I was always puzzled that it was  such a large division and now thanks to LCDR(Ret'd) Jim Williamson the mystery has been solved. An excerpt from his log (guestbook) entry and a personal e-mail revealed some interesting info. Who do you think the officer leading the unit is ????

Excerpt from LCDR(Ret'd) Jim Williamson's log entry

I served in the RCN/CF for 42 years. My picture is in the Marching group. I am the PO in the middle. I was a GI at Cornwallis in 1955, and after being commissioned served there again from 1965 to l969. Also served in many ships including the Athabaskan twice. Retired as a LCDR and am now living in the USA.

Excerpt from his personal E-mail (reprinted with his kind permission)

I was the PO of the Sunset Ceremony Guard and each summer besides performing at Cornwallis we put the ceremony on at various places throughout Nova Scotia. I think that the picture was taken during the annual Apple Blossom Festival at Kentville, NS. For whatever reason that was the first and only time that I recall two divisions being joined together for a ceremonial march. I am in the centre of the picture and the other PO is PO Hall. The officer is LT(N) Dan Mainguy who later went on to become an Admiral. I had 3 1/2 of my best years in the Navy at that time.

Please feel free to use the info that I have provided about the picture, and once again you have an excellent web page and I hope that you continue to keep in touch with your former shipmates. Jim Williamson

kit muster

Kit Muster

This little "forget-me-not" was sent to me by Bruce Redman who passed through Cornwallis 1959/60 (Fraser Division). The first thing I thought about was, that after stenciling my name in all my kit, it took endless hours with needle and thread to do the embroidering.  Why, even my canvas running shoes were emblazoned with my name in flaming red .  ;-) 

Do you remember Seagull Block?

OS Letch-Seagull Block

OS Letch  during 2 week stay in Seagull block

The Following photos were submitted by Gerald (Jerry) Sullivan
Cornwallis Haida Division 1950

Click on the photos for enlargements.


Seagull Block


Cornwallis jetty

Another gem that will reinvigorate the youthful enthusiasm of basic training in Cornwallis.

Contributed by George Webster - RCN 1954 - 1978

George has more great photos on the "photos" link on his website.

George Websters Homepage

The Assault Course - 1954  

assualt course

George is standing at the left


Dave Thien and Bill Featherstone are trying to locate former shipmates and have forwarded these photos of Cornwallis, Assinaboine 2 Division from 1961. They show an amazing "transformation" from the new recruits in the First Day photo in front of joining block on 17 Apr 61, to sailors in their graduation photo. A number of these people have been identified. Click on the photos for an enlargements and a list of names.

Dave may be contacted at
Bill may be contacted at

First Day
"Life as you know it is about to change... it will never be the same"

Terra Nova 2/65

Robert (Bob) Carswell has submitted his Cornwallis graduation photo.
(Click photo for enlargement)

Submitted by William "Bill" Calder - Assiniboine Division - Started April 1962

The following two photos were submitted by Emil Paries of Nootka Div X11 Div 1956.
His e-mail describes photos

The Sunset Guard picture is from Nootka X11 Div.1956. I am front row 5th from left.We are seeing off Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral DeWolf. Commanding Officer Capt.Sterling, far right behind car.Guard officers were Lt.Peers & S/Lt.Watson.Guard P.O.'s Smith & Watson.

The Div picture also included.Unfortunately I missed the group picture due to a dental appointment. Emil Paries ABRP.32838-E


Submitted by Thomas Milne

Dave McMasters 1953 Iroquois Division


iroquois names

Submitted by Bruce Redman - Second row from the top, 6th from the right

Many changes have gone on since my days in Cornwallis
as are quite evident in the photos I received from John Fidlin
which may be viewed on the Cornwallis Today page.

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engine or browser and DO NOT see the listing
of the internal website page links at the left,
click below to enter the site.

My Royal Canadian Navy