Aircraft Carriers of the Royal Canadian Navy

The music you hear now is called
Salty Soaks - performed by - The Stadacona Band

Here we proceed slowly by the Stromboli volcano smoking, near Sicily, and when we encounterd something unusual, the Commanding Officer told us and if possible we came out to enjoy the view!, This is the way we discovered the whales, the flying fishes hitting the ship or falling on the weather decks etc.

Here's what a pilot sees when approaching the landing deck of the ship. He must make sure to catch a cable to stop the aircraft and if not,he crashes into the barriers.  He has a space of 800 feet long and 90 feet wide to land.


Before leaving for a flight, all aircraft were raised to the flight deck, and they were  parked, and the wings deployed. Taking turns aircraft advancing  prepared to leave. Two plane pushers were holding chucks under the aricraft wheels, waiting for the batman to give the order to the pilot to turn up the gaz and leave the flight deck, at this very moment the chucks were removed, and another plane tooks it's turn!

If the wind was too weak we used the catapult, and I can tell you it  was a fast take-off  over a length of 200 feet only the aircraft was airborned!

On the front of the aircraft carrier, there was steam coming out to show the direction of the wind  (level 0) that gave the commander the right direction for a better take-off. That still exists today.

There were about 300 men taking care of the air equipment, engineers, specialists in "oleo legs' (the wheels).
Those who worked on the flight deck were called the" plane pushers" but they did not like this title was in fact "aircraft handlers!

We could take off 40 planes in 20 minutes or less!

The night flights were conducted in the same way.

The Batman is the eyes of the pilot and has the duty to take the aircraft safely on board!
With his two flags and his arms streched, he sends a series of messages like the aircraft is too low, too high, or to much to the left etc., and only when the plane is in good position the pilot is told to land. At night, the flags are replaced by special lights and the batman does the same job!  There are two lines of lights on the flight deck  and the pilot must land in between!


Here an  "Avenger" which has failed to cling to the cables! It has therefore crashed in 1 of 3 of security barriers.

The pilot was not injured in this operation except for his pride!
Sometimes because of the ship's instability, due to the sea, the aircrafts had to make what I used to call a "catastrophy landing".

This photo was taken in March 1948 ...

Our maiden voyage was  to Portsmouth, England, and say good bye to the Warrior!


A little story in 4 photos :

A Sea Fury arrives to low and the batman orders a wave-off, and repeat his approach. The Batman is standing on a small platform and protected by vertical canvases, and we can see him at right in the center of the picture. You might also notice that all around the ship, nets are intalled up to the flight deck in case someone falls ...!

The pilot puts up the gas, but was unable to raise his plane and headed for a crash, for sure! We can see an escort ship away coming fast to rescue our pilot as we do not stop ..... But the story does not end here .....!

A Seafire (Spitfire for carriers) crashes into the sea!  What will happen then? See the results on the next picture!

Thus, we see that our pilot was rescued and is back on board in a box that our carpenters had designed for this purpose.

A bit of rest and then he should fly again tomorrow ... No injuries shall we say! And so it is how  a pilot would crash into the Caribbean Sea and  recovered with the help of our "jumbo crane! HMCS Haida, thank you for your help!


It does not look like big waves, but this one was at least 80 feet!

 We were hammered  during 10 days  instead of crossing the Atlantic in 4 days, as usual.   We were coming back from Glasgow, Scotland, and down the Clyde River.  We then departed from Greenock for Halifax.  We were like a nutshell on the Northern Atlantic, leaning from port to starboard.

After reaching the Canadian coast, the Maggie entered the bay at Port Mouton N.S. and this is where we ran aground!

A very nice picture taken at sea with one of our escorts!

At the time our flag used the Union Jack, but to day the navy uses the same flag but change it for the canadian Maple Leaf desing.
 It is easy to notice that ships sailed very fast! You will notice an Oerlinken gun manufactured in Switzerland and sold to Germans and the allies during the 2nd World War! Our escort on this side was "HMCS Nootka" a destroyer of the Tribal class.  (All ships of the Tribal class  had American Indian names: Iroquois, Sioux, HaÓda, Nootka, Assiniboine, and many others.)
(It should be noted that certain photos were posted on the Internet by members of the crew, and I also have few. Sadly no mention of their origin.)

Here is the Magnificent in the dry-dock  when the repairs were completed, which means the entire bow of the ship and the keel torn over a length of 220 feet! Worth mentioning is to compare  the height of a man of normal size with the ship!

This gives us an idea of the height. The damage of this adventure have cost 2,000,000.00$ at the time (1949) when the vessel had cost $44,000,000.00

We remained in St-John NB from April to October in repairs.

A plane arrives and we see the barriers, in case it would not be hooked.


This photo shows the "Magnificent" arriving in Havana Cuba
the first time before returning to Guantanamo Bay in 1950. 
They are old photos they are sometime pale.


A perfect landing !

Haida approaching to get re-fuelled, enters into our waves

And so the oil transfer was done.
But one day while a destroyer was in the process of completing the operations  the hose, broke, and oil sprayed all over.
Many men were sprayed! We could also transfer a person from one vessel to another in a chair that we called "bosen's chair" installed on a stretched cable.

Here we arrive at Colon, Panama CanalZone: The temperature rose to 120F, and we had to spray the flight deck with water often to refresh it.

It's going much better on two wheels!
But sometimes aircrafts  landed on one wheel  and this is the result!

A Sea Fury has failed cables and finally came to rest in a fence.

But the engineers could do the repairs in a very short time, because we had the spare parts needed, and very good mechanics!

A beautiful piece of ice, (Iceberg) in the northern Atlantic during our journey towards Wakeham Bay, where we met  very sympathetic Eskimos.
One evening in the spring of 1949 we were slowly navigating in the Atlantic not far from England.

A small plane appeared and asked permission to land!

Not equipped for this landing, and after discussion with the Air Commander it was agreed to accept, and the small aircraft stopped just before the barriers.

To our surprise it was journalists from the BBC for  a story about us. We had to put the Cessna in the hangar, and thatís how we proceeded.   Inimaginable!

In this picture we see plane pushers  waiting for the moment to remove the "chucks" to allow the aircraft to take off.

Sometimes in the Caribbean and other warm places the flight deck was very hot and the men were lying down on the deck and roasting!

This is a take-off in preparation, but only lasted a few moments, I would say a few seconds!


In closing a beautiful picture ........

A big thank you to Ben Garneau Tabata for the help!

With the hope that you like to see work
We did in the 1940's!

Au revoir and another great thanks to all visitors!

Visitors came to see this page since September 1, 2011
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