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October 2002 Edition

Crew of H.M.C.S. Prince Robert ~ Time and Location Unknown
Photo Courtesy John McCallum

1939 Expansion Programme:
Armed Merchant Cruisers: The "Princes"
Ref: DND Project Pride ~ History and Heritage

In May 1943 PRINCE ROBERT was converted into an auxiliary anti-aircraft ship,
and was fitted with 10-4" high angle/low angle guns in place of her 6" guns.

All had been built in the United Kingdom for the Canadian National Steamship Company and had been designed for fast passenger service on the west coast. They would see several  incarnations during their tenure in the RCN,  though it would take nearly a year for them to make their first appearance in their converted form.

As armed merchant cruisers, the ‘Princes’ had a displacement of 5,736 tons, a length overall of 385’, an extreme breadth of 57’ and a full load draught of 21’. Their geared turbine main engines gave them a full speed of 22 knots and a range of 4,572 nautical miles. At their best economical speed they had range of close to 6,000 nautical miles. They mounted 4-6" guns in single mounts, 2 forward and two aft, 2-2 pounder guns (1.5") and up to 8-20mm machine guns. They had a crew complement of 31 officers and 386 ratings.

In December 1943 and January 1944 PRINCE DAVID and PRINCE HENRY respectively  were converted in infantry landing ships (medium), and were equipped to carry 8 LCAs (landing craft) and 550 army personnel. Their 6" guns were replaced with 4-4" guns in two twin mounts, one forward and one aft. They retained their other armaments.

In May 1943 PRINCE ROBERT was converted into an auxiliary anti-aircraft ship, and was fitted with 10-4" high angle/low angle guns in place of her 6" guns.

HMCS Prince DavidHMCS Prince David
HMCS Prince Henry

12 Sept 1940

Read an account of this incident in our Prince Robert site:

Have been reading your stories of the Prince Robert and enjoyed them very much. Congratulations on doing a great job. I learned a lot from them. In Dec 1943 three of us RCNVR Landing craft types that had been in the hospital after the invasion of Sicily and Italy ended up as passengers on an LCI in North Africa for passage to  HMCS NIOBE as our units had returned there earlier. We got as far as Gibraltar and the  LCI had to return to Italy as there was trouble there and we were put ashore in Gib awaiting passage to the UK. Two of us were sent to a base there and the 3rd chap  Jean "cowboy" KROON from Alberta was sent to HMS WARSPITE that was in dry-dock after being seriously damaged when hit by a chase me Charlie glider bomb that exploded as it was going out the bottom. We kept waiting and finally were posted to HMS KING GEORGE V but as we put our gear on a tug to take us out to the ship we were told to take our gear off as 50 pregnant Wrens were going instead. What a severe disappointment this was as we would have made it to the UK in time for Christmas. It seamed to us that being Canadians we were getting the short end. On the day after Christmas after Up Spirits one of the RN boys came in the hut and said there was a Canadian ship the PRINCE ROBERT in the harbor. The two of us went to the WARSPITE and then the three of us went to the ROBERT and asked to see the Captain. We got to see his Sec. a Pay LT. And we asked him if we could be posted to her. He saw the Capt. and told him our story and the Capt sent his Sec. and the three of  ashore to see if we could be posted on board. After a run around with some of the RN  Brass thinking it was still Christmas day we ended up with a Wren officer and the Capt Sec. told us to go back and get ready to leave. The next day a whole bunch of  us waiting transport were posted to the Robert. When I saw the Lt. on board I thanked him and he said to get the three of us he had to take 50 RN ratings as well but the Capt. said it was worth it to get three Canadians. You can see why the three of us will always have a warm feeling for the Robert. Perhaps I met your father if he was there at that time.

We soon sailed with a convoy for England and the next morning when we got up I noticed we were not in the convoy and were proceeding back at high speed. Suddenly there was a message from the Capt on the P A system saying we would be happy to know we would probable see action soon as three German ships were trying to break out from the Bay of Biscay and we were going after them. The crew started cheering but all us passengers had seen all the action we wanted in Sicily  and were quiet. A little later Action stations was sounded and I went out on deck to see what was up, I noticed a bunch of Torpedo bombers heading for us skimming just a few feet over the waves . It seems they hadn't answered the challenge so all AA guns were aimed at them
and then they replied . A short while later Stand Down was piped and we turned and rejoined the convoy.  While on board the 3 of us were interviewed by the ships photographer and several pictures taken It seemed the RAF had done the job. A few days later we pulled in to Portsmouth and we said farewell to the Prince Robert When we reached  HMCS Niobe in Scotland we found our outfit had been returned to Canada and the we put in a request to join them.  A week or so later several of us were sent by ferry boat  to Ireland and posted to the famous RN Destroyer HMS HOTSPUR for passage to Canada. After a week in HMCS AVALON I was given leave in my home in Ottawa. After couple of days there I opened the paper and there was a picture and the story of the 3 of us from HMCS PRINCE ROBERT.

In case you are interested several months ago while reading some WWII stories on the net there was a notice asking if anyone knew anything about Combined Operations in Invarary Scotland. Since our landing craft flotilla
had spend much time there I answered and the end result my navy story is posted there along with several others. Some of the stories is about RAF secret Radar ships in Combined Ops and largely manned by RCAF some of who were from BC and Alberta and Ontario I have recently had lunch with the one from nearby Toronto. I will enclose a couple of web sites in case you are interested. This site will give links to the others at the bottom

Follow-up letter:
Feel quite free to use my brief story in any way you care. I have very warm feelings about my short stay on this ship.Will try to get a scan of the news paper picture of the 3 of us  taken on the  Robert and send to you shortly.
Really enjoyed reading the earlier history I did not know. It also reminded me that a cousin of mine in training for the RCN  in 39 sent me a couple of pieces of stuff taken off that captured German ship. He was latter missing on the Haida when it went down, I had spent one last day with him in Liverpool just before we sailed around Africa for Egypt for the invasion of Sicily. Several programs lately on TV bring back a lot of memories.
Keep up the good work

I have a couple of other navy photos if you are interested in. When in the camp off the Suez  Bitter Lakes three of us hitchhiked  in to Cairo and run into in a Canadian Hostel  an ex reporter for a Toronto newspaper. He was an LT Special branch in the RCNVR. he took us to see the Sphinx and Pyramids  and took pictures of us on a Camel's back. After the war I tried to get copies and while there were a few he had taken in our camp before we arrived ours was not there. We then found out he had been  killed a short time after our visit when he was on  a Canadian  MTB with an RCN squadron operating out of Yugoslavia.Enough rambling on you must be busy

Best of luck with your enjoyable web sites

I enjoyed your site on the Prince Robert. My father too served on it during the war and I have many pics taken onboard of the ship and it's crew.

Let me take a look to see what I have. I do know I have many taken of the entire crew standing, kneeling etc. in front of the guns and many others.

I'll let you know. By the way, have you any idea of the names of the Captains that served aboard her? I was led to believe that at least one of the Captains was a man by the name of Terry Todd ergo my first name. Also, if the ship was ever in a grouping of ships code named or otherwise known as "Spencer"?

I have my father's war record hidden somewhere around my house and I'll get it out later. Also the pics. I do know that he served on several ships during the war and I have that info also. I remember him talking about being in the Aleutions and also off South America Normandy also but there again, I'm not sure aboard what ship. I look forward now to doing some research.

He had 4 brothers all in the services during WW2 and all at  Normandy. What's more amazing, all came home. The only lingering injuries was dad's partial hearing loss owing to the guns. Again, I enjoyed your site and I'll do some looking here.

Terry Osborne

Sir, Re your links page and the information contained within for the RAF Millom Museum please note we have a new official site for the Museum which can now be found at and contains a great deal of new material pertaining to losses from Training Command in North West England during WW2 together with some information on Canadian losses under the Service Records section of our Rothery Archive.
Glynn Griffith,
Curator: RAF Millom Museum

I have been searching for a W.W.II movie title for sometime. I can only tell you a little about the plot, I watched the movie once, some time ago. The movie could not be more than 4 to 8 years old. The plot goes something like this:
There is a young man from Australia during W.W.II. He finally gets called to service in the Pacific theater against the Japanese. His group goes to an island and they get into a battle. There is a group of Japanese soldiers who have been ordered to fight for to the death. A veteran Japanese soldier tells his brother to follow his lead, knowing that the Japanese will all die. The Japanese soldier and his brother live through the battle and they escape into the Jungle Somehow the Australian soldier gets lost or his group gets killed, (I can't remember why) but he gets stranded in the Jungle. I think the Japanese soldier and the brother may have killed the Australian soldiers. The single Australian soldier gets into a stand off with the Japanese soldier and his brother and somehow the Australian soldier kills the Japanese brother. The stand off goes on for several days, until the war is declared over. Somehow the Australian soldier gets some photos or something of the like from the Japanese soldier and many years later at a W.W.II reunion were the Japanese and Australians meet together they meet up again.

Does this movie even sound remotely familia?. I hope you or someone you know can help. Thank you very much.
Shannon Thomas
Denison Texas

Go to our W.W.II and Cold War website commemorating the former Perrin AFB (1941 to 1971)

Good Day to You,
My name is Syd Dean and in conjunction with a Lady in Texas, Mrs Dawn Rice, we are building a web site which started for Girls in the UK who married Allied Servicemen and moved overseas.
But along the way we have had so many people ask 'could you find this or that out?' that the site has now developed into a history site for Uk people and all their Allies, with particular reference to WW1 & WW2, and the people who served their Countries.
Already I have been given help by the Imperial War Museum, USN Historical Library in Washington, Arlington Cemetery, the 8th, 9th, & 10th AirForce Veterans Groups, ABMC, Maritime Matters, CDNArmy,  American, Canadian, Australian and N.Z. Governments, plus many other people,
The purpose of this mail, is to ask if might be able to put a Link to your Web Site.
The appropriate acknowledgements will be noted.
If you would care to take a look at our site before making your decision, it is 'ALLIES in WAR'
Thank you very much for your time taken to read this, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Yours Sincerely,
Syd Dean
So you know this is a genuine request, my address is.
21, Hockley Park,
Lower Road,
SS5 5NG.
Tel: 01702 231320

I was wondering if I could place an ad in the As You Were magazine.  I am looking for info on the 6 B-17s that the RAF flew out of Rockcliffe Ontario with 168 Heavy Transport.  But it appears that the link to this magazine is dead.

David H. Brown, P.Eng
500 Griswold Street, Suite 200
Detroit, MI 48226

p: (313) 442-8214
f: (313) 442-8297


DND Project Pride ~ History and Heritage
History of the Princes



Main ROBERT Directory
1.  The Early Years
2. Shakedown Cruise
3. Getting There
4.  The Japanese
5. Hong Kong
6. Homeward Bound
7. Specs Sheet
8. Caught In The Net I
9. Caught In The Net II
 10. Caught In The Net III
11. Alliford Bay ~ 1941
12. The England Connection
Robin Neale
13. Official Communiques
 14. Caught In The Net IV
Prince Robert on the Web 
AS YOU WERE . . . Special Edition
Special Prince Robert Edition
AS YOU WERE... October 2002
War Years Nostalgia e-Zine
Prince Class Photos
PR at Alliford Bay ~ 1941

Supplementary Scrapbook - Hundreds of Photos


War Prep

Invasion '41

PR Arrival '45

Jap Defeat


Jap POWs






HK Eclectica

Daniel Gory Collection.

City Life

HK Photos

Canada Remembers on Facebook
The Hong Kong / HMCS Prince Robert Connection


Main ROBERT Directory
1. Contents: Prince Robert Story
2. CNSS Prince Robert 1930s
3. Capture of the MS Weser 1940
4. Hong Kong 1941
5. West Coast Defence 1942
6. Atlantic & Mediterranean 1943
7. Hong Kong 1945
8. S.S. LUCANIA 1952
 9.  Looking Back
10.  Prince Robert Remembered
11. Prince Robert-Lucania Story


Capture of the Weser
Newspaper Clippings I
The Sandy Sellers Collection
Lieutenant E. A Sellers ~ PR Medical Officer
Reminisences from September 1940 - March 1941
Capture of the Weser
Newspaper Clippings II
The Sandy Sellers Collection
1940 Year-End Review
On the Condition of HMCS Prince Robert
as reported by Medical Officer
Surgeon Lieutenant E. A. Sellers
A.B. Charles Anderson Diary
Photo Album: Sept 1940 - March 1941

Musings on Medicine
Chapter Excerpt: "Over the Bounding Main"
By Gordon Hunter Grant

Ronald B. Suddick's Tales of the Prince Robert ~ 1945
Ron Suddick: Personal Photos and Letter
Photos of the Prince Robert by Arnold Niskasaari
As You Were . . . WWII Eclectica: Special Prince Robert Issue

George Schmidt
Photos of HMCS Prince Robert

Hong Kong 1945
Compiled by Gary McGregor
Martin McGregor
Prince Robert Photo Gallery I
Hong Kong 1945
Prince Robert Photo Gallery II
Hong Kong 1945
Prince Robert Photo Gallery III
Hong Kong 1945
Prince Robert Photo Gallery IV
Hong Kong 1945
Prince Robert Photo Gallery V
Hong Kong 1945
Prince Robert Photo Gallery VI 
Hong Kong 1945

The Atlantic Theatre
Compiled by Gary McGregor
Martin McGregor
White Ensign, Black Pit 
By Gary McGregor
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

The Roland Poirier Collection
Photo Gallery 1
Photo Gallery 2
Photo Gallery 3
Photo Gallery 4
Photo Gallery 5
Photo Gallery 6
Post Cards
Press Clippings
Louis Schumers
Remembers the Prince Robert Mission
February 2012: RCN HK
Best and Worst of Times

As You Were . . .
Tribute Webzines
Navigation Chart to the
Hillman WWII Tributes
Short Bursts
Ex-Air Gunners Association

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum
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