2. Shakedown Cruise

HMCS Prince Robert
Negative No. PR307
HMCS Prince Robert

The "Robert" was a Canadian National passenger liner until the start of WWII. It was actually one of three such ships ~ Prince Robert, Prince Henry, and Prince David ~ that were converted into warships at the start of the war. They took off two top decks, reinforced the hull and added weaponry. The guns are covered in the picture but there are three sets of twins. It went on to see many conversions and by June 1945 it had been fitted with state-of-the-art radar systems and fulfilled the role of an Anti-Aircraft Cruiser.

Captain Creary on the Bridge of the Prince Robert.
Captain Creary on the Bridge of the Prince Robert
Previously, the ROBERT had served mainly in the Mediterranean. On its return from the Mediterranean it was converted into a radar detection ship with three large 12-foot radar screens. It boasted ultra-modern radar systems Ė the best this side of the Atlantic.

HMCS Prince Robert passing under the Lion's Gate Bridge, BC.
No. F4464
HMCS Prince Robert passing under the Lion's Gate Bridge, B.C.

The ship is coming into port -- entering Burrard Inlet on roughly an ESE (Ast) heading, approaching downtown Vancouver.  The mountain in the background is Grouse Mtn. -- now a ski hill.  The wealthy area known as the British Properties is part way up the mountain on the very left side of the photo.  The photo was taken from a point over the north side of Stanley Park looking roughly NE(Ast) and directly at what is now North Vancouver.  Almost the entire North Shore is now built up.

Soon after this, the ship left on shakedown cruise prior to heading to San Francisco and on to the Pacific theatre. The purpose of this cruise was to break in the crew, conduct target practise, and to hone navigational skills. (June 1945)

Prince Robert Headed for the Queen Charlotte Islands
No. F4465
Prince Robert Approaching Lion's Gate Bridge
The structure on the beach at the right is probably Point Atkinson Lighthouse and the built up area in the background is West Vancouver, the reason for Lion's Gate's existence.  The Capilano River enters Burrard Inlet right there.  The photo was taken from a point in Stanley Park looking roughly N to NNW.

Soon after docking in port, HMCS Prince Robert headed out for the straits and north to Queen Charlotte Islands. After shakedown, we left from Victoria to San Francisco and on to dock at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Robert was lead ship in this flotilla, escorting the American ships because they didnít have our radar capability. Our duty was to detect hostile aircraft or ships. The main flotilla, which was then put together at Pearl and Manila, included two aircraft carriers and about six subs. The only real contact with the Americans was when we all went ashore for recreation on some of the Philippine Islands. Canadian badges usually guaranteed an excellent reception from our American cohorts but many of the British took a roughing from the them. The flotilla, along with troop carriers, docked for two days at Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Aircraft over the Prince Robert
No. PR311
Aircraft over the Prince Robert
Either British planes from a British Aircraft Carrier flying over the Robert enroute to Hong Kong or Shakedown target practise in which aircraft towed balloons and other targets.

Gunnery practise (simulation) on HMCS Prince Robert.
No. PR312
Gunnery practise (simulation) on HMCS Prince Robert.
The crew are manning Anti-Aircraft guns: the larger one is a Pom Pom and the two smaller ones are 20mm Oerlikon Mk 5s. During this drill I was on lifeboat patrol. Going into port I was always stationed at the anchor. The traditional blacksmith job was to release the anchor when the orders were given.

Executive Officer
Executive Officer Atwood

On the shakedown cruise in the Queen Charlotte Islands. (June 1945)

Many thanks to  Bob Anderson   for contributing additional information

Steam ahead to Pt. 3: Getting There
Port - Directory

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