HMCS ACADIA (SEA CADETS)
HMCS ACADIA (SEA CADETS)
After the paying off of HMCS ACADIA in November 1945, more than ten years were to elapse before the name was again revived in the RCN. This time the name was given not to a ship afloat but to the RCN’s annual summer training camp for members of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps at the Point Edward Naval Base, Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The history of the Sea Cadets in Canada is a long one, antedating the establishment of the RCN itself. The Corps was first formed in 1902, eight years before the RCN came into being, by the Navy League of Canada and received its dominion charter in 1917. Until after the beginning of the Second World War, the Militia authorities supervised and assisted with the training of the cadets, but on 26 May 1941 by authority of Order-in Council PC3655 these responsibilities were transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy.
Following the end of the war, the RCN took a more and more active role in the affairs of the Sea Cadets, which since 1942 had been known as the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, and the twenty-four local cadet corps which existed in 1941 had grown to eighty-eight by 1952. In this year, a national conference was held in the headquarters of the Navy League of Canada in Toronto to discuss the training and administrative problems of the Corps.
By 1952 the practice had been established of holding only two annual summer training camps for Sea Cadet instead of having a summer camp in each of the provinces; Camp Comox on Vancouver Island trained the cadets from Manitoba to the Pacific, while Camp Ewing in Quebec trained those from Ontario to Newfoundland. A special advanced course for senior Sea Cadets was also given at the RCN’s new-entry training establishment, HMCS CORNWALLIS.
The Sea Cadet Corps, the administrative control of which was transferred from Naval Headquarters, Ottawa, to the Commanding Officer Naval Divisions on 14 April 1954, was becoming more and more important to the Royal Canadian Navy, and in 1956 it was decided that the annual summer camps should become regular Fleet Establishments. It was decided that the camp for Eastern Canada would be established at Sydney, Nova Scotia, and the one for Western Canada at Comox, British Columbia.
One of the first matters to be settled before the commissioning of the establishments was that of suitable names, and it was eventually decided to designate the Sydney camp as HMCS ACADIA and the one at Comox as HMCS QUADRA. The name ACADIA was chosen not only for its geographical connotations as the ancient name for parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but also because of the training activities of the former ACADIA during the Second World War.
The new ACADIA was first commissioned on 30 May 1956 and every summer thereafter she was, after paying off in the autumn, recommissioned to prepare for the annual influx of over 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps. At ACADIA during the summer months, these cadets from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland received instruction in general seamanship under a programme which was well leavened with competitive sports in which sailing and boat work have prominent parts. Some of the older cadets received special courses in leadership, and members of the band also were given specialized training.
In the years since the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps played an increasingly important part in supplying the RCN with the personnel which it needed to replace those who retired, and some of the finest officers and men recruited by the Navy have entered the service because of their training in the Sea Cadets. HMCS ACADIA took great pride in the contribution it made towards building a better Royal Canadian Navy.