Royal Canadian Navy Submarines HMCS CC-1, HNCS CC-2, HMCS CH-14, HMCS CH-15


HMCS CC-1 (CC class); HMCS CC-2 (CC class); HMCS CH-14 (H class); HMCS CH-15 (H class)

HMCS CC-1 and CC-2

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA11354)

HMCS CC-1 (left) and CC-2 (right).  HMCS CC-1 and HMCS CC-2 were CC-class submarines used by the Royal Canadian Navy.  The submarines were launched in 1913 in Seattle, Washington, with CC-1 initially named as the submarine Iquique for Chile.  CC-2 was also launched in Seattle in 1913 as the submarine Antofagasta, also for Chile.  A deal for the sale of these two submarines to Chile fell through and both were offered to British Columbia's Premier Sir Richard McBride, just nine days before the declaration of war in 1914.  On 4 August 1914, the day the United Kingdom declared war on Germany, the submarines departed at night (to maintain secrecy from the Chilean, German, and US governments) for handover to BC authorities near Victoria, BC.  The Dominion Government of Canada later ratified the sale although there was a Parliamentary investigation of the cost of both boats, over twice the annual budget for the entire RCN in 1913-14.  The submarines entered into service for the RCN, as HMCS CC-1 and HMCS CC-2 on 6 August 1914.

HMCS CC-1 and CC-2 were assigned to the west coast with the home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia, and conducted training operations and patrols for three years.  Together with the cruiser HMCS Rainbow, CC-1 and CC-2 were the only Canadian or British ships defending the west coast of Canada between 1914 and 1917.  Britain had tasked the defence of British Columbia to the Imperial Japanese Navy's North American Task Force.  In 1917 the submarines were transferred to Halifax on the east coast, along with their mother ship, the submarine tender HMCS Shearwater.  Their passage through the Panama Canal was the first time a Canadian warship transitted the Panama Canal under the White Ensign.  All arrived in Halifax where preparations were made to send the two submarines to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.  Unfortunately, both submarines were deemed unsafe for transatlantic crossing, and were held in Halifax as a Training Assistance Boat.  Their veteran crews were highly valued but were not able to conduct any other operations than training.  Their continued use was too expensive, and their unseaworthiness resulted in both vessels being paid off, and disposed of in 1920.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS CC-1 on patrol.

(RCN Photo)


(DND Photo)

HMCS CC-1, with HMCS CC-2 in the background, near Vancouver, on its way back to CFB Esquimalt, BC, circa 1916.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS CC-2 on patrol.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS CC-1 and CC-2.

HMCS CH-14 and HMCS CH-15

(RCN Photo, HS-22592)

HMCS CH-14 and HMCS CH-15 in drydock.  HMCS CH-14 and HMCS CH-15 were H class submarines used by the Royal Canadian Navy from 1919.   They were originally built for the Royal Navy as HMS H-14 and HMS H-15 in 1915.  Both submarines were ordered in December 1914 and completed at the Fore River Yard in Quincy, Massachusetts in December 1915 in the then-neutral United States.  When the US government discovered the construction, they impounded H-14, H-15 and other completed sister ships, only releasing them following their own declaration of war two years later.  H-14 and H-15 were launched in 1917.  They saw service with the Royal Navy in Bermuda.  In February 1919 the Royal Navy presented H-14 and her sister ship, H-15 to the Royal Canadian Navy where they were renamed HMCS CH-14 and HMCS CH-15, respectively.  Both were commissioned in Halifax in June 1919.  The CH class was used to replace the CC class submarines.  Like the CC class subs, the H class did not last long and both were paid off on 30 June 1922.  CH-15 was scrapped in 1922, and CH-14 was scrapped in 1927.

(IWM Photo, PMR78-517)

HMCS CH-14 (left) and HMCS CH-15 (right) in dry dock in Halifax, circa 1920.  In late 1919, Her Majesty’s Submarines H-14 and H-15 arrived in Halifax from the Royal Navy. They were fully refitted at the Halifax Shipyard and were commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy.

(DND Photo)

HMCS CH-14 and HMCS CH-15 in Halifax Harbour circa 1920.

(Ralph Reginald Pattison collection Photo)

HMCS CH-14, alongside HMCS Patrician, Saint John, New Brunswick.

Captured First World War German Submarine

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3192652)

German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) First World War U-boat UC-97 Type UC III (minelaying submarine) on public display at Toronto, Ontario in early June 1919.  The submarine was a on a tour that went on to Lake Michigan.

The RCN did not acquire any more submarines until after the Second World War.  On the 12th and 13th May 1945, German U-boats U-190 and U-889 formally surrendered at sea to ships of the RCN, after the war had ended days earlier.  Both were large Type IX C submarines, built at Bremen in 1942 (U-190) and 1944 (U-889).  They were almost immediately commissioned into the RCN for testing and evaluations.

If you found this valuable, consider supporting the author.