HMCS Naden (establishment)

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HMCS Naden (establishment)

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Dates of existence

1922 - 1966


The naval shore facility at Esquimalt was commissioned as HMCS Naden on 3 September 1922. It was named for the facility’s Depot Ship, HMCS Naden, a small wooden schooner built in 1913 that previously had been used for coastal surveys and cadet training. During WWII, Naden became the primary naval training centre for Western Canada. When CFB Esquimalt came into being on 1 April 1966, HMCS Naden became part of the base.

Prior to the unification of the Canadian Forces, shore establishments of the Royal Canadian Navy were designated as “ships”. HMCS Naden comprised the naval barracks and training schools located on the north side of Esquimalt harbour. The Department of National Defence area on the south side of the harbour was described as HMC Dockyard. After WWII, all naval personnel in Esquimalt, other than naval reservists belonging to HMCS Malahat, were administered by HMCS Naden. In the early years of the Royal Canadian Navy, shore-based naval personnel were borne on the books of an actual ship; initially HMCS Rainbow, and later HMCS Naden, a schooner which was a tender to the Royal Naval College located in the Dockyard after 1918. In 1922 administration of personnel was moved ashore to the embryo base on the north shore of the harbour and the name HMCS Naden came ashore as well. During WWII, the dockyard was administered as HMCS Givenchy. The Commanding Officer Pacific Coast moved to Vancouver in 1942 to operate out of a joint headquarters with the senior army and air force officers in British Columbia. HMCS Burrard administered naval personnel on the lower mainland and formally flew the Admiral’s flag. HMCS Naden became Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt in 1966.


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