Robert (Bob) Maclean
Amica at City Centre
Royal Canadian Navy – HMS Jason and HMS Devonshire – Served 34 years
Robert was a Midshipman aboard the RN Wartime in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).
Robert completed his training in Victoria, British Columbia and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres, returning to Canada in 1946.
During the war, Robert served on two ships, the HMS Jason and the HMS Devonshire. On the mine “Sweeper” HMS Jason, Robert was a watch officer. The ship swept approaches of the landing area along the France coastline. Mine sweeps were a daily occurrence as German aircraft laid mines during the night in attempts to endanger and disrupt landings of men and materials.
The “Cruiser” HMS Devonshire completed several activities including acting as a decoy for convoys that were taking supplies to Murmansk, Russia. Operating along the coast of Norway, they shot down 3 Henkel Torpedo bombers. Unfortunately, more ships were lost to the weather than to the enemy.
The HMS Devonshire also escorted the ship the Queen Mary which was carrying Winston Churchill from England to St. John’s, Newfoundland. “No military ship could keep up with the Queen Mary. We took her as far as we could. As she disappeared over the horizon, another ship took guard.” The HMS Devonshire also transported VIPs and select prisoners from England to Australia, speeding through the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean, trying to avoid contact with anyone.
Robert found that much of his wartime experience was very dull and comfortable. His concern was for the soldiers who bore the brunt of the difficulties and dangers. His greatest highlight was arriving in Oslo, Norway where the people were ecstatic. Children invited on to the ship “conversed in English, although the English language had been forbidden for 6 years! One wonders how!”
After World War II, Robert continued to serve his country and enjoyed a 34 year career with the Canadian Navy.