Gunshield and Shipboard Art


on ships of the RCN currently in commission








Crown copyright

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The ship's gunshield art is different than the ship’s badge. The badge which incorporates aspects of the city of Montréal depicts a stylized mountain bordering a river, and superimposed upon the mountain, a coronet of fleur-delis and maple leaves. The river represents the St. Lawrence River; the mountain, Mount Royal, in the midst of the city.


The gunshield art combines elements from the ship’s badge and that of HMCS MONTRÉAL K319, a River class frigate that served with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. On 17 December 1944 she rescued survivors from German submarine U 1209 which struck rocks in the neighbourhood of Wolf Rock (southwest of Land's End) and sank shortly afterwards. U 1209 carried a complement of 51 of whom 42 survived. The Commanding Officer Oberleutnant zur See Hülsenbeck, died of a heart attack on board HMCS MONTRÉAL K319.



The story behind HMCS MONTRÉAL's gunshield art:  I was the Exchange (Canteen) Manager on HMCS MONTRÉAL, and it was coming up to her 10th anniversary.  I held a contest for designing a badge for the 10th anniversary in hopes of drumming up some sales for the canteen.  I submitted my design as well ..... and it won!!  


I was planning on selling the artwork as stickers in the canteen - so I hired the graphic artists at Golden Silkscreening to touch up my work ..... and then to another company to have stickers made.  While I was talking with the company making the stickers, I heard that Combat wanted the artwork on the ship's gun and the Air Det wanted it for their engine covers on the Sea King.  The company was able to size up the badges for the Sea King and gun mount.


The badge was unveiled on our 10th anniversary during a trip to Montréal, Quebec. - Submitted by PO Mitch Cormier




(1) PO2 Mitch Cormier standing beside his gunshield art design  (2) HMCS Montreal's Sea King proudly displays the ships gunshield art on her engine covers  (3) PO2 Karl Melchoir stands beside the badge that is mounted on the door to the Chiefs and POs.  PO Melchoir created the mould for casting the badges.



Historical Note:  Anecdotal evidence indicates that HMCS MONTREAL K319 had gunshield art resembling the patch (which has been incorporated in PO Cormier's artwork on HMCS MONTREAL 336), but to date, no photo of the artwork has been found. 


The story behind this jacket patch:


The patch was given to my mother-in-law by a rating in 1941 or '42 when she was a Wren W/T operator at Ste Hyacinthe. Apparently, the radio station had a complement of 100 Wrens and 3,000 men so the girls always had a date, but not necessarily with the guy they wanted. Her daughter - my wife, Kathie, also LCdr (W), RCN(R), ret'd, - showed it to to one of the speakers at a shad Senior Officers' Conference at Royal Roads in 1984. That gentleman was apparently adamant that this patch (embroidered felt though it is) was actually stitched [painted] onto a canvas gun cover - that is, not a jacket patch. 

Courtesy of Ron Csomany, LCdr, RCN(R), ret'd




Click here for more information on HMCS MONTREAL 336



Gunshield and Shipboard Art Index