For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


HMS Shearwater

Source / Credit: Corvus Publishing


Laid down: 1899

Launched: 10 Feb 1900

Commissioned: 1900

Paid off: 1914

Transferred to RCN: 1914

Commissioned: 8 Sep 1914

Paid off: 13 Jun 1919

Fate: Unknown


Stationed at Esquimalt, the sloops HMS Shearwater and HMS Algerine were, in 1914, the last remnants of the vanished RN Pacific Squadron. Shearwater's two 4-inch guns were put ashore to defend Seymour Narrows when the First World War broke out, and her crew was sent to Halifax to man HMCS Niobe. The Admiralty agreed to lend Shearwater to the RCN, and on 08 Sep 1914, she was commissioned as HMCS Shearwater, a tender to the newly acquired submarines CC1 and CC2. On 21 Jun 1917, HMCS Shearwater, with CC1 and CC2, sailed from Esquimalt via the Panama Canal to Halifax. On 03 Jul 1917 they arrived in Seattle and were invited, along with the crews of CC1 and CC2, to lead the Seattle Independence day Parade on 04 Jul 1917. She was paid off 13 Jun 1919, and in 1924 sold into mercantile hands and renamed Vedas. Her register was closed in 1937.


Photos and Documents          Ship's company photos


Commanding Officers

LCdr Bertram Edward Jones, RCN 



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Appleton, Llewellyn Walter


Served in Shearwater as a Boy Sailor, RNCVR 13 Nov 1917 - 19 Jul 1918 and 13 Aug 1918 - 19 Aug 1918

Atcherely, John


Served in Shearwater 1915-1918 as Medical Officer, RNCVR

Birley, Yvon


Drafted to Shearwater 19 Apr 1916 as Slt, RCN

Bissett, Aubrey Allison


Served in Shearwater for her transit from Esquimalt to Halifax in 1917.

Bissett, Clarence


Drafted to Shearwater 18 Jun 1918 as Head Schoolmaster, RCN

Burton, George


Served in Shearwater 29 Dec 1916 - 05 Jan 1917 as an OS, RNCVR

Byrne, Harold John


Drafted to Shearwater 1918 as Art (E), RN






Cox, James Ernest


Served in Shearwater 1914-1918 as Gunner, RN, Gunnery Officer






Edwards, George Hamilton Scandrett


Drafted to Shearwater 27 Jul 1915 as Lt, RNCVR






German, Phillip Barry


Served in Shearwater 1917-1918 as Lt, RCN

Goodman, Lawrence Halloway






Jellet, Herbert St. Clair


Drafted to Shearwater 18 Jun 1917 as Mate, RNCVR

Jones, Bertram Edward


Served in Shearwater as CO from 1914 - 1919. Also CO Sub flotilla 1915-1919.





Lake, Geoffrey


Served in Shearwater for training voyage to Bermuda in 1917






McDonald, William Robert


Drafted to Shearwater as Lt, RNCVR

Milman, Henry August


Drafted to Shearwater as A/Paym, RN





Ray, Malcolm Philip


Drafted to Shearwater 19 Jun 1917 as A/St/Paym, RNCVR






Thomas, Arthur Francis


Drafted to Shearwater 16 Jun 1916 as Lt(N)







Walker, Wilfred Tyrrel


William, James


Winsloe, Richard Edmond


Drafted to Shearwater 28 Jul 1915 as A/Slt, RNCVR

Wurtele, Alfred Charles


Served in Shearwater in 1917



Photos and Documents


Postcard - HMS Shearwater crew with First Nations people onboard

Courtesy of Daron Fairfax

A sailor from HMCS Shearwater poses behind one of the ship's 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns. This relatively small gun formed part of Shearwater's limited armament. A sloop designed and used before the war for patrol work, Shearwater was lightly armed with four 4-inch guns and four 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns like the one seen here. The unidentified crew member's cap tally reads "RNCVR," indicating that he is a member of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve, which had been established in May 1914. 

George Metcalf Archival Collection

CWM 19840218-002_20

Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

HMCS Shearwater, seen here during a transit of the Panama Canal, was one of three warships on Canada's west coast at the start of the First World War. Originally a Royal Navy vessel, Shearwater and another British ship, HMS Algerine, were transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in September 1914. Soon afterwards, many of Shearwater's crew were sent to HMCS Niobe in Halifax, which was short of trained sailors. Shearwater subsequently served as a tender - or support ship - for submarines CC-1 and CC-2, escorting them on an almost four-month long trip to Halifax in mid-1917.

George Metcalf Archival Collection

CWM 19840218-002_8

Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

HMS Shearwater in Esquimalt Harbour, circa 1908

Nine members of HMCS Shearwater's crew pose against one of the ship's guns, with the barrel seen on the right. This is one of several photographs from Shearwater's voyage with CC-1 and CC-2 that belonged to Abner Beckwith Willford, an American-born stoker in Shearwater's crew. Willford (back row, second from right) was responsible for tending the ship's coal-fired boilers. While the location of the photograph is unknown, the weather is warm enough that two sailors (middle row) are not wearing their uniform jumpers over their white gunshirts.

George Metcalf Archival Collection

CWM 19840218-002_19

Courtesy of the Canadian War Museum

HMCS Shearwater

HMCS Shearwater (left) HMCS Rainbow (right) 1910

Source: Library and Archives of Canada

Bertram E. Jones, Commanding Officer HMCS Shearwater, with ship's mascot. Photo taken off Jamaica, 1917

From the B.E. Jones, R.N. Collection

Courtesy of Julie H. Ferguson


HMCS Shearwater

RCN Photo