Condor Class Sloop




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: Registry closed 1937.  Broken up in 1938


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. 


In 1933, J. Earle McQueen, a tug boat captain, purchased the old rumrunner VEDAS from Canada Customs for $1,285.  The VEDAS, which still had two working boilers, was rented out to a dredging company that was pumping out the channel of the Detroit River and were in desperate need to extra boilers for steam, for $800 per month.  Five years later he sold the hull for scrap for $4,500. (Source: MacLean's Magazine 01 Sep 1947 - Thars Gold in Them Thar Hulls)


Historical tidbits of info:  The helm of SHEARWATER is mounted over the pool table at the local legion - presented to the Legion by Capt McQueen. SHEARWATER'S mast was mounted at a park in Windsor, Ontario along the Detroit River for years, but dry rot set in and it was taken down. Vedas (ex-SHEARWATER) is mentioned in a book titled "Booze Boats & Billions" by C.W. Hunt when she was a rum runner.



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 W.

Atcherely, John


Birley, Yvon


Appointed to SHEARWATER 19 Apr 1916 as Slt, RCN

Bissett, Audrey A.

Bissett, Clarence


Appointed to SHEARWATER 18 Jun 1918 as Head Schoolmaster, RCN

Boak, Eric W.

Burton, George


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

Byrne, Harold John


Appointed to SHEARWATER 1918 as Art (E), RN


Cox, James Ernest


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

Cross, Arthur

Edwards, George Hamilton Scandrett


Appointed to SHEARWATER 27 Jul 1915 as Lt, RNCVR

Edwards, John C.I.

German, Phillip Barry


Served in SHEARWATER 1917-1918 as Lt, RCN

Goodman, Lawrence Halloway


Hickman, Frank D.

Jellet, Herbert St. Clair


Appointed 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


Appointed to SHEARWATER as Lt, RNCVR

Milman, Henry August


Appointed to SHEARWATER as A/Paym, RN

Ray, Malcolm Philip


Appointed to SHEARWATER 19 Jun 1917 as A/St/Paym, RNCVR

Thomas, Arthur Francis


Appointed to SHEARWATER 16 Jun 1916 as Lt(N)


Walker, Wilfred Tyrrel


William, James


Winsloe, Richard Edmond


Appointed to SHEARWATER 28 Jul 1915 as A/SLt, RNCVR

Wurtele, Alfred Charles


Served in SHEARWATER in 1917





Photos and Documents


HMCS SHEARWATER'S connection to Amherstburg, Ontario

Source: "Reflections" - Newsletter of the Marsh Historical Collection, Amherstburg, Ontario

Volume IV  Issue 4 - Summer 2011


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 (left) HMCS Rainbow (right) 1910


Source: Library and Archives of Canada

HMCS SHEARWATER with submarines CC1 and CC2.  The ship on the right is unknown


DND / RCN Photo - Crown copyright

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



RCN Photo

Article on SHEARWATER'S post-WWI career


The Windsor Daily Star 02 Mar 1937


 Researched by / Courtesy of Andrea Grimes


Note: The article makes an incorrect ref to SHEARWATER being pressed into service as a minesweeper during WWI.  She served as a tender for CC1 and CC2.



Photo Credit: SHEARWATER Aviation Museum