For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project

HMCS AVALON

Aerial view of HMCS Avalon, still under construction, looking south - circa 1942

Courtesy of Donald (Bud) Rose

Click on the above photo to view the full image

 

Originally designed as a temporary ocean escort base, during the course of the Second World War, St. Johnís, Newfoundland, evolved to become one of the most important bases in the Atlantic, second only to Halifax. All the RCN's wartime basses were sub-commands of Halifax with the exception of HMCS Avalon - her commanding officer held the title of Flag Officer Commanding. Along with repair facilities, work-ups training for ships, and recreational facilities for sailors, there were several training centres at HMCS Avalon - the Tactical Training Centre in St. Johnís contained the Anti-Submarine School, the Gunnery School, the Radar School and Loran (Long Range Aid to Navigation) School, plus a Night Escort Teacher.

 

Links - First Line of Defence

 

Photos and Documents (below)

 

RCN Hospital # 2 at Buckmaster's Field, HMCS Avalon, St. John's, NFLD, 1944

From the World War II collection of James Edward Lowe, Cook, RCN

Courtesy of Kathleen Lowe

 

Historical note:  Permanent Post War Construction verses Temporary War Time Construction - In the years 1942 / 43 discussions were held in St. John's Newfoundland between the Right Honorable Clement Atlee [Deputy Prime Minister to Sir Winston Churchill] and Secretary of the Dominions (the Nfld Commission of Government and the Government of Canada, represented by the Royal Canadian Navy), on the above captioned subject. Discussion priority was the need for certain buildings being built for the Navy, to be of a permanent construction. At the cession of hostilities, these structures were to be turned over to the NFLD Commission of Government. One such structure was the R C N Hospital #2.

 

The building in foreground is RCN Hospital #2. The white building in rear with open sundecks is the Tuberculosis Sanitarium built in 1917 (note the security fence). RCN Hospital #2 was located next to the T.B. Sanitarium, and at wars end became part of the T.B. Sanitarium. Death rate per-capita in NFLD from T.B. was double that of either Canada or Britain. By converting this facility to a sanitarium at wars end, doubled the capacity of the original sanitarium. It would exist until the early 1970 and was known as the "New San". Few pictures exist as the Sanitarium was located to the west of St. John's in a (rather remote) medically restricted area. Visitations were tightly supervised. Furthermore, the RCN Hospital was a military installation and pictures as such were forbidden.  (Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose)

Nurses Quarters and related facilities - RCN Hospital #1

 

The hospital was built a short distance away (left of photo) on Carvel Street next to the Nfld General Hospital. It was built as "Post War Permanent". At the cesson of hostilities, it became first fully orthopedic hospital in Nfld. The original hospital is now gone, and the 'Veteran's Pavilion' now occupies the site.

 

Courtesy of  /  Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose

HMCS Avalon Fire Station

 

A part of the naval vehicle maintenance facility can be seen at the right rear of fire station. Both facilities were constructed as "Post War Permanent". This fire station continued to operate until Oct. 2014, having been turned over to the St. John's Fire Dept. in 1946. The RCN vehicle maintenance facility was turned over to the Nfld Government dept. of highways in 1946, Post War Permanent. Vacated in the 1970s by the Highways Dept. it was used for storage. This structure was remove shortly after the closing of the fire station in Oct. 2014.

 

Courtesy of  /  Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose

RCN seamen's barracks (South Side Hills)

At center of photo, slightly to the left, is the Naval Armament Depot (N.A.D.)

Courtesy of  /  Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose

Bldg. #17 - Wrens barracks at HMCS Avalon

Courtesy of  /  Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose

Bldg. # 32  - YMCA Hostel which was built at HMCS Avalon in 1942.

Note the YMCA Red Triangle logo painted on the C M P vehicle. This vehicle was painted "Navy Blue" and was sold at 'Crown Assets' auction in 1950.

Courtesy of  /  Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose

Entrance to nurse's quarters at RCN Hospital #1.

Courtesy of  /  Researched by Donald (Bud) Rose

Newspaper article on HMCS Avalon's hockey team

The Crow's Nest newspaper - Apr 1944

Newspaper article on HMCS Avalon's soccer team

The Crow's Nest newspaper - Nov 1944

 

 

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