A sea cadet at RCSCC LION from 1963 to 1968, I joined the Naval Reserve at HMCS STAR in 1968 as a Bos'n. I was an Officer Cadet in the ROUTP, commissioned in 1971, and awarded my watchkeeping ticket in 1973. I served at sea, at one time or another, in all five Gate Vessels and HMCS FORT STEELE & CHAUDIERE as well as the Coast Guard icebreaker Louis St. Laurent and served as OIC of the patrol vessels RALLY and RAPID. At STAR from 1968 to 2007, I served as XO twice and then as CO from 2002 to 2005. I rounded out my career by serving as SSO Training at NAVRESHQ in Quebec City in 2008, retiring in 2009 as CO of HMCS HUNTER in Windsor. I was Executive Director for the Friends of HMCS HAIDA till 2011 and have been an active volunteer onboard HAIDA since she arrived in Hamilton in 2003.
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Hamilton & Scourge National Historic Site of
The annual memorial service for the fifty-three American sailors who lost their lives in the sinking of the schooners USS HAMILTON & USS SCOURGE on 8 August 1813 will be held in the Naval Memorial Garden, Confederation Park, Hamilton at 7:00 PM on Thursday, 8 August 2019.
Prior to the service, Hamilton and Scourge National Historic Site Coordinator Christopher Redford will speak about recent research and that planned for 2020.
Our thanks to Michael Pether of Auckland, New Zealand, who has provided more information about Lt Ralph Ripley and the circumstances surrounding the loss of HMS FANLING on 16 February 1942.
Ripley attended Ridley College in St. Catharines prior to attending the
University of Toronto, where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He was heavily involved in athletics at both
schools, participating in football, hockey, cricket, rugby and basketball and
was a member of a Canadian cricket team which toured England in 1936. After graduation in 1937, he worked for the
Canada Life Assurance Company in Toronto.
Following the loss
of HMS PRINCE OF WALES on 10 December, 1941, he was one of two officers in the
ex-customs launch HMS FANLING in Singapore.
FANLING was believed to be about the size of a small Fairmile and
possibly armed with a three pounder gun.
Prior to the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942, FANLING, carrying forty-seven people
including Brigadier Aird-Smith and several other members of the staff of the 3rd
Indian Corps, was among forty-six small vessels attempting to evacuate both
civilians and military personnel. FANLING
was intercepted in the Banka Strait between Banka Island and Sumatra by a
Japanese cruiser and two destroyers, thought to be the Nagara Class cruiser
YURA (seven 5.5” guns) and the Fubuki Class destroyers FUBUKI and ASAGIRI (six
5” guns each). FANLING reportedly
engaged with her miniscule deck gun and was sunk. The Japanese made no attempt to rescue
survivors and, indeed, survivors from other vessels who reached shore were
herded back into the water and machine gunned.
There were believed to be three survivors from FANLING. Lt Ripley was not one of them.
Passed way on July 10th, 2019, aged 30. He was born in Aylmer, Ontario, joined the Naval Reserve in 2007 at HMCS PREVOST and obtained a Bachelor of Science from Western University. He qualified as a Ship’s Team Diver and did a NATO deployment in HMCS St. John’s. He worked as a Human Resources Admin Clerk in STAR’s Ship’s Office.