Naval Reserve Centennial 2023

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HMCS STAR and the Naval Reserve will be celebrating its Centennial in 2023, but the Naval Reserve in Hamilton is actually much older than that.

The first formal Naval Reserve in Hamilton was established on 31 January 1862 under the authority of the Militia Act of 1855 with the appointment of Captain Thomas Harbottle & Lieutenant George P. Malcomson as officers. This unit served during the Fenian Raids of 1866 but was allowed to lapse in 1868 following Confederation.

Lieutenant George P. Malcomson

The second Naval Reserve was formed on 18 May 1914 by Privy Council Order 1313 which authorized the formation of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR) to enlist men to serve in the RCN or with the RN.  There were no individual naval reserve units but there was a Hamilton Recruiting Committee, led by Captain George J. Guy and a picture dated 1916 shows our first recruits. The RNCVR was disbanded in 1923 by Order in Council #140.

The third Naval Reserve, and the one we celebrate in 2023, was formed on 31 January 1923 by Order in Council #139 which authorized the formation of “a Force of not more than 1,000 volunteer officers and men to be called the Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (Royal prefix came later).

RAdm Walter Hose – The Father of the Naval Reserve

Hamilton’s Naval Reserve unit did not actually come into being till 15 March 1923, when Lt Ralph H. Yeates was appointed Commanding Officer of the Hamilton Half Company of RCNVR.  Montreal Company’s CO, Lt Frank Meade, was appointed the day previously, making STAR the second oldest Naval Reserve Division. The Hamilton Half Company was commissioned as HMCS STAR on 1 November 1941.