Battle of Coronel 100th anniversary

="battle coronel 100th anniversary"

Dr. Pedro Marquez of Royal Roads University presents RAdm Bill Truelove with historic photograph during a commemorative ceremony .

In a foyer lined with historic artifacts of Royal Roads University’s days as a military college, a small crowd gathered to mark the death of four young Canadian sailors who died 100 years ago.

During the Battle of Coronel on Nov.1, 1914, four Canadian midshipmen Malcolm Cann, John Hatheway, William Palmer and Arthur Silver – all just 19 or 20 years old – were lost on board

HMS Good Hope, becoming Canada’s first casualties of First World War and the Royal Canadian Navy’s first ever losses.

The four midshipmen were graduates of the first class of the Royal Naval College of Canada, selected to do their “big ship time” aboard the Royal Navy armoured cruiser Good Hope.

Along with HMS Monmouth, Good Hope was lost with all hands during an engagement with German Kaiserliche Marine forces on the evening of Nov. 1. Almost 1,600 sailors and officers, including the four Canadian midshipmen, perished when the two ships slipped under the water that night.

Dr. Geoffrey Bird of Royal Roads University acknowledged that “the navy faces a particular challenge when it comes to memorializing its battles:  the challenge of visiting the spot where the battle occurred, or physically marking the site for eternity.”

Though the battle took place thousands of miles away off the coast of Coronel, Chile, Dr. Bird reflected that Royal Roads was a fitting place to commemorate the loss “here with these artifacts, on this site that celebrates [Royal Roads’] heritage as a naval and military college, and with the Royal Canadian Navy.”

RAdm Bill Truelove, Commander MARPAC, was the guest speaker of the event. An alumnus of Royal Roads Military College himself, he spoke of the significance of the battle and the importance of remembering the RCN’s past.

“Today is about remembering four young sailors who went to serve their country and never came home,” he remarked.

A number of retired naval officers were also in attendance to pay tribute to the first sailors who died in service of Canada. VAdm (Ret’d) Nigel Brodeur noted that his late father RAdm Victor Brodeur was selected to serve on board Good Hope as well, only to have his posting change before the cruiser set sail for the South Atlantic.

An impressive collection of memorabilia of the battle was on display at the event, including class photos from the Royal Naval College of Canada featuring the four midshipmen as well as newspaper clippings from the aftermath of the battle, which was a stunning defeat for the Royal Navy and a significant loss for the newly-formed RCN.

RAdm Truelove and Dr. Pedro Marquez of Royal Roads University exchanged historic photographs before concluding the solemn ceremony with a wreath-laying at a cenotaph in front of the university’s historic Hatley Castle.

Jamie Cook – MARPAC Public Affairs

Filed Under: Top Stories


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.