Letter to the Editor

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CMJ Vol. 10, No. 3Reference: Review of The Naval Service of Canada 1010-2010: The Centennial Story, Richard Gimblett (ed.), reviewed by Jurgen Duewel, Vol. 10, No. 3, Summer 2010.

In his review of The Centennial Story, Lieutenant-Commander Duewel characterizes my interpretation of the 1949 incidents as mere “tempests in the teapot.” Despite his use of quotations, that phrase does not appear in my text. [Editor’s Note: The editor is the one who placed Lieutenant-Commander Duewel’s idiomatic words in single quotes to identify the phrase as being idiomatic, as is the stylistic custom at the Canadian Military Journal.] Rather, after careful examination of every single RCN report of proceedings from mid-1945 to 1949, I concluded, “…the post-war Canadian navy was not a happy institution. Desertions, absence without leave, and a host of other personnel problems plagued the navy from 1945 to 1949.” Duewel also states that “…the navy’s divisional system was born at this time.” These were his words, crediting the Mainguy Report for the divisional system. In fact, the divisional system existed long before the 1949 Mainguy Report, but constant personnel changes aboard warships had rendered it less effective during these years.

            I thank Lieutenant-Commander Duewel for bringing readers’ attention to this important point. Interpretation of the Mainguy Report remains a controversial issue far too complex to resolve properly in a mere three paragraphs of my chapter in this work. The forthcoming Volume Three of the Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy represents collaborative research among top naval historians, and devotes an entire chapter to this subject. I hope it will assist in clarifying some of the historical myths that still surround the Mainguy Report.

Isabel Campbell
Naval Historian
Directorate of History and Heritage

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