HMCS Hunter celebrates Naval Reserve’s 100 years in Canada

HMCS Hunter celebrates Naval Reserve’s 100 years in Canada

S2 Eunice De Leon, left, and A/SLt Soham Patel, from HMCS Hunter, perform the Sunset Ceremony at Charles Clark Square, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.
S2 Eunice De Leon, left, and A/SLt Soham Patel, from HMCS Hunter, perform the Sunset Ceremony at Charles Clark Square, on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Hunter is in the midst of celebrating the Naval Reserve’s 100 years of service to Canada.

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A variety of activities have begun in Windsor to recognize the naval reserve’s role for the past century within national defence and Canadian Armed Forces.

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While HMCS Hunter celebrates its century of existence, the Windsor division of the Naval Reserve was established in March 1940 — initially as the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve expanded at the beginning of the Second World War.

It was formally commissioned the next year as HMCS Hunter.

Locally, HMCS Hunter currently has 130 members. The majority train or work for the Navy in the evenings, weekends and summer in preparation to deploy or respond to emergencies at home or abroad.

“For me, the Naval Reserve especially embodies a sense of community,” said Commander Richard Hillier, commanding officer for HMCS Hunter. “The majority of our members are citizen-sailors, meaning they have one foot firmly planted in a civilian career or educational path, while also serving their community and country.

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“HMCS Hunter is very much a public institution that belongs to the community. I want the people of Windsor-Essex to feel linked to the Naval Reserve and our sailors. We want folks to celebrate with us as we celebrate not only the past 100 years, but also future years of service to Windsor and to Canada as a whole.”

Included in local activities to celebrate HMCS Hunter’s century of existence will be a Freedom of the City Parade and other community engagement activities throughout the year.

The Naval Reserve’s Centennial launched on Monday, Jan. 30 with a “Colours” ceremony at Charles Clark Square. During that ceremony, local Naval Reservists hoisted the Centennial flag over the city and Mayor Drew Dilkens gave a formal proclamation declaring the launch of Centennial celebrations.

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Also last week, the local Naval Reserve Division partnered with the Royal Canadian Naval Association to unveil a refurbished plaque that honours Founding Father of the Naval Reserve, Rear-Admiral Walter Hose.

The plaque honouring the Founding Father is one of three in all of Canada — one on each Coast and one here at HMCS Hunter, as Windsor is Rear-Admiral Hose’s resting place at Heavenly Rest cemetery.

On Jan. 31, 1923, after years of effort, Rear-Admiral Hose saw the creation of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR). Hose died in Windsor in 1965 and received a full military funeral with six Reserve Petty Officer pallbearers from HMCS Hunter.

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