Recently I was honored to attend a ceremony where our owner’s family (Gillin) donated a Ship’s Bell that came from one of Canada’s first warships. It just so happened that Lord and Lady Elgin were visiting at the time and could take part. The connection I speak of is outlined in this letter from our owner to the Navy, written in August 2007. It makes one realize that Canada is such a young country and some of our very early history goes back only a few generations.
August 20, 2007
Ms. Marilyn Gurney
Director & Chief Historian
Maritime Command Museum
2725 Gottingen Street
Po Box 99000, Station Forces
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dear Ms. Gurney
I have recently read an article in The Ottawa Citizen regarding the discovery of TR-4, a Canadian minesweeper in the First World War, and the shipĂs bell which is now in the possession of your museum.
I have inherited a shipĂs bell ˘HMS Patrician÷, which I believe was given to my grandfather George J. Desbarats in the 1920Ăs (photo enclosed).
The following is an excerpt from ˘Naval Services of Canada÷.
The ˘Patrician÷ was originally commissioned on July 27, 1916 for service in the destroyer flotillas of the Grand Fleet. By the end of the war, she had not seen action, but had been employed on patrol and anti ű submarine duties in the North Sea.
On May 26, 1919, the destroyers Patrician & Patriot were selected for Canada and were gratefully accepted by the Canadian Government as the first destroyers in the Canadian Navy.
The H.M.C.S. Patrician was commissioned on November 1, 1920 at Devonport, England, and then sailed to Halifax. She was stationed at Esquimalt from 1922-28. By 1927, the Patrician and the Patriot were worn out and the Government decided to build two destroyers to replace them. The ˘Patrician÷ was ˘paid off÷ in 1928.
H.M.(C).S. Patrician ű of the first oil burning (instead of coal) destroyers built by Britain. Displacement 1004 tons, h.p 27,500 speed 35k; size 271Ă x 27 ó x 11Ă. Complement of 80. Guns ű 3 ű 4÷, 6 smaller; 4 -21 torpedo tubes.
The Deputy Minister at that time was George J. Desbarats my grandfather, born in Quebec, P.Q. in 1861, he became a Civil Engineer. He obtained a wide experience in engineering work connected with canals & railways. In 1901 Desbarats became director of the government shipyard at Sorel, and in 1908 he was appointed Deputy Minister of Marines & Fisheries. He was D.M. & Comptroller of the Naval Service from May 5, 1910 until the consolidation of 1922, and in 1924 he became Deputy Minister of National Defence. He retired in 1932 and died in 1944. DesbaratsĂ authority & influence considerably exceeded those of most Deputy ű Ministers, as he had no Minister for the first two decades of its existence, he probably had more to do with the moulding of the service than any other man.
As I am now 82 years old, I would like to know if the Maritime Command Museum or other MuseumĂs might be interested in a gift of this bell upon my death.
I would appreciate hearing from you in this regard.
M. Patrick Gillin