In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar
MILES, George Ralph - Commodore of the RCN Barracks, Esquimalt, who died suddenly at his residence on the morning of February 19, was buried at sea from HMCS ONTARIO on February 21.
Committal services aboard the ship followed funeral services with full naval honors from Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria. Services in the cathedral were conducted by the Rt. Rev. Harold E. Sexton, Bishop of British Columbia. Chaplain B.A. Peglar, RCN, read the lesson during the funeral service and conducted the committal service aboard the Ontario. Following services in the cathedral, the casket was placed on a naval gun carriage and drawn by 32 seamen, all from HMCS NADEN, to the Ontario's berth at the Outer Wharf. The funeral cortege was led by a 24-man firing party and a 48-man guard of honor, all from NADEN. Commodore H.F. Pullen, commanding officer of HMCS ONTARIO, was insignia bearer. As the cortege neared the ship, an 11-gun salute was fired at one-minute intervals.
When the ship arrived at the committal area, Chaplain Pegler read the service and the body was committed to the sea. The firing party fired three volleys, the bugler following with the Last Post. The guard of honor presented arms as the ship's guns fired an 11-gun salute. At the conclusion the bugler sounded Reveille. Read-Admiral W.B. Creery, Flag Officer Pacific Coast, cast a wreath on the sea on behalf of the officers and men of the Pacific Command. He was followed by other high-ranking officers and civilians. Included among the floral tributes were those from the Governor General, Lord Alexander; Defence Minister Brooke Claxton; Vice-Admiral H.T.W. Grant, Chief of the Naval Staff and the Naval Board; Premier Byron Johnson of British Columbia, and the Atlantic Command of the RCN. Honorary pallbearers were His Excellency the Governor General, represented by Cdr. K.C. McRae; the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, represented by Cdr. Hew Patterson; Premier Byron Johnson, represented by Hon. Captain John Cates; Mayor Percy E. George of Victoria, represented by Alderman Frank Mulliner; Reeve A.I. Thomas of Esquimalt; Admiral Percy W. Nelles, Vice-Admiral H.E. Reid, Rear-Admiral Creery, Commodore J.C.I. Edwards, Brigadier W.J. Magill, Group Captain J. Easton, Captain W.B. Holms, Captain H. Kingsley, Cdr. G.H. Davidson, representing the Chief of Naval Staff; Cdr. A.C. Wurtele, Captain Massey Goolden, Captain C.D. Donald, Cdr. (S) B.F. Gorely, Shipwright Cdr. E.H. Gilhen and Cdr. (E) R. Balfour. Active pallbearers were Chief Petty Officers George Harvey, David Nelson, Donald Painton, John Spellman, John Rimmer, Thomas Heatherington, John Waldron and Thomas Booth.
Commodore Miles was born in Rothesay, N.B., on February 26, 1902.
He entered the Royal Naval College of Canada as a cadet in 1919 went to sea as a Midshipman in ships of the Royal Navy. At the outbreak of the Second World War he was commanding officer of the destroyer HMCS SAGUENAY, which formed part of the escort of Convoy HX-1, the first convoy to sail from Halifax. He was in command of the SAGUENAY for more than 18 months. During this time his ship was struck by a torpedo and heavily damaged, but was brought safely back to port. For this feat of seamanship and for "gallantry and distinguished service before the enemy as Senior Officer of an escort group," Commodore Miles was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. In 1942 Commodore Miles served as Captain (D), Halifax, and was responsible for the administration of escort vessels operating out of the port and for the efficient training of their crews at a time when the U-boats were making a determined bid for supremacy in the Atlantic. A year later he commissioned the new Tribal class destroyer HMCS ATHABASKAN and commanded her during numerous patrols in the English Channel and along the enemy-held coast of France. While on patrol in the Bay of Biscay in the summer of 1943, the ATHABASKAN was struck by a glider bomb, one of the first ships to be damaged by the new German weapon. Again Commodore Miles brought his ship back to port, and was awarded a Mention in Despatches for his "courage and seamanship" on this occasion. In December 1943 he was appointed ashore and took up the duties of Director of Plans at Naval Headquarters, Ottawa. A year later he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Canadian Northwest Atlantic, at Halifax. From March 1946 until August 1948 Commodore Miles was Chief of Naval Personnel and a member of the Naval Board, at Headquarters. His next appointment took him back to sea as commanding officer of HMCS MAGNIFICENT and Senior Canadian Naval Officer Afloat. In August 1949 he was appointed Officer-in-Charge, Montreal Area, and in February 1950 became Commodore of the RCN Barracks, Esquimalt. (CROWSNEST Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 6, April, 1951)
Ships served in:
HMS ORION (01 Jul 1919 as Midshipman, RCN)
HMCS SAGUENAY - Appointed to SAGUENAY D79 on 07 May 1936 as LCdr, RCN
Sentries rest on arms reversed around the casket as HMCS ONTARIO steams seaward for the burial of the late Commodore George R. Miles.