RCNVR DIVISION WINDSOR
Naval Reserve Division
The Windsor, ON, division of the Naval Reserve was established in March 1940 as the RCNVR expanded at the beginning of the Second World War. It was formally commissioned the next year on 01 Nov 1941 as HMCS HUNTER.
HUNTER is named after a British vessel that served on the Great Lakes in the War of 1812. The name HUNTER has a distinguished history in the Royal Navy, having been awarded battle honours for engagements during the 1st Dutch war 1652-54, the War of the Grand Alliance 1689-97, the War of the Spanish Succession 1702-13, the Seven Years War 1775-83, and the Second World War.
Before the Unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968, the RCN was a part of a shared Commonwealth Battle Honours list. This meant that RCN ships could perpetuate the honours of their British namesakes. After Unification, it was decided that new Canadian ships would only carry Canadian honours. HMCS HUNTER was commissioned before this change and never paid off, so she is allowed to maintain the Commonwealth honours. HUNTER currently has more honours than any other ship in the RCN.
During the Second World War, the local training expanded so much that a second facility, known as HUNTER II, was opened. In addition to recruits for Canada’s war effort, and because of its proximity to the United States, HUNTER trained a large contingent of Polish-American volunteers who eventually transferred to the Polish Navy. HUNTER and HUNTER II were combined in 1944.
In 1965, HUNTER acted as host for the naval funeral of Rear-Admiral Walter Hose, the “father of the Naval Reserve.” The funeral procession included seven admirals and commodores. HUNTER has seen a number of firsts for the Naval Reserve, including the appointment in 1981 of Lieutenant-Commander Marilyn O’Hearn as the first female commanding officer of a Naval Reserve division, and, in 1996, the first Formation chaplain.
In the fall of 2014, HUNTER re-located to a new purpose-built facility at the foot of Mill Street in Sandwiche Towne.