James D. Prentice
25 April 1899|
Victoria, British Columbia
|Died||14 March 1979
Saanichton, British Columbia
Royal Canadian Navy
|Years of service||1912-1934
|Commands held||HMCS Chambly
|Awards||Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Cross
|Other work||Aide-de-camp to the Governor General|
Captain James Douglas 'Chummy' Prentice was a Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy officer who served with distinction in the Battle of the Atlantic. In addition to being credited with the destruction of four U-boats while at sea, he also played a significant role ashore in training the often inexperienced recruits required by the RCN to fulfill its expanded wartime role.
Although born and raised in British Columbia, he decided to join the Royal Navy in 1912 when his father forbade him from joining the newly formed Royal Canadian Navy. He retired from the RN in 1934 as a Lieutenant Commander when cutbacks during the Great Depression ended his possibility of promotion. He returned to British Columbia after his retirement from the RN and had been ranching for a living when war broke out in 1939.
After an initial period ashore in Sydney, Nova Scotia Prentice was appointed Senior Officer, Canadian Corvettes under Commodore Leonard W. Murray. This position gave him the dual responsibilities of developing tactical doctrine for all RCN corvettes as well as being Captain of HMCS Chambly, part of the Newfoundland Escort Force. It was in this latter capacity that Prentice scored the RCN's first U-boat kill, shared with HMCS Moose Jaw. This action would lead to Prentice receiving the DSO.
After his time in corvettes, Prentice was assigned to develop training and doctrine for the new Canadian destroyers that entered into service in 1942. He received command of HMCS Ottawa and was appointed Senior Captain, Canadian Destroyers in 1943. After a time as senior officer of Escort Group C5 in the Mid-Atlantic, Prentice became senior officer of Escort Group 11 for Operation Overlord. On 7 July Ottawa collaborated in the sinking of U-678 in the English Channel. EG11 transferred to the Bay of Biscay in August, where Prentice and Ottawa played a part in the sinkings of U-621 on the 18th and U-984 on the 20th. For these actions, Prentice was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) on 28 November and bar a week later.
- National Defence, Directorate of History & Heritage Library. "James Douglas Prentice collection". Archeion. Archives Association of Ontario. Retrieved 2014-01-25.