Walter Hose

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Walter Hose
Inspector Reid, H.H. Stevens and Capt. Walter J. Hose on board the "Komagata Maru".jpg
Walter Hose (third from left) aboard SS Komagata Maru
Born (1875-10-02)2 October 1875
P&O steamer Surat, Indian Ocean
Died 22 June 1965(1965-06-22) (aged 89)
Windsor, Ontario
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy (1889–12)
 Royal Canadian Navy (1912–34)
Years of service 1889–1934
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held Chief of the Naval Staff
HMCS Rainbow

Boxer Rebellion
First World War

Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Rear Admiral Walter Hose CBE (2 October 1875 – 22 June 1965) was an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. He was the founder of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. Along with Charles Kingsmill, Walter Hose is known as the "Father of the Royal Canadian Navy".[1]

Early career with the Royal Navy[edit]

Hose was born on a ship in the Indian Ocean and joined the Royal Navy when he was 14. He was assigned to HMS Britannia upon entering the service. As he rose through the ranks he held six commands including commanding gunboats in Asia and a torpedo gunboat with the Home Fleet. He reached his pinnacle appointment in the Royal Navy as executive officer aboard HMS Cochrane in 1909; however finding advancement too slow he looked into joining the infant Canadian navy.[2]

Royal Canadian Navy[edit]

HMCS Rainbow and the First World War[edit]

Originally on loan from the Royal Navy, Hose resigned his commission and formally transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1912.[3] Upon his arrival he commanded HMCS Rainbow out of the naval base at Esquimalt.[4] Due to the lack of Royal Navy ships along the northwest Pacific coast, Hose and the Rainbow were ordered to protect shipping from German raiders including the cruisers Leipzig and Nürnberg. After the threat had passed, Commander Hose spent the next while preventing German vessels from leaving port and even taking two prizes.[5] He was then named Captain of Patrols by Admiral Charles Kingsmill. As captain of patrols he commanded over fifty vessels to fight the U-boat threat. It was the position he would hold until the end of the war.[6]

Interwar service[edit]

After the retirement of Admiral Kingsmill, Hose was appointed acting Director of the Naval Service in 1921 and Director of the Naval Service in 1922. During his time as commander Hose decommissioned the majority of the navy, and shut the Royal Naval College of Canada and the Youth Training Establishment in Halifax. He took the money saved by doing this and formally created the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve.[7]

In 1922 government cuts in the armed services of Canada were put in place and there was an effort by the government of the day to integrate the services under one commander-in-chief. Hose argued against this, demanding to continue to have access to the minister. Aided by the deputy minister Georges Desbarats, he prevented the navy from falling under the command of the position of the Chief of Staff.[8] The position of Director was renamed as Chief of the Naval Staff in 1928 and he served in this position until his retirement in 1934.[9]

Hose died in Windsor, Ontario in 1965 and received a full military funeral.[10] A monument at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax honours his work saving and building the Royal Canadian Navy during the difficult years after the First World War and in the Great Depression.


  1. ^ Walter Hose Monument, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  2. ^ Obee, Dave (30 May 2010) "Floating our boats on a shoestring." The Times-Colonist. Retrieved 20 July 2013
  3. ^ German (1990), p. 26.
  4. ^ German (1990), p. 27.
  5. ^ German (1990), p. 39.
  6. ^ German (1990), p. 48.
  7. ^ German (1990), p. 57.
  8. ^ German (1990), p. 58.
  9. ^ Smol, Robert (30 June 2010). "The Man Who Saved Canada's Navy". CBC News. Retrieved 20 July 2013
  10. ^ Obee, Dave (30 May 2010) "Floating our boats on a shoestring." The Times-Colonist. Retrieved 20 July 2013


Military offices
Preceded by
As Director of the Naval Service
Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Percy Nelles
Preceded by
Charles Kingsmill
Director of the Naval Service
Succeeded by
As Chief of the Naval Staff