From Cold War to Present Day


Naval Resistance

HMCS Onondaga, Oberon-class patrol submarine, 1987

Caption: HMCS Onondaga, Oberon-class patrol submarine, 1987

In the end, the land and air elements accepted integration and unification fairly well. The first Chief of the Defence Staff of these integrated forces was an aviator, Air Marshal ER. Miller, and the air force administrative model was chosen for functional commands and military bases. Succeeding him, in the heat of the unification debate (1967-69), was General Allard with his charismatic personality and firm grip on the "former" army. It was the navy that would lead the campaign against unification and feel its effects the most. Far from being bilingual, it had remained the most British of the three forces in its traditions and practices. Naval bases were situated far from the capital, and from 1964 to 1966 the senior naval officers were located on the coasts, away from National Headquarters and - they felt - shielded from the unifying tidal wave that was about to wash over the department. Clearly, its preoccupation with the intrinsic "difference" of seamen isolated the navy. Already a numerical minority, it would suffer the effects of the "admirals' revolt" against unification. Not until 1977 would an admiral occupy the position of Chief of the Defence Staff, and then for only three years. The next admiral, appointed in the early 1990s, would hold the position for just a single year.