HMCS/M Rainbow, 1974 (Flickr- Rick Horne)

Our Modern Era Begins

HMCS Ambush, c. 1950s
Sixth Submarine Squadron

After the anti-submarine warfare lessons learned in WWII, the RCN decided it had to acquire submarines to train its east coast surface fleet. The first solution was to rent one RN boat at a time. However, in 1955 they gained a squadron of three A-class submarines based in Halifax from the RN in return for 200 sailors who trained for and served in RN boats, including the A-boats. These stayed until 1966.

HMCS/M Grilse, Esquimalt, 1962 (Flickr, Charles Dobie)
HMCS/M Grilse

An aging American submarine was borrowed from the USN for the same purpose but based on the west coast in Esquimalt. HMCS/M Grilse (USS Burrfish) had been built for the war in the Pacific and the conversion for the Brit-trained officers was challenging. She was commissioned into the RCN in 1961, marking the re-birth of our submarine service after a lapse of nearly forty years, and stayed till 1969.​

HMCS/M Rainbow, 1974 (Flickr- Rick Horne)
HMCS/M Rainbow

By the time the USN's Grilse second agreement wound down and the O-boats had arrived for the east coast, another USN boat came available at a sale price the RCN could afford. USS Argonaut became HMCS/M Rainbow and served as a clockwork mouse from 1968 to 1974 and trained many Canadian submariners. She was not replaced and the west coast went without submarines for another twenty-five yearsuntil the new millennium.