OCdts. On Parade

3339 Captain (N) (Re’d) Bryan Elson (RRMC 1955) is a former officer of the Royal Canadian Navy, and the current director of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He lives in Halifax.  jbelson@ns.sympatico.ca

Bryan Elson retired from the Canadian Navy after 37 years of service, including four years as Commander of CFB Halifax from 1984 to 1988. “I’m an avid reader of all kind of history, particularly naval history.”

His first book`Nelson’s Yankee Captain: The Life of Boston Loyalist Sir Benjamin Hallowell` was published by Formac Lorimer Books in 2008.

Sir Benjamin Hallowell, one of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s famous “Band of Brothers,” served in the navy of Great Britain through the American and French Revolutions between 1775 and 1815.






Benjamin Hallowell was the Commissioner of Customs in Boston largely responsible for provoking the “tea party”, and his son is most popularly known as having made Nelson’s coffin from remnants of L’ORIENT which blew up alongside the SWIFTSURE which Hallowell commanded at the battle of the Nile. He also slapped Admiral Sir John Jervis on his back during the Battle of Cape St Vincent in a display of totally unbecoming familiarity for a very junior officer Bryan Elson`s most recent book `First to Die: The First Canadian Navy Casualties in the First World War` is an account of four young cadets of the first class of the Royal Navy College of Canada, set up in 1911 shortly after the Canadian Navy itself was established in 1910.

William Palmer, first in his graduating class, and Arthur Silver,  senior Cadet Captain, both from Halifax, were personally chosen by Rear-Admiral Christopher Cradock to go to war on the large and powerful British vessel Good Hope. Their comrades John Hatheway, of Fredericton, and Malcolm Cann, of Yarmouth, were also selected, to the disappointment of the remaining men. Within six weeks, these four much-envied comrades were dead as the British warship Good Hope went down with no survivors, sunk by the German navy on November 1, 1914.

The men are commemorated on Page 1 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Midshipman Malcolm Cann (RCNC 1911-14), son of Hugh Bradford Cann and Augusta L. Cann, died at 18 years of age. Midshipman John V.W. Hatheway (RCNC 1911-14), son of Frederick W. and Christina Grace Hatheway, died at 19 years of age. Midshipman William Archibald Palmer (RCNC 1911-14), son of Frederick A. and Eva L. Palmer, died at 20 years of age. Midshipman Arthur Wiltshire Silver (RCNC 1911-14), son of Harold St. Clair Silver and Agnes Bee Silver, died at 20 years of age.

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