Biographical data:

Robertson, Owen Conner Struan

Personal Image

Photo: RCN Crowsnest

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Title Commodore (RCN)
Official Number (nk)
 
Birth 16/03/1907 Death 22/11/1994
Place Victoria Place Oakville
Area BC Area ON
Country Canada Country Canada
 
Titles
Honours OC. GM. RD. Commendation of US Secretary of the Navy (USA). Commendation of US Chief of Naval Operations (USA).
Awards
Qualifications
 
Biography
He went to sea with the Canadian Government Merchant Marine in 1924 as an Ordinary Seaman, Cadet and Mate in CN Steamships 1925-1928. He was qualified with Master's Certificate (Foreign-Going) of Competancy 1932. He attended McGill University. After his naval service he was the Deputy Director Arctic Institute of North America (He was on loan to EXPO '67 as Scientific Advisor). He conducted Panarctic sealift to Melville Island. Member Maritime Appeals Board. (Hon. DSc (McGill), DMilSc. He circumnavigated North America in Labrador 1954-57 and first naval officer to transit the Northwest Passage. He was the first person to transit the Northwest Passage both on the surface and submerged in a submarine. He was a Fellow of the Arctic Institute. He was awarded the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
 
Military Service
He was appointed as an A/Lieutenant RCNR (With seniority dated 14/12/1931). He was appointed as a Lieutenant RCNR (With seniority dated 13/06/1932). He served in HMCS Saguenay as Navigating Officer 1932. He served in NHQ as Staff Officer Merchant Service Intelligence 1938. (Mobilized for World War Two service 27/08/1939). He served in HMCS Venture as First Lieutenant 1938. He served in HMCS Fundy (In command) 1939. He was appointed as a Lieutenant-Commander RCNR (With seniority dated 14/12/1939). He served in NSHQ for Naval Personnel Division 1940. He was appointed as a Commander (Temp.) RCNR. He served as Commandant of HMCS Kings (Officer Training Establishment) 1940. He served in HMCS Prince Robert as Executive Officer 1941. He served as Commander HMC Dockyard Halifax and Kings Harbour Master 1943. He was appointed as an A/Captain (Temp.) RCNR (With seniority dated 01/06/1944). He served as Commanding Officer HMCS Scotian and Commander HMC Dockyard and Kings Harbour Master 1944. He was appointed as a Captain (Temp.) RCNR (With seniority dated 01/01/1945). (Transferred to RCN 1946). He was appointed as a Commander RCN (With seniority dated 01/01/1943). He served in HMCS Cayuga (In command) 1947. He served in the RN Senior Officers Technical Course 1948. He was appointed as a Captain RCN (With seniority dated 01/01/1949). He served as Commanding Officer HMCS Niobe and Naval Member Canadian Joint Staff London 1949. He served in HMCS Labrador Construction Project 1952. He served in HMCS Labrador (In command) 1954. In 1954 he piloted the first warship to transit the North West Passage and to circumnavigate North America. He was the Commanding Officer of USN Task Group 6.3 (On Loan to the USN as Deputy Commander for Polar Operations) in 1955. He was on Special Duty as Chairman of the Defence Research Establishment in 1956. He was appointed as a Commodore RCN (With seniority dated 03/01/1957). He served as Canadian Naval Attache and Naval Member Canadian Joint Staff Washington DC and Senior Officer-in-Command 1957. He served on Loan to USN for Polar Operations and was a member of the crew of Blimp ZTG-2 on a voyage to Arctic Ice Island T-3 in 1958.) (He retired on 16/03/1962.)
 
Vessels Owned
Aircraft Flown
Named Features
 
Anecdotes
He served as a USN Ice Pilot in USS Seadragon (For Multiple Submerged Polar Transits and Transits of the Northwest Passage) 1960. (It is said that he served in the USN in civillian clothes and under an assumed name to disguise his national origins.)
 
References
Government of Canada The Canadian Navy List Ottawa ON; Blatherwick, John (1992); MacFarlane, J.M. (1992) Northwest Passage Challengers. In Resolution. Spring Issue. Maritime Museum of British Columbia; Canada's Admirals and Commodores (3rd ed.) (2016); http://www.archives.mcgill.ca/public/exhibits/mcgillremembers/results.asp?id=5183; McGill University Archives, 0000-0481.01.1.e5184;
Last update
2017-02-05

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