47 PHOTOS IN THIS SECTION BY WILLIAM DALTON JOHNSTON &
DONALD ROSS JOHNSTON
William Johnston sent me a collection of photos taken by his grandfather
and by his father. His grandfather, William Dalton Johston, served on
HMCS Niobe during WW1, and
he was in Halifax at the time of the Halifax Explosion, December 6, 1917,
when a munitions ship exploded in Halifax Harbour, destroying most
of the downtown area. The explosion killed about 2,000 people and wounded about 9,000.
William's father, Donald Ross Johnston, served on the Flower class corvette,
HMCS North Bay, which performed convoy duty in the North Atlantic during 1944-45.
February, 2016 -- Many thanks to National Archives military archivist
Alex Comber for identifying
and re-classifying most of these photos. The main problem is discovering where William Dalton Johnston actually served.
Although he was technically a crew member of
HMCS Niobe, that ship was a depot ship, and as such, loaned out crew to other ships on an as-required
basis. Photo locations which had once been identified as HMCS Niobe,
Alex Comber has identified as
being taken on HMT Olympic, one of the two sister ships of RMS Titanic.
She was used as a troop carrier during WWI, and spent much of the war carying troops between Europe and Halifax. Other photos
were taken on a ship much too small to have been either Niobe or
Olympic, but was possibly a patrol ship, sweeper, or drifter,
which has yet to be identified. In fact, the only photo which can be positively identified as HMCS Niobe is
the group photo of 29 crew members, one of whom is almost certainly William Dalton Johnston.
Items added June 9, 2017.
Crew members of HMCS Niobe, WW1.
Photo of 29 crew members of HMCS Niobe,
one of which is almost certainly William Dalton Johnston.
Crew Members on Unknown Ships.
Eleven photos of crew members at work as well as in formal groups.
At least two were taken on HMT Olympic.
Aftermath of the Halifax Explosion, 1917.
Two photos showing damage caused by the Halifax explosion.
WW1 Submarines & Ships in Halifax.
Ten photos showing captured U-Boats, one of which is
UC-97; an Auxilliary Patrol Trawler, TR-1;
as well as RMS Aquitania,
RHS Araguaya, HMCS Niobe, RMS Olympic, and coal yards in two unknown harbours.
Miscellaneous Ships, WW 1.
Six photos showing ships, many with camouflage paint.
All locations and two ship names are unknown. Ships shown: HMS Berwick, HMS Cornwall,
HMS Devonshire, CS Lord Kelvin, RMS Olympic.
William Dalton Johnston, WW1.
Two photos, one showing William Dalton Johnston
and unidentified friends.
World War Two Photos.
Eight photos, four of which show U-boats during or after surrender.
Ships shown are HMCS Annapolis, HMCS Assiniboine & SS Empress of Scotland.
Also a 1935 photo of the Duke & Duchess of Kent in Nassau, Bahamas.
Storm at Sea, WW2.
Two photos, probably taken by Donald Ross Johnston,
of a storm at sea. They may have been taken on corvette, HMCS North Bay.
Re-fueling at Sea, WW2.
Four photos, showing an unidentified tanker transferring fuel
to a ship, probably HMCS North Bay.
Postcards From Ireland, WW2.
Nine postcards from Ireland, purchased by Donald Ross Johnston
on one of his many trips overseas during the war. All but one are scenes from Portrush and Londonderry.
HMCS North Bay Pennant, WW2.
Possibly purchased in the ship's canteen by Donald Ross Johnston.
Added June 9, 2017.
End of the Sheep-Dog Navy, by "Jetty Joe".
A newspaper clipping collected by Donald Ross Johnston. This item may have been published in a
Halifax newspaper, but both source and author so far remain anonymous.
Added June 9, 2017.