Service Cultures, Personalities, and the Struggle to Establish a Joint Headquarters in Halifax during the Second World War

Authors

  • Richard Goette

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25071/2561-5467.1165

Keywords:

Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, Second World War, Area Combined Headquarters, air-naval jointness, command and control, service culture

Abstract

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sought to emulate their British counterparts in joint defence of convoys.  However, a strange omission was the inability of Canadian aviators and sailors to come together in a joint headquarters in Halifax until July 1943 – fully five years after the British and one year after the United States. Why was this so? Many factors account for this failure. They include resource constraints, physical location issues, and communications systems considerations. However, the most important factors were service culture and individual personalities, notably conceptions regarding air-naval jointness and command and control. 

L’Aviation royale canadienne et la Marine royale canadienne cherchaient à imiter leurs homologues britanniques dans la défense conjointe des convois. Cependant, l’incapacité des aviateurs et des marins canadiens à se réunir dans un quartier général interarmées à Halifax avant juillet 1943, cinq ans après la Grande-Bretagne et un an après les États-Unis, semblait des plus étranges. Pourquoi en était-il ainsi? De nombreux facteurs expliquent cet échec, notamment les contraintes au niveau des ressources, les questions d’emplacement physique et les considérations relatives aux systèmes de communication. Pourtant, les facteurs les plus importants étaient la culture de service et les personnalités individuelles, notamment les conceptions de l’interarmisation de l’armée et de la marine, le commandement et le contrôle.

 

Author Biography

Richard Goette

Dr. Richard Goette is an air power academic and Canadian Air Force historian at the Canadian Forces College. Dr Goette has published extensively in the fields of air force history, air power, naval history, leadership, and command and control. His first book, Sovereignty and Command in Canada–US Continental Air Defence, 1940–57, was published with UBC Press in 2019. He is an Associate Air Force Historian with the RCAF Office of Air Force History and Heritage, and a member of a several organizations, including the RCAF Association, the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, and the Canadian Nautical Research Society. (Contact: goette@cfc.dnd.ca)

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Operations monitoring at the Eastern Air Command HQ, Halifax, 9 January 1943

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Published

2024-06-27

How to Cite

Goette, R. (2024). Service Cultures, Personalities, and the Struggle to Establish a Joint Headquarters in Halifax during the Second World War. The Northern Mariner Le Marin Du Nord, 33(3-4), 353–368. https://doi.org/10.25071/2561-5467.1165