I was 17 years old the summer of 1962. I had no summer job, my high school suggested we were both wasting our time and they thought I should pursue other options. My father agreed. There weren’t many options available for me but, ready for change, I took the bull by the horns and joined the Royal Canadian Navy.
|Gord Hunter, in training.|
No Badge Killick is about those years. It was a journey that began as a young naive recruit and ended eight years later as a seasoned leading seaman. A submariner in Canada’s Cold War Navy.
The book begins with the Cuban Missile Crisis and ends as the Western World’s frosty relationship with the Soviet Union was beginning to thaw. It follows the modernization of the Royal Canadian Navy as the older World War Fleet was replaced with ships designed and built in Canadian shipyards and technologies developed to be effective in the unforgiving North Atlantic. It looks at the tension between the Pearson Government and the Navy’s opposition to the integration of Canada’s Armed Forces.
There hasn't been very much written about the cold war navy. Most of what I have found are either academic studies -- almost all unreadable examinations of the Navy by and about former senior members of the Naval hierarchy.
I like to think my story takes another look at those days. From dealing with Soviet spy ships to sailing in a mixed nation NATO Squadron, showing Canada’s new flag, it looks at the life of the regular seaman day to day. The fun, the challenges, the camaraderie, the tragedies and frustrations from the perspective of someone living and working in the lower decks.
-- Gord Hunter