Tags:  cntha papers 
Author: Don Wilson
Published: Jun 1st 2013
Updated: 4 years ago

The Canadian Naval Technical History Association (CNTHA)
By Don Wilson VENTURE (Class of ’56)

“Signal” readers may be interested in this association that is dedicated to preserving Canada’s Naval technical heritage. The Canadian Naval Technical History Association (CNTHA) is a volunteer organization, many of whom are retired Naval Engineers or representatives of the shipbuilding industry.

CNTHA works in support of the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) in Canada’s Department of National Defence as DHH has an ongoing project to capture and preserve our country’s naval technical history. A prime purpose of the CNTHA, thus, is to make its information available to researchers and casual readers alike. Over the years, Canada’s Naval Engineers, working closely with industry, have seen a number of major innovations such as:

  • In the late ‘40’s – early ‘50’s: Development of the St. Laurent Class destroyers with a number of features new to Canadian warships – in particular the ability to deal effectively with NBCD threats;
  • In the early ‘50’s – development and deployment of the RAST shipboard helicopter recovery assist, secure and traverse system that led to deployment of Sea King helicopters in the St. Laurent and 265 Class DDH’s; and
  • In the early ‘70’s – Canada commissioned our DDH 280 Destroyers that were reported to be the first destroyers in the world designed to include gas turbine propulsion and electrical generator systems. Three of the four new Tribals were commissioned in the latter half of 1972. A number of other innovations were to form part of the Combat Systems suite in the new Tribals.

There is a great deal of energy around Committee tables, taking advantage of the considerable knowledge and experience available. Over the past number of years, the CNTHA group – more specifically the Canadian Naval Defence Industrial Base (CANDIB) Project group – has provided valuable information to be included in a Collection of hard-copy reports and other documents lodged with DND’s DHH. The CANDIB Project’s mission statement is to document the development of the Canadian industrial base as it evolved in support of warship construction and naval equipment programs between 1930 and 2003, and the affects these programs had on that industrial base.

At the end of July 2004, steps were taken to register the ‘’ domain name and subsequently the CNTHA website was moved to its own home from its temporary location. The Canadian Naval History Association website is now operating under its own name.

The website contains a great deal of valuable information, including:

  • An online archive of DND’s Maritime Engineering Journal;
  • Copies of CNTHA’s Newsletters (also published in the Maritime Engineering Journal);
  • Oral and Written Histories – recollections of past technical events provided by interviews and written submissions.

Anyone interested in reading about some of our Naval Technical History is invited to visit the CNTHA website: Anyone with a story to tell is invited to contact Don Wilson at: [email protected].

[This article was published in the 2013-2 “Signal”]