Full name: Her Majesty's Canadian Ship HUNTER
Motto: "Ready When Required"
HMCS Hunter, Windsor's Naval Reserve Division, started with inauspicious beginnings. From the old Toledo Scale Company building and only a few members it has grown over the past seventy years to become a large and significant member of the Windsor community. She was commissioned the first of November, 1941. Hunter was named after the HMS GENERAL Hunter, which took part in the battle of Lake Erie in 1813. From that first building, Hunter moved in 1944 to the former "Old City Marketorium" at 960 Ouelette Avenue - where she resides today.
Over the past seventy years, Hunter has seen twenty five changes of command. Her Commanding Officers have seen wartime experience in the Second World War up to the current conflict in Afghanistan.
She has also had many training craft attached to her. The first Hunter boat was lent in 1940 by Mr. Seagram and was an 85 foot twin-diesel yacht named HAIDIE. Its second was a Fairmile Motor Launch PTC 762 in 1949. In 1970 it gained a 40 foot, twin diesel, steel Cutter - M-925. She war formerly the RCAF EGRET that had been retired from hauling targets for the Meaford Gun Range. In 1977 Hunter gained another training platform, the 26 foot Patrol Boat YMU 116 which was renamed PB-197 CROSSBOW (in 1978).
A Woman's Royal Canadian Naval Service attachment was formed in 1942 in Windsor. The WRCNS from Windsor had a long and distinguished service record both in war and at peace. Aside from the WRCNS, Hunter has shared a building with many other units - notably the 1969 arrival of the 39th Technical Squadron of the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers. Hunter currently shares its facilities with three cadet units.
HMCS Hunter participated in a Royal Visit from Their Majesties Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in the fall of 1951.
Read-Admiral Walter Hose, CBE, DScM, ADC, RCN who is considered the father of the naval reserve was a long-time supporter of Hunter, is buried in Windsor. His funeral was held the 21st of June 1965.
Hunter was granted Freedom of the City of Windsor on the 75th anniversary of Naval Service in Canada. This ceremony and parade took place on the 21st of April 1985.
There have been several important "firsts" for women that took place at HMCS Hunter. The first female officer to command a Naval Reserve Division was Commander (W) J.M. O'Hearn, CD who took command the 1st of August 1981. The first Hunter female to command a naval vessel was Sub-Lieutenant Judy Barker who commanded the CROSSBOW for a 22 day cruise around the great lakes. Also, the first "covered" Muslim in the Canadian Forces; Ordinary Seaman Wafa Dabbagh joined Hunter in 1996. She advanced in her career to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander and was awarded a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, but sadly she passed away later that same year.
Where were the different places the unit was located:
1939 November 08: Lieutenant J.H. Marshall, RCNVR, in Command of Windsor Division, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve.
1940 March 05: Division officially established and open in the Toledo Scale Building on Howard Avenue.
1943 July 31: HMCS HUNTER opens a second training site located on the second floor of a leased facility on McDougall Avenue that had served Burrough's Business Machines for many years. As they also still use the former Toledo Scale site, this new location is known as HUNTER II.