H.M.C.S. Rainbow

August 5th, 1914, His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Rainbow receives orders to find and protect two British Sloops steaming north along the American Coast to safety.[1]  War against Germany had been declared , and two modern enemy cruisers were reported to be lurking in the area.  The Rainbow was under-crewed, under-trained, and lacked high explosive ammunition for its guns.[2]  Despite this, Commander Walter Hose ordered his ship South at full speed to complete his mission and engage the enemy if necessary.  Either German ship could have  single handedly sunk the Rainbow; however, Hose was told by the head of the navy to “remember Nelson and the British Navy, All Canada is watching.”[3]  As the Rainbow embarked from port, “few of those who saw her depart on that eventful occasion expected her to return.” Regardless, the Rainbow and her crew were going to war.

Welcome to our site exploring the history of H.M.C.S. Rainbow. 


The Rainbow was one of the  first ships  commissioned into the Canadian Naval Service, and it served gallantly in the Canadian Navy throughout the First World War.  The opening anecdote is intended to illustrate the nature of the Rainbow’s service, and inspire you to delve further into the nature of the Rainbow‘s history. You will find that story, and much more about the Rainbow, contained within our site.

Our website is divided into five sections, History, Ship , Crew, Rainbow Cadet Corps, and an About section.   Most of these have their own subsections.  All can be navigated to by using the primary menu at the top, or by clicking the numerous hyperlinks connecting the site together.  To learn more about the project that led to the creation of this website, please visit our About section.  We hope you enjoy our work, and find the history of the Rainbow as fascinating as we did.





[1] Archer Fortescue Duguid, Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War, 1914-1919. General Series Vol. I, from the Outbreak of War to the Formation of the Canadian Corps, August 1914-September 1915, (Ottawa: J.O. Patenaude, printer to the King, 1938) 12.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Gilbert Norman Tucker, The Naval Service of Canada: Its Official History, (Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1952), 266.