Betrayed: Scandal, Politics, and Canadian Naval Leadership (Studies in Canadian Military History)

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Press:Univ of Washington Pr UBC Press (August 15, 2007)
Publication Date:2007-8
Author Name:Mayne, Richard O.


In January 1944, Canada's top admiral, Percy Walker Nelles, was fired from his post as head of the Royal Canadian Navy. 
Traditional accounts maintain that Nelles's termination was the result of severe operational deficiencies within the navy.
This intriguing history reveals the true story behind Vice Admiral Nelles's dismissal: a divisive power struggle between two elite groups within the RCN -- the navy's regular officers, and a small group of self-appointed spokesmen of the voluntary naval reserve.Richard Mayne shows how influential, but relatively junior, reserve officers were able to parlay their social stature to bypass normal military channels.
These men, most notably Andrew Dyas MacLean, nephew of the Maclean's magazine founder, came from among Canada's most prominent civilian families.
Their network, unhappy with the permanent force officers, used their connections to create an alternative chain of command, which deployed threats of public scandal, warnings of mass insurrection, and political intimidation, to cause one of the worst breakdowns in Canadian civil-military relations.This fascinating investigation into the machinations of a divided navy tackles important questions of military professionalism, leadership, and identity.
Betrayed will appeal to readers interested in military history and security studies, political science, and sociology.


"Richard Mayne probes behind the scenes of wartime naval and staff operations and uncovers a web of careerism, politics, opportunism, grievance, intrigue, slander and betrayal. 
A triumph of masterful research and brilliant intuitive analysis, woven into compelling narrative and a dramatic confrontation.
Places Mayne squarely in the front rank of a new generation of young Canadian naval scholars."―John Griffith Armstrong, author of The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue"This book will be a key title in my own library.
Betrayed tells a fascinating story about Canada's effort during the critical years of the Battle of the Atlantic, shedding new light on relations between volunteer―reserve personnel and the permanent force, the complicated issues involved in the equipment of the fleet, and the quality of leadership of the wartime navy."―Roger Sarty, co―author of No Higher Purpose: The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1939―1943 (Volume II, Part 1)"A fascinating topic, of significance not only for Canadian naval history, but for Canadian history writ large.
The interactions, machinations, and suspicions of two key wartime social groups―-the professional 'regular force' officers of the Royal Canadian Navy, and the volunteer 'hostilities only' reserve officers who swelled their ranks―-offer a wealth of insights into questions of professional and social identity in times of national crisis.
A remarkable book."―Michael L.
Hadley, co―editor of A Nation's Navy: In Search of Canadian Naval Identity

About the Author

Richard O. 
Mayne is a historian with the Department of National Defence's Directorate of History and Heritage in Ottawa.



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Comment List (Total:1)

  •     Richard O. Mayne's work- BETRAYED - was a very well researched book on how a bunch of misfits can be good at pushing through change. They can also be detrimental. The politics within the Royal Canadian Navy, the rivalries, the jealousies and the backstabbing shows how this small RCN Fleet could have been sunk from within. V/ADM Nelles of course was responsible for his men and while he made numerous mistakes it still doesn't call for the maltreatment that he ultimately received.The Chain of Command was broken on many occasions for a clique of men that were seemingly more interested in padding their own careers while another clique actually wanted to help make positive changes for the beloved fleet. Unfortunately the British Admiralty, the Minister for the Navy- Hon. Angus MacDonald and the technical deficiencies helped bring down the Chief of Naval Staff, V/ADM Nelles.The book can be a little dry but it's very informative on how politics and personal jealousy and rivalry can be dangerous. It's an good read for anyone that is interested in military politics as a whole and naval politics during WW2.

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