"The Hardiest and Most Skilled Boatmen That Exist"
- Winston Churchill: First Lord of the Admiralty 1911-1915
The British Admiralty helped finance the Royal Naval Reserve, with the Newfoundland Division established in 1902. HMS Calypso arrived in St. John’s that same year. The Newfoundland Government converted the ship and by 1914 over 1,400 Newfoundlanders had trained on board and were ready to serve on Royal Navy ships. On September 6, 1914, HMCS Niobe embarked from St. John’s, with 106 Newfoundland reservists and one officer onboard. They were the first Newfoundlanders to go on active service in WW1. Unlike the united Newfoundland Regiment, naval reservists were dispersed: “…scattered throughout every flotilla and squadron in the war zone, earning high praise from their commanding officers everywhere.” Anthony MacDermott, CO Royal Naval Reserve, Newfoundland Division, WW1.