Noah Clement Draper joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) on Nov 25, 1916 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Because the Canadian Navy was in its infancy, Noah served on British ships which lent confusion when figuring out his uniform. I am indebted to the Canadian Military Police Virtual Museum at mpmuseum.org for their very informative website. Through their use of images and text, we have a very good idea of what Noah wore on different occasions.
One of the problems I encountered while researching Noah's uniform was defining whether he enlisted in the RCNVR or RNCVR. Noah's Service Certificate shows that he joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR), but his records, as well as ships' logs, show he served on Royal Navy ships as a member of the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR) (circled below in red) which was active from May 1914 until 1920.
Two things I'd like to point out on Noah's uniform are:
1. His cap ribbon has the inscription "R.N.C.V.R (crown) CENTRAL". (Options were PACIFIC and ATLANTIC)
2. The 3 wavy tapes on his denim collar signify him as a member of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. (Royal Navy members wore straight tapes.)
There's a very good chance that the following photograph is the one Noah mentions in his letter of February 26, 1917 while the H.M.S. Bacchante is in dry dock. In that letter which I'll post in good order according to sequence, Noah says, "I was over to Liverpool last night and had my photo taken am to get them tomorrow night am sending one in this letter I had taken in Chatham."
With the information obtained at mpmuseum.org, I've made notes on his photo to show the particulars of this uniform. Note the straight tapes on his collar this time, and yet it's only been a couple months since enrollment and his rank hasn't changed.
Two things to note in this pic of Noah is that his:
- cap tally shows RCNVR
- collar tapes are wavy
I believe this photograph was sent home with his letter of Mar 10, 1918, because he mentioned having a photograph taken while standing in front of Bruce's Castle. In the same letter, he enclosed an ivy leaf which we still have.
I haven't been able to define the difference between RCNVR and RNCVR. Was it simply a designation that changed according to his ship?
Since this week marks the observance of all those who served and especially those who lost their lives so that we can enjoy freedom, I thought it prudent to add Noah's memorial to this post as it shows the designation of his service.
Noah Clement Draper is buried in the ABRAY Field of Honour in Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery in British Columbia. The photo was taken by his great-granddaughter, Crystal Anne Draper.
Nelson and I would like to honour his service by posting the letters he sent home to Ethel and his family. The letters are filled with as much information as the censors allow and show a remarkable life as a sailor connected with the British Navy.
My research has led to the actual ship's log which shows exactly where he was during his tour of duty - places he wasn't allowed to divulge 100 years ago when the wrong word could have given away his location and left his shift open to attack. Or worse.
Although I don't have the letters Ethel sent to Noah, we can see how she fared in the way he addresses her concerns and tries to advise from so far away.
Join us as we travel once again back in time, experiencing it through the eyes of Nelson's grandfather, Noah Clement Draper.
Note: Detailed descriptions of all the uniforms shown on this post can be found at mpmuseum.org and to whom I owe so much for sharing their knowledge. Thank you.