Browser Compatibility Notification
It appears you are trying to access this site using an outdated browser. As a result, parts of the site may not function properly for you. We recommend updating your browser to its most recent version at your earliest convenience.

Emergency? Call 9-1-1

Non-Emergency? Call 1 (866) 876-5423

Raymond Middleton

Decrease Text Size Default Text Size Increase Text Size |
Print Link

Raymond Middleton always loved the ocean. At the age of 18, he decided to pursue his passion and join the Navy. Unfortunately, Raymond hardly knew what he was in for. "When I first joined the Navy, I didn't know that Canada had war ships," he said. If he didn't know when he joined, he soon found out. Raymond was posted as a submariner during the Cold War for 11 years between 1965 and 1976.

Raymond received 16 weeks of training at HMCS Cornwalis before going to sonar school to become a sonar man on the HMCS Ottawa. Raymond recalls having to train using the equipment blindfolded in case of power outages or emergencies.

As Raymond recalls, his first few days in the Navy were something else. "You're suddenly stuck with 150 guys that you've never met before. I didn't know what I was in for." He quickly learned the ropes. "Onboard - especially on submarines - you must be capable of teamwork. If you're not part of the team, everybody dies."

Raymond faced his fair share of scary moments. "You get real close to other submarines sometimes and wouldn't know if it was an American sub or a Russian sub." During one serious exercise, Raymond recalls a miscommunication happening leading to their sub going through the propellers of a very large tanker. "To this day and until the day I die, I will be able to hear those propellers going overhead and then the submarine start rocking." He remembers hearing the collision before the sub started sinking. "We came within six inches of being killed," Raymond recalls.

Returning home for Raymond was tough. "A lot of guys couldn't adapt. You're not used to all the space after living in such a confined environment. The bunk was so small that if I wanted to roll over I had to get out of bed." Raymond did adapt though, and now he looks forward to Remembrance Day every year. "Before I joined the Navy, a veteran [to me] was some old, grey-haired guy selling poppies. Fast forward to today and I'm that old, grey-haired guy selling poppies. I am a veteran. I served my country and was ready to go to war at a moment's notice. We are proud of the service we gave to Canada."

If Raymond has one thing to share with others in regards to his experience, it's this: Freedom isn't free.