Dr. Alec Douglas, Ex-Director of History,  Department of National Defence

EVENT DATE: May 11, 2011
TOPIC: Old wine into New Wineskins: Canada’s Navy at the century mark

Alec Douglas was the speaker for the subject luncheon.  He provided an informative and entertaining set of extracts from the long and proud history of the Canadian Navy.  He answered several questions arising from his interesting historical perspective on the Canadian Navy, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010.

Commander (Retired) Douglas served in the Royal Canadian Navy from 1950 to 1973.  He enjoyed a lively career at sea, serving in naval ships Ontario, Quebec, Outremont, Ottawa, Kootenay and Fort Erie; and as Equipment and Trials Officer to the Flag Officer Atlantic Coast.

While in the Navy he earned a Master’s Degree in History from Dalhousie University and a Doctorate in History from Queen’s.  He became the official historian of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1973, retiring as Director General History in 1994.  He is one of our most prolific writers of naval history – author of a long list of publications.  He has taught at the Royal Military College as well as Duke, Cambridge and Carleton universities.  He is Past President of the Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation and of the Canadian Nautical Research Society.

His publications include: Out of the Shadows: Canada in the Second World War, (Oxford, 1977) (Dundurn 1995), with Brereton Greenhous; The Creation of a National Air Force: The Official History of the RCAF, Volume II, (Toronto, 1986); The RCN in Transition. 1910-1985 (UBC, 1988) (editor); No Higher Purpose: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy  Vol II, part I (Vanwell, 2003), A Blue Water Navy: The Official History of the Royal Canadian navy Vol. II, part 2, (Vanwell, 2007) (with Roger Sarty and Michael Whitby).  He is the Past President, Canadian Battle of Normandy Foundation, the Past President, Canadian Nautical Research Society.  He was the visiting Professor of History, Duke University, 1988-89, 2001-2002, and the Visiting Fellow (1996) and life member, Clare Hall, Cambridge.  He is also an Adjunct Research Professor of History, Carleton University.