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Horatio Nelson Lay



LAY, Horatio Nelson, Commander - Cross of Valour (Poland) - RCN / HMCS Restigouche
- Awarded as per London Gazette of 21 October 1941 (no Canada Gazette).
Born in Skagway, Alaska, USA on 23 January 1903.
Naval Cadet at Royal Naval College of Canada (Ninth Term) in 1918.
Midshipman, RCN in 1921 and to HMS Resolution for Training.
To HMS Cloud for training in 1923.
To Royal Naval College Greenwich and RN Barracks Portsmouth for
Sub-Lieutenant courses in 1924.
To HMCS Patrician in 1925.
To HMS Tiger for big ship experience prior to torpedo course in 1927.
To HMS Repulse for further experience in 1928.
To HMS Vernon for Long Torpedo Officers Course in 1929.
Torpedo Officer Atlantic Coast in 1930.
To HMCS Skeena in 1931. Torpedo Officer Pacific Coast in 1933.
To HMCS Vancouver as First Lieutenant in 1934.
Torpedo Officer Pacific Coast in 1937.
To Royal Naval Staff 'course in 1938.
First Commanding Officer of HMCS Gaspe (Fundy Class Minesweeper - J94)
from 12 January 1939 to 17 August 1939 and as Staff Officer Operations to Commanding Officer Atlantic Coast.
Commanding Officer of HMCS Restigouche (River Class Destroyer - H00) from 26 December 1939 to 23 June 1941.
He was then made Director of Operations from June 1941 to October 1943.
Only Canadian Commanding Officer of HMS Nabob (Escort Aircraft Carrier - D77) (an RN ship but manned by Canadians) from 15 October 1943 until she was damaged on 22 August 1944 and paid off on 30 September 1944.
To Canadian Naval Mission Overseas London for Negotiations with Royal Navy for Aircraft Carriers in 1945.
To US Army/US Navy Staff College in 1945.
To Naval Service HQ as Director of Plans and Naval Intelligence in 1945.
Acting Commodore in 1948 and to Naval HQ as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans and Air).
Canadian Naval Attache Washington and Naval member of the Canadian Joint Liaison Staff in 1949.
To Naval HQ as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Warfare) and Member of the Naval Board of Canada in 1952.
To Naval HQ as Vice-Chief of Naval Staff and as Chairman of Naval Staff in 1954.
Promoted Rear-Admiral in 1954 and retired in 1958.
Afterwards, he was active in the Ottawa United Appeal from 1958 to 1972.
He died at Dundas, Ontario in 1988.
LAY. Horatio Nelson, 0-41040, Cdt [23.9.18] 9th term RNCC
Mid [1.9.21] RCN,
HMS RESOLUTION (26.10.21-?) 
HMCS PATRICIAN TBD, (24.8.25-?) Lt [1.10.25] 
HMS VERNON (3.1.29-?)
HMCS SKEENA(H01) DD, (10.6.31-?) 
HMCS NADEN(D/S) (3.7.33-?) LCdr [1.10.33]
HMCS VANCOUVER DD, (1.12.34-?) 
HMCS SKEENA(D59) DD, (16.12.35-?) 
HMCS NADEN(D/S) (15.8.37-?)
HMS PRESIDENT (11.1.38-?)
RCNB Halifax, & HMCS GASPE(J94) m/s, CO, (15.1.39-17.8.39)
COAC, Asst/StO/Ops, (27.8.39-?) 
HMCS RESTIGOUCHE(H00) DD, CO, (26.12.39-23.6.41) Cdr [1.7.40] 
HMCS BYTOWN(D/S) for NSHQ, CO, (30.6.41-?) 
Cross of Valour(Poland)~[21.10.41] A/Capt 1943, OBE~[9.1.43] 
HMS NABOB(D77) es/carrier, CO, (15.10.43-30.9.44) 
Capt [1.1.45] MID~[20.1.45] A/Cmdre 1948, Cmdre [1.1.49] 
CD~[?] RAdm [1.10.54] Retired [21.10.58]

Naval Cadet, RCN 22 September 1918 (Royal Naval College of Canada Ninth Term)
Midshipman, RCN 01 September 1921 (To HMS Resolution and HMS Cloud)
Acting Sub-Lieutenant, RCN 01 January 1924 (To HMCS Patrician)
Sub-Lieutenant, RCN 01 July 1924 (To HMCS Patrician)
Lieutenant, RCN 01 November 1925 (To HMCS Skeena)
Lieutenant-Commander, RCN 01 November 1933 (First Commanding Officer of HMCS Gaspe)
Commander, RCN 01 July 1940 (Commanding Officer of HMCS Restigouche)
Acting Captain, RCN 15 October 1943 (Only Canadian Commanding Officer of HMS Nabob)
Captain, RCN 01 January 1945 (Director of Plans and Naval Intelligence)
Acting Commodore, RCN 12 April 1948 (Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans and Air)
Commodore, RCN 01 January 1949 (Canadian Naval Attache Washington)
Rear-Admiral, RCN 01 November 1954 (Vice-Chief of Naval Staff)
Retired 21 October 1958 (Chairman of Naval Staff)

"In recognition of services during withdrawal of
Polish Forces in France in 1940" - HMCS Restigouche

LAY, Horatio Nelson, Acting Captain - Officer - Order of the British Empire (OBE)
- RCN / HMCS Restigouche - Awarded as per Canada Gazette of 9 January 1943
and London Gazette of 1 January 1943.

"For gallantry and distinguished services before the enemy. This Officer was in command of one of HMC Destroyers engaged in convoy and other duties in United Kingdom waters in the early part of the war, and assisted in the evacuations from France. As Senior Officer of a convoy escort group in the Atlantic over a considerable period, his keenness and efficiency were an inspiration to those serving under his command."

LAY, Horatio Nelson, Captain, OBE - Mention in Despatches - RCN / HMCS Nabob
- Awarded as per Canada Gazette of 20 January 1945 and London Gazette of 26 December 1944. He received only one MID.

"For good service when his ship HMS Nabob was damaged."
"For courage, resolution and skill in Northern waters (London Gazette Citation)."

HMS Nabob (Aircraft Carrier) was damaged by U-354 on 22 August 1944.
While she was a Royal Navy ship, she was crewed by Canadians. Twenty-one crew were killed in the attack.

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Andy Wade (Webmaster)

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