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John Alexander Charles

Bio Horizontal

John Alexander Charles

Award Received

Honorary Degree

Convocation Ceremony

Spring 2008 Convocation

John Alexander Charles served as Commandant of Canadian Services College, Royal Roads from 1954 to 1957 and, years later, founded the Friends of Hatley Park Society, a group of volunteers who support the preservation of Hatley Park National Historic Site.

Born in Rouleau, Saskatchewan on March 27, 1918, Charles joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1937. At the start of World War II, he was a mid-shipman on HMS Berwick, which patrolled northern waters and performed Norwegian operations. In the fall of 1940, he joined HMCS Restigouche for convoy duty as part of the Clyde Escort Force and, in 1942, HMS Laforey for operations in the Mediterranean, North Africa, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio.

Charles returned to Canada in 1944 for staff signal duties at St. Hyacinthe, Esquimalt and Washington, DC, before taking command of HMCS Crescent on January 1, 1948.  He completed Royal Navy and Joint Services Staff courses and joined HMCS Magnificent before his appointment as Director of Naval Communications.

On October 29, 1953, Charles took command of HMCS Haida and then became Commander Canadian Destroyer Far East and was promoted to Captain. It was upon his return to British Columbia that he served at Royal Roads before heading back to Ottawa to become Director of Naval Operations and, later, returning to Esquimalt as Commander, 2nd Escort Squadron.

Charles has served as Commodore of the Royal Canadian Navy Barracks; Assistant Chief of Naval Staff at National Defence Headquarters in Ontario; Rear Admiral, Maritime Force Commander Pacific;  Assistant, Canadian Defence Staff Plans; and Chief of Maritime Operations. He retired from the post of Deputy Chief of Defence Staff in 1974.

Charles is a notable graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, class of 1935, and received the Order of Military Merit (CMM) and the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) as well as having been Mentioned in Despatches (MID).