~ St. Catharines' Wartime Neighbourhoods

Herbert Rayner

Royal Canadian Navy

Herbert Rayner was born in the township of Clinton, just outside of St. Catharines, graduating from the St. Catharines Collegiate.  Herbert trained on the British battleships Revenge and Warspite, eventually being posted to the HMCS Champlain in 1933.  In 1935, he underwent the Royal Navy Torpedo Officer Long Course at HMS Vernon, followed by service on the battle cruiser HMS Renown in 1936.  Returning to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1937, he was appointed First Lieutenant in the HMCS Skeena and later became the Commanding Officer from March 1940 to April 1940.  This appointment was followed by service on the HMCS St. Laurent from July 1940 to February 1942.  It was aboard the HMCS Laurent, that Herbert was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for courage and enterprise in action against enemy submarines in the Western Approaches.  He was twice mentioned in dispatches and in 1944, received a bar to his DSC as a result of an action in the western English Channel against four German destroyers trying to break through to attack the Allied invasion fleet off Normandy.  In peacetime Herbert Rayner rose to the rank of Admiral.

Information from: The admirals: Canada’s senior naval leadership in the twentieth century
By Richard Howard Gimblett, Michael Whitby, Peter Trevor Haydon – 2006