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Awards and bursaries

The Canadian Nautical Research Society/La société canadienne pour la recherche nautique presents four annual awards:

Dr William Glover
Chair, Matthews Awards Committee

The Keith Matthews Awards 2019 for the best of 2018


Honourable Mention

An Honourable Mention is given to Nicolas Landry for « Tensions, diplomatic et accommodements dans un espace partagé: La France et l'Angleterre sur la côte ouest de Terre Neuve, 1842 - 1870 ».

The committee noted the article offered both new research and a strong literature review. The only thing separating this article from the prize itself was that the topic was a bit narrower.

Keith Matthews Award for the best article published in The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, 2018

The 2018 Ketih Matthews award for the best article published in The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord in 2018 is given to Kwith Bird and Jason Hines for "In the Shadow of Ultra: A Reappraisal of German Naval Intelligence in 1914 - 1918." The Awards Committee commemts included:

"A great analysis of the literature and important new research."
"Sheds significant new light on German signals intelligence in the First World War."
"The scope of the topic is larger than for most other pieces examining technical material."
"Insightful, generally ploughing a new field with respect to German electronic warfare."


Keith Matthews Award for a Book Deserving Special Recognition

The Ketih Matthews Award for a Book Deserving Special Recognition is given to Rick James for Don't Never Tell Nobody Nothin' No How: The Real Story of West Coast Rum Running, published by Harbour Publishing.

The committee congratulate the author for an entertaining account of the folly of prohibition. They note the work is well researched, making extensive use of primary sources. They particularly noted the difficulty frequently associated with using newspaper sources.

The Keith Matthews Award for the Best Book

The Keith Matthews Award for the Best Book is presented to Anthony B. Dickinson and Cheslwy W. Sanger for After the Basques: The Whaling Station of Newfoundland and Labrador, published by DRC Publishing.

The committee believes this book makes a substantial and scholarly contribution to the history of whaling. It also provides important insights to the maritime economy of Atlantic Canada.

The committee found this regional study to be substantial. It makes a scholarly contribution, especially concerning the maritime economy


The Keith Matthews Awards 2018 for the best of 2017

At the time of the awards announcement for the Keith Matthews best book award for books published in 2016, the committee was not in a position to make an award for the best book published in 2016. We are now happy to do so. The Keith Matthews Award for the best book published in 2016 is presented to Scottish Arctic Whaling by Chesley W. Sanger of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, published by John Donald of Edinburgh. This is the first modern study to look exclusively at Scottish whaling. Covering the period c.1750 to the First World War this work follows the many alterations of course as the industry followed species to new hunting grounds, frequently more dangerous because of the distances to be travelled in relation to the season of open sea, the nature of the ice encountered, and weather. The analysis relies heavily on data culled from newspaper accounts of vessels departing for the hunt or returning with a record of their catch. This in itself represents considerable research on the part of the author. It is supported by graphs, charts and tables. As the book chronicles the changes in the industry experienced by the Scottish fleet over the period, it is sure to be used as a comparative benchmark for future whaling studies.

The Keith Matthews best book awards for books published in 2017

The committee believes that this year marks the first time recognition has been given to an edited volume. No one familiar with, for example, the Champlain Society works, could doubt for a second that an edited volume can represent every bit as much work on the part of the editor as a work written exclusively by one author. We should note that there was some discussion about guidelines as we applied the general criteria of "by a Canadian author on any subject or by anyone of a Canadian subject" to edited works.

Honourable mention

Your awards committee is pleased to recognize with an honourable mention The Social History of English Seamen, 1650 - 1850. It is the companion volume to an earlier work that covered the period 1485 - 1649. Both were edited by Cheryl Fury of the University of New Brunswick, and published by Boydell Press. A colleague in the academic world said of this book, "Cheryl's collection is simply great. ... The coverage in the book is amazing. Gems from a formidable collection of folks who've done path breaking work." To this a member of the awards committee added that the contributors had "tackled some of the newer aspects of maritime history and so represent more of the cutting edge. Social and gender issues are part of this, as are labour questions, victualling and other neglected fields. As such this is an important work, providing a CNRS Keith Matthews Award usefully wide range of subjects to the general subject matter and as such provides a helpful collection in a single volume. Fury, herself, in her concluding essay identifies her goal of breathing life into the obscure participants in the maritime endeavour and on whose labours the great and good achieved their great fame and victories. There is much to learn and enjoy here." The committee also believed it was important to recognize the enormous work and leadership of an editor responsible for a work of this scale.

Keith Matthews Award for best book

The committee also believes it may be breaking new ground with the best book award. In past years it has not been unusual to give an honourable mention to more than one book. While this year only one book has been so recognized, we believe this may be the first time that the best book award has been shared. In alphabetical order by author's name, the awards committee is happy to recognize: Churchill and Fisher: Titans of the Admiralty by Barry Gough, published by Seaforth Publishing. Comments by the awards committee members included:

[I] am impressed at the ambitious nature of the book. He is really trying to incorporate salient parts of the mass of technical stuff that has come out in the last 30 years, and bring us back to the wisdom of Marder don't forget the people! "History is about chaps." He is diplomatic and doesn't directly confront Sumida, Nicholas Lambert, Seligmann et al but it is clearly a book with a message.


Gough has mined the recently opened and expanded collections into the papers of both at Cambridge and so has really had the opportunity to go over "everything" anew. He strives to get into the heads of his two protagonists and has thereby generated a human perspective of the pressures both faced. He is also a bit dismissive of revisionist historians, implying that some have courted controversy more for career purposes than in the service of Clio.

This is an important book on a controversial subject of the First World War that has raised the bar for future scholarship.

And for something completely different (and hence members will appreciate the dilemma that faced the awards committee) we also recognize with the Keith Matthews Best Book award,

Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea, edited by Michael L. Hadley and Anita Hadley, published by Douglas & McIntyre.

Comments from the committee included: "Spindrift, Michael and Anita's collection, really moved me. Again, they have a wonderful eye for the gems from diverse fields. The editorial comments are spot on really enrich the book. I got lost in this for an afternoon."


"Importantly, the objective of reminding Canadians of their links to the sea is one of those things that really should not be necessary, but absolutely is." This is an important book for all Canadians.

Finally, no award has been made for a book deserving special recognition.

The Keith Matthews Award for the best article published in 2017

The Keith Matthews Award for the best Article published in 2017 in The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord is given to Jan Drent for The Trans-Pacific Lend-Lease Shuttle to the Russian Far East 1941-46.

The piece sheds light on the little known but critically important shipment of Lend- Lease supplies from Canadian and US Pacific ports to the USSR during the Second World War with new archival research and Russian-language literature. It is a "wonderful sea story," featuring vivid descriptions of the formidable weather and navigational challenges in the north Pacific, including friendly and Japanese minefields and accidental attack by US submarines in the eastern ocean. The article, notable for the breadth of its analysis, also describes the experiences of Soviet merchant navy crews in North American ports, including surveillance by the Soviet security services as a guard against defection.

Honourable mention

Honourable Mention is given to Merlin Bunt and Trevor Williams, The Last Steamboat Whistle: The Rise and Demise of Chilliwack Landing at Skwah First Nation, 1863-1928. This work of substantial, wide-ranging research skillfully incorporates engaging personal accounts of those who built steamboat services on the lower Fraser River. The lively narrative draws out the hitherto unknown story of the large role of Indigenous peoples in the development of navigation from New Westminster to the interior, from early European settlement through to demise of steamboat service in the face of competition from railroads in the 1920s.

Special recognition

The committee gives special recognition to the important reflections on maritime history by two founders of our societies and this journal: John B. Hattendorf, Ubi Sumus? Twenty-Five Years Later and Michael L. Hadley, Maritime Nation or Maritime Narrative: The Humanist Case for Canada.

The Keith Matthews Awards 2017 for the best of 2016

The Keith Matthews Award for the Best Book is not awarded for a book published 2016, there having been no submissions meeting the criteria. However, we are pleased to present the Award for a Book Deserving Special Recognition to Colin Henthorne for The Queen of the North Disaster: The Captain's Story, Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd, 2016. The author provides a comprehensive and balanced account of the tragedy. One committee member found the command perspective particularly interesting and, for non-maritime readers, thought it very useful.

The Keith Matthews Award for the Best Article published in The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord is given to Anthony Dickinson for Maritime Support for Great Britain's Antarctic Sovereignty Claim: Operation Tabarin and the 1944-45 Voyage of the Newfoundland Sealing Ship Eagle. This interesting and in places gripping narrative based upon exhaustive primary research describes how British determination to show the flag in pursuit of sovereignty in the Antarctic during the Second World War was suitably ramshackle. The resonance for Canada is a similar, and all too current, issue regarding the Arctic. The issues involved that Dickinson discusses remain topical in the Antarctic to this day.

Matthews Awards 2016 for the best of 2015

The Keith Matthews Award for the Best Book is presented to Faye Kert for Privateering: Patriots & Profits in the War of 1812, Baltimore: John Hopkins University press, 2015. Committee members' comments included, "I love it;" "It covers the gambit - social, legal, strategic organization" and "a practical guide." It is the product of impressive research from a wide range of disparate resources, both in their nature - logs, newspapers, and published - and in their location. This would be impressive for anyone, but the committee noted that it is even more so for an independent historian without institutional or funding support.

The Keith Matthews Award for a Book Deserving Special Recognition (a new award) is given to Down to Bowrings: A Memoir by Derrick Bowring, edited by Amy Bowring. This work offers an important first-hand account of the retail commerce of an important mainstay to Newfoundland life and the relationship of the firm and the communities they served to the sea.

The committee felt two books were worthy of an honourable mention. In alphabetical order of the authors' family names, the first is given to Adam Shoalts for Alone Against the North: An Expedition into the Unknown, Toronto: The Penguin Group, 2015. This modern explorer recounts the setbacks of companions who leave him, the nay-sayers, and of course, funding. None of his challenges were new. Columbus traipsing around the courts of Europe looking for a backer comes to mind. This work puts a contemporary face on these problems, and so helps our understanding of historic problems.
The committee also awarded an honourable mention to Glenn Stein for Discovering The North-West Passage: The Four-Year Odyssey of H.M.S. Investigator and the McClure Expedition, Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Company, 2015. Stein looks at one of the epics of Arctic exploration through the eyes of the participants, rather than those of the commander or the official accounts. His book is the product of extensive research, finding diaries and letters in many local repositories. As one committee member observed, it is written in a style that "moves the story along."

The Keith Matthews Award for the Best Article published in The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord is given to Kenneth S. Mackenzie for Scaremongering or Preparedness? Navy Leagues in Canada 1895 - 1939. Mackenzie brings important new research to bear on a lobby group - navy leagues, and on Canadian naval policy. As such, it offers a window to understanding contemporary defence debates.
Honourable Mention is given to Nicolas Landy for Les dangers de la navigation et de la pêche dans l'Atlantique Français au 18e siècle. This article presents significant research on the maritime history, not just of New France, but also of metropolitan France. It provides tentative conclusions on the dangers of 18th century navigation and of the strain that the relief of wrecked crews and the salvage of cargoes placed on the administrative capacities of governments both in New France and France.

News, June 2015: Matthews Awards 2015 for the best of 2014

Best book: The Matthews Award for the best book published in 2014 is awarded by the committee to Gordon Smith, Edited by Whitney Lackenbauer, A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North: Terrestrial Sovereignty, 1870 - 1939, published by the University of Calgary Press in the Northern Lights Series.

We must be grateful that the literary executors of Smith, who died in 2010 turned to Lackenabuer to prepare the manuscript for publication. The committee noted that "this is the product of literally decades of meticulous research, and it provides truly foundational information for a big field". Further, "Smith is tackling an exclusively Canadian issue, or at least one that is central to our national interests. He has done original work to an exhaustive level and, I suspect, it will serve as a foundation for much academic focus in the years if not decades to come."

Honourable Mention: The Awards Committee would like to present an Honourable Mention to Barry Gough for Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace before Armageddon, published by Palgrave Macmillan. One committee member noted that what he had "regarded as a brilliant synthesis of a bunch of literature ... [was] considerably more than that. Gough book is something bigger -- a substantial essay of globalism in the 19th-early 20th century." In it, he really addresses all of the big historiographical issues in studies of British imperialism for the past 50 years, ... including the superb chapters on controlling the slave trade.

Along the same lines, another member noted, "It is balanced, judicial and comprehensive. It also covers a vast topic." In sum, the committee agreed that Gough's book is 'life's work' in the sense that it brings together his reading and reflections over a whole career. It will rank up there with such scholars as Arthur Marder and Gerald Graham.

Best Article: For the award for the best article published in our journal, this year the Awards Committee had a particularly rich field from which to make a decision, because the first two issues presented most of the papers given at the centenary conference of the establishment of the Royal Canadian Navy. Nonetheless, a short list was created. Amongst that list, as one committee member noted, "quality is not an issue." Therefore, after some discussion, noting that one of the objectives of our society is to promote research on nautical subjects, it was decided that the award should be presented for a work by a young scholar.

The Matthews Award for the best article published in our journal in 2014 therefore goes to John T. Grider, for " 'Tis a shameful confession': steam power and the Pacific maritime labor community". A committee member noted that it is superb research on a big subject, and represents a major piece of work. It is not telling tales out of school to note further that this article received "rave reviews" during the peer review process.

2014: Matthews Awards 2014 for the best of 2013

The awards Committee is pleased to recognize the work of Sean Cadigan, previously an award winner for the best article, with his book, Death on Two Fronts: National Tragedies and the Fate of Democracy in Newfoundland, 1914-1934 published by Allen Lane in their History of Canada series that is edited by Margaret MacMillan and Robert Bothwell. Unlike the McClelland and Stewart history of Canada which was essentially a political history of the country in nineteen volumes, this series, to quote the editors' introduction, examines "critical turning points partly because they are good stories inthemselves but also because they show what Canada was like at particularly important juncturesin its history." They are to be commended. Recently we gave an Honourable Mention to a book in the same series, namely Roger Sarty's study of the naval war in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

The "death on two fronts" from which our winning book derives its title are a sealing fleet tragedy in the spring of 1914 in which seventy-eight men were killed, and the first day of the Battle of the Somme of 1916 when the Royal Newfoundland Regiment lost 600 men at Beaumont Hamel. As one committee member noted, "Cadigan takes the effect of these two events and relates it to subsequent developments politically in Newfoundland. The end of the story is the dominion's reversion to that of a colony in a storm of controversy, bitterness and bankruptcy with which most Canadians are not remotely aware of - Newfoundland being foreign territory till 1949, and rather alien ever since." He concluded, "It is scholarly, and ties together its narrative in an interesting and compelling fashion ... All said, a good book, worth reading and having." Another commented, "This is a major piece of scholarship, nicely rafted, like some of his other stuff, for a broader audience. I would argue that this is what academics should be doing."

News, June 2013: Matthews Awards 2013 for the best of 2012

For the Keith Matthews Prize for the best book the first Honourable Mention was for Freeman Tovell's translation of Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America, 1792: Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra and the Nootka Sound Controversy (Oklahoma University Press). The second Honourable Mention was Roger Sarty's War in the St Lawrence: The Forgotten U-Boat Battles on Canada's Shores (Allen Lane). The winner of the book prize was Chris Bell's Churchill and Sea Power (Oxford University Press).

For the best articles the Honourable Mention was for Samuel Negus "'Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer': Fraudulent Enlistment Practices at US Navy Recruitment Rendezvous during the American Civil War." The winner for the best article was Michael Whitby's "Views from a Different Side of the Jetty: Commodore A.B.F Fraser-Harris and the Royal Canadian Navy, 1946-1964."

News, May 2012: Matthews Awards 2012 for the best of 2011

Keith Matthews was a founding member and first president of the Canadian Nautical Research Society. He taught at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He died suddenly in the mid 1980s. In his memory CNRS established awards for the best book and best article published annually. Awards have been made since at least 1987 for the 1986 publication year.

Best Article. This award is made for the best article published in the society's journal, The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord. This year the awards committee is also recognizing one article with an "Honourable Mention."

The Honourable Mention is presented to Carl Swanson for his article ' "The unspeakable Calamity this poor Province Suffers from Pyrats": South Carolina and the Golden Age of Piracy'

The award for the best article is presented to George Bolotenko for 'Wartime Explosions in Archangel, 1916 - 1917: "Bakaritsa is Burning"; "Ekonomiia is Now a Wasteland"'. This article presents original research in Russian language sources, and Dr Bolotenko provides his own translations of important excerpt. His topic is an event that is almost entirely unknown. His article skilfully sets out the complex chain of events for each of the two disasters, and provides preliminary analysis that will be valuable to specialists. As the article rightly emphasizes, there are important parallels with the Halifax explosion of December 1917, which makes the piece of special interest to Canadian readers.

Best Book. This award is made for the best book written by a Canadian on any maritime subject, or by anyone on a Canadian maritime subject. Again, the awards committee has decided to recognize one book with an Honourable Mention.

The Honourable Mention is presented to Katharine Lochnan for Black Ice: David Blackwood Prints of Newfoundland, which was published by Douglas & McIntyre and the Art Gallery of Ontario. This book offers well written and substantial articles on various aspects of the work of the important Newfoundland artist, David Blackwood. In the words of one committee member: "the Blackwood volume is beautifully produced and a joy to go through".

The award for the best book published in 2011 is presented to James Pritchard for A Bridge of Ships: Canadian Shipbuilding during the Second World War, published by McGill Queen's University Press. There is prodigious new research from an impressive diversity of sources, both archival and published. No less impressive is the depth and imagination of the analysis, which cogently welds together materials bearing on such wide-ranging subjects as detailed labour practices in shipyards, supply of specific raw materials, national economic policies, and relations between the wartime Allies in little-known areas of logistics. One committee member commented: "It seems to me this book fills a significant gap - as significant in its way as the recent tomes on the RCN itself."

News, May 2011: The CNRS Prizes for the Keith Matthews Awards for Books, 2010 were announced at the Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. Best Book published in 2010 was awarded to Barry Gough for his Historical Dreadnoughts: Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History, published by Seaforth Publishing, ISBN: 9781848320772 (1848320779) with an honourable mention to William Johnston, William G.P. Rawling, Richard H. Gimblett and John McFarlane, The Seabound Coast: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1867 - 1939, volume 1, published by Dundurn Press.

The Keith Matthews Award for 2009 for best scholarly article in The Northern Mariner was awarded to James Pritchard for The Beaver and the Bear: Canadian Mutual Aid, Ship Repairing and the Soviet Far Eastern Merchant Fleet 1941 - 1945 in Volume XX, No. 2 with an Honourable Mention to Janet Maybee The Persecution of Pilot Mackey in Volume XX, No. 2.

The Gerry Panting Award for New Scholars was shared between Sam McLean and Corbin Williamson for the papers that they presented at the CNRS Annual Conference, Ottawa, 2011.

News, June 2010: The CNRS Prizes for the Keith Matthews Awards for Books, 2009 were announced at the Halifax Annual General Meeting. Best Book published in 2009 was awarded to Professor Eric L. Mills for his The Fluid Envelope of our Planet: How the Study of Ocean Currents Became a Science (University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0802-09697-5) with honourable mentions for Dr Richard Gimblett The Naval Service of Canada 1910 - 2010: The Centennial Story (Dundurn Press, ISBN 978-1554-88472-8) and Glyn Williams Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage, (Viking Canada, ISBN 978-0670-06869-2).

The Keith Matthews Award for 2009 for best scholarly article in The Northern Mariner was awarded to Jonathan R. Dull for The Myth of French Abandonment in Volume XIX, No. 1.

The Gerry Panting Award for New Scholars was awarded to Samuel McLean, Wilfred Laurier University, for his paper Richmond and Callender : the hidden debate of 1942 presented at the CNRS Annual Conference, Halifax, 2010.

News, September 2009: The CNRS Prizes for 2008 were announced at the Victoria Annual General Meeting.

News, September 2008: The CNRS Prizes for 2007 were announced at the Québec Annual General Meeting.


The Keith Matthews Awards

The Canadian Nautical Research Society (CNRS) holds annual competitions for its prestigious Keith Matthews Awards. These prestigious awards are named after the renowned maritime historian from Memorial University who was also a founder and first president of the CNRS. Keith Matthews died in 1984 and the first award in his name was made the following year.

There are two kinds of awards:

1. The Keith Matthews Award for Best Book

The annual Keith Matthews Award is for the best book published in the previous calendar year on a Canadian nautical subject or by a Canadian on any nautical subject. Monographs and edited collections are eligible and subject matter can include oceanic and inland waters, naval or non-naval, from any discipline. The award is announced at the Society's annual meetings.

Winners of the Keith Matthews Award for Best Book

Please note that the year of the award refers to books published during the previous year.

2010: Eric L. Mills, The Fluid Envelope of our Planet: How the Study of Ocean Currents Became a Science (University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-0802-09697-5)

Honourable Mention: edited by Richard Gimblett, The Naval Service of Canada 1910 - 2010: The Centennial Story,, (Dundurn Press, ISBN 978-1554-88472-8)

Honourable Mention: Glyn Williams,  Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage (Viking Canada, ISBN 978-0670-06869-2)

2009: Freeman M. Tovell, At the Far Reaches of Empire: The Life of Juan Francisco de la Bodega Y Quadra (UBC Press).

Honourable Mention: Ken McGoogan, Race to the Polar Sea: The Heroic Adventures and Romantic Obsessions of Elisha Kent Kane (HarperCollins)

Honourable Mention: Taras Grescoe, Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood (HarperCollins)

2008: [Please see the Awards Committee report.]

2007: Keith McLaren, A Race for Real Sailors: The Bluenose and the International Fishermen's Cup, 1920-1938, (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2006)

Honourable Mention: Daniel Sekulich, Ocean Titans: Journeys in Search of The Soul of a Ship (Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2006)

Honourable Mention: Peter A. Robson, Salmon Farming: The Whole Story (Nanoose Bay, B.C.: Heritage House, 2006)

Honourable Mention: Michael Whitby, Richard Gimblett, and Peter Haydon, eds., The Admirals: Canada's Senior Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century (Toronto: Dundurn, 2006)

Honourable Mention: John G. Langley, Steam Lion: A Biography of Samuel Cunard (Halifax: Nimbus, 2006)

2006: Anthony B. Dickinson and Chesley W. Sanger, Twentieth Century Shore-Station Whaling in Newfoundland and Labrador (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005)

Honourable Mention: Michael Whitby, ed. Commanding Canadians: The Second World War diaries of Commander A.F.C. Layard (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2005)

Honourable Mention: Dennis Brown, Salmon Wars: the Battle for the West Coast Salmon Fishery (Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour Publishing, 2005)

Honourable Mention: Noel Elizabeth Currie, Constructing Colonial Discourse: Captain Cook at Nootka Sound (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2005)

2005: Julian Gwyn, Ashore and Afloat: The British Navy and the Halifax Naval Yard before 1820 (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2004)

Honourable Mention: Werner Hirschmann with Donald Graves, Another Place, Another Time: A U-Boat Officer's Wartime Album (Toronto: Robin Brass, 2004)

Honourable Mention: Fraser M. McKee, 'Sink all the Shipping there:' the Wartime Loss of Canada's Merchant Ships and Fishing Schooners (St. Catharines, Ont.: Vanwell, 2004)

Honourable Mention: Richard Gimblett, Operation Apollo: The Golden Age of the Canadian Navy in the War against Terrorism (Ottawa: Magic Light Publishing and the Department of National Defence, 2004)

2004: W.A.B. Douglas, Roger Sarty, Michael Whitby, Robert H. Caldwell, William Johnston, and William G. P. Rawling, No Higher Purpose. The Official Operational History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1939-1943, Volume II, Part I (St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing, 2002)

Honourable Mention: Jerry Bannister, The Rule of the Admirals: Law, Custom, and Naval Government in Newfoundland, 1699-1832 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003)

Honourable Mention: Julian Gwyn, Frigates and Foremasts: The North American Squadron in Nova Scotia Waters, 1745-1815 (UBC Press, 2003)

2003: John Jennings, The Canoe : A Living Tradition (Firefly Books, 2002)

Honourable Mention: John G. Armstrong, The Halifax explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy : inquiry and intrigue (UBC Press, 2002)

2002: James McDermott, Martin Frobisher : Elizabethan Privateer (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001)

2001: Brian Tennyson and Roger Sarty, Guardian of the Gulf : Sydney, Cape Breton and the Atlantic Wars (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000)

2000: Thomas H.B. Symons, Meta Incognita : A Discourse of Discovery - Martin Frobisher's Arctic Expeditions, 1576 - 1578 (Hull, Quebec: The Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1999)

1999: Emerson W. Baker and John G. Reid, The New England Knight : Sir William Phips, 1651 - 1698 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998)

1998: W. Gillies Ross, This Distant and Unsurveyed Country : A Woman's Winter at Baffin Island, 1857-58 (Montreal: McGill Queen's University Press, 1997)

1997: Pierre Camu, Le Saint-Laurent et les grands lacs au temps de la voile 1608-1850 (Montréal, Les Editions Hurtubise, 1996)

1996: James Pritchard, Anatomy of a Naval Disaster : The 1746 French Expedition to North America (Montreal: McGill Queen's University Press, 1995)

Honourable Mention: Michael Hadley Count not the Dead : The Popular Image of the german Submarine (Montreal: McGill Queen's University Press, 1995)

Honourable Mention: John D. Fudge, Cargoes, Embargoes and Emissaries : The Commercial and Political Interaction of England and the German Hanse, 1450-1510 (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1995)

Honourable Mention: Eileen Reid Marcil, The Charley-Man : a Hisory of Wooden Shipbuilding at Quebec, 1763-1893 (Kingston, Quarry Press, 1995)

1995: Wayne M. O'Leary, The Tancook Schooners: An Island and Its Boats (Montreal, McGill Queen's University Press, 1994)

1994: Dianne Newell, Tangled Webs of History : Indians and the Law in Canada's Pacific Coast Fisheries (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1993)

1993: James R. Gibson, Otter Skins, Boston Ships, and China Goods: The Maritime Fur Trade of the Northwest Coast 1785 - 1841 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992)

Honourable Mention: Barry M. Gough, The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and Discoveries to 1812 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1992)

Honourable Mention: G.P.V. Akrigg and Helen B. Akrigg, H.M.S. Virago in the Pacific 1851 - 1855: To the Queen Charlottes and Beyond (Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1992)

1992: Michael Hadley and Roger Sarty, Tin-Pots and Pirate Ships: Canadian Naval Forces and German Sea Raiders 1880 - 1918 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991)

Honourable Mention: Rosemary E. Ommer, From Outpost to Outport: A Structural Analysis of the Jersey-Gaspé Cod Fishery, 1767 - 1886 (Montreal and Kingston: McGIll-Queen's University Press, 1991)

1991: Eric W. Sager with Gerald E. Panting, Maritime Capital: The Shipping Industry in Atlantic Canada, 1820 - 1914 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990)

Honourable Mention: Jean-François Brière, La Pêche française en Amérique du Nord au XVIIIe siècle (Editions Fides, 1990)

1990: Brian Loring Villa, Unauthorized Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1989)

Honourable Mention: Eric Sager, Seafaring Labour: The Merchant Marine of Atlantic Canada, 1820 - 1914 (Montreal and Kingston; McGill-Queen's University Press, 1989)

1989: Gordon Stead, A Leaf Upon the Sea: A Small Ship in the Mediterranean, 1941 - 1943 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988)

Honourable Mention: W.A.B. Douglas, ed., The RCN in Transition, 1910 - 1985 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1988)

1988: J.F. Bosher, The Canada Merchants, 1713 - 63 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)

Honourable Mention: Aliette Geistdoerfer, Pêcheurs acadiens, pêcheurs madelinots: Ethnologie d'une communauté de pêcheurs (Quebec: Presses Universitaires de Laval, 1987)

Honourable Mention: Clyde Sanger, Ordering the Oceans: The Making of the Law of the Sea (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987)

1987: Ian K. Steele, The English Atlantic 1675 - 1740: An Exploration of Communications and Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986)

1986: Michael L. Hadley, U-boats Against Canada: German Submarines in Canadian Waters (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1985)

1985: Barry M. Gough, Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and the Northwest Coast Indians, 1846 - 1890 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1984)

2. The Keith Matthews Award for Best Scholarly Article

In 1986 the CNRS extended its Matthews Awards to include articles on nautical affairs published in scholarly journals or as essays or chapters in edited volumes. Beginning with awards made in 2000 it was decided to limit eligibility for this award to the best article published in the society's own refereed journal, The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord.

Previous Keith Matthews Awards for Best Scholarly Article

2009: Jonathan R. Dull for his article "The Myth of French Abandonment," which appeared in Vol. XIX, No. 1, January 2009, 1-6.

2008: John C. Appleby for his article "Conflict, co-operation and competition: the rise and fall of the Hull whaling trade during the seventeenth century," which appeared in Vol. XVIII, No. 2, April 2008, 23-59.

2005: Benjamin H. Trask's "The World of 'Septic Vapours': Yellow Fever and United States Shipping, 1798-1905"

Honourable Mention: Robert L. Davison's "'Auxillium ab Alto:' the Royal Navy Executive Branch and the Experience of War"

2004: Stephan Vanfraechem, "'La peur du rouge:' Communist Action Committees in the Port of Antwerp during the 1930s and 1940s"

2003: Timothy Wilford, "Decoding Pearl Harbor: USN Cryptoanalysis and the Challenge of JN-25 in 1941"

2002: Julian Gwyn, "The Halifax Naval Yard and Mast Contractors, 1775 - 1815"

2001: Michael L. Hadley, "Grand Admiral Doenitz (1891 - 1980): A Dramatic Key to the Man behind the Mask"

2000: Richard Gimblett, "'Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Seamen:' The Lower-Deck Complement of a Postwar Canadian Destroyer - The Case of HMCS Crescent, March 1949"

1999: William E. Schrank, "Benefiting Fishermen: Origins of Fishermen's Unemployument Insurance in Canada, 1935 - 1957," Journal of Canadian Studies, 35, No 1, (Spring 1998)

1993: Shannon Ryan, "The Industrial Revolution and the Newfoundland Seal Fishery," International Journal of Maritime History, IV: 2, (December 1992)

1992: Colin Howell & Richard Twomey, (eds), Jack Tar in History, (Fredericton, NB: Acadiensis Press, 1991). N.B.: Rather than single out one article, the Committee recognized this entire volume for its significant contribution to maritime studies.

1991: Sean Cadigan, "Battle Harbour in Transition: Merchants, Fishermen and the State in the Struggle of Relief in a Labrador Community during the 1930s," Labour/Le Travail, XXVI (1990)

Honourable Mention: R.V. Kubicek, "The Colonial Steamer and the Occupation of West Africa by the Victorian State, 1840 - 1900," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, XVIII (1990)

1990: Marc Milner, "The Implications of Technological Backwardness: The Royal Canadian Navy 1939 - 1945," Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol 9 No 3, (Winter 1989)

Honourable Mention: Garth Wilson, "The Great Lakes Historical Ships Research Project: An Innovative Approach to Documentation and Analysis of Historic Hull Design," International Journal of Maritime History, Vol 1 No 2, (December 1989)

1989: C. Knick Harley, "Ocean Freight Rates and Productivity, 1740 - 1913: The Primacy of Mechanical Invention Reaffirmed," Journal of Economic History, XLVIII, No 4, (December 1988)

Honourable Mention: John Mannion, "The Maritime Trade of Waterford in the Eighteenth Century," in William J. Smith and Kevin Whelan, (eds.) Common Ground: Essays on the Historical Geography or Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 1988)

1988: James Pritchard, "From Shipwright to Naval Contractor: The Professionalization of 18th Century French Shipbuilders," Technology and Culture XVIII, No 1 (January 1987)

Honourable Mention: W.J. Jurens, "The Loss of H.M.S. Hood - A Re-examination," Warship International, XXIV, No 2, (1987)

1987: T.J.A. LeGoff, "Les gens de mer devant le système des classes (1755 - 1763): résistance ou passivité?" in Alain Lottin, Jean Claude Hochquet et Stephane Lebecq, (eds.) Revue du Nord: Acts du colloque de Boulogne-sur-mer, juin 1984, published as a special number of Revue du Nord in 1986

1986: Carl Swanson, "American Privateering and Imperial Warfare, 1739 - 48," William and Mary Quarterly, 1985

The Awards Committee

A three-person Keith Matthews Awards Committee consisting of a Chair and two Society members is elected at the Society's Annual General Meeting for a term of three years. Terms can be extended for a further three years.

Award Criteria:

  1. The books and articles considered for this award must be published in the year for which they are judged.
  2. Books and articles must be either written or edited by a Canadian author or be on a Canadian maritime topic.
  3. Books and articles do not have to be published by a Canadian publisher.
  4. Books and articles must have a maritime focus and can include works of history, geography, sociology, anthropology or other disciplines.
  5. Authors or members of CNRS may self-nominate.
  6. If no book or article is deemed worthy of an award in a given year, no award is given.

Terms of Reference:

  1. On behalf of the Committee, the Chair contacts publishers to solicit books for review by the members. Publishers may also submit books they consider worthy of review.
  2. Once Committee members have reviewed the submissions and reached a consensus, the Chair advises the successful authorsand their publishers of the decision.
  3. Formal announcement of the Matthews Awards is made at the Society's AGM.
  4. The Chair ensures that award recipients in both categories receive a certificate signed by the President of CNRS and the Chair of the Matthews Awards Committee. When more than one article or book is worthy of note, an Honourable Mention certificate may be awarded.
  5. The cash prizes and other costs related to the Matthews Awards will be authorized by the Treasurer.
  6. The Chair will report to Council on the activities of the Committee and to the society's membership at the AGM.

The CNRS Jacques Cartier MA Prize

The CNRS, founded in 1981, has a mandate to encourage research and to promote knowledge of maritime history relating to Canada. In keeping with this mandate the Society has chosen to award a prize annually named after Jacques Cartier, navigator of Saint-Malo, master mariner and explorer of France, who voyaged into the Gulf and River St. Lawrence which he named, and in three voyages traced details of a watery entry into the heart of a continent. From indigenous inhabitants he learned of the Ottawa River, the Great Lakes, and the possibility of a passage beyond that might lead to Cathay.

To encourage graduate studies at the Master's level at Canadian universities and other institutes of higher learning, the Society intends to award this prize each year at its annual meeting. Areas of research include, but are not limited to, history, history of science and technology, political studies and political economy, literature, archaeology, underwater archaeology, anthropology, geography, sociology, ecology, and any other branch of historical learning related to human uses of the seas, oceans, rivers or lakes. Theses (including master's research projects/MRPs, cognate papers, or extended research papers) that demonstrate inter-disciplinary approaches beyond history and the arts are encouraged.

Candidates must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents attending a Canadian university or institution of higher learning or a similar foreign institution, writing on a Canadian maritime topic. The thesis, cognate paper, or extended research paper must have been successfully completed and assessed, leading to successful completion of the degree in the previous calendar year (i.e., in 2018 for the prize awarded in 2019). A PDF copy of the thesis is to be submitted to the Society, to the e-mail address shown below, by 31 March of the year in which the prize is to be awarded.

Awarding the prize shall be at the discretion of the judges who may also award honourable mentions or choose to not make an award. The winning thesis will be added to the CNRS archives (at the discretion of the author). The judges may recommend publication of the award-winning thesis, in whole or in part, in The Northern Mariner, or other publication.

Applicants shall provide a cover letter that includes a brief biography (200-words), as well as mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Additionally, a letter from the candidate's supervisor or head of department in the university or institute in which the thesis is completed must confirm that the work has passed examination (noting the dates of submission and examination, and/or completion of the degree). The submitted thesis must demonstrate original research of an extended order and be at least 50 pages / 12,500 words in length.

Submissions and nominations are to be made to:
The Chair of the Awards Committee
Canadian Nautical Research Society,
email address:

The Jacques Cartier MA Prize 2019

The Canadian Nautical Research Society Awards committee is pleased to award the Jacques Cartier MA Prize to Mr. Ambjörn L. Adomeit for his MA thesis. The thesis, "A Fleet of its Compromises: The Canadian Navy's Cold War Submarine Posture" ("Une flotte de ses compromis: La position sous-marine de la guerre froide de la Marine canadienne"), was submitted in 2018 to the Royal Military College.

In his thesis, Mr. Adomeit historicizes the development of the Canadian submarine fleet from 1949 through the 1990s. His analysis of the factors that affected submarine procurement in the Canadian navy has ongoing relevance to today. Mr. Adomeit elegantly weaves a comprehensive literature review throughout, and offers an honest appraisal of the leading work on Canadian submarines. The committee was especially impressed by his use of interviews alongside documentary evidence to support his argument. Mr. Adomeit is to be commended for applying historical methodologies with deftness and potential.


The Gerry Panting Award for New Scholars

The Gerry Panting Award is a financial award of not more than $1,000 CDN to assist a new scholar in the field of nautical research to present a paper (in English or French) at the CNRS annual conference. The person selected should be in the early stages of his or her career in the field of maritime research.

1996 Daniel Conlin, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Conference at HMCS Cataraqui, Kingston, Ont.

1997 David Clarke, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Conference in St. John, NB

1998 Dr. Joseph Maiolo, London School of Economics and Political Science
'Deception and Intelligence Failure: Anglo-German Preparations for U-Boat Warfare in the 1930s'
Conference in Calgary, Alta.

1999 Bradley T. Shoebottom, University of New Brunswick
'The Shipbuilding Career of Gaius Samuel Turner of Harvey Bank, New Brunswick, 1874-1892'
Conference in Corner Brook, Nfld.

2000 Michael Dove, University of Western Ontario
'Laying the Keel: The Evolution of the Hudson's Bay Company's Shipping Operation, 1670 -1730'
Conference in Ottawa, ON

2001 Kimberley Monk, East Carolina University
'"A prince among Welland Canallers"?: Documenting the History of the Schooner-barge Sligo'
Conference in Kingston, ON

2002 William Miles, Memorial University of Newfoundland
'Some Aspects of Squadron Deployment to North America, 1689-1713'
Conference in Halifax, NS

2010 Samuel McLean, Wilfred Laurier University
'Richmond and Callender : the hidden debate of 1942'
CNRS Annual Conference in Halifax, NS

2011 Shared by Sam McLean
"To Put the Sea in the Soul of the Sailor: Naval Attitudes towards Sail Training"
and Corbin Williamson (with Chris Madsen), "British Warship Repairs in North America during the Second World War"
Papers presented at the CNRS Annual Conference, Ottawa, 2011.

2012 Shared by Natalie Anderson, University of British Columbia
"British Ballads and Yankee Ditties: The Musical War of 1812"
and James Walton, Queen's University
"'The Forgotten Bitter Truth:' The War of 1812 and the Foundation of an American Naval Myth"
Papers presented at the CNRS Annual Conference, Picton, 2012

2019 Shared by Ambjörn Adomeit,
"The RCN Submarine Squadron: Historical Trends and Advocating a Direction for Canadian Submarine Procurement in the 21st Century"
and Nicholas Kaizer (Mount Saint Vincent University), "How the Royal Navy and the British World understood the forgotten single ship actions of the American War, 1813-1815"
Papers presented at the CNRS Annual Conference, 2019.

Committee Selection:

Each year, a three-member committee consisting of a Chair and two members will select the Gerald Panting New Scholar Recipient. This committee will be chaired by the Awards Committee Chair and comprise members of the annual conference organising committee, including the Programme Chair. It will review applications from new scholars.

Award Criteria:

  1. A "new scholar" is generally defined as a person with less than five years experience in the academic field, particularly in maritime studies.
  2. To be eligible for the award, new scholars can be Canadian students at Canadian or foreign universities working in the field of maritime studies, or researchers from other countries working on Canadian maritime topics.
  3. The award committee will take into account the merit of the applications received, previous work by applicants as well as their proposed paper, recommendations from professors and the level of need for financial assistance.
  4. Members of CNRS, aside from Committee members, may self-nominate for this award.

Terms of Reference:

  1. The Committee will ensure that the conference announcement, call for papers and all references to the conference mention the Gerald Panting New Scholar Award.
  2. Nominations for the Gerald Panting New Scholar's Award are reviewed by the Council at its mid-winter meeting.
  3. Once selected, candidates will be advised immediately of their award by the Committee Chair.
  4. The recipient will be announced in Argonauta and identified in The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, especially if his or her paper is published.
  5. Formal announcement of the recipient will be made at the Society's AGM.
  6. Costs incurred for the Gerald Panting New Scholar's Award will be authorized by the Treasurer.
  7. Members of the Award Committee are not eligible for the award during their tenure.
  8. The Chair will report to Council on the activities of the Committee and to the society's membership at the AGM.

The CNRS Merit Award

The CNRS Merit Award is a discretionary award by which the society acknowledges excellence. It is applicable to individuals or institutions such as museums, archives or educational organizations. The first 2002 award recognizes the editorial contribution of Professor Lewis R. "Skip" Fischer, who co-founded and served as editor of the CNRS journal, The Northern Mariner/ Le Marin du nord from its first issue in January 1991 to January 2001.

A second Merit Award recognizes the work of Dr. Olaf U. Janzen, a founding co-editor of the journal and Book Review Editor from 1991 to 2000.

The CNRS Merit Award was presented in 2020 jointly to Isabel Campbell and Colleen McKee for their efforts as co-editors of Argonauta for more than a decade, from issue 27:2-4 (Spring-Autumn 2010) through to 27:2 (Spring 2020). During this time they ushered the publication through a progression of format and delivery changes (from solo hard copy paper surface posted, to combined mailing with the journal, culminating in full-colour e-copy only, downloadable from the website and distributed by email), all the while increasing the variety and quality of an already impressive "members only" product to a truly "open access" publication of great benefit to the entire maritime historical community.

The CNRS Merit Award is a discretionary award by the Society to acknowledge excellence in Canadian nautical research applicable to individuals or institutions such as museums, archives or educational organizations.

Committee Selection:

The Keith Matthews Awards committee will serve as the Merit Award Committee.

Award Criteria:

  1. Primary consideration will be given to Canadian individuals and institutions
  2. In the case of museum exhibitions, the display may be shown outside the country, but it must have a Canadian maritime focus,
  3. Foreign individuals, archives or institutions contributing to the preservation of Canadian nautical material are also eligible for this award,
  4. Individual awards may also recognize lifetime contributions to Canadian nautical research by Canadian or foreign researchers or curators,
  5. Members of CNRS, with the exception of members of the Committee, may self-nominate for this award.

Terms of Reference:

  1. The Committee will solicit nominations for the Award through the Society's publications Argonauta, the Northern Mariner/Le Marin du Nord or on the web
  2. Nominations will be reviewed by Council at the mid-winter meeting.
  3. Once selected, candidates will be advised immediately of their award by the Committee Chair.
  4. Formal announcement of the Merit Award will be made at the Society's AGM.
  5. Costs incurred for a certificate for the Merit Award will be authorized by the Treasurer.
  6. The Chair will report to Council on the activities of the Committee and to the society's membership at the AGM.
Canadian Nautical Research Society - Société canadienne pour la recherche nautique
P.O. Box 34029
Ottawa, Ontario
K2J 5B1

Copyright © 2011-2019, CNRS / SCRN.

Last revised: 3 June 2021
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