Collection 2009/17 - J.H. (Harris) MacLean collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

J.H. (Harris) MacLean collection

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Reference code

ON00093 2009/17

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [195-] - 2008 (Creation)
    MacLean, J.H. (Harris), 1920-2008

Physical description area

Physical description

1 file of textual records
45 photographs: b&w and col.; 54.5 x 34.5 cm or smaller

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Commander J.H. (Harris) MacLean served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) from 1941 to 1968. Harris Maclean joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) in Vancouver in 1941. He was trained in Halifax and served as the navigator aboard HMCS Restigouche from September 1943 until the end of the Second World War in June 1945. After the war Harris was selected to attend the advanced Navigational Course at the Royal Naval School in Hampshire, England and upon his graduation was transferred to the RCN and was stationed at the Naval Headquarters in Ottawa. In 1946 Harris was appointed as navigator on board HMCS Ontario stationed in Esquimalt. In 1948 Harris was relocated to Boston and assigned to the task force on the USS Edisto and spent the next two summers on board the USS Edisto in the Arctic. In January 1954 Harris was assigned to HMCS Labrador as Lieutenant Commander in charge of navigation. HMCS Labrador sailed from Halifax in July 1954 and became the first deep draft ship to ever pass through the Northwest Passage. HMCS Labrador returned to Halifax on 23 November 1954 after travelling around North America. Harris spent the next two years on HMCS Labrador sailing in the Arctic and in July 1956 was promoted to Commander. That fall he was transferred to New York on the staff of the US Military Sea Transport Service, advising the Americans on the Arctic. In 1960 Harris was appointed Captain of HMCS Margaree stationed in Esquimalt. After two years on HMCS Margaree Harris was appointed training officer and later Executive Officer at the Naval Barracks in Esquimalt. Harris’ final appointment was to Winnipeg on a task force merging the three armed forces into one. Four years later in 1968, Harris retired from the RCN.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Collection consists of an account of Commander J.H. (Harris) MacLean’s naval career including his voyage through the Northwest Passage, and a copy of the eulogy delivered at Commander MacLean’s funeral. Both were written by Ian Greenwood from interviews he conducted with Commander MacLean beginning in November 2006. The collection also includes various black and white photographs of HMCS Labrador and her crew as they erected beacons during their voyage through the Northwest Passage. A black and white photograph of the crew of HMCS Margaree and four colour photos, three of HMCS Margaree, and one of ships moored at Pearl Harbour are also part of the collection. Also includes various group photos from a meeting of the Explorers Club of New York in 1956, a photo of 2nd Escort Squadron Hockey team taken in Tokyo Japan in February 1962, several photos of groups of men from HMCS Discovery and HMCS Kings. Includes black and white photographs of graduating classes from Fleet School, HMCS Naden, Esquimalt. Miscellaneous black and white photos of various ships, people, icebergs, sailors, and planes are also part of the collection.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Collection received in 2012 from I.F. Greenwood.


Language of material

  • English

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

4 photographs are oversized and will be stored on the oversize shelves.

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