Archives Search

Search only: Library, Archives Advanced Search, Ancestors, Images, Search All

To submit a comment, contact

Search Help

Warning: Descriptive record is in process. These materials may not yet be available for consultation.

Description found in Archives

Horatio Nelson Lay fonds [multiple media]. 


[ca. 1918]-1984

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

50 cm of textual records.
191 photographs chiefly b&w.
104 film reels (ca. 18 h, 36 min, 59 s).
2 audio reels (3 h, 6 min).
1 audio disc (14 min, 15 s).

Scope and content

Fonds consists of various biographical notes, certificates and appointments (1921-1972), Lay's midshipman's journal (1921-1923), lectures (1939-1966), memoranda and reports (1943-1957), and personal and official correspondence (1940-1984) (Volume 1); scrapbooks of Navy Week in Victoria (1934) and the Royal Visit to Halifax (1939), printed materials relating to Lay (1940-1978), a typescript copy of Lay's reminiscences entitled Memoirs of a Mariner (no date), and a transcript of an interview conducted by Bill Yeo (1974) (Volume 2); and a scrapbook of clippings on unification of the Canadian forces and the revolt of the admirals (1966) (Volume 3). Photographic material depicts Admiral Horatio Nelson Lay's life, career, and service in the Royal Canadian Navy documented through portraits and dedications from command officers; photographs of HMCS Magnificent, HMCS Quebec, HMCS Nootka, and HMCS Swansea; a flight test demonstration and naval radar, 18 March 1954; visit of the Canadian-United States Permanent Joint Board of Defence to Fort Churchill, Manitoba, 23 to 26 July 1957. Also included is film material, 1933-1980, which consists of Admiral Horatio Nelson Lay's personal films of his appointments, family, friends, and travels. Included is footage of the HMCS Skeena; HMCS Vancouver; HMCS Restigouche; HMS Nabob during World War II; the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defence aboard the U.S.S. Wisconsin and visiting the Distant Early Warning Line; and Royal Canadian Navy officers attending an Admiral's wedding at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa. The fonds also contains sound recordings of interviews of senior Royal Canadian Navy officers and shipbuilders following the launch of HMCS Restigouche (II) at the Vickers shipyard in Montreal, 22 November 1954, and interview of Admiral Horatio Nelson Lay by Bill Yeo, 1974.

Moving images (film)
90: Open
Sound recordings
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
from 1 to 3
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
PF 0024
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Photographs: No restrictions on use or reproduction. Various copyrights.
Moving images: Reproduction and use in any form requires the written permission of the copyright holder and in some cases the written permissio of the donor; please see item level descriptions for details.
Sound recordings: Reproduction and use in any form requires the written permission of the copyright holders.

Textual records: The finding aid is a subject file list with a partial list of file contents. MSS1324 (Paper)

Textual records: Finding aid. MSS1324 (Electronic)

Moving images and sound recordings: See MISACS for item level descriptions. (Electronic)

Biography / Administrative history

Horatio Nelson Lay, naval officer, was born in 1903 in Skagway, Alaska, and moved with his family to Walkerton, Ontario. After completing high school there, he joined the Royal Naval College of Canada as a Cadet at Esquimalt, B.C., in 1918. Following graduation in 1921, he was commissioned in the Royal Canadian Navy, serving aboard Royal Navy and Canadian ships and at various training establishments. In 1938 he was appointed to the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich, England.

During the Second World War, he successively: commanded the Canadian destroyer HMCS Restigouche (1939); served as Director of Operations Division at Naval Service Headquarters in Ottawa (1941); commanded the first Canadian-manned aircraft carrier HMS Nabob (1943); and served with the Canadian Naval Mission Overseas in London (1944).

Following the war, he held several senior staff posts: Director of Plans (1945); Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Plans) and (Air) and Vice-Chairman of Naval Staff (1948); Canadian Naval Attache in Washington (1949); and Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff (1954), at which time he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral. He retired from the Royal Canadian Navy in 1958, ultimately settling in the Ottawa Valley, and died there in 1988.

Additional information

Received from Admiral H.N. Lay and Mrs. E. Lay in 1983 and 1989.

Subject heading

1. Lay, H. Nelson (Horatio Nelson), 1903-
2. Navies Officers
3. Officiers de marine
4. World War, 1939-1945
5. Guerre mondiale, 1939-1945


Other system control no.

Related control no.

1. 1974-0005 MISA
2. 1986-0355 MISA
3. 1989/0047 MSS
4. 1989-0315 MISA
5. 1989-0316 MISA
6. 1989-245 DAP