RCN Proud: Jim Northrup’s four decades of service

CPO2 (Ret’d) Northrup completed his first submarine course in 1975 before joining HMCS Ojibwa. SUBMITTED

RCN Proud: Jim Northrup’s four decades of service

By Vincent Joyce,
Pictou County Military Museum

James Allison Northrup was born on April 15th, 1953, in Saint John, New Brunswick. Jim joined the Naval Reserve at the age of 16 on October 8th, 1969, at HMCS Brunswicker. On April 20th, 1971, he joined the Regular Force as a Radioman. Mr. Northrup took his basic training at CFRS Cornwallis, Sea Environmental at Canadian Forces Fleet School Halifax (Stadacona), and his TQ3 Radioman Sea Course at CFFS Esquimalt, British Columbia. He attended TQ5 Course at CFFS Halifax in 1979/1980 and remustered to Communication Technician on completion. He attended the Basic Submarine Course in March of 1975 and joined HMCS Ojibwa shortly after.

CPO2 (Ret’d) Jim Northrup sailed in multiple classes of Royal Canadian Navy ships and submarines through more than four decades of service. SUBMITTED

During his career, he sailed in HMCS Porte St Jean (1970), HMCS Nipigon (1972/1975), HMCS Ojibwa, HMCS Okanagan, HMCS Onondaga (decommissioning crew 2000), HMCS Montréal (1993/1995) (commissioning crew) (NATO 1995), HMCS Preserver (1998/2000) (SwissAir Flight 111 Disaster), HMCS Windsor (2002 for 18-month attachment posting), HMCS Athabaskan (2004/2005), and HMCS Corner Brook (2006/2009). He was also a member of Submarine Sea Training 2009/2011.

His shore postings were at First Canadian Submarine Squadron (1989), Maritime Operations Group 5 in 1991, Fleet Maintenance Group Atlantic/Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott 1995, Canadian Forces Naval Operations School as a Submarine Instructor in 2000 and Submarine Standards in 2005. He also attended CPF training in Montreal in 2001. After attending courses in the UK and training in Halifax, he qualified for Victoria Class Submarines in 2001. In 2011, he was posted to the Joint Personnel Support Unit until retirement on April 15, 2013.

In May of 1992, Jim was sent to CFB Petawawa for several weeks for United Nations pre-deployment training, then shipped to Cambodia (UNTAC) as a military observer, completing two tours, returning to Canada on June 15, 1993, before being posted to HMCS Montréal. He sailed in Canada, Cambodia, the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean, North Sea, Baltic, Adriatic, Gulf of Siam, and along the Mekong River throughout his career.

Jim has been awarded the Commander of the Order of St. John, the Special Service Medal, the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, the Operational Service Medal (Campaign), United Nations Medal (Cambodia: two tours), NATO Medal (Former Yugoslavia), St. John Ambulance Long Service Medal, the Field Knight of the Order of St. George, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Forces Decoration Medal and three bars, and the St. John Ambulance Life Saving (with risk) Award twice. Jim was medically released on April 15th, 2013, and his rank was Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class. His trade was Weapons Engineering Manager. Jim is married to Denise Jones of Big Pond, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He has one stepson, Colin. They live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Mr. Northrup is a third-generation naval personnel. His grandfather, Cecil “Mac” McCoy, joined the RCNVR full company in Saint John (HMCS Brunswicker) in May of 1923. He was a weapons rate, and left the RCNVR at the end of the Second World War. Jim’s father, Allison Northrup, was one of the very few sea cadets that went to sea at the end of the Second World War. In the mid-1950s, he became the supply officer (Lieutenant) at the building of the new HMCS Acadia Sea Cadet Camp in Point Edward, Cape Breton, and retired after completing that project.

Mr. Northrup is now a volunteer at the Naval Museum of Halifax. Jim and his fellow comrade and former submariner, CPO2 (Ret’d) Brian Lapierre, helped design and build the museum’s submarine room with some assistance from others. These two old sailors did a great job, and it is worthwhile for anyone to go see it.

Jim’s last statement to me at the interview was, “I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

RCN Proud profiles focus on former or current Royal Canadian Navy personnel with at least 12 years of service. If you would like your story told or have a suggestion for a future profile, please contact Vincent Joyce at