Porter, Vice Admiral
Henry Allan “Harry”, CMM, CD
We salute the passing on March 13th, 2016, in Camp Hill Veterans’ Memorial Building, QEII, Halifax, of Henry Allan Porter, aged 95 years, one of the Royal Canadian Navy’s most distinguished officers. Harry, as he was known to his many friends, was born in Chemainus on August 17, 1920 and lived in Saltair until he joined the Royal Canadian Navy as a Junior Ordinary Telegraphist RCNVR in 1939 when he was just 18 years old. Harry showed that a combination of hard work, kindness, and integrity can accomplish great things. He rose rapidly through the naval ranks, specializing in communications and serving aboard HMC ships Prince Robert, Kootenay and St. Hyacinthe. He qualified as a naval pilot, serving on the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent. During his remarkable career he commanded HMC ships La Hulloise, Lauzon, Sussexvale, and Bonaventure -affectionately known as the “Bonnie”. Harry had great humility – he showed equal respect toward people of all walks of life and he seldom spoke of his many, significant accomplishments. As an Officer, he was invited to attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. He was later appointed as an aide to John F. Kennedy during the president’s 1961 visit to Canada. Harry was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1969, given command of the NATO Fleet, and appointed Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, and in 1970 became Commander, Maritime Command. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1971, and appointed Controller General Canadian Forces Ottawa, before his retirement in 1974. In retirement, Harry Porter served as President of the Canadian Shipbuilding and Ship Repairing Association, as Chairman of the Nova Scotia Police Commission from 1976 to 1986, and then as a consultant to the president of Halifax-Dartmouth Shipbuilding Industries Ltd. until 1994. He volunteered his time to several noteworthy volunteer organizations, including as the Chairman of the Boy Scouts of Canada Canadian Jamboree in 1989. Harry’s memberships included the Halifax Club, and various other organizations. Harry found joy in simple pleasures, like the roses that he tended in his garden in Chester, and time spent with good friends. Formidable in stature as well as presence, gregarious and hospitable, Harry was an unfailingly courteous and kind man. He was a great outdoorsman who excelled in fishing, hunting, golf, tennis and other sports. Harry was a loving partner, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He leaves behind his life partner of 25 years, Jackie, who was by his side every day as he struggled, and who kept him smiling in difficult times. She and his grand-daughter were by his side when he passed. He was predeceased by his son, Allan and sister, Jean. Surviving are his daughter, Lucinda Crank (Dennis), and her mother Isabel Porter; as well as grandchildren, Philip Fisher (Sarah), Daphne Page, and Amy Porter; and six precious great-grandchildren.
Harry’s service was held in St. Brendan’s Chapel, CFB Halifax Stadacona, on Thursday, March 17th. He will be buried in the Chemainus Cemetery.