25 August 1959, 01 September 1959: Mathews and Grant on Power Cut

Despite measures taken to provide unbroken. 24/7 service, the Alerts circuit still seems to have been vulnerable to accident and emergency. This series of correspondence between R.L. Mathews (Attache, British Embassy, Washington) and W.E. Grant (Royal Canadian Corps of Signals) reveals that a planned power outage shut down the Alerts circuit for a period of one hour and fifteen minutes. While there was a back-up line to the HYDRA transmitter and the transatlantic cable, it would leave Canada out of the loop in the event of an emergency, and Mathews was curious as to what arrangements were in place to “ensure an unbroken service at the critical moment.” For his part, Grant noted that both Oshawa and Leitrim were equipped with back-up generators to power the HYDRA system – but these would take several minutes to be brought online in the event of an emergency.

Document Viewer

Hydra Communications - Policy, RG24, 1250-36 Vol. 1, Library and Archives Canada (LAC)