Become a real member of the Belt Squadron; support Sackville!

Many Defense Command characters are based on real people, because author Kenneth Tam is profoundly lazy. Popular figures like Charlie Peters, Wes Pellew, Christian Mikaelsen, and Rufus Chang are all closely based on real individuals (with their permission) –– as are Mark Gunney, Marshal Samuels, Mel Samuels, Schwartz Babcock, Keith Pine, Greg Noyce, Marlene Stoll, and John Fiora.

But the largest character Kenneth Tam has stolen from real life is rather older the rest: her name is Sackville, and she lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

While he was first prepping the Defense Command series in 2005, Kenneth Tam visited Halifax and toured HMCS Sackville, the last surviving corvette of the Second World War. With a crew consisting largely of teenagers, she escorted thousands of men and millions of tons of cargo across the North Atlantic during the war, and proved rather adept at pounding German u-boats into submission.

After the war, Sackville settled into a government job for a few decades, before retiring comfortably to Halifax harbor, where she now teaches new generations of visitors what it was like to fight a war at sea before GPS and the internet.

Kenneth Tam unashamedly appropriated Sackville for the Belt Squadron, and like the rest of the reality-based characters in the series, he was too lazy to come up with a new personality for her. The Sackville of the Martian War (and the tenth anniversary novel, Sins of Mars), is therefore very much the same ship currently anchored in Halifax… admittedly with different weapons, engines, and operational range.

So if you are a Defense Command fan, and you’d like to truly stand on the bridge of a Belt Squadron ship, all you need to do is book a flight to Halifax next summer. Sackville will be very happy to meet you.

You can also donate to support her modest upkeep, or become a member of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, which looks after her (you don’t have to be Canadian to join, and Kenneth Tam is a member, so they’ll obviously let anyone in).


Kenneth Tam has written numerous Author Notes related to HMCS Sackville: