John Madison

John Madison

Chief Petty Officer First Class (Retired), Department of National Defence, Dartmouth, NS. Born: Montreal, QC.

Chief Petty Officer First Class, John Madison, joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1953, at the age of 16, as a Radio Operator. By his retirement in 1992, he had distinguished himself by becoming the first Black to qualify in Canadian submarines and the second Black sailor in Canadian naval history to earn the challenging qualification of Ship’s Diver (in 1956). Over the course of his career, he would log 24 years of sea time.

Highlights: After joining the navy, John transferred to the cook branch in 1955; was 1 of 4 selected to train as an Officer’s Cook; served as Personal Chef to the Admiral of the East Coast; transferred to Portsmouth, UK on a 4-year submarine training program, qualifying in British Submarines (1964); he returned to Canada in 1967, where he became the first Black Canadian to qualify in Canadian Submarines. John was promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer first class in 1980; later that year he was appointed Staff Officer, Food Services for Maritime Command HQ, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.

Honours: Herbert Lott Award, for culinary expertise; Order of Military Merit, 1978; CD.