Navy | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Armed Forces Bands in Canada

    Large regimental bands first came to Canada in the late 18th century. By 1869, there were some 46 bands in the Canadian militia. The first regular armed forces bands in Canada were formed in 1899. Their main purpose has been to provide music for military or public functions. As of 2023, there were a total of 73 bands in the Canadian Armed Forces: 53 in the Army, 12 in the Air Force, and 8 in the Navy.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/media/1007px-438_Squadron_RCAF_Band_1960s.jpg Armed Forces Bands in Canada
  • Article

    Battle of Hudson Bay

    The Battle of Hudson Bay took place on 5 September 1697 during King William’s War, the North American theatre of the Nine Years’ War between England and France. Throughout the conflict, French forces tried to capture enemy forts in and around Hudson Bay. One of these was York Factory, a lucrative and important trading post the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) built in 1684. The French captured York Factory in 1694, only to have the English take it back a year later. Then, in 1697, a naval battle ensued in Hudson Bay between English and French forces. Captain Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville succeeded in taking York Factory for the French. The fort was later transferred back to the British after the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. (See also Fur Trade in Canada.)

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The_Sinking_of_the_Pelican.jpg Battle of Hudson Bay
  • Article

    Battle of the St. Lawrence

    The Battle of the St. Lawrence was an extension of the larger Battle of the Atlantic— the German campaign during the Second World War to disrupt shipping from North America to the United Kingdom. Between 1942 and 1945, German submarines (U-boats) repeatedly penetrated the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Gulf, sinking 26 ships and killing hundreds. It was the first time since the War of 1812 that naval battles were waged in Canada's inland waters.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/media/517fb1f8-1594-4d4f-a7cd-9c84c456c1d8.jpg Battle of the St. Lawrence
  • Article

    Canada and the Battle of the Atlantic (Plain-Language Summary)

    The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest battle of the Second World War. It lasted between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945. The Atlantic Ocean was important for the Allies because they needed to send supplies and people by ship from North America to Europe. German U-boats (submarines) attacked and sank many of these ships. Canada played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Canadian navy and air force protected convoys of supply ships and hunted U-boats. The Canadian merchant navy transported troops, food and other supplies. (This is a plain-language summary of the Battle of the Atlantic. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Canada and the Battle of the Atlantic.)

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/media/8cb80cb6-7ee5-4b1d-b742-922466dbc5f3.jpg Canada and the Battle of the Atlantic (Plain-Language Summary)
  • Article

    Canadian Naval Operations in the South-West Asia Theatre

    From the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the summer of 1990 (see Persian Gulf War) until the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan in 2014, the waters of South-West Asia were the operational focus of the Canadian navy. In that quarter-century, practically every major surface ship and the large majority of sailors deployed into the region at some point in their service. In many ways, it was the defining experience for a generation of Canadian sailors.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/media/5ec441fc-60aa-4fd9-a568-d53428bda0a1.jpg Canadian Naval Operations in the South-West Asia Theatre
  • Article

    CGS / HMCS Canada

    Canada’s first purpose-built warship, the Canadian Government Ship (CGS) Canada, was launched in 1904, several years before the Naval Service of Canada was established in 1910. However, it was not the first ship commissioned into the navy (see HMCS Niobe and HMCS Rainbow). Canada was delivered to the Fisheries Protection Service before the Canadian navy existed. But from the time it was ordered, it was intended for a military function. Canada was commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy in 1915 and served as an antisubmarine patrol vessel during the First World War. The ship was retired in 1920 and sank in 1926 in the Florida Keys. Its wreck is a designated element of the US Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/HMCS-Canada/CGS-Canada.jpg CGS / HMCS Canada
  • Article

    D-Day and the Battle of Normandy (Plain-Language Summary)

    The Battle of Normandy was one of the most important operations of the Second World War. It began the campaign to free Western Europe from Nazi occupation. Canadians played a key role in the Allied invasion of Normandy (called Operation Overlord). The campaign began on D-Day (6 June 1944) and ended with the battle of the Falaise Pocket (7–21 August 1944). Thousands of Canadians fought on D-Day and in the Normandy campaign and over 5,000 were killed. (This article is a plain-language summary. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.)

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/media/media/b81b71af-9ed9-43d1-8c68-dbe7a27bb20d.jpg D-Day and the Battle of Normandy (Plain-Language Summary)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Al Bacon (Primary Source)

    Al Bacon served with the Norwegian Merchant Service in the Second World War. Read and listen to Al Bacon’s testimony below. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The-Memory-Project/image/680_600.jpg Al Bacon (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Alan May (Primary Source)

    Alan May was in the Merchant Navy in the Second World War. Read and listen to Alan May’s testimony below. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The-Memory-Project/image/1341_600.jpg Alan May (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Alan Shard (Primary Source)

    Alan Shard served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War. Read and listen to Alan Shard’s testimony below. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The-Memory-Project/image/6500_original.jpg Alan Shard (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Basil Winter Charman (Primary Source)

    Basil Winter Charman served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War. Read and listen to his testimony below.  Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The-Memory-Project/image/4260_original.jpg Basil Winter Charman (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Beatrice Mary Geary (née Shreiber) (Primary Source)

    "The women had never had jobs like this before and we wanted to prove ourselves. I think that’s part of it. And the men accepted us." Beatrice Mary Geary served in the Women's Royal Naval Service during the Second World War. See below for Mrs. Geary's entire testimony. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/MemoryProject/BeatriceMaryGeary/2800_original.jpg Beatrice Mary Geary (née Shreiber) (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Bernie Lyness MacArthur (Primary Source)

    Bernie Lyness MacArthur served in the Merchant Army during the Second World War. Read and listen to his testimony below. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The-Memory-Project/image/6551_original.jpg Bernie Lyness MacArthur (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Bill Hawryluk (Primary Source)

    "So I told him, you want to know what’s going on? Get up off your butt and come on up here and take my place and I’ll take yours." Bill Hawryluk served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. See below for Mr. Hawryluk's entire testimony. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/MemoryProject/BillHawryluk/3224_538.jpg Bill Hawryluk (Primary Source)
  • Memory Project Archive

    Bill Hollahan (Primary Source)

    Bill Hollahan served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War. Read and listen to his testimony below. Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/The-Memory-Project/image/4994_original.jpg Bill Hollahan (Primary Source)