Ships | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • 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
  • Memory Project Archive

    Earle Wagner (Primary Source)

    In 2010, The Memory Project interviewed Earle Steadman Wagner, who served with the Canadian Merchant Navy during the Second World War. The following recording (and transcript) is an excerpt from this interview.  Earle Wagner was born in West LaHave, Nova Scotia, on 25 December 1923; he enlisted in the Canadian Merchant Navy at the age of 17 in 1943. After the war, he had a long career in the marine industry, including command of large oil tankers. Wagner also became a marine superintendent with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He was heavily involved in efforts to recognize merchant navy veterans, including the establishment of the Merchant Navy Memorial in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Wagner died on 1 December 2023 in Halifax, not long before his 100th birthday. In this 2010 interview, Wagner describes his experiences with the merchant navy during the Second World War, as well as his postwar career and his advocacy for merchant navy veterans. 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/357_600.jpg Earle Wagner (Primary Source)
  • Article

    Niobe Day

    Since 2014, Niobe Day has been celebrated every year on 21 October by the Royal Canadian Navy. It commemorates the entrance of HMCS Niobe, one of Canada’s first two warships, into Halifax Harbour on 21 October 1910. Niobe, which had been purchased from Britain, was the first Canadian warship to enter Canadian territorial waters. Before 2014, the Canadian navy marked Trafalgar Day every 21 October in commemoration of the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/HMCSNiobe/HMCS Niobe entering Halifax on Trafalgar Day 1910.jpg Niobe Day
  • Article

    Royal Canadian Naval Air Branch

    The Royal Canadian Naval Air Branch was established in 1945 and disbanded upon unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968. During that period, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) operated a succession of three aircraft carriers: HMC Ships Warrior, Magnificent and Bonaventure. The ability to exercise air power at sea was fundamental to the RCN’s core role of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) against the Cold War Soviet submarine fleet. As the nature of that threat evolved, the RCN Air Branch underwent a nearly continuous process of adaptation to incorporate new equipment and tactics, with increasingly higher performance aircraft and supporting equipment.

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    https://d3d0lqu00lnqvz.cloudfront.net/RCNAirBranch/Bonaventure_-_Banshees.jpg Royal Canadian Naval Air Branch