Navy

The sinking of SS Athenia

Britain declared war on Germany at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, 1939. At just after 7 o’clock that evening, Captain James Cook of the passenger liner SS Athenia joined his first-class guests for dinner. While the ship had actually gotten underway two days earlier—en route from Glasgow to Montreal via Belfast and Liverpool—Cook had felt...
  • A quiet victory in the Gulf

    May 17, 2017 by Marc Milner
    When Canada declared war on Germany in September 1939, the most immediate threat to the country was an attack on its shipping. That fear was so palpable that when periscopes were soon “sighted” in the St. Lawrence River, no one was surprised. A “submarine diviner”...
  • Remembrance

    November 1, 2016 by Fraser McKee
    On Remembrance Day or, for a naval veteran, Battle of the Atlantic Sunday in May, I am called upon to recall those fellow Canadians who gave their lives for us. At naval events the ships that were lost are frequently read out, but I have...
  • Sinking the Bismarck

    May 1, 2016 by Marc Milner
    A handful of Canadians played modest roles in the historic demise of the Nazi battleship 75 years ago On May 21, 1941, the most powerful warship in Europe disappeared from her anchorage in Bergen, Norway. The British, anxiously watching and waiting, could surmise where the brand new 50,000-tonne...
  • Attack on convoy SC-107

    November 24, 2015 by Marc Milner
    For a British-bound fleet and its under-equipped escort, early November 1942 brought pure carnage September and October 1942 were frustrating months for Germany’s mid-Atlantic U-boats. German Admiral Karl Dönitz’s staff attributed this to three factors: fair weather that made attacking difficult; a large number of...
  • Navy: Distracting the pack

    September 24, 2015 by Marc Milner
    By the late summer of 1942, the Canadian navy was stretched thin. But the corvettes were still able to disrupt several U-boat attacks. Running the North Atlantic war was all about risk management, and things were better in the early fall of 1942. The rampage along...
  • An unaffordable loss

    July 24, 2015 by Marc Milner
    The sinking of HMCS Ottawa triggered a shift in the navy’s priorities The battle for convoy ON-127 was effectively over on Sept. 13, 1942, when HMCS Ottawa made contact in poor visibility with the relief destroyers about 400 miles east of Newfoundland. The RCN’s official history...
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