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...
  • German Admiral Karl Dönitz seized an opportunity in the spring of 1942 when he sent a Wolf Pack—a group of U-boats—into the mid-Atlantic against a slow-moving convoy. The convoy’s escorts could not rob Dönitz of success. When looking at the Atlantic war in the spring of...
  • Running Ragged: The North Atlantic Run

    July 24, 2013 by Marc Milner
    Through the crisis of the Atlantic war in 1942, the Royal Canadian Navy worked much harder than its British and American allies realized. In fact, the RCN ran its escort fleet ragged trying to keep up with demands for more escorts and more convoy...
  • Trying To Stay Ahead Of The Pack

    May 24, 2013 by Marc Milner
    The failure to stem the U-boat assault in the St. Lawrence was an embarrassment to the Royal Canadian Navy and the government in 1942. Indeed, it was the clearest manifestation that Mackenzie King’s government and its fleet were not ready for a shooting...
  • The operational crisis of 1942 shaped the nature of the Royal Canadian Navy’s escort fleet for the balance of the war. If the RCN and the minister of defence for naval services had had their way in early 1942, all emergency war construction would be...
  • Shipyards In War: Navy, Part 55

    January 28, 2013 by Marc Milner
    he expansion of the war into a global conflict at the end of 1941, coupled with the 1942 operational crisis in the Atlantic, changed everything for the Royal Canadian Navy. Until then Canada’s naval war had two clear purposes. The immediate one was to help...
  • The war crisis of 1942, which turned a European conflict into a global one, put enormous pressure on Canada to expand its effort. More weapons, equipment and military and naval power were now required than anyone could have foreseen in 1939. In late 1941 and...
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