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...
  • An American Blunder: Navy, Part 43

    February 12, 2011 by Marc Milner
    On the night of Jan. 11-12, 1942, the war at sea reached the Western Hemisphere when U-123 torpedoed and sank the British steamer SS Cyclops southeast of Cape Sable, N.S. Kapitainleutant Reinhard Hardegen’s U-boat was the first of a wave of five submarines ordered into...
  • The Lost Leadership Cadre: Navy, Part 42

    December 25, 2010 by Marc Milner
    The small ships of the Sheep Dog Navy at war in the vile North Atlantic came to be seen as Canada’s naval war, and as the origins of the modern Canadian navy. But during the Second World War the overriding objective of the professional Royal...
  • The Accidental Enemy: Navy, Part 41

    October 22, 2010 by Marc Milner
    The winter of 1941-42 is usually treated by historians as a quiet one on the North Atlantic Run, but it is doubtful anyone guarding the convoy routes saw it that way. The North Atlantic was its typical vile self, with storm-battered ships and weary men...
  • A Royal Review

    September 21, 2010 by Tom MacGregor
    Rear-Admiral Paul Maddison could not help noticing it as an echo from the darkest days of the Second World War. There, after all, was Halifax’s Bedford Basin, filled with warships ready for whatever task may fall to them. Behind him were 28 ships from Canada and...
  • Complex And Troubled Years: Navy, Part 40

    August 18, 2010 by Marc Milner
    HMCS Assiniboine off Iceland, 1942. PHOTO: GERALD T. RICHARDSON, LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA—PA105817 The war at sea in 1942 pulled Canada’s small-ship navy in several directions simultaneously. The importance of the Royal Canadian Navy’s contribution to transatlantic convoy operations east of Newfoundland was confirmed in...
  • It was the longest and hardest battle ever fought at sea. During six protracted years, more humans, ships and materiel were lost than in all the naval campaigns of the previous 500 years combined. It was arguably also the most decisive campaign of the Second...
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