10 facts about the battle of the atlantic
1-The Battle of the Atlantic began on September 3, 1939, with the sinking of the Montréal-bound passenger ship SS Athenia by a German submarine west of Ireland. Of the 1,400 passengers and crew, 118 (including four Canadians) were killed.
2-German submarines (U-boats) were the main threat to merchant and other surface vessels. Some were capable of remaining away from port for three months or more. U-boats carried torpedoes and also laid mines. In June 1941 alone, more than 500,000 tons of Allied shipping was lost to U-boats.
3-The first trans-Atlantic convoy of the war sailed from Halifax to the United Kingdom on September 16, 1939, escorted by British cruisers and the Canadian destroyers HMCS St. Laurent and HMCS Saguenay.
4-A typical convoy of 40 ships might be 10 columns wide with four ships in each column. It would be headed by a flagship, carrying the convoy commodore and, ideally, escorted by warships patrolling its outer flanks. Ammunition ships and tankers, with their highly volatile fuel, were on the inside.
5-While the convoy routes of the North Atlantic and the notorious Murmansk Run to northern Russia claimed the most ships and men, there were no safe havens anywhere for merchant seamen. Whether in the coastal waters of North America, the North or South Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean or the Pacific, the waters were dangerous and Canadian ships with Canadian crews traversed them all.
6-The Royal Canadian Navy began the war with 13 vessels and 3,500 personnel, and ended it with the third largest Allied navy. At war’s end, the RCN had 373 fighting ships and more than 110,000 members (all of whom were volunteers), including 6,500 women who served in the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Services. Aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Eastern Air Command and RCAF crews in RAF Coastal Command
and ships helped sink 50 U-boats.
7-A Victoria Cross was posthumously awarded to Flight Lieutenant David Hornell of Mimico, Ontario, for his courage during the Battle of the Atlantic. His Canso amphibious aircraft came across a surfaced U-boat north of the Shetland Islands in June 1944. Although his aircraft had been hit by anti-aircraft fire, and was burning and shaking violently as a result, Hornell managed to destroy the enemy submarine and land the damaged aircraft
on the water, where it soon sank. By his leadership he managed to keep most of the crew alive until they were rescued.
8-The merchant fleet suffered grievous losses in ships and men. By the end of the war, as many as 72 Canadian merchant ships would be lost to enemy action—torpedoed, bombed, mined or shelled. Storms at sea, operational accidents and structural shortcomings also took their toll. The Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance lists the names of approximately 1,600 Canadian merchant seamen who died at sea during the war, including eight women.
9-Some 2,000 members of the RCN were killed during the war, the vast majority of them in the Battle of the Atlantic. Another 752 members of the RCAF also died in maritime operations.
10-The Battle of the Atlantic lasted the duration of the Second World War in Europe, which officially ended on May 8, 1945 (VE-Day).
canadian naval history
HISTORICAL DATES IN NOVEMBER
03 Nov 1973-The destroyer HMCS Algonquin (283) commissions into the Canadian Navy; HMCS Algonquin is towed out of CFB Esquimalt in May 2016 for a 7,600 nautical-mile journey to Nova Scotia, where it was scrapped at a facility in Antigonish.
07 Nov 1910-The Apollo Class cruiser HMCS Rainbow arrives at home port of Esquimalt BC.
08 Nov 1919-Admiral of the Fleet Lord John Jellicoe arrives in Esquimalt BC, to begin a review of Canadian navel defence requirements.
10 Nov 1945-The destroyer HMCS Assiniboine (D18 later I18) is wrecked off Prince Edward Island while being towed to the breaker’s yard. She is broken up in situ in 1952.
10 Nov 1956-The St-Laurent Class destroyer HMCS Ottawa (229) commissions into the Royal Canadian Navy. She pays off 31 July 1992.
14 Nov 1957-After being converted into a Prestonian class escort, the frigate HMCS Swansea (306) re-commissions into the Royal Canadian Navy. She is paid off 14 October 1966.
14 Nov 1987-HMCS D’Iberville commissions as a Naval Reserve Division at Rimouski Quebec.
15 Nov 1942-The destroyer HMCS Saguenay (D79 later I79) is salvaged after a collision with the SS Azra while on escort service off Cape Race. She does not return to operational service and serves as a training platform at the Naval Training establishment HMCS Cornwallis, Deep Brook Nova Scotia.
15 Nov 1943-The destroyer HMCS Chaudière(H99) and River Class frigate HMCS Port Colborne(K326) commission into the Royal Canadian Navy. They pay off 12 August and 7 November 1945 respectively.
15 Nov 1945-The destroyer HMCS Crusader (R20 later 228) commissions into the Royal Canadian Navy. She pays off 15 January 1960.
24 Nov 1944-The Flower class corvette HMCS Shawinigan (K136) is torpedoed in Cabot Strait by the German submarine U-1228. The ship is lost with all hands.
26 Nov 1939-The Royal Canadian Navy begins work of converting two Canadian National Steamship liners into armed merchant cruisers, with work stating on Prince Robert and followed by Prince David.Similar work on the third vessel of the class, Prince Henry, begins in March 1940.
29 Nov 1944-The River Class frigate HMCS Sussexvale (K683) commissions into the Royal Canadian Navy. She pays off 16 November 1945.
30 Nov 1942-The Tribal class destroyer HMCS Iroquois (G89 later 217) commissions into the Royal Canadian Navy. She pays off 24 October 1962.