Canadian Naval Centennial 2010

First 100 years of the Navy

CNC Okanagan Events

CNC Okanagan News

Centennial Vignettes:

Admiral Kingsmill and the founding of the Canadian Navy

Canada's first submarines

Lieutenant Rowland Bourke, VC

VAdm DeWolfe and HMCS HAIDA

Lt Cdr Cornelius Burke MTB skipper

Lt Cdr Fuller
"Pirate of the Adriatic"

Lts Atherton and Hearns HMCS CHILLIWACK

Stoker Robert Powers

Lt Robert Hampton Gray

Okanagan based Naval biographies:

Rear Admiral Richard Leir

Captain Clarence King

Robert Hadgraft, OMMS

Centennial Virtual Sailpast:

1910 -1920



Okanagan Naval Namesake Ships:




Canadian Naval Centennial Links


















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The Canadian Navy Virtual Fleet Review
Ships of the Canadian Navy's first century and beyond.

These pages contain illustrations and information on the ships of the Canadian navy over the past century and some that will sail with the navy into the future beyond the centennial. View them as through binoculars from the bridge of your ship as they pass by during a virtual sail-past.


The war at sea in WWII began immediately with the outbreak of hostilities and there was no"phoney war" at sea. The battle of the convoy routes to England, known as the Battle of the Atlantic, grew in intensity with the fall of France in 1940 as U-boats were able to operate from bases on the western coast of France. Combined with long-range maritime aircraft (FW 200 Condors) and surface raiders, the U-boats posed a constant, deadly threat to Allied cause. The RCN made a tremendous contribution in the Battle of the Atlantic over the six years that it was fought. While doing so the Canadian Navy grew from the small pre-war force to the third largest navy in the world with over 100,000 officers and sailors, including men and women in naval service, with more than 300 ships, including cruisers and carriers, in commission at war's end in 1945.

BANGOR CLASS MINESWEEPER. Displacement: 672 tonnes .Length: 180 ft. Spd: 16 kts. Armament: 1 x 12 pdr, 2 x 20 mm. The Bangors became the mainstay of the RCN minesweeper force protecting coastal waters and escorting convoys. Canadian Bangor minesweepers also cleared the way for the D-Day invasion force in June 1944.
ALGERINE CLASS MINESWEEPER - Displacement: 990 tonnes Length: 225 ft Spd: 16 kts Armament: 1 x 4" , 4 x 20 mm, Anti- sub hedgehog mortar Crew: 99 (8 officers). An improved class of minesweeper with improved armament and endurance.
MOTOR TORPEDO/GUN BOATs (MTBs/MGBs) - The Canadian Navy operated flotillas of small, fast torpedo and gun boats in various theatres of operations form the Adriatoc, Aegean and Mediterranean to the English Channel. There were two main types of these vessels ranging from 71 to 100 feet in length and heavily armed with quick firing cannons, heavy and light machine guns, torpedoes and depth charges.Matched with stealth and speeds of 30 to 40 knots. The boats packed considerably hitting power in their small size. Several MTB/MGB "Aces" distinguished themselves as Commanding Officers of these Coastal Forces vessels.
FAIRMILE MOTOR LAUNCH - The RCN operated 128 of these small warships during WWII in Coastal Forces deployed both at home and abroad in the Mediterranean. The wooden Fairmiles were powered by 630 HP gasoline engines giving them a speed of of 20 kts. They were armed with a 3 pdr gun forward and machine guns but also carried up to 20 depth charges giving them an anti-submarine capability. At 79 tons and 112 ft with a crew of 16 these were compact little warships.
TOWN CLASS DESTROYER. Displacement: 1069 tonnes. length: 314.3 ft. Spd: 28 kts. Crew: 143 (10 officers) Armament: Guns - 4 x 4", 12 x 21 " torps. These destroyers were part of the famous "destroyers for bases" deal between the US and Britain with 50 Flush deck destroyers provided to the RN and RCN. The ships were modified in structure and armament to meet the needs of the Battle of the Atlantic. Although not good sea keeping ships and old these destroyers were a god-send when received during the critical years of the battle against the U-boats.
FLOWER CLASS CORVETTE - Displacement: 950 tonnes. Length: 205.1 ft. Spd: 16 kts. Crew: 79 (6 officers). Armament: 1 x 4" , 1 x 2 pdr, 2 x 20 mm, depth charges. The corvette was based on the basic design of a trawler. Built in large numbers and equipped with light guns and anti-submarine depth charges it was quick to build and filled the gap in escort vessels faced by the RN and RCN in the early stages of the Battle of the Atlantic. The corvette more than any other ship came to symbolize the RCN in WWII.
IMPROVED FLOWER CLASS CORVETTE (1943) - Anti-submarine Corvette. Displacement: 1015 tons. Length. 208 ft. Spd. 16Kts. The Corvette design was improved as the hard lessons of the Battle of the Atlantic were learned. Improved anti-submarine weapons such as the "hedgehog" anti-submarine mortar were installed. Better ASDIC (SONAR) allowed the corvettes to better detect submerged U-boats while radar enabled them to detect the U-boats as they attacked on the surface during night attacks on convoys .
CASTLE CLASS CORVETTE - Displacement: 1060 tonnes Length: 251.8 ft Spd: 16 kts Armament:1 x 4" 6 x 20 mm Anti-submarine mortar - Squid. Crew: 105 (7 officers). The Castle Class corvette represented the ultimate development of the anti-submarine corvette as a well equipped, capable and specialized anti-submarine vessel.
RIVER CLASS FRIGATE - Anti-submarine frigate. Displacement:1445 tonnes Length: 301.5 Spd: 19 kts Armament: 4 " dual mount 1 x 12 pdr anti-sub hedgehog mortar and depth charges Crew: 133 (8 officers). The frigates represented an improvement on the corvette capabilities.
RIVER/FRASER CLASS DESTROYERS - The pre-war RCN destroyers were modified in structure and weapons during the first years of the Battle of the Atlantic. They formed the mainstay of the RCNs destroyer forces early in the war and some such as FRASER, sunk in a collision with HMS CALCUTTA in 1940, were casualties of the intensity of the conflict at sea. Other River Class destroyers such as HMCS KOOTENAY (ex HMS DECOY) above, joined the RCN during the war as transfers from the RN.
TRIBAL CLASS DESTROYER - Displacement:1927 tonnes Length: 377 ft Spd:36 kts Armament:6 x 4.7 in dual mounts, 1 x 4 dual, 4 x 2 pdr, 6 x 20mm, 4 x 21" torps. Crew: 245 (14 officers). Fast and heavily armed the Tribals were designed as surface combatants capable of engaging other destroyers and surface craft. The RCN Tribals fought in the battle of the Atlantic and in the surface engagements with German naval forces off the coast of France in preparation for D-Day. They took a considerable toll on the enemy forces they engaged but not without the loss of one of their number, HMCS ATHABASKAN.
ARMED MERCHANT CRUISER/LANDING SHIP INFANTRY- Displacement: over 5700 tonnes Length: 385 ft Spd: 22 kts Armament: 4 -10 x 4" 2 x 2 pdr 6 - 8 x 20mm Crew: 386 (31 officers). The HMCS PRINCE DAVID, HENRY and ROBERT were converted from commercial liners into armed merchant cruisers and troopships.
LANDING CRAFT INFANTRY (ASSAULT)- LCAs were small (41ft) wooden vessels with light armour designed to land an infantry platoon of troops (30) directly on assaulted beaches. They were armed with a light machine gun.
LANDING CRAFT MECHANIZED/TANK - LCM/Ts were heavier, 50 ft landing craft with a drop ramp bow designed to deliver troops, light vehicles and heavier tracked vehicles directly on a beach head.
LANDING CRAFT INFANTRY (LARGE)- LCILs where large,long endurance landing craft, 6000 miles with a top speed of 12 ktsthat carroed up to 150 troops (Infantry Company) and could deliver troops directly to a beach head. They were also fairly heavily armed with automatic cannons and machine guns. All the landing craft depicted played a large part in the RCN's role on D Day in taking Juno Beach.
CRUISER - HMCS ONTARIO and UGANDA (renamed QUEBEC in 1952) both ex RN cruisers. Displacement: 8,800 tonnes Length: 555.5 ft Spd:30 kts Armament: 9 x 6" in triple turrets , 8 x 4" dual purpose guns, light AA and 6 x21 " torps Crew: 730. These cruisers represented the heaviest surface combatants of the RCN during WWII in terms of hitting power. Fast and well armed in combination with the RCN's Tribals they represented the ability to form surface striking forces of formidable strength.
ESCORT CARRIER - Displacement: 15,000 + tonnes Length: 495 ft Spd: 18 kts Armament: 2 x 5 " 16 x 40 mm 20 x 20 mm Crew: 1000. HMS PUNCHER and NABOB manned with Canadian ships crews and RN Fleet Air Arm air and service crews, including Canadians serving in the RN, gave the RCN its first carrier capability. The escort carrier were much slower and smaller than the fleet carriers and were designed as at sea air support for the ASW "Hunter Killer" groups. Flying various types of fighter and bomber aircraft the escort carrier played a vital role in the allied defeat of the U-boats by closing the mid-Atlantic gap in aerial patrol coverage.





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