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Natives going to meet the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana in 1792

Type: Image

This painting shows an encounter on 11 June 1792 between native canoes and the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana. Mount Baker can be seen in the background. On this date in Guemes Channel (near present day Anacortes, Washington), a Spanish expedition paused to make astronomical observations that would correctly fix their longitude. Their mission was to chart the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and search for the Northwest Passage. The painting is the work of José Cardero, the expedition's official artist. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

British Fleet Lifts the Siege

Type: Document

Despite having won a battle outside the city in April 1760, the French army was unable to retake Quebec. General Murray, commanding the British defenders, refused to give up. A siege began for control of the city, but a British fleet arrived with more men, ending the contest.

Site: National Defence

Compagnies franches de la Marine (Warships)

Type: Document

The names of troops raised by the French Ministry of Marine often confuse people. There were separate units of Compagnies franches de la Marine to serve aboard warships. These troops had nothing to do with the Compagnies franches found in Canada.

Site: National Defence

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

Army Participation in Measures taken by the Three Services for the Security of the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Lower River during the Period of German Submarine Activity, 1942-45

Type: Document

This report discusses the measures taken by the Army to safeguard the civil population and vital installations in the Lower St. Lawrence region as a result of the incursion of German submarines into the Gulf and River in 1942. After Japanese forces struck at Pearl Harbour, the whole perspective of the war was changed and the Allied powers had to redistribute their naval resources to cover the new areas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The German enemy's response to this new situation was to mount more agressive U-boat attacks from the Atlantic and heading westward.

Site: National Defence

Consequences of the Naval Bill

Type: Document

Opposition by all groups to the new navy became an issue in the 1911 election that saw Laurier defeated. The navy was mothballed by the new government and a monetary contribution to the British Navy was made instead. Canada’s navy hung on until better times by retaining two mine-sweepers for training purposes.

Site: National Defence

Belmont Battery at Fort Rodd Hill, British Columbia

Type: Image

Built in 1898-1900 to protect the entrance to the Royal Navy (and later the Royal Canadian Navy) base on the Pacific, the battery has been restored to its appearance during the Second World War 1939-45. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

American Withdrawal Leaves Towns Burning

Type: Document

When the British regained control of Lake Ontario in December 1813, the Americans had to move men to hold their shipyards at Sackets Harbor. Unable to hold Fort George, they burnt both it and the surrounding towns in mid-winter. A unit of Canadian traitors helped them in this cruelty.

Site: National Defence

Officer, Royal Canadian Navy, 1940-1945

Type: Image

This officer with his dufflecoat and binoculars is dressed as he would have been on watch at sea. With all badges of rank covered, there is nothing to show his rank, or if he is a member of the Royal Canadian Navy or the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Sailors, Royal Navy, circa 1800-1815

Type: Image

At the time of the War of 1812, sailors of the Royal Navy — like in most navies of the period — had no prescribed uniform. But in 1623, the Royal Navy adopted a system by which sailors could buy ‘Slop Clothing’ at a fixed price. Generally, the seamen's dress consisted of a blue double-breasted jacket, with brass or horn buttons, a short waistcoat — often red but it could be another colour, blue or white trousers, a round hat, a neckerchief — often black, stockings and shoes. Slop clothing was also avaliable in Canada. An advertisement in Halifax’s 'Nova Scotia Royal Gazette' of 24 November 1813 mentioned a ‘Complete assortment of Slop Cloathing, viz, Men and youth's fine Jackets and Trowsers, Scarlet and blue cloth Waistcoats, Woolen and cotton cord ditto [waistcoats], Striped Cotton and red Flannel Shirts, Great Coats, Pea and Flushing Jackets and Trowsers, men’s flannel drawers’, these later items to face the cold North Atlantic weather.

Site: National Defence