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First World War (1914-1918)
War in the Pacific

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, only three obsolete ships and two recently-acquired submarines protected Canada's west coast. Canadians feared that German cruisers might attack merchant ships or bombard cities and towns. After these attacks failed to materialize, many vessels and personnel were transferred to the Atlantic to deal with the growing German submarine threat.

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Canadian Submarine in Harbour
Canadian Submarine in Harbour

This undated photograph shows one of the two Canadian submarines, CC-1 or CC-2, near an American cruiser, likely during the trip from Esquimalt to Halifax.

Acquired at the start of the war to defend the west coast, in mid-1917 the submarines were moved to Halifax in preparation for a voyage to reinforce Allied forces in the Mediterranean. This arduous voyage took almost four months due to mechanical problems, and since both submarines' diesel engines were worn out by the end, they remained in Halifax for the rest of the war.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19770610-003_5

HMCS Rainbow in Drydock, Esquimalt
Commander Walter Hose, HMCS Rainbow
Sailor Standing by HMCS Rainbow's Wheel
Sailor with Sennet Hat and Camera, HMCS Rainbow
HMS Algerine in Esquimalt, 1914
Canadian Submarine at Esquimalt
British 18-inch Torpedo
Japanese Cruiser Aso off British Columbia
HMCS Galiano Ship's Company, 1918
Chief Petty Officer James Vinicombe
Sailor's Summer Uniform, Lionel Channing, HMCS Shearwater
HMCS Shearwater in the Panama Canal
HMCS Shearwater's Crew
Cargo Ship Seen from Canadian Submarine
Sailor and 3-Pounder Hotchkiss Gun, HMCS Shearwater
Stoker Abner Beckwith Willford and Ship's Crew, HMCS Shearwater
Canadian Sailor with Banana Plant
Canadian Submarine in Harbour