home
Explore History

First World War (1914-1918)
The Merchant Navy

From 1914 to 1918, Canadian and Allied merchant ships and mariners transported personnel, munitions, weapons, and food to Great Britain and Europe as part of the Allied war effort. German U-Boats (submarines) and mines claimed tens of thousands of Allied lives and thousands of ships.

You do not have Flash Player installed on this computer. You can download it here: Adobe
Canada's Grand Armada, 1914
Canada's Grand Armada, 1914

The First Canadian Contingent sailed for England in October 1914 with over 31,000 troops on board 31 ocean liners escorted by Royal Navy warships.

This large oil painting by Frederick Sproston Challener depicts the convoy of ships carrying the First Contingent forming up in Bay of Gaspé, Quebec before leaving for England. With Canada at war from 4 August 1914, Canadian recruits from across the country converged on the army's newly-constructed Valcartier Camp near Quebec City. There, they trained for about two months before marching to Quebec City where soldiers, guns, horses, and war supplies were crammed onto ships for overseas transport.

Canada's Grand Armada, 1914
Painted by Frederick Sproston Challener in 1919
Beaverbrook Collection of War Art
CWM 19710261-0120





Canada's Grand Armada, 1914
Convoy of the First Contingent
Bridge, RMS Megantic
Canada's Answer
SS Scandinavian, Canadian Transport
Pin, RMS Missanabie
Convoy in Bedford Basin
Dazzle-painted Merchant Ship, Halifax Harbour
Thomas Moore in Summer Uniform
Merchant Navy Cap Badge, Thomas Moore
Medal Set, Thomas Moore
Thomas Moore, Postwar