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First World War (1914-1918)
The Home Front

The war at sea affected Canadians in a variety of ways. While extensive recruiting efforts at home sought men to become sailors in the Canadian and British navies, Canadian shipyards built warships and merchant ships to expand Allied navies and to replace vessels lost to submarine attack.

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Shift Change at J. Coughlan & Sons Shipyard, Vancouver
Shift Change at J. Coughlan & Sons Shipyard, Vancouver

Workers on a shift change crowd the street outside Vancouver's J. Coughlan & Sons, one of the largest shipyards in Canada during the First World War.

Britain turned to Canadian shipyards in early 1917 to help replace the terrible losses inflicted by German U-Boats. There were enormous challenges: only six large shipyards existed, most of them working at low capacity. Much of the steel for ships came from the United States, and labour shortages and strikes affected production. Despite these constraints, Canadian shipyards eventually produced 41 steel cargo ships, one railway car ferry, and dozens of smaller vessels.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 20070035-022

Recruiting Poster, Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve
Llewellyn and Joseph Lush, 1914, Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve
Victory Bonds Will Help Stop This
Boy's Civilian Sailor Suit, RMS Missinabie
Ship Building, J. Coughlan & Sons Shipyard, Vancouver
Merchant Ships under Construction, J. Coughlan & Sons Shipyard, Vancouver
Launching of the SS War Camp, J. Coughlan & Sons Shipyard, Vancouver
SS War Camp at Sea
Shift Change at J. Coughlan & Sons Shipyard, Vancouver
Polsons Iron Work Yard, Ship War Hydra on Stocks
Starting the Freighter
Cargo Ship Half Hull Model, Canadian Vickers
Submarines at Canadian Vickers Shipyard, Montreal
Anchored Naval Mine Model