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Second World War
Battle of the Atlantic  - The Battle of the St. Lawrence

The struggle on the Atlantic between Allied navies and German U-Boats (submarines) brought the naval war into Canada, turning the river and Gulf of St. Lawrence into a battleground. From 1942, German U-Boats sank 23 merchant and naval ships; improvements in anti-submarine defences ultimately stemmed these losses.

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HMCS Shawinigan
HMCS Shawinigan

In November 1944, U-1228 sank Shawinigan off the Newfoundland coast. It was the last ship lost in the battle of the St. Lawrence.

Shawinigan had been escorting the ferry SS Burgeo to guard against U-Boat attacks. This photograph, likely taken soon after the ship's completion in 1941, shows the corvette without secondary armament, camouflage, an identifying pennant number, or the Royal Canadian Navy's White Ensign. All 91 of Shawinigan's crew, including cook Joseph Bertrand Alphonse Benoit (upper right), were lost. Benoit, a cook in civilian life, had enlisted in August 1941 and served in Shawinigan since June 1943.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19940082-014





St. Lawrence Convoy
HMCS Chaleur at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, 1939
Jig-Saw Puzzle, "Canadian Warship Captures First Italian Prize"
Crew Members, HMCS Bras D'Or
U-Boat U-190 Commissioning
HMCS Fort Ramsay
"Minor war vessels at Gaspé, 1942"
Bridge of Motor Launch
HMCS Raccoon
Funeral of Able Seaman Donald Bowser, HMCS Charlottetown
Burial at Sea
"Remember the Caribou and Her Gallant Crew"
Damaged Fairmile Motor Launch, 1944
The Torpedoing of HMCS Magog
Damage to HMCS Magog
Iced Up
HMCS Shawinigan
German U-Boat Navigation Handbook
German Map of the St. Lawrence