the outbreak of war, the Royal Canadian
Navy consisted of only 350 men and the
two cruisers obtained in 1910. Britain
assumed direct responsibility for defending
the sea approaches to Canada. German
submarines (U-boats) besieged Britain’s
Atlantic lines of communication in an
attempt to deny Britain the vital supplies
it needed to continue the war.
1918, the U-boats also lurked off Canada’s
east coast. In response, the navy had
grown to more than 5000 men and some
100 small warships, many built in Canada,
engaged in important anti-submarine,
coastal patrol, and minesweeping operations.
Another 3000 Canadians served with Britain’s
Royal Navy. Over 150 Canadian sailors
lost their lives during the war.