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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.

Sailor Standing by HMCS Rainbow's Wheel
Sailor Standing by HMCS Rainbow's Wheel

This sailor stands by HMCS Rainbow's emergency steering position under the ship's aft bridge.

He wears a cap tally indicating service in the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve, Pacific. The wheels in this photograph are decorated with more than three centuries of battle honours awarded to the nine previous Royal Navy ships named Rainbow. In August 1914, Commander Walter Hose faced significant challenges in getting the ship ready for war. A third of Rainbow's crew, already half the size it should have been, were reservists like this young sailor, many with little or no prior experience at sea.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 20020045-2812

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