HMS Algerine in Esquimalt, 1914
The British sloop HMS Algerine was one of three ships available to defend Canada's west coast in August 1914.
Almost 20 years old, the ship had been built for patrol work and retained masts and sails in order to conserve fuel on long journeys. The outbreak of war in August 1914 left Canada's west coast vulnerable to German warships. Algerine, in Mexican waters, was ordered back to Esquimalt, undertaking a hurried voyage north in the hope of meeting HMCS Rainbow. Much of Algerine's experienced crew was subsequently sent to HMCS Niobe in Halifax, with Algerine becoming a depot ship at Esquimalt.
George Metcalf Archival Collection