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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.

British 18-inch Torpedo
British 18-inch Torpedo

This torpedo, which formed part of HMCS Niobe's armament before the war, is also the type used by early Canadian submarines.

Niobe's armament included this and other torpedoes and the underwater tubes required to launch them. Capable of damaging or sinking ships, the torpedoes complemented Niobe's numerous guns. When Canada acquired two submarines in August 1914, several of Niobe's torpedoes, which would work in the submarines' tubes, were quickly shipped to Esquimalt to arm the new vessels.

Torpedo, British 18-inch
CWM 19390001-181

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