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Second World War
The Navy Ashore  - Building the Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy expanded dramatically during the Second World War, acquiring ships and recruiting personnel to meet the constantly increasing demands placed upon it. Ships had to be built, repaired, and maintained, and people recruited, trained, and supported.

Signal Flag Hoist
Signal Flag Hoist

Two sailors aboard a corvette hoist colourful signal flags in Donald Mackay's painting.

The colours and patterns of these flags were used in sending visual signals, and the flags themselves were stored in a rack called a flag locker (lower centre). Halifax native Mackay's paintings often speak to the excitement of the navy, and to the relationship between sailors and the maritime environment. The varied nature of naval service held great appeal for many Canadians. Navy life was often of particular appeal to volunteers from central Canada who, in many cases, had never seen an ocean before enlisting.

Signal Flag Hoist
Painted by Donald C. Mackay around 1945
Beaverbrook Collection of War Art
CWM 19710261-4251

Halifax Dockyard
Hull of a Minesweeper under Construction
A New Gun for the Destroyer
Outfitting a Minesweeper at Night
HMCS Micmac
Diver, First Class
Diving Knife
Calisthenics at HMCS Cornwallis
"Do You Fit in Here?"
Seamen on Jetty Being Instructed on Bends and Hitches
Semaphore Training Tool
Signal Flag Hoist
Nurse's Uniform, Sub-Lieutenant Georgia Hayes
Service Dress Uniform, Captain Charles Best
Foot-Powered Dental Drill
Canadian Sailor in Hospital
Barrington Street Patrol, Halifax
Colt Revolver
Navy Police and Sentry in Dockyard, Halifax
Cap Ribbon Order
Service Club, Sydney, Nova Scotia
Three Sailors at Rest Base, Northern Ireland
Boxing Instruction