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The Second World War
War in the Pacific and South East Asia  - The Royal Canadian Navy and the Pacific Coast

The Royal Canadian Navy was active in operations along the Pacific coast from 1939 to 1945, patrolling British Columbia waters and helping to support the Allied war effort. West coast shipyards built ships for the navy and the merchant navy.

Bangor Entering Esquimalt
Bangor Entering Esquimalt

In Rowley Murphy's painting, the Bangor class minesweeper HMCS Miramichi steams past the boom vessels and the opened anti-submarine boom (left) near Esquimalt's distinctive lighthouse.

An elaborate system of defences including heavy nets suspended from floats was intended to protect the naval base at Esquimalt from submarine attack. The October 1939 sinking of the British battleship HMS Royal Oak in Scapa Flow, Scotland killed more than 800 sailors and emphasized the threat submarines posed to vessels in port. Miramichi spent the entire war on the west coast, and is shown in the unusual "jigsaw" camouflage applied to minesweepers stationed there.

Bangor Entering Esquimalt
Painted by Rowley Murphy in 1944
Beaverbrook Collection of War Art
CWM 19710261-4261

Bangor Entering Esquimalt
HMCS Armentières, Esquimalt
Firefighting Practice at Esquimalt
HMCS Vancouver Alongside, Esquimalt
HMCS Kokanee
HMCS St. Catharines entering Esquimalt Harbour
The Naval Chapel
Fishermen's Reserve Vessel Z-126 Under Way in Heavy Weather
Confiscated Japanese Canadian Fishing Boats
R.B. Michelin, Fishermen's Reserve
HMCS Prince Robert Refitted as an Armed Merchant Cruiser
German Prisioners Leaving HMCS Prince Robert
Tropical Service Dress, German Merchant Navy
Prisoner of War Work Jacket
Japanese Shell Fragment
HMCS Prince Robert Alongside Pier # 1
Soviet Dirk
Soviet Merchant Ship