Explore History

Second World War (1939-1945)
The Navy in European Waters  - D-Day and the Normandy Landings

Over 100 Canadian warships and some 10,000 Canadian sailors supported D-Day, the 6 June 1944 landings in Normandy. Canadian ships and sailors helped protect the invasion fleet, cleared German minefields, and ferried Allied troops across the Channel.

Rescue at Sea
Rescue at Sea

On 24 September 1944, the frigate HMCS Swansea (foreground) rescued seven British soldiers from a sinking segment of an artificial harbour (right).

Towed by a tug, this giant floating concrete structure, called a Phoenix, was headed to Normandy to help create an artificial harbour known as a "Mulberry". Soldiers were stationed on board to supervise the towing and operate pumps to keep it afloat. Swansea, called to assist when heavy weather interfered with the towing and caused the Phoenix to start sinking, made several attempts to rescue the soldiers (right, on Phoenix). It ultimately succeeded, after coming dangerously close to the sinking concrete structure.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19870232-011

HMCS Caraquet Model
Oropesa Minesweeping Float
Tangled Float, No.2
Chaudières Embarking for Normandy Assault
Third Canadian Division Assault Troops
260th Landing Craft Flotilla, Southampton, England
Officers of the 260th and 262nd Flotillas
The Crew of LCI(L) 135
LCI(L) 249, Bernières-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944
LCI(L) 249 at Bernières-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944
LCI(L) 135 on Juno Beach
LCI(L) 249 in Drydock, Portsmouth, England
White Ensign, LCI(L) 250
Chaplain James Harold Graven's Pyx
Royal Canadian Navy Beach Commando Battle Dress Blouse
Lanchester Sub-Machine-gun
Southampton Pub, D-Day Plus One
Rescue at Sea
The Gale of Hurricane Force on the Normandy Beach