British Columbia Premier Sir Richard McBride secretly purchased two submarines from a shipyard in the United States. On 7 May 1915, the civilian ocean liner Lusitania was sunk, resulting in 1,198 deaths, including many Americans. Toll-free: 1-866-522-2122 Toll-free:

In February 1915, German U-Boats began to attack all merchant vessels in British waters. In the background, a torpedoed ship is sinking. Germany had a powerful navy, but was cautious about losing it in a major naval engagement. The airplane, regarded by military authorities in 1914 as little more than a novelty, became over the next four years a military necessity. Before the war started, reports indicated that German warships were headed for Canada’s west coast. The protection of Canada’s coasts was entrusted to the Royal Navy. Other vessels were built by the Imperial Munitions Board. This new unrestricted submarine warfare campaign was partially responsible for bringing the United States into the war on the Allied side in April 1917. To make up for the shortage of Canadian warships, several patriotic citizens loaned or gave their personal yachts to the navy. It was decided that Canada's war effort would be best concentrated on the army and, therefore, the protection of Canada's coasts and shipping in Canadian waters was handed over to the Royal Navy. Many who had voted Unionist in the belief that their sons would be exempted felt betrayed. But when the war started, the Royal Navy was occupied in locating and fighting German squadrons, leaving Canada largely defenseless. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. How the First World War began and how Canada joined in.

U-Boat attacks intensified, although Germany still feared bringing the United States into the war.

But the war at sea soon lost its chivalrous nature. Canada’s navy in 1914 consisted of two obsolete cruisers, HMCS Rainbow and HMCS Niobe, with fewer than 350 sailors. During the war, the navy would expand in response to the threat of German U-Boats. The war in the air. In the summer of 1918, German U-Boats raided Canada’s east coast, attacking vulnerable ships. The German U-boat fleet preyed on enemy and often neutral ships, sank merchantmen on sight, and threatened the supply lines on which the survival of the Allies depended. Allied shipping losses mounted, reaching a peak in April 1917 of 869,000 tons. During the war, the navy would expand in response to the threat of German U-Boats. By the end of 1917, 3,170 Allied and neutral ships, totaling nearly six million tons, were sunk. While Niobe saw action with Royal Navy warships in 1914 in searching for German ships along the east coast and in the West Indies, she served from the summer of 1915 in the Halifax Dockyard as a training ship. The Royal Canadian Navy expanded from a mere 350 sailors to over 5,000 from 1914 to 1918. They resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. German armies, moved from the Eastern to the Western Front after Russia's collapse in 1917, smashed through British lines. The role Canadian seamen played in the First World War. The War in the Air.

Canada enters the war. With no end to the war in early 1917, Germany returned to unrestricted submarine warfare on 1 February 1917, where its primary aim was to sink all vessels supplying the Allies, regardless of whether the country in question was at war with Germany.

Assistance Service. In addition Canadians made up a substantial part of the ships' companies of Canada's cruisers and the two submarines which had been acquired by the British Columbia government. Although the shipbuilding industry in Canada was not highly developed in 1914, a considerable number of warships were built or assembled in Canada during the war. Britain to her knees. VAC Deprived of the use of surface ships Germany increasingly resorted to submarine warfare to bring On the other hand, by the middle of 1918, the effects of the British blockade were such that Germany could not continue the war for much longer. It is available German submarines, or U-Boats, threatened Canadian merchant ships carrying troops and supplies to Britain, whose war effort depended on this support.

Niobe was damaged in the December 1917 Halifax explosion and sold for scrap in 1920. The RCN assumed responsibility for such services as examining and directing shipping in Canadian ports; radio-telegraph services, vital to the Admiralty's intelligence system; operation of an auxiliary fleet which engaged in mine sweeping and patrolling operations.


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