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ARCHIVED - Faces of War

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Selected Photographs: Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy

During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) expanded to become the third-largest navy in the world, enlisting 99,688 men and 6,500 women, and operating 471 warships of various types: aircraft carriers, cruisers, armed merchant cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, motor torpedo boats, minesweepers, landing craft, armed yachts and auxiliary ships. The RCN's main operational responsibility was the Battle of the Atlantic, fought throughout the war to protect convoys of troopships and merchant ships running between North America and the United Kingdom. The RCN also supported the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942, and contributed 110 ships and 10,000 men in support of the invasion of Europe in June 1944. In 1945, the cruiser HMCS Uganda joined the British Pacific Fleet in operations against Japan. During the war, RCN ships sank or shared in sinking a total of 29 enemy submarines. The cost was substantial: the RCN lost 24 ships to enemy action, and suffered 2,024 fatal casualties during the war.