Erik Nitsche: Royal Canadian Navy Graphic "75"
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary in 1985, the Royal Canadian Navy was established by an act of the British Parliament on May 4, 1910. Originally equipped with only two training cruisers -- the HMCS Niobe for the East Coast, and the HMCS Rainbow for the West Coast -- the Royal Canadian Navy grew rapidly with the outbreak of World War I. The relatively small fleet -- seven thousand men by 1917 -- aided the Allied war effort by conducting antisubmarine patrols across the Atlantic. The fleet increased beginning in 1923 with the formation of the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve and the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. By World War II, there were over nine hundred ships in the RCN, 375 of which were armed for offensive action, manned by a total of approximately 95,000 volunteers. Again, the Canadian Navy was charged with opening the sea lanes in the Atlantic; their fighting spirit provided safe passage for troop and cargo ship convoys against the dreaded German U-boats. The link between Great Britain and the Canadian Northwest Atlantic Command proved particularly vital in late 1942, when Canadian warships escorted the Anglo-American invasion force to North Africa. After the war, the reserve forces were reorganized while the RCN continued to provide aid during the Korean Conflict, and bolster its NATO commitments. Today, the Royal Canadian Navy is unified with the other service branches to form the Canadian Armed Forces.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Canada 34¢ Royal Canadian Navy stamp issued November 8, 1985.
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