1942-1945. — 12 photographs.
At the start of WWII, the Royal Canadian Navy commandeered all merchant vessels—a total of 38 ships. By the end of the war, Canada had 400 ships, the world’s third-largest fleet. Canada’s merchant navy was vital to the Allied cause during the Second World War. The very outcome of the war depended on the successful transport of troops and cargo by sea, and our ships transported desperately needed equipment, fuel, supplies and personnel to Europe and around the world. Merchant seamen and women faced fierce attacks by German U-boat “Wolf Packs” and hazardous, life-threatening weather conditions in the North Atlantic. In total, 25,242 merchant ship voyages carried over 181,000,000 tons of cargo from North America to the Britain under Canadian Naval Escort.
Jack Thorpe enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve when he turned 18, at the end of 1941. He completed Basic Training on the Nonsuch, a drydocked ship in Edmonton, then went on to Esquimalt (Vancouver Island) for further training, and finally to the Stadacona Base in Halifax for Radar Training. He served aboard HMCS Bayfield, a minesweeper which patrolled the east coast from Boston to Halifax; HMCS Orangeville, a Castle Class Corvette in the North Atlantic; and HMCS Atholl, on convoy duty from St. John’s to Londonderry, Ireland.
Photographs were borrowed from Jack Thorpe for a Remembrance Day display in 2006, when permission was given to copy the photographs for inclusion in the archives.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 12 photographs detailing Jack Thorpe’s service with the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. Photographs include Jack’s official Navy portrait, ships he served on and working on theships.