Riding the Waves

A war bride and her son aboard a ship coming to Canada in 1946.
(Photo: Karen Hermiston, CWAC photographer)

Being here in Halifax makes me think about how important boats are during conflicts. I should know – my relative Simon was a cat on a British warship years ago, catching pesky rats and being a furry friend to the sailors serving far from home.

In the First and Second World Wars, convoys of Allied transport ships carried soldiers, equipment and supplies across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. It was very dangerous. Enemy submarines tried to sink our boats but the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force helped protect them. Without this vital life line, the wars could have been lost!

Boats were useful in other ways, too. There were special ‘hospital ships’ that carried sick and wounded soldiers. Imagine a floating hospital with lots of helpful doctors and nurses! My favourite kind of boats, though, were the ones that brought war brides to Canada. Our young men went overseas to fight for peace and many of them met a special someone. Love bloomed and marriages took place. These wives – and little sons and daughters! – would sail to our country to begin new lives here.

Our navy has served in many places around the world over the years. During the Korean War of 1950 to 1953, our warships patrolled the waters of the Far East. More recently, they operated in the Indian Ocean during Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014.

Simone the cat
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