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Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association

Merchant Plaque
Canadian Merchant Navy Plaque

The Naval Marine Archive: the Canadian Collection was honoured to receive and archive the records of the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans Association in June 2019, as they closed their organization.

The collection has many files of material and the newsletter The Red Duster which tell of those sailors who served in the merchant service of Canada. The files also describe the work the Association did to support the Veterans, gain recognition of their service, and work with the government to provide appropriate benefits.

The Association was instrumental is helping the Veterans to receive acknowledgement in towns and cities across Canada. Many memorials were established to allow citizens to pay their respects.

memorial window, Merchant Navy
Memorial Window in Winnipeg

The lifeline provided during the first and second World Wars by the Canadian Merchant Navy to our fighting forces and civilian populations overseas by transporting millions of tons of food, petroleum, ammunitions and personnel across the oceans and seas at great risk was enormously important. Without the service of merchant mariners, the world would no longer be the one that we know and cherish today.

Merchant Navy Veterans Day is celebrated on the 3rd of September.

Many of the Canadian Merchant Navy men and women made the ultimate sacrifice to help defend the freedoms of Canadians. The casualties sustained by the Merchant navy were proportionally greater [1] than in any other service of the Canadian Armed Forces.

[ Back ] Footnote 1: There are numerous, widely varying data points for Canadian merchant mariner personnel losses. These are often questions of terminology. Was a casualty onboard a "Canadian registered" ship? thus ignoring Canada's remarkable shipyard production of which much -- under wartime politico-industrial agreements -- became British or USA registered. Newfoundland was 'British' until 1949, therefore Newfoundland mariners are often excluded. For background (but not a mathematical analysis) see, inter alia, Robert G Halford, The Unknown Navy and Fraser M. McKee, Sink all the shipping there.


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Naval Marine Archive
The Canadian Collection

Revised:30 August 2023