At the outbreak of war in 1939, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) fleet consisted of just six modern Destroyers and four Minesweepers.
At the outbreak of war in 1939, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) fleet consisted of just six modern Destroyers and four Minesweepers. Production then skyrocketed as Canadian Shipyards churned out over four hundred vessels throughout the course of the war. Incredibly, by war’s end, the RCN had become the world’s third largest navy.
Minesweepers were designed to detect enemy laid mines that might threaten harbours and block sea routes. The Bangor Class Minesweeper was the leader of its kind being larger and faster than it’s predecessors.
Enemy mines were laid only once in Canadian waters in 1943 thus our Minesweepers were used mainly as local escorts to coastal shipping and ocean convoys. Sixteen of them, did however, cross the Atlantic to assist in sweeping the Normandy coast prior to the D-Day Invasion remaining for several months after to clear mines in the English Channel.
Dr. John A. Alexander
Dr. John A. Alexander’s WWII war experience began as a Royal Canadian Sea Cadet in his hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. Then in 1943 he joined the services and rose to the rank of Midshipman in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR).
In the RCNVR, his trade was as an electrician on many ships including Fairmile Coastal Patrol Boats, Minesweepers, and Corvettes. He served in a variety of theaters during the Battle of the North Atlantic.
He saw action in the anti-sub patrols in the Gulf of St-Lawrence, convoy duty on the Canada-Greenland run, and minesweeping of the Normandy Beaches during the D-Day Invasion. He was training in Canada for Pacific duty when VJ-day was declared. During the post-war years he returned to his studies and obtained a Dental Surgeon degree from the University of Toronto.
He practiced dentistry in Ottawa, Ontario. He is survived by wife, Anne-Marie, four children Robert, Michelle, Suzanne, and Paul, and son in law Rick Lewis, grandchildren Zoe, and Reese.