At the start of the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy operated just six destroyers and seven other craft with 3,600 crewmen.
By May 1945, the RCN was operating over 400 warships with a force of almost 98,000 personnel. By war's end the Canadian Navy was the third largest in the world. During the war the RCN played a critical role in the six year Battle of the Atlantic.
The constant threat of German U-boats meant the supply lifeline to Britain was threatened. Merchant vessels had to be escorted by warships to protect them from U-boat attack. The RCN sunk 27 U-boats along with 17 destroyed by the RCAF. But the navy's success in this operation and in the naval support of D-Day came at a heavy cost. A total of 24 ships and over 2,000 naval personnel were lost during the war.