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How Esquimalt saved Canada

October 09th, 2014


When Canada was still part of the British Empire, its naval forces fell under the command of the British Navy including the two bases at Esquimalt and Halifax. Bryan Elson argues in his newly published book that Canada’s two British naval bases played a key role in ensuring our country’s emergence as an independent country. Canada‘s Bastions of Empire: Halifax, Victoria and the Royal Navy (Formac $29.95) explores how the British Navy stood in the way of U.S. designs on Canada. American leaders knew that the British Navy, with its bases on both coasts, had the power to cut them off from the rest of the world with a naval blockade. Then, during World War I, the two bases played a significant role as the U.S. stood aside and the British Empire, including Canada, took on Germany. During this period, the Esquimalt naval base was buttressed by the extraordinary action of the B.C. provincial government – which at the start of the war bought two new submarines from a shipyard in Seattle for the fledgling Canadian navy forces (military resources are a federal, not a provincial jurisdiction). Elson, a former officer of the Royal Canadian Navy and the vice-chair of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust in Halifax has published two previous books: Nelson’s Yankee Captain: The Life of Boston Loyalist Sir Benjamin Hallowell (Formac 2008) and First To Die: The First Canadian Navy Casualties in the First World War (Formac 2011). 978-1-4595-0326-7

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