Canada's role in the war

What was Canada’s Role, in both European and Pacific theaters up until this point in the war?


When Canada declared war on Germany in 1939, PM William Lyon Mackenzie King was really worried about national unity regarding the English and the French populations. Quebec was not really for the war and King was worried about massive casualties in the army that would result in another conscription crisis like back in 1917 (where Québécois protests resulted in troops firing and resulting in many deaths.) As such, King focused most of Canada’s contributions on the Royal Canadian Air Force. This guaranteed minimal deaths for a decent amount of commitment. The establishment of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan provided a safe place for new Commonwealth pilots and aircrew to train and be certified to go to war. The RCAF also was the main force in Europe through Bomber Command and Fighter Command. This is evident in the fact that Canada would have the 4th largest Air Force in the world by war’s end. (Briefly). The Royal Canadian Navy was also a major contribution protecting convoys in the Atlantic and hunting U-Boats. Also evident since Canada would also have the 3rd largest Navy in the world by war’s end. (Again briefly). The Army didn’t really see much action in the first half of the war other than a brief role in the Battle of France, defending the UK from invasion and the Dieppe Raid in 1942. The army wouldn’t be dedicated to a full front until the invasion of Italy in 1943. There was actually a program called CANLOAN where Canadian officers and troops where loaned out to the British army to help the Brits with losses as well as provide the static Canadians with combat experience. (This meant that Canadians would pop up in places you wouldn’t expect like Operation Market Garden.) As for the Pacific, there was the Battle of Hong Kong and that was it for the Army. The Canadian military just couldn’t be stretched so far against so fierce opponents so we focused on Europe. ( I say we because I am Canadian.) but the RCAF did fly supplies over the Hump from India to China. The Navy also had a small presence in the Battle of Okinawa. Also we helped build the Atomic Bomb with the Americans and British. Hope this answers your question.


That definitely answers my question, thanks for the info! Most of the info I’ve read up on or watched never really goes into detail about what Canada was doing, from what you say it was mainly a supportive role up until 1943ish. I’m guessing CANLOAN is one of the reasons why Canada’s forces are labeled as British forces for most of the beginning of the war.