Canada flag flown over HMS Belfast

Navy News / January 28, 2020

The Canadian flag recently flew over Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Belfast in London, England, to honour Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) contributions during the Second World War, particularly during the Arctic convoys from the Western Allies to Russia.

HMS Belfast, a museum ship originally built as a light cruiser for the Royal Navy (RN), is permanently moored on the River Thames next to Tower Bridge and operated by the Imperial War Museum.

The Canadian flag was flown at the mast of the museum ship from December 20, 2019 to the end of the year to celebrate and commemorate the participation of the RCN in the battle of North Cape for which Belfast was awarded a Battle Honour.

Canadian warships began escort duties on the Russian convoys in the autumn of 1943, but its sailors were involved before then. Hundreds of Canadian sailors served in British ships operating in the north throughout the war. Eighty Canadian sailors – about 10 per cent of each ship’s company – fought in the cruisers Belfast and Sheffield at the Battle of North Cape. In the final 18 months of the war, Canadian warships participated in more than half of the Russian convoys.

In all, 18 Canadian warships were awarded an Arctic Battle Honour for service in northern European waters during the Second World War.