Remembering the Gumboot Navy

W - 1997.058-2
The fishing boat Holly Leaf, is upgraded to navy patrol boat with the addition of torpedoes during WWII.
GOGCS Archives.1997.058.001

This Remembrance Day, while honouring war efforts far and wide, let’s also take a moment to reflect on the home front.

During the second World War, the government decided that Canada’s warships should be concentrated on the Atlantic Coast, leaving the Pacific Coast defenseless. The regular navy was also not trained to handle small boats in the sometimes treacherous BC waters. The Navy’s solution was to form the Fishermen’s Reserve, which was also known as the Gumboot Navy. Fishermen were trained at naval barracks and patrolled the West Coast waters from their own boats. The Fishermen’s Reserve reached its peak its peak activity in 1942, after Pearl Harbour. It was disbanded in 1944.

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