Canada’s Longest Battle with Marc Milner

| April 29, 2020

Juno Beach and Beyond
Canada's Longest Battle with Marc Milner

In May 1945, the residents of Bay Bulls (and later, St. John’s), Newfoundland witnessed as a German submarine entered the harbour. The boat was U-190, and its crew had surrendered to vessels of the Royal Canadian Navy days before. Back on 16 April 1945, U-190 had torpedoed and sank HMCS Esquimalt, the last Canadian warship lost during the Second World War. Now, the U-boat flew under the White Ensign instead of the Nazi swastika and a Canadian naval officer had the command.      

Just as May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and Victory in Europe, it also marks the end of the Battle of the Atlantic. For nearly six long years, Canadian airmen and naval and merchant sailors kept supply lines across the Atlantic Ocean open despite the German U-boat (submarine) menace. Historian Marc Milner joins us to explore what some call “Canada’s longest battle”. He argues that Canada’s economic and military efforts in the Battle of the Atlantic were our most important contributions to victory in the Second World War. 

Conning tower of German submarine U-190, showing Schnorkel mast and White Ensign flying over Kriegsmarine flag (Edward W. Dinsmore / DND / LAC / PA-145577).


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Time Stamps

3:55 Defining the Battle of the Atlantic

7:45 Expanding the Royal Canadian Navy 

12:40 Defeating the U-boat Threat

16:13 Innovating Technology and Tactics

22:30 Canada’s Economic Impact

27:34 The U-boats on D-Day

30:25 The End of the Battle of the Atlantic

33:50 V-E Day in Halifax

37:55 Canada’s Battle of the Atlantic Legacy

Guest Biography

Marc Milner is one of Canada’s leading naval and military historians. After completing his doctoral dissertation on the Royal Canadian Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, he worked for the Department of National Defence on the official histories of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy. More recently, Professor Milner’s research at the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick focuses on Canada’s Battle of Normandy. We interviewed him for our very first podcast episode, Stopping the Panzers with Marc Milner, based on his 2014 book of the same title. 


The following links offer more information on the topics discussed in this episode:


St. Lawrence Victory with Roger Sarty

Stopping the Panzers with Marc Milner


Admiral L.W. Murray

Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz

W. L. Mackenzie King

Winston Churchill

The Battle of the Atlantic

Victory in the Atlantic

The Merchant Navy of Canada

Men and Women of the Royal Canadian Navy


Anti-Submarine Detection

Ship Types

RCAF Anti-Submarine Squadrons Overseas

RCAF Home Defence


Juno Beach & Beyond is hosted and edited by Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the Juno Beach Centre Association’s Operations and Outreach Manager.

Mackenzie King’s speech to British Parliament from the British Pathé YouTube channel:

Artillery firing sounds from the CBC News: The National YouTube channel:

Female veteran’s voice (Eileen Green, née Short) Courtesy of The Memory Project, Historica Canada: 

Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech from Jonathan Thomas’s YouTube channel:

Spitfire sound effect from Jason Kirby’s YouTube channel:

Dramatic Interlude by Alexander Nakarada |

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at

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