At the outbreak of war in August 1914, only three obsolete ships and two recently-acquired submarines protected Canada's west coast. Canadians feared that German cruisers might attack merchant ships or bombard cities and towns. After these attacks failed to materialize, many vessels and personnel were transferred to the Atlantic to deal with the growing German submarine threat.
A Canadian sailor, likely from HMCS Shearwater, poses in front of a banana plant.
Shearwater, escorting Canadian submarines CC-1 and CC-2 from Esquimalt to Halifax, sailed down the Pacific coast and through the Panama Canal. Travelling through Central America and the Caribbean and seeing tropical fruit like these bananas would have been an unusual experience for many of the sailors. This photograph may have been taken in Panama, where United States naval authorities gave Shearwater and the submarines an official welcome.
George Metcalf Archival Collection