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Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1800 > 1890-1899 > 1892

Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site of Canada: End of a Long Reign

Type: Document

Wilfrid Laurier's penchant for compromise allowed him to remain in power for 15 years, earning him the nickname of the "Great Conciliator". But in 1911, this talent proved inadequate to the task of winning elections.

Site: Parks Canada

HMS Monarch, iron screwship with turrets, Royal Navy

Type: Image

This Royal Navy warship, launched in May 1868, was one of the first iron-built battleships fitted with turrets enclosing and rotating its four 25-ton (25.4 mt) 12-inch (30.4 cm.) guns. One of the largest and fastest battleships of its day, HMS Monarch had a displacement of 8820 tons (8962 mt), armour six to seven inches (15-18 cm) thick and a top speed of 15 knots (27.8 kph).

Site: National Defence

Rating in landing order, Royal Navy, 1892

Type: Image

This dress and armament was the standard gear from the 1860s onwards for armed parties sent ashore from ships of the Royal Navy to investigate the occasional piratical activities on the British Columbia coast.

Site: National Defence

Seldom Seen Guardians

Type: Document

The Royal Navy was crucial in the defence of British North America in the 19th century, even though Canadians seldom saw warships. The threat of a naval blockade and raids by the British fleet helped American politicians to find diplomatic solutions to Anglo-American disputes.

Site: National Defence

Royal Navy officers and midshipmen, 1830s-1890s

Type: Image

The two officers at left wear the scarlet collar and cuffs introduced by King William IV in 1830. The traditional white facings were restored in 1843. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Rating with a conical-shaped shell, Royal Navy, 1892

Type: Image

The conical-shaped shell was used in the new breech-loading guns, introduced during the 1860s. Breech-loading took some time before it was completely accepted in the British services for various technical reasons, but was reintroduced with improvements during the 1870s and 1880s. By then, other powers such as Germany, France and the United States were commonly using this type of loading mechanism.

Site: National Defence

Rating raising signal flags, Royal Navy, 1892

Type: Image

Until the advent of the electric signal light, communication between ships at sea was done mainly by flying signal flags such as the ones shown in this engraving. The uniform shown here was layed out by Admiralty regulations in 1857 and was worn with few changes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Naval Scares Of The 1870’s

Type: Document

A series of Anglo-Russian war scares in the 1870's prompted the General Officer Commanding (GOC) to re-examine Canada’s maritime defence. However, Canadian politicians took little action as they viewed Canada’s maritime defence as resting with the Royal Navy.

Site: National Defence

The Royal Navy

Type: Document

As an island state, Britain gave priority to its navy. The Admiralty (the appointed committee of admirals which made all strategic decisions) governed hundreds of ships worldwide. The Royal Navy used its bases in Canada to help control the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Site: National Defence

Volunteer with an 40-pounder RBL Armstrong gun on a pivot mount, Royal Naval Artillery, 1892

Type: Image

This volunteer wears a loose blue jumper with white-trimmed blue collar, blue bellbottom trousers and a straw 'Sennet' hat - the standard clothing for ratings in the Royal Navy from 1857. The left arm of this man's shirt displays rank and ratings badges in white, officially replaced by red in 1860. He sits on the carriage of an Armstrong gun - a rifled breech loader firing a 40-pound shell adopted by the Royal Navy in 1859 and declared obsolete in the 1870s.

Site: National Defence