Canada Helps Us A Lot

So why did Alister sail to Canada?

As we know Britain needed the Merchant Navy to bring in the food and other supplies. Of course they needed to get it from somewhere and we must be grateful to the countries that supplied us. I wondered how important Canada was here, there is much about the contribution on the RCN but I cannot find anything on the Internet that credits Canada for supplying us so I have done a quick count myself.

Over the summer of 1940 as a ball park I think 31% of our imports came from Canada and 15% from each of Africa, South America, the West Indies and the USA. Of course Canada is 'nearest' so maybe you would expect this, but they clearly kept us going, thanks guys!

You can see that through 1940 and 41 Canada consistently provided around 30% of our supplies. The significant change is that the USA took an increased share. Of course it may well be that goods shipped out of Canadian ports such as Montreal originated in the USA.

The actual volume of shipping from 1940 to 1941 does not appear to have increased. Comparing June 40 and Aug 41 (just because that is the data I have) there were almost the same number of ships (14 less overall) but many of the ships were able to make shorter journeys to the USA. It looks like Canada was running at capacity as it hardly changes.

My estimate is quick and does not take ship capacity into account. I looked at the destination of the ships on OB, On and OS convoys, discarded those clearly delivering, say to the Mediterranean, and just counted the ships. The data come from the fantastic Convoyweb site.

In Summer 1941 the OB (outbound) series were replaced by ON (outbound North) and OS (outbound South) series.

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