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World War 2 Timeline
A detailed timeline of events of World War 2 from a Canadian perspective.
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  • August 26: All Canadian merchant ships passed from the control of their owners to the control of the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • September 3: Battle of the Atlantic begins with the sinking of the Montréal-bound passenger ship SS Athenia by a German submarine west of Ireland.
  • September 10: Canada declares war on Germany.
  • September 16: The first convoy sailed from Halifax escorted by the Canadian destroyer St. Laurent.
  • September: 58,000 Canadians enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • December: First Canadains set sail for Europe.
  • December: The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan created by an agreement in December 1939 between Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, called for Canada to train these countries’ air crews.
  • Spring: Department of Munitions and Supply and the Wartime Industries Control Board established.
  • Late 1940: Canada sends two fighter squadrons to Britain.
  • August 26: No. 1 Fighter Squadron, RCAF, became the first Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) unit to engage enemy planes in battle when it met a formation of German bombers over southern England on August 26, 1940.
  • September 27: 303 Squadron RAF and 1 Squadron RCAF attacked the first wave of enemy bombers of the Luftwaffe's last major daylight attack.


  • 1941:  Canadian government imposed strict wage and price controls. Beginning in 1942, it rationed many commodities such as meat, sugar, coffee, gasoline, rubber and textiles.
  • October: Contingent of 1,975 Canadians soldiers from the Winnipeg Grenadiers and Royal Rifles of Canada are sent to Hong Kong to help garrison the British colony.
  • December 7: Japan declares war on Canada. Canada declares war on Finland, Hungary, Japan and Romania.
  • December 8: A 50,000 strong Japanese force attacks Hong Kong. Canadian, Indian and British defenders put up valiant defense, outnumbered 5 to 1.
  • December 19: Sgt. Major John Robert Osborn wins Victoria Cross at Hong Kong.
  • December 24: After seventeen and a half days of fighting, the defence of Hong Kong was over. At 3:15 p.m. Christmas Day, General Maltby advised the Governor that further resistance was futile. The white flag was hoisted.


  • 1942:  Federal government forcibly removes 22,000 Japanese-Canadians from the coastal areas of British Columbia and relocated them inland.
  • August 19: 5,000 Canadian, 1,000 British and 50 Americans participate in raid on Dieppe, France. Canadians took 3,367 casualties including 907 killed.
  • August 19: Lt. Col. Charles Cecil Ingersoll Merritt (South Saskatchewan Regiment) earns Victoria Cross at Dieppe.
  • August 19: Rev. John Weir Foote (Royal Hamilton Light Infantry) earns Victoria Cross at Dieppe.
  • November 8: Capt. Frederick Thornton Peters (Royal Navy) wins Victoria Cross at Oran, North Africa.


  • January: No. 6 (R.C.A.F.) Group of Bomber Command organized. it Included nearly 300 four-engined Halifax or Lancaster heavy bombers.
  • December 14: Capt. Paul Triquet wins Victoria Cross at Casa Berardi, Italy.


  • February 6: Major Charles Hoey (1st Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment) wins Victoria Cross at Maungdaw, Burma.
  • May 24: Major John Keefer Mahony (The Westminster Regiment) wins Victoria Cross at Melfa River, Italy.
  • June 6: 14,000 Canadians land on Normandy beaches apart of 'Operation Neptune.' 1,000 Canadian casualties.
  • June 8-12: Canadians repel fierce German counter-attacks and hold the Normandy beach head.
  • June 12: P.O. Andrew Charles Mynarski (Royal Canadian Air Force) wins Victoria Cross at Cambrai, France.
  • June 24: Flt. Lt. David Ernest Hornell (Royal Canadian Air Force) wins Victoria Cross at Shetland Islands, U.K.
  • July 10: Canadians capture Caen.
  • July 25: Operation Spring Launched: Black Watch of Canada slaughtered at Verrières Ridge.
  • August: Canadians close the gap at Falaise completing the pinzer movement, traping 200,000 Germans inside the pocket.
  • August 4: Sqdn. Ldr. Ian Willoughby Bazalgette (Royal Air Force) wins Victoria Cross at Trossy St. Maximin, France.
  • August 18: Major David Vivian Currie (The South Alberta Regiment) wins Victoria Cross at St. Lambert-sur-Dives, Falaise, France.
  • October 21-22: Pte. Ernest Alvia Smith (Seaforth Highlanders of Canada) wins Victoria Cross at Savio River, Italy.
  • November: After heavy losses in front-line infantry units serving in Northwest Europe and Italy, Ottawa authorized the dispatch of 16,000 home defence conscripts overseas.


  • January: 13,000 conscript soldiers proceeded to Britain, but only a few thousand entered combat in Europe before the war ended.
  • February 25-26: Sgt. Aubrey Cosens (Queen's Own Rifles of Canada) wins Victoria Cross at Mooshof, Germany.
  • March: Over 167,000 students (including 50,000+ pilots) trained in Canada under the BCATP from May 1940.
  • March 1st: Major Frederick Albert Tilston (Essex Scottish Regiment) wins Victoria Cross at Hochwald, Germany.
  • March 24: Cpl. Frederick George Topham (1st Canadian Parachute Battalion) wins Victoria Cross at East of the Rhine, Germany.
  • May 5: German forces on the British and Canadian front surrender.
  • May 8: The Germans formally surrender in Europe, known as Victory-in-Europe "V-E" day.
  • August 9: Lt. Robert Hampton Gray (Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve) wins Victoria Cross at Onagawa Wan, Japan.

Last updated on Jan 18, 2007 22:00. Page viewed 113687 times.