#OTD – 24 February 1918

“Trawlers and drifters of the East Coast Patrols (1914-1918) under way in Halifax harbour.”
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-167307.

#OnThisDay in 1918, the final plans for the Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids were submitted for approval. Britain had continued to suffer shipping losses from enemy submariens and, with the Commonwealth armies recovering from the battles of 1917, it was clear that Germany’s “Flanders Flotilla” harboured in Bruges could not be dealt with overland. The losses were felt even in Canada, where the Royal Canadian Navy was left scheming how to defend its shipping lanes “with only slow, inadequately-armed auxiliary vessels, trawlers and drifters” (Gimblett, The Naval Service of Canada, 1910-2010: The Centennial Story, p. 35). If something drastic was to be done about the Flanders Flotilla, it would fall to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.