#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.

1918 – Voluntary Rationing in Canada

Credit: Canadian War Museum, “Propaganda Poster, Don’t Waste Bread!”, Object Number 19720121-074.

In early 1918, the Canadian Food Board became responsible for monitoring Canada’s food production and management during the war effort. Following Great Britain’s example, government programs, news publications and propaganda posters encouraged voluntary rationing, such as “meatless Fridays”, and ingredient substitution in everyday recipes.

1918 – Compulsory Rationing In Great Britain

© IWM (Q 56278)

By 1918, Great Britain was pushed to enact compulsory rationing, after nearly a year on voluntary rationing (since February 1917). To combat misuse and the breaching of ration orders, stiff punishments were also introduced.

As Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare continued late into the war, the threat to Great Britain’s food supply had continued to mount. In April 1917, the nation’s wheat supply had fallen to just six weeks’ worth (Morrow, The Great War: An Imperial History, p. 202). In the spring of 1918, the British would launch an audacious raid to combat the German submarine threat.