HMCS Prince David, Prince Henry and Prince Robert were three ships purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy from Canadian National Steamships in early 1940 to be used as armed merchant cruisers. Not named for royalty, these ships were named after the President and two Vice-Presidents of the Canadian National Railway. Converted to a Landing Ship Infantry (Medium), the Prince David was one of the many Royal Canadian Navy warships that served at D-Day. The ship was designed to hold a crew of 353 with accommodation for 550 troops. Landing Craft Infantry from the Prince David, and the other flotilla vessels, were able to go into the beaches at night (Prince David landed troops at Juno Beach) when the tide was at its height, having sufficient depth of water under them to override the German defences and safely unload the Allied soldiers.
HMCS Prince David, Prince Henry and Prince Robert were three ships purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy from Canadian National Steamships in early 1940 to be used as armed merchant cruisers. Not named for royalty, these ships were named after the President and two Vice-Presidents of the Canadian National Railway. Converted to a Landing Ship Infantry (Medium), the Prince David was one of the many Royal Canadian Navy warships that served at D-Day. The ship was designed to hold a crew of 353 with accommodation for 550 troops. Landing Craft Infantry from the Prince David, and the other flotilla vessels, were able to go into the beaches at night (Prince David landed troops at Juno Beach) when the tide was at its height, having sufficient depth of water under them to override the German defences and safely unload the Allied soldiers.

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Unloading the troops

LCI (L) - 311 unloading troops from the HMCS Prince David on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The Naval Museum of Alberta

© The Naval Museum of Alberta


Learning Objectives

  • Develop an understanding of the participation and role of Canada’s Navy in the World War II.
  • Examine the contributions, sacrifices and experiences of individuals who participated in naval events during World War II.
  • Identify the locations in which Canada’s Navy operated during World War II.
  • Evaluate the weapons and technology involved in the war at sea.

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