Naval Museum of Alberta
Prairie Sailors, Navy History
The Naval Museum of Alberta tells the story of the Royal Canadian Navy, and the participation of sailors from Alberta; their service, sacrifices, and stories – from the inception of the RCN to the present. At the NMA, you'll learn about the ships that Canadian sailors have plied the seas in for over 100 years, and the sailors themselves who have worked to protect our sovereignty, our freedoms and the longest coastline in the world.
Lieutenant (P) Gerald Arthur Anderson RCNVR
The Last Canadian to die in the Second World War
Lieutenant (P) Gerald Arthur Anderson was a Canadian fighter pilot who served in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War. As a pilot in 1842 Squadron Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm on HMS Formidable, Anderson flew the Corsair IV (tail number KD 548).
On 9 August 1945 – the same day that the B-29 Stratofortress “Bockscar” dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, Lt. Anderson participated in an aerial attack on Onagawa Bay in northern Japan. Anderson’s contingent, Call sign “RAMROD 3”, engaged Japanese ships in the bay that had been attacked by 1841 Squadron of HMCS Formidable.
All but one ship in the bay was destroyed by the Canadian Corsair and American Hellcat assaults. However, Anderson’s Corsair was struck, causing it to leak fuel rapidly. On his final approach to landing, Anderson’s engine cut out, causing him to hit the after end of the flight deck of HMS Formidable, his plane broke in two, and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Lieutenant Gerald Anderson was the last Canadian to die in the Second World War. Anderson was 22 years old.
The Museum traces its roots to HMCS Tecumseh in Calgary which was formed to serve the Naval Reserve establishment at the end of the Second World War. The Naval Museum of Alberta originally opened in 1988 at HMCS Tecumseh to house the naval aircraft that survived a fire at HMCS Tecumseh in 1981. Following that fire, it was determined that preservation of Alberta’s Naval History was paramount and the Tecumseh Historical Society was formed in 1984.
In October 2008, the Naval Museum moved to its current location and re-commissioned as part of The Military Museums, a tri-service museum comprising seven Museums that includes Army, Navy, and Air Force history.
What can you explore at the museum?
- The most extensive indoor collection of major ship weapons systems in Canada.
- Original aircraft of the Royal Canadian Naval air Service including a Supermarine Seafire, a Hawker Sea Fury, and an F2H Banshee jet fighter.
- Over 50,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring naval artefacts ranging from the Navy’s historical roots to modern times.
- A replica of a Second World War wheelhouse, a working periscope from the Canadian Submarine Ojibwa that was decommissioned in 1998, and an original German Enigma machine that was used to encrypt messages sent to U-boats at sea.
The Museum also has an extensive collection of archives, records, and photographs related to Canadian naval and maritime history which is held in the University of Calgary Library and Archives located on-site at The Military Museums, which includes the John Burgess Library and Ken Macpherson Photographic Collection.
Navies have used surface warfare since the inception of fighting ships. Our gallery exhibits examples of naval weaponry including a six pound Bronze cannon from 1797, guns dating from the beginning of the naval service, the first and second World Wars, guns and counter-measure systems from the cold war, and modern equipment such as an SM2 Guided missile used on Canada’s destroyers.
1. Anti-Submarine Warfare
The RCN has long specialized in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). The ASW exhibits include equipment ranging from the Second World War to the Cold War including depth charges, hedgehog mortars, limbo mortars, Mk. 46 Anti-Submarine torpedoes and launcher, and submarine detecting sonobuoys.
2. Canadian Naval Aviation
The Canadian Naval Aviation Exhibit features the history of Naval Aviation from the creation of the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service in 1918, the Second World War, to 1975 when naval aviation was discontinued in favour of the RCAF taking on that role. The exhibit highlights the equipment, personnel, and the aircraft carriers off which they flew.
The exhibit also includes examples of Canadian Naval Aircraft:
- Supermarine Seafire – one of the only two remaining Mk XVs
- Hawker Sea Fury
- F2H Banshee jet fighter that flew off of HMCS Bonaventure
3. “Up Periscope and HMC Submarines”
In addition to the story of the Submarine Service in Canada, the gallery also has a working periscope from the Oberon Class submarine HMCS Ojibwa, and the periscope from HMCS Grilse.
4. The Battle of the Atlantic
The Battle of the Atlantic gallery tells the story of the RCN during the longest battle of the Second World War, and includes models of RCN corvettes, frigates, patrol boats, launches, and destroyers. The gallery details the north Atlantic convoys and the threat to them by German submarines, and also highlights the role of the merchant Navy, and the role of armed merchant vessels and Park Ships in the Atlantic convoys.
5. Dressed as Seaman
The uniform gallery exhibits examples of RCN and WRCNS (WRENS) Uniforms throughout the history of the RCN, including rank and trade badges as well as the story of the people who wore them.
6. The RCN in Korea
The RCN in Korea highlights the 9 ships and the 3,621 officers and men of the RCN that served in the Korean conflict from 1950-1953, and those that participated in with the UN missions in Korean waters until 1955.
Plan Your Visit
The Naval Museum of Alberta is located within The Military Museums – a Canadian Forces tri-service history, heritage, art, research, and educational institution located at: 4520 Crowchild Trail SW Calgary AB.
Hours of Operation
The Military Museums is open daily, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
- Monday – Sunday 09:00 AM – 5:00 PM (1000 to 1600 during Covid19 restrictions)
|Youth (7 – 17)||$5|
|Children (Under 7)||Free|
|Serving Military Personnel||Free|
|Members of TMM||Free|
The Military Museums Annual Passes
|Family (2 Adults & 5 youth)||$60|
Annual Passes can be purchased at the Front Desk of The Military Museums.
The Naval Museum of Alberta
The Military Museums
4520 Crowchild Trail SW
Calgary AB T2T 5J4
(403) 410-2340 ext. 2640 / 2623
Social Media: @navalmuseumalberta
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