DND News

RCN's Volunteer Reserve Centennial

Today, the House of Commons recognized the Naval Reserve Centennial, marking 100 years of service to Canada.

On January 31, 1923, the Government of Canada authorized the organization of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, paving the way for today’s modern Naval Reserve.

For 100 years, the Naval Reserve has played a critical role in Canada’s safety and security. Working part or full-time with the support of their employers or academic institutions, Naval Reservists provide critical augmentation and surge capability to the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Armed Forces in support of operations at home and around the world. 

Today the Naval Reserve is present across Canada from Victoria, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Currently, 4,100 members serve in 24 Naval Reserve Divisions across the country and are coordinated by the Naval Reserve Headquarters located in Quebec City.

“The story of the Naval Reserve is one of courage and sacrifice that has shaped our nation’s military history and heritage,” said Commodore Patrick J. Montgomery, Commander of the Naval Reserve. “As we celebrate our first hundred years, we recognize today’s Naval Reservists, whose dedication and professionalism are keeping the traditions of the past alive.”  

During the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy needed to expand rapidly. From its modest beginnings consisting of six ocean-going ships and 3,500 sailors of all ranks at the outbreak of war, it grew into a large and capable fighting force.

By the end of the Second World War, Canada had the third largest navy in the world with 95,000 men and women in uniform and 434 commissioned vessels including cruisers, destroyers, frigates, corvettes and auxiliaries. Over three quarters of these men and women were members of the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve.

Naval Reserve Divisions remain ready to “Help, Lead, and Fight” as they ensure they maintain the highest levels of training and readiness in order to support operations at home or aboard. This past year alone, Naval Reservists have served on Operation REASSURANCE in support of NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe, supported counter narcotic operations in the Caribbean, and assisted with the cleanup efforts after Hurricane Fiona in the Atlantic provinces.