During the first 18 months of the war, Halifax had the only naval base capable of servicing Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) destroyers and corvettes. It was also the main assembly point for all convoys sailing to Britain. Consequently, the RCN constructed an escort base on the Gaspé Peninsula on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The base would also provide protection for the shipping lanes from Halifax to Quebec and Montreal.
The new escort base, HMCS Fort Ramsay , became fully operational on 1 May 1942. Only nine days later, a German U-boat (submarine) sank a British merchant ship off the coast of the Gaspé Peninsula. This attack marked the first time that a German submarine had ventured into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.