The "Commonwealth of Nations" was born from the British Empire during the 19th century. Officially formed in December 1931 via the Statute of Westminster, the original members were comprised of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Newfoundland. Today, it is made up of 52 sovereign states that span the globe, and includes nations that have no previous political or economic ties to the United Kingdom or the British Empire.
Several of the various nation-states that comprised the Commonwealth deployed their own military forces. Three in particular contributed significant naval assets to the great world wars of the 20th century.
The Royal Canadian Navy
was created on 4 May 1910.
The Royal Australian Navy
can trace its origins to the "Commonwealth Naval Forces" that were established on 1 March 1901, a result of the federation of the colonies of Australia. A visit by the U.S. Navy
's "Great White Fleet" in 1908 galvanized public support for expansion of locally-based naval forces, and was further driven by German naval building programs that began the following year. Yet it was not until the passage of the Naval Defence Act
of 1910 that the collective naval assets of Australia were christened the "Royal Australian Navy" by King George V on 10 July 1911.
The existing New Zealand Division of the Royal Navy
was christened Royal New Zealand Navy
by King George VI on 1 October 1941.