Originally published in 1949, Storm Below tells the story of a fictional Royal Canadian Navy ship and its crew. The adventure unfolds over six days of an escort run across the Atlantic Ocean to Newfoundland during the Second World War. The ship, the HMCS Riverford, is a composite of the vessels, mostly corvettes, that author Hugh Garner served on during his time in the Canadian navy, and the Canadian sailors whose experiences he relates are masterfully drawn from the crewmen he knew during his months at sea.
In his preface to Storm Below, his first novel, Garner says: "It takes all kinds to make a world, and it also takes all kinds to make a war – or fight one after some of the others make it…. They [his characters] are not even ’typical’ sailors, if such exist. All I can say to justify them is that they are drawn in the image of hundreds who made up the Royal Canadian Navy. They do not need an apology – they were out there, and we won."