HALIFAX - George McLeod spends most Fridays on board HMCS Sackville sharing war stories over lunch with some of his navy buddies.

The group of retired seamen, many in their 80s and 90s, meet in the ship's mess once a week to reminisce on their military service and tell visitors about the only remaining Second World War corvette.

But the 84-year-old veteran is dusting off his blazer and medals to prepare for a visit by the Queen he hopes will showcase a little-known piece of Canada's naval history.

"We'd just like people to remember that all this went on — young people nowadays don't know anything about World War II," McLeod said from his home in Halifax last week.

"It's great. The Queen's coming and she's going to present a plaque to us, so that brings Sackville out to the news world. It's going to let Canada know that we have this memorial."

Hundreds of veterans and serving members are expected to line a Halifax jetty Tuesday when Queen Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, present a plaque honouring the Sackville, Canada's naval memorial.

The Queen, who arrives in Halifax on Monday, is expected to meet some of the retired sailors who maintain the Flower-class corvette that fought off numerous enemy attacks during transatlantic convoys.

McLeod, who didn't serve on Sackville but is part of the Canadian Naval Memorial trust, said he was studying royal protocol in case he gets to meet the Queen.

"Well, if she speaks to me, let's see how does it go, I gotta say, 'Yes, Your Majesty,' " he said with a chuckle. "I gotta mind my language. I'm not going to curtsy but I'll stand to attention."

The ceremony on Tuesday will follow a review of 28 international vessels from eight countries that are in the port city with an estimated 5,000 sailors to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian navy.

The Queen will lead the fleet review on board HMCS St. John's, which will carry her down the centre of two rows of anchored frigates, destroyers, tankers, assault ships, a British aircraft carrier and a Canadian submarine.

She will be accompanied by Prince Phillip and Prime Minister Stephen Harper as they pass through the Bedford Basin, under the city's two bridges and out to the harbour to a line of Canadian vessels.

During the procession, which dates back to 1773 when King George III reviewed the British fleet, crew will salute the Queen, give three cheers and wave their caps as her frigate sails past the flag-draped ships.

Canada's aerobatic team, the Snowbirds, will be part of a multination flypast that will include vintage aircraft, Hornet fighter jets and helicopters.

Brazil, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and the U.S. are sending vessels to participate in the review, which follows an international exercise off the eastern seaboard.

Retired vice-admiral Dusty Miller says the review by the Queen is a fitting way to celebrate the centenary of a branch of the Canadian military that often doesn't get the attention of the army or air force.

"It rarely happens, so it's pretty special," said Miller, who will be on HMCS Athabaskan for the review.

"The navy is out of site, out of mind ... but it's patrolling the waters off our coast, it's doing the 200-mile limit all the time, it's got an operations centre that's tracking absolutely everything that moves out there.

"And it's not always appreciated."

In Halifax, the Queen will also participate in Membertou 400, a five-day celebration of Mi'kmaq culture that includes a powwow on the Halifax Common.

Hundreds of natives from across the country are expected to attend a traditional village on the sprawling field in central Halifax, which the Queen will visit Monday after her arrival in the city at about 2 p.m.

Chief Morley Googoo of Cape Breton's Waycobah First Nation said the event will bring international attention to aboriginal culture, particularly with the royal members expected to do a tour of Mi'kmaq art works and artifacts.

"For many years we were discouraged to even speak our language, it was all oppressed," he said. "So to have a figure like the Queen to even take the time during the events here in Halifax is a blessing."

The Queen leaves Halifax on Wednesday and will celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa before making stops in Waterloo, Ont., Toronto and Winnipeg.