Canada Remembers Battle of the Atlantic, Honors Its Dead
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, speaks with Grand President of the Royal Canadian Legion, Vice Admiral Larry Murray, C.M., C.M.M, C.D. (Ret'd), following the 71st anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic Ceremony, in Halifax. Minister Fantino was in Halifax to commemorate the sacrifices made by the thousands of Canadians who fought so valiantly in the North Atlantic during the Second World War. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)
Minister Julian Fantino and MP Royal Galipeau attend Battle of the Atlantic Commemorative Ceremonies
OTTAWA, May 4, 2014 /CNW/ - On the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, Canadians gathered across the country today to commemorate the more than 4,600 members of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Merchant Navy who died at sea during the Second World War.
Canada's Veterans Affairs Minister, Julian Fantino, attended a ceremony in Halifax, where he laid a wreath at Point Pleasant Park on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Minister also joined the reviewing party on the dais for the march past following the proceedings.
Member of Parliament Royal Galipeau, on behalf of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, also participated in a ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, laying a wreath in honour of the fallen. Quick Facts
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle of the Second World War and one in which Canada played a central role. The battle began on the opening day of the war in September 1939 and ended almost six years later with Germany's surrender in May 1945.
Between 1939 and 1942, the Germans increased their number of U-boats (submarines) from 30 to 300, causing tremendous challenges for the Allies. Nearly 400 Allied ships were sunk between January and July 1942, while only seven U-boats were lost, putting the supply link between North America and Europe at great risk.
The remarkable growth of Canada's navy coupled with vast improvements in technology would turn the tide of the battle in its favour. From 1941 to 1945, Canadian shipyards produced approximately 403 merchant ships, 281 fighting ships, 206 minesweepers, 254 tugs and 3,302 landing craft.
"The more than 4,600 Canadian men and women that never returned home after the Battle of the Atlantic were everyday citizens who became heroes by standing up for what our great nation believes in—peace, freedom and the rule of law. Today we honour their legacy by sharing their stories and remembering their sacrifices." The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"The Battle of the Atlantic would prove to be an unrelenting clash during the Second World War. Our sailors and airmen demonstrated incredible heroism by putting their lives at risk in order to keep trade lines open between North America and Europe. Their sacrifice may have ultimately been one of the most important contributions to victory and, for that, we are eternally grateful." Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans