Battle of the Atlantic in Bahrain

CAF personnel stationed in Bahrain mark Battle of the Atlantic Sunday with a ceremony and wreath laying.

CAF personnel in Bahrain mark Battle of the Atlantic Sunday

By LCdr David Botting,
RCN, International Maritime Exercise Planner, USNAVCENT N5, Bahrain

On the first Sunday of each May, people all across Canada gather to commemorate those lost at sea during the Battle of the Atlantic.

On this day we remember the sacrifices of RCN sailors, merchant seamen, and RCAF members who gave their lives in the North Atlantic.

The Royal Canadian Navy lost 24 warships and suffered more than 2,000 fatalities, the Merchant Navy lost more than 70 ships and suffered more than1, 700 fatalities and the Royal Canadian Air Force lost more than 900 aircrew. It is often said that the elements were as vicious as the foe, with raging storms, pack ice, bitter cold, fog, and the dense blackness of North Atlantic nights.

In the Kingdom of Bahrain, far from the icy North Atlantic, a small contingent of deployed CAF personnel representing the RCN and the RCAF gathered for a quiet ceremony under the hot Arabian Gulf sun.

Although lacking the pomp and circumstance of larger ceremonies conducted throughout Canada, the members of the CAF deployed to Bahrain took the time to remember those fallen heroes in the Battle of the Atlantic. Their small ceremony included a reading of the Naval Prayer and a Prayer for the Air Force followed by a roll call of the names of the RCN ships, Canadian merchant ships, and RCAF squadrons lost in the Battle of the Atlantic.

From there, a wreath was brought forward and set in remembrance of the thousands of lives lost during the longest and most decisive struggle of the Second World War.

“The Battle of the Atlantic was a crucial to the war effort, the life line of supplies to the United Kingdom ensured that the allies could turn the tide of the war in Europe,” said Cdr Robert “Buck” Taylor, Senior National Representative with the RCN.