Defence team, public gather on 77th anniversary of Battle of the Atlantic
By Ryan Melanson,
With the Second World War era Corvette HMCS Sackville in the water, flypasts from Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, and a large group of both military and civilian attendees, a bit of tradition returned this year to the annual ceremony as the Royal Canadian Navy marked the anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic.
Each year on the first Sunday in May, Canada and its naval community commemorate the ships that were lost and the people who died at sea during the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest campaign of the Second World War. More than 2,700 RCN/RCAF personnel and 1,600 Canadian Merchant Navy mariners died during the six-year-long conflict.
“The Battle of the Atlantic was the lifeline of Europe for much of the Second World War, and the nation of Canada, along with each sailor, accepted this mission knowing there was no option to fail,” said RAdm Brian Santarpia, Commander MARLANT and JTFA, at the ceremony.
“Those who we honour and remember sailed past where we are now standing together, knowing the perils they had to endure and further overcome to guard and deliver their cargo across the Atlantic. The cargo that was shepharded was the most valuable Canada could give,” he added, referring to both the human lives aboard the ships, as well as the supplies that were vital to the Allied war effort.
It’s estimated that Canadian convoys escorted more than 25,000 merchant marine ships across the Atlantic during the war, delivering more than 165 million tonnes of cargo. Canadian ships and aircraft were also credited with the destruction of more than 50 enemy U-boats during the conflict.
This year’s ceremony was also supported by the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy and a large tri-service group on parade, A pared-down version of the commemoration was held in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic restrictions.
HMC ships lost in the Battle of the Atlantic
Every year on Battle of the Atlantic Sunday, a bell is rung for each of the ships lost during the battle, and for the lives lost with them.
HDC 15 (Harbour Defence Patrol Craft)
MTBs (Motor Torpedo Boats) 459, 461, 460, 462, 463, 465, 466