Naval Reservists attend 80th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic in Liverpool UK
By LCdr Paul Pendergast,
Twenty-five Naval Reservists from across Canada gathered in Liverpool in the United Kingdom to represent the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and observe the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic from May 26-28.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle during the Second World War, lasting a total of 2,075 days.
The Battle’s 1943 “turning of the tide”—as the Allied forces began to defeat the Axis powers—was commemorated with one member representing each RCN Naval Reserve Division, and one from Naval Reserve Headquarters in Québec City. The RCN Naval Reserves are celebrating their centennial this year.
When the group made appearances in public or during parade the team was greeted warmly with waves, shouts of “Hey Canada!” and even applause.
Sailor 1st Class (S1) Nicole Tran from Ottawa was one of the sailors chosen to represent Canada at the occasion.
“It was an honour to be selected by His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Carleton to attend this event. I was very grateful, but also felt a responsibility to represent Canada well,” she said. “When the crowds cheered for us during the parade they were showing appreciation for what Canada had done to help them in the Second World War.”
“Since immigrating to Canada from Vietnam in 2008 this is the proudest I’ve felt to be Canadian,” S1 Tran added.
The Reservists attended briefings and tours of Royal Navy facilities in Liverpool and Portsmouth, and visited the Museum of the Western Approaches to see the Second World War Operations Center and learn about the tactics and strategies that won the battle for the Allied forces.
Staged in the harsh environment of the North Atlantic, the Battle of Atlantic pitted Allied naval and air forces against German and Italian submarines, ships, and aircraft. The primary target of the enemy was convoys of merchant ships carrying vital life-sustaining cargo from North America to Europe.
Commodore Patrick Montgomery, Commander Naval Reserves was the senior Canadian Officer at the ceremony.
“It is very appropriate that the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlantic Commemoration is also the 100th Anniversary of Canada’s Naval Reserve Force,” said Commodore Montgomery. “The Royal Canadian Navy suffered 2,210 fatalities during the Battle of the Atlantic, the majority of them being Reservists. This battle was critical to keeping the supply lines open and paved the way for the Allies’ eventual victory in the Second World War.”
During the Battle of the Atlantic the RCN destroyed and shared in the destruction of 33 German U-Boats and 42 enemy surface craft.
In turn the Navy lost 33 vessels.
The legacy of the Battle of the Atlantic and memories of those who fought will not be dimmed or forgotten by the passing years.
We remember the men and women of the RCN, the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, the Merchant Navy, the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service and our comrades in the Royal Canadian Air Force who gallantly served in the costly battle of the Atlantic.