A day to honour the Battle of the Atlantic

Every year the first Sunday in May is recognized by Canadians as a day to honour the sacrifices made by thousands of Canadian soldiers during the Battle of the Atlantic. In honour of this vital Second World War Battle, a national ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 1 at Parliament Hill and communities across the country.

“By looking to the past, we seek inspiration from the brave men and women who sacrificed so much in service to Canada. We can see echoes of the RCN’s contributions to global peace and security throughout the decades. We see how the Canadian Government has, over and over again, called upon its Navy as the instrument of ‘first resort’, responding in times of crisis and threats to global instability. As our commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic approaches, I invite Canadians to reflect on your Navy’s rich past, to celebrate its excellence at sea today, and to join us in building the RCN of the future,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy.

The Battle of Atlantic was fought between 1939 and 1945  and was the longest campaign of the Second World War. The Battle was crucial for supremacy in the North Atlantic. Allied naval and air forces battled against German and Italian submarines, ships and aircrafts. The axis power mostly targeted merchant ships carrying vital cargo for allied nations in Europe from North America.

The RCN played a crucial role in the Battle of the Atlantic. Canada’s Navy started out with only six destroyers and a handful of small vessels. Over the course of the Second World War, however, the RCN transformed and grew to become one of the largest Navies in the world, a key to winning the war.
The RCN was able to destroy or share in the destruction of 33 U-Boats and 42 enemy surface craft. Overall, the RCN suffered 2210 fatalities, including six women, and lost 33 vessels.

“Today, the legacy of the Battle of the Atlantic is upheld by those currently serving in the RCN, pledging themselves as “Ready, Aye, Ready” to defend Canada and to uphold its ideals around the world.” stated a press release from the DND/CAF.

The national ceremony will consist of CAF members from the RCN, the RCAF and members of the Merchant Navy. Other organizations will be present including Central Region Sea and Air Cadets, Navy League Cadets, the Royal Canadian Legion Colour Party, local veteran organizations, other government departments and the Ottawa Children’s Choir. Members of the diplomatic community and dignitaries, including Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, will also be present.

The Battle of the Atlantic national ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 1 at Parliament Hill.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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