Under sunny, blue skies a ceremony honouring Canada’s participation in the longest military campaign in World War 2 was held in North Rustico, on May 5. Members of HMCS Queen Charlotte led the 2019 Battle of the Atlantic Parade.
The Battle of the Atlantic started 80 years ago in 1939 and didn’t end until the war was over six years later.
“It was a no-fail mission upon which any victory in Europe depended upon,” said Captain Alan J. Offer, Deputy Commander Naval Reserve.
Canada embarked on an astonishing ship building campaign during the war, which saw more than 400 vessels built. At war’s end the Canadian navy was the fourth largest navy in the world.
“This victory came at a high price. Our bell tolls again today for 24 Canadian warships, 62 Canadian merchant ships, as well as the human cost of almost 2,000 sailors, 1,700 merchant navy lives and over 900 Royal Canadian Airforce aircrew,” said Captain Offer.
Several Canadian ships were sunk by German submarines in the Gulf of St Lawrence, well within Canada’s inland waters.
Every effort should be made to remember those “remarkable stories” and “remarkable achievements,” said Captain Offer. There are only a few veterans left who served during those terrible years when the world’s future was balanced on a knife’s edge.
Canada’s navy personnel have always been there when they were needed, whether overseas or close to home, helping flood victims and the victims of other natural disasters. Many paid the “ultimate sacrifice” during the navy’s more than century old history, said Captain Offer.
Among the Battle of the Atlantic’s fallen sailors were many who were born and raised on PEI, including North Rustico.
Every year members of HMCS Queen Charlotte hold the annual event at different communities across PEI. They also held ceremonies in Charlottetown on the May 5 weekend.
Among the dignitaries attending the North Rustico ceremony were PEI Lt Governor Antoinette Perry, HMCS Queen Charlotte Commanding Officer Rob Alain, HMCS Queen Charlotte Lieutenant Commander Greg Davis (the ship’s padre), Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter and Rustico-Emerald MLA Brad Trivers.