HALIFAX, May 4, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney,
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, the
Honourable Stephen Greene, Senator for Halifax, marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic today at a wreath-laying
ceremony on the Halifax Waterfront. The ceremony, organized by the
Company of Master Mariners, commemorated Canadian and Norwegian
Merchant Navy efforts during the Battle of the Atlantic.
"The Atlantic Ocean was a merciless battlefield during the Second World
War," said Minister Blaney. "Merchant mariners demonstrated incredible
heroism by putting their lives on the line for the sake of others.
Their efforts to keep trade lines open between North America and Europe
were critical and may ultimately have been one of the most important
contributions to victory."
The Battle of the Atlantic was Canada's single longest continuous
military engagement of the Second World War, lasting from September
1939 to May 1945. The Merchant Marine provided a crucial lifeline
across the Atlantic between North America and Britain which was
threatened from the very beginning of the war. For almost six years,
the men and women of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air
Force and the Canadian Merchant Navy courageously braved the dangerous
and freezing waters of the North Atlantic to ensure vital supplies
reached Europe. After receiving more training, air cover, special
intelligence and better equipment, the Battle of the Atlantic reached a
turning point in May 1943.
"As we stand here today, 70 years later, we can be grateful for the
opportunity to say thank you not only to those who served during the
Battle of the Atlantic, but to all those who have served and still
serve our great nation today," said Senator Greene. "These brave
individuals are willing to pay any price to protect and promote our
shared values. We can never thank them enough for that."
For more information on the Battle of the Atlantic and commemorative
events in your area, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the
heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom,
democracy and the rule of law.
Note to editors: Although the Battle of the Atlantic was fought from
1939 until 1945, May 1943 has been recognized as the date of the
turning point in the battle when the Allied forces finally gained the
upper hand and managed to "turn the tide" against the German U-boat
threat. However, the battle went on until May 1945 and wasn't over
until the last day of the war in Europe (V-E Day). This being said, VAC
recognizes the turning point, hence the 70th anniversary of the battle, in 2013.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs