MONTRÉAL, May 5, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, Senator Claude Carignan marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic today at a commemorative wreath-laying ceremony taking place at the Old Port of Montréal.
"Those who participated in the Battle of the Atlantic were everyday citizens who became heroes by standing up for what we as a nation believe in—peace, freedom and justice," said Minister Blaney. "Their endless courage allowed the Allies to turn the tide in this harrowing battle. Ceremonies and events like this help ensure the torch of remembrance continues to burn brightly in the hearts of all Canadians."
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 Navy 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, members 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. Improvements to Allied ships, aircraft, radar, weapons, intelligence gathering and anti-submarine tactics finally saw the Battle of the Atlantic reach a turning point in May 1943.
"The courage of the men and women who served so bravely during the Battle of the Atlantic will never be forgotten," said Senator Carignan. "More than 4,600 of them never returned home and we must honour their legacy by sharing their stories and remembering their sacrifices."
Seventy years later, Veterans Affairs Canada and Canadians recognize this significant milestone through support of ceremonies and events held across Canada and overseas. 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.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
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.
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs