QUEBÉC CITY, May 5, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, today joined Veterans and serving members of the Royal Canadian Navy in a ceremony commemorating the turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic at Pier 21 in the Port of Québec.
"Canadians played a crucial role in defending the North Atlantic, which served as a lifeline for Allied Forces during the Second World War," said Minister Blaney. "Thousands of Canadians served in the Battle of the Atlantic, many giving their lives. They must not be forgotten."
The Battle of the Atlantic was Canada's longest military engagement of the Second World War. From September 1939 to May 1945, merchant ships escorted by the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force delivered nearly 165 million tonnes of supplies to the Allied Forces, contributing greatly to the war effort and to the liberation of Europe.
More than 1,600 Canadian Merchant Navy seamen died while serving in the North Atlantic. A large majority of the 2,000 Royal Canadian Navy officers and seamen who died during the Second World War were killed during the Battle of the Atlantic, as were approximately 750 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
For more information on the Battle of the Atlantic, 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.
Image with caption: "Minister Steven Blaney Joined the naval community of Québec City in remembering the Battle of the Atlantic. Each year, on the first Sunday of May, members and Veterans of the Royal Canadian Navy commemorate this historic Second World War battle. L-R: Minister Blaney, Roland Lemieux and Paul de Villers, two Veterans of the Canadian Merchant Navy, before the Monument to Merchant Mariners. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130505_C3625_PHOTO_EN_26358.jpg
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
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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