OTTAWA, May 3, 2020 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic.
"On the first Sunday of every May, we remember the brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who helped transport vital supplies and troops from North America to Europe during the Second World War.
"The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest struggle of the entire war. It raged on the frigid waters of the North Atlantic from the beginning of hostilities in September 1939, until the end of the fighting in Europe on 8 May 1945. Tens of thousands of Canadians and Newfoundlanders took part in this bitter battle. More than 4,600 of them died.
"One of those who gave their life was Flight Lieutenant David Hornell. In June 1944 he destroyed a surfaced U-boat north of the Shetland Islands, using a Canso amphibian aircraft which was badly damaged in the attack. Once in the water, the Canso soon sank, but the boat's dinghy was too small for the eight man crew. Hornell gave up his seat in the raft to a wounded crew member. He died of exposure shortly after his rescue. Flt Lt Hornell was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his extraordinary act of gallantry.
"For almost six years, those serving in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force guided and protected the Allied merchant vessels that crossed the North Atlantic in the face of great peril.
"By the end of the war, Canadian forces had escorted more than 25,000 merchant ship voyages from North America to Britain. Their tremendous courage and crucial contribution supported the eventual victory over the Axis forces in Europe.
"We live in a country strong and free thanks to Canadians like those who selflessly served in the Battle of the Atlantic and put their lives on the line to help defend peace and freedom.
"Lest we forget."
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, Phone: 613-992-7468, [email protected]; John Embury, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, [email protected]; Media Relations, Department of National Defence, Phone: 613-904-3333, [email protected]; Floriane Bonneville, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Defence, Phone: 613-996-3100, [email protected]