OTTAWA — Canadians across the country are marking one of the longest and darkest chapters of the Second World War today: The Battle of the Atlantic.
Running the entire length of the war from September 1939 to May 1945, the battle saw Canada and its allies fighting Nazi submarines, planes and ships for control of the North Atlantic seaways.
More than 4,600 Canadians would lose their lives, including sailors, merchant mariners and aircrew trying to protect vital convoys as they crossed the ocean carrying supplies to England and Europe.
During a ceremony at the National War Memorial this morning attended by hundreds of people, a ship’s bell was rung to remember those Canadians who died during the Battle of the Atlantic.
One of those attending was 91-year-old retired captain Paul Bender, who served in the Merchant Navy and led a successful effort to designate Canada’s sunken naval ships “ocean war graves.”
Bender says ceremonies like the one in Ottawa and elsewhere are vital to remembering the Battle of the Atlantic and the sacrifices Canadians made for their country and society.