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Battle of The Atlantic observed quietly

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What would normally be recognized with a public event took place quietly this year.

The members of the Admiral Murray Branch, Royal Canadian Naval Association, noted the 75th anniversary of the battle in their own homes, without a gathering.

“Each member observed two minutes of silence,” said Chaplain Mike Simmons. “Due to restrictions from COVID-19 we were unable to host the church service that is normally held.”

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War, from 1939 to 1945, and the most important.

Canada was a major participant: this country’s enormous effort in the struggle was crucial to Allied victory. While the ships and personnel of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) operated across the globe during the war, they are best remembered for their deeds during the Battle of the Atlantic.

By the last months of the war the RCN had grown to a strength of more than 95,000 personnel – 6,000 of them members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, and the fleet committed to the battle included some 270 ocean escort warships. Canada possessed the third-largest navy in the world after the fleets of the United States and Britain.

The most important measure of its success was the safe passage during the war of more than 25,000 merchant ships under Canadian escort. These cargo vessels delivered nearly 165 million tons of supplies to Britain and to the Allied forces that liberated Europe. In the course of these operations the RCN sank, or shared in the destruction, of 31

enemy submarines. For its part, the RCN lost 14 warships to U-boat attacks and another eight ships to collisions and other accidents in the North Atlantic. Most of the 2,000 members of the Navy who lost their lives died in combat in the Atlantic. Proportionally, Canadian merchant seamen suffered much more heavily, losing one in 10 killed among the 12,000 who served in Canadian and Allied merchant vessels.

Lost at Sea….

  • HMCS Ypres, 12 May 1940 – No lives lost
  • HMCS Fraser, 25 June 1940 – Lost with 47 lives
  • HMCS Bras d’Or, 19 October 1940 – Lost with 30 lives
  • HMCS Margaree, 22 October 1940, Lost with 142 lives
  • HMCS Otter, 26 March 1941 – Lost with 19 lives
  • HMCS Levis, 19 September 1941 – Lost with 18 lives
  • HMCS Windflower, Dec. 7, 1941 – Lost with 23 lives
  • HMCS Adversus, Dec. 20, 1941 – Lost with no lives
  • HMCS Spikenard, Feb. 10, 1942 – Lost with 57 lives
  • HMCS Raccoon, Sept. 7, 1942 – Lost with 37 lives
  • HMCS Charlottetown, Sept. 11, 1942 – Lost with 10 lives
  • HMCS Ottawa, Sept. 13, 1942 – Lost with 113 lives
  • HMCS Louisbourg, Feb. 6, 1943 – Lost with 37 lives
  • HMCS Weyburn, Feb. 22, 1943 – Lost with 8 lives
  • HMCS St. Croix, Sept. 20, 1943 – Lost with 147 lives
  • HMCS Chedabucto, Oct. 21, 1943 – Lost with 1 life
  • HMCS Athabaskan, April 29, 1944 – Lost with 128 lives
  • HMCS Valleyfield, May 6, 1944 – Lost with 123 lives
  • Motor Torpedo Boat 460, July 2, 1944 – Lost with 11 lives
  • Motor Torpedo Boat 463, July 8, 1944 – Lost with no lives
  • HMCS Regina, Aug. 8, 1944 – Lost with 30 lives
  • HMCS Alberni, Aug. 21, 1944 – Lost with 59 lives
  • HMCS Skeena, Oct. 25, 1944 – Lost with 15 lives
  • HMCS Shawinigan, Nov. 24, 1944 – Lost with 91 lives
  • HMCS Clayoquot, Dec. 24, 1944 – Lost with 8 lives
  • Motor Torpedo Boats 459, 461, 462, 465, 466, Feb. 14. 1945 – Lost with 26 lives
  • HMCS Trentonian, Feb. 22, 1945 – Lost with 6 lives
  • HMCS Guysborough, March 17, 1945 – Lost with 51 lives
  • HMCS Esquimalt, April 16, 1945 – Lost with 44 lives