Monday, May 08, 2006

Veterans mark Battle of the Atlantic


May 07, 2006

Canadian veterans on Sunday recalled the Battle of the Atlantic , the six-year struggle the Allies waged to keep vital war supplies flowing from North America to Britain during the Second World War.

More than 3,000 Canadian sailors and merchant seaman died in fighting on the Atlantic Ocean between 1939 and 1945. RCAF airmen also played a key part in the battle.

In Halifax, HMCS Sackville laid a wreath in the waters of the city's Point Pleasant Park. The Sackville is the last surviving corvette, a small escort vessel in which many Canadians served.

As part of the ceremony, the ashes of 16 veterans who recently died were committed to the sea. Capt. Samuel Lillington served on corvettes during the war and later commanded the Sackville.

He was among the 16 sailors buried at sea. It was "one of his last wishes," his wife, Joan, said.

In Winnipeg, Steve Logos recalled being on the destroyer HMCS Ottawa when it was torpedoed in 1942.

"In 20 seconds we had to abandon ship," he said, and then the survivors floated on rafts in the North Atlantic for about six hours before being rescued.

Logos is one of 65 people who survived; 113 sailors from the ship were killed.

There were also ceremonies and memorials in Victoria and Ottawa.

The Battle of the Atlantic was only deemed to be won when Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945.

The Department of National Defence said the Royal Canadian Navy carried much of the burden of fighting the battle. The navy had just six destroyers and a few smaller ships when the war began, but was among the largest military fleets in the world in 1945.

Canada built more than 120 corvettes during the war.



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