Battle of Atlantic observed
For the second straight year, the Battle of the Atlantic was remembered here with a special outdoor ceremony at the end of the Parrsboro wharf.
With last year's sunshine replaced by gusting winds and overcast skies, the turnout was smaller for this year's event. Taking place at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 17, the local ceremony was actually held two weeks later than the first Sunday in May, when the Battle of the Atlantic is normally recognized.
Hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 45, the short ceremony was led by branch president Keith Odlin and Chaplain Rev. Greg Doyle. The small crowd in attendance looked on as branch member Esther Deville tossed a ceremonial wreath into the Atlantic tide.
"I reminded myself why, on a day like today, I joined the air force," said Odlin. "At the end of the day, I went back to a hotel while (the navy) were beating themselves around the bloody ocean."
The 2,075-day Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of the Second World War, and one of Canada's greatest contributions to the allied effort. During many a treacherous, stormy crossing, Canada's navy escorted 25,343 merchant vessels across the Atlantic, carrying vital supplies without which the war effort would have collapsed.
While Canada's navy matured and earned the mantle of a professional service during this period, it also paid heavy sacrifices, losing 2,210 lives and 24 warships.
"The Battle of the Atlantic, to me, represents teamwork: the teamwork between the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the coastal batteries of the Canadian Army, who protected our way of life during the Battle of the Atlantic; and the teamwork between the navy and the Merchant Marine who kept the lifeline open between Europe and North America," said CPO1 Robert Cleroux, Maritime Command, in his Battle of the Atlantic Sunday message this year.
Despite the smaller turnout, Odlin seemed pleased with how the ceremony went.
"Unfortunately, there weren't as many people as came out last year," he said. "But I'm proud of everybody who came out today for the sailors."