The accolades of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Sault Ste. Marie were read aloud, as well as names of fallen local sailors, during the annual Battle of the Atlantic ceremony held this past weekend.
As 11 a.m. May 2, 2021 came along, five members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 marched out front of their building to remember the battle which lasted the entire length of the war.
“The battle of the Atlantic lasted from September 3 1939 to the eighth of may 1945, making it the longest continuous Battle of the Second World War. Canada played a key role in the Allied struggle for control of the North Atlantic, as German submarines worked furiously to cripple the convoys shipping critical supplies to Europe,” said Branch Vice-President Pierre Breckenridge during the ceremony.
“In terms of life, it was very costly. There were 72,000 allied deaths, including servicemen and merchant mariners, among them. 2000 sailors Royal Canadian Navy, 1600 Merchant Mariners Canada and Newfoundland, and 752 Royal Canadian Air Force.”
Without supplies from across the Atlantic, Britain would not have been able to survive the war according to historians.
Commissioned in 1943, HMCS Sault Ste. Marie was a minesweeper on the western front during the late part of the war and served as a senior-officers ship until while on patrol until mid-April 1945. The rest of her story can be found here.
Legion Branch 25 President Helen Stewart had a personal reason for remembering on this day.
“Well, my father was in the Royal Navy and the Canadian Navy was instrumental in convoying all the the necessary supplies and munitions and stuff for that whole battle and it’s just any time they go to war for us, for our freedoms, is the time that we have to remember,” said Stewart.
Wreaths were laid, and the colours were marched off to end the ceremony.
Stay with SaultOnline as we continue to cover events remembering the battles of our past fought so we could be free.