Executive Council
May 1, 2017

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador:

Premier Commemorates the Battle of the Atlantic

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this Honourable House to commemorate the sacrifices made by our naval, air and merchant veterans during the Battle of the Atlantic.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the struggle between the Allied and German forces for control of the Atlantic Ocean. It brought the Second World War to Canada’s doorstep, and is considered to be the longest and arguably most strategically significant battle of the war.

Canada’s Merchant Navy, along with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force, played a key role in the Allied efforts. East coast cities soon found themselves involved in the battle, since Allied convoys were frequently leaving busy ports like Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, as well as St. John’s during the war.

Mr. Speaker, helping the Allies triumph in the Battle of the Atlantic came at a high price with more than 1,600 Merchant Navy personnel from Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador being killed, as well as 2,000 Royal Canadian Navy officers and men who died during this war and 752 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Battle of the Atlantic also saw civilian casualties – 136 people died when the ferry, SS Caribou, was sunk as it crossed from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland on October 14, 1942.

It is safe to say that Allied victory in the Second World War would not have been possible without victory at sea. While it required overcoming great odds, the courage of the naval, air and merchant personnel helped to keep the Allied convoys running and the supply lines to Europe open. These brave men and women were some of the more than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who served in the cause of peace and freedom during the Second World War.

On May 7, 2017, Battle of the Atlantic ceremonies will commence with an ecumenical service at the St. Thomas’ Anglican Church followed by a parade to the Newfoundland War Memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony. In addition, as a mark of respect to those who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic to ensure our freedom, the Navy Ensign will be flown on the courtesy pole here at Confederation Building throughout this week.

I invite all Honourable members to join me in commemorating and celebrating our naval heritage, and most importantly, our naval, air and merchant veterans of past and present.

Thank you.

2017 05 01                              1:50 p.m.