Subject: Battle of Atlantic Sunday

 

1. “Greater love hath no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends”. Whom but the bravest of individuals would contemplate such a sacrifice? Whom but a heroic individual would make such a sacrifice? Whom but the most selfless individual would voluntarily place themselves in harm’s way knowing that this sacrifice might indeed be theirs to make?

 

2. We might think very few, but in 1939, when their country and the world needed them the most, the first of nearly 100 thousand of Canada’s sons and daughters did just that not just once, but on a nearly daily basis for the entire 2075 days of the Battle of Atlantic. It was done, not just for family and friends but for total strangers thousands of miles away then besieged and at the mercy of a monstrous evil. It was done, not in the familiar places of their home and native land but upon the unforgiving and inhospitable vastness of the cruel sea.

 

3. It was done, not with the certain knowledge of where and when or how quickly it might occur but under the increasing strain of not knowing when they would be visited by the dangers of the sea or the violence of the enemy. It was done in the full knowledge that victory comes with a price that cannot be negotiated and that there can be no victory until that price is paid. It was done, not with any assurance of victory, but rather a hope that their service would be enough for victory and in the end - it was

 

4. Service to one’s country is noble work - and the Battle of Atlantic fought by the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Merchant Navy was noble work nobly done. Still, the price of victory, when paid in full, would cost the Navy 24 warships and over 2000 dead, the Air Force 350 aircraft and over 900 dead, the Merchant Navy of Canada 73 ships and over 1700 dead

 

5. Since that victory the noble work has continued and the Canadian Navy has answered the country’s call by deploying ships wherever needed, whenever needed for as long as they are needed. Battle of the Atlantic is an opportunity to pause and consider our ships at sea today as they follow the lead mark of honourable service to Canada - a course shaped those many years ago by the veterans of the Battle of Atlantic, Korea, the Gulf War and the many peace-enforcement and peace-keeping operations of the intervening years. Let us remember them for their service as we would hope to be remembered for ours – “for they shall not grow old as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning - we shall remember them”.

 

This was extracted from a message sent out of NDHQ by the CMS