Royal Canadian Navy to commemorate Battle of the Atlantic

News release

May 6, 2018 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Force

Canadians from across the country gathered today to commemorate the sacrifices made by the thousands of Canadians who fought so valiantly during the Battle of the Atlantic, which ran from 1939 to 1945.

The national ceremony was held at National War Monument in Ottawa and will include members of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) alongside members of the Merchant Navy (MN). They will be accompanied by Central Region Sea and Air Cadets, Navy League Cadets, the Royal Canadian Legion Colour Party, local veteran organizations, other government departments, the diplomatic community and the Ottawa Children’s Choir.

Each year on the first Sunday in May, Canada and its naval community commemorates those lost at sea in the longest single campaign of the Second World War. Today, the legacy of the Battle of the Atlantic is upheld by those currently serving in the RCN.


“In looking back into the past, we can reflect proudly upon the RCN’s contributions to peace and security, both at home and abroad, throughout the decades. It allows us to pay homage to the brave men and women who sacrificed so much in service to Canada. As Battle of the Atlantic commemorations approach, I invite all of Canada to join the RCN in reflecting on your Navy’s storied past, recognizing its excellence at sea today, and looking forward as we build the RCN of the future.”

Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander Royal Canadian Navy

Quick facts

  • The Battle of the Atlantic was the fight for supremacy in the North Atlantic and lasted 2,075 days. It pitted Allied naval and air forces against German and Italian submarines, ships, and aircraft whose primary targets were the convoys of merchant ships carrying vital life-sustaining cargo from North America to Europe.

  • Much of the burden of fighting the Battle of the Atlantic fell to the RCN which, at the outbreak of the war, was comprised of only six destroyers and a handful of smaller vessels.

  • By the end of the war, Canada’s navy had grown to become the fourth largest in the world, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war. During the Battle of the Atlantic, the RCN destroyed or shared in the destruction of 33 U-Boats and 42 enemy surface craft. In turn, it suffered 2,210 fatalities, including six women, and lost 33 vessels.

Associated links


Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353

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