Canada remembers those lost during the Bell Island U-boat attacks
September 16, 2017 – Lance Cove Beach, Bell Island, Newfoundland and Labrador – Veterans Affairs Canada
Canadians take pride in their rich history and military heritage and a central responsibility of Veterans Affairs Canada is to pay tribute to the selfless service and contributions of Canada’s Veterans, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, attended a commemorative ceremony that marked an important military milestone – the 75th anniversary of the U-boat attacks at Bell Island during the Second World War.
Bell Island, which sits in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Conception Bay, was one of the few communities in North America be hit by enemy fire during the war. The ceremony commemorated two separate U-boat attacks off the shores of Bell Island in 1942 by honouring the 69 Allied sailors who lost their lives, recognizing the actions of those who came to the aid of the crews of the torpedoed ships, and highlighting the service of all merchant mariners in the Second World War. These incidents were part of the Battle of Atlantic, the longest continuous campaign of the entire conflict.
“It's inspiring to see the hard work of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 18 and Bell Island on this commemoration project. Our government is committed to ensuring the longevity of war memorials in communities across the country, as well as supporting remembrance initiatives. This is why participating in today’s ceremony and in the restoration of the Seamen’s Memorial here at Lance Cove Beach through the Commemorative Partnership Program was incredibly important for me and my department.”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle of the Second World War and one in which Canada played a central role. The battle began on the opening day of the war in September 1939 and ended almost six years later with Germany’s surrender in May 1945.
Bell Island was one of the few communities in North America be hit by enemy fire during the Second World War and it happened during the Battle of Atlantic. The first attack was on September 5, 1942, when a U-boat sank the SS Lord Strathcona and SS Saganaga. Nearly two months later on November 2, the SS Rose Castle and a Free French ship, the PLM 27, would follow the first two ships to the bottom during a second attack.
The Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP) provides funding to organizations undertaking remembrance initiatives.
Through the CPP, Veterans Affairs Canada provided $6,435 to restore the Seaman’s Memorial at Lance Beach Cove and support commemorative activities for this project to mark the 75th anniversary of the Bell Island U-boat attacks.
For more information about the CPP, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
2017 is a special year of commemoration for Canada as we remember the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, and Canada 150.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
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