Kamloops group commemorates the Battle of the Atlantic

Remembering WW2 battle

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous battle during the Second World War and one that Canada played a central role in.

Today, 75 years after it ended, the ANAVets 290 Army and Navy Club on Kamloops' North Shore held a ceremony to commemorate those who fought and died. The battle took place as supplies were shipped to Europe from North America, club president Debbie Allan explains, with Axis submarines and the Nazi German navy trying to choke of Allied forces.

During the ceremony the names of 24 Canadian ships were read off by Randy Williams, the provincial ANAVets command first vice-president, followed by the ringing of a bell.

"We read them off to remember them," explains Allan. "You could hear the lady from inside say 'They do not answer' and that's because they had sunk; if they had not sunk there would be an answer bell back."

Dozens of merchant ships were also lost, along with 1,600 sailors' lives.

At today's event around 20 people showed up to the club's location on the North Shore and, keeping physical distancing in mind, held the ceremony in the parking lot.

"Because of COVID-19 we knew we couldn't do our large scale event that we usually do including the cadets and all vets," says Allan. "So we've scaled it down to a smaller event, but we still felt with the helicopter crash last week and everything the vets are going through right now it was important we do something.

She notes that there are fewer veterans who participated in the Second World War now as well, and first-hand knowledge of it is fading.

"There's fewer older vets, so we're losing that part of our history," she says. "So it's important we try and keep alive the history and memory of those that fought so we can have what we have today in our country."

While the event was kept small, she says they'll be putting material online for people who weren't able to attend to see.

"We'll be putting some pictures and things on our Facebook and website," she says. "The other vets who are at home that can't get out will be able to see the pictures and know that we have done something in a small way to commemorate today."

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