77th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic and Liberation of the Netherlands
For this anniversary, our local Sea Cadet Corps was invited to participate during the ceremony, to research and write a text on either the Battle or the Liberation and to do an audio visual presentation after the ceremony in front of veterans and guests. The Cadets were thrilled to be given the opportunity to participate.
The ceremony will include a candlelight tribute, on the front lawn of the Aylmer Legion #33, or indoors in case of rain, on Thursday May 5 at 5 pm. After a couple years where everything was done virtually they are finally allowed to attend in person.
The Battle of the Atlantic
The Royal Canadian Navy began the war with only 13 vessels and 3,500 sailors and ended it as one of the world’s largest navies with 373 ships and more than 111,000 sailors (many of which were volunteers), including 6,500 from the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Services. The Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy carried out joint tactical planning and coordinated their assets to sink 50 German U-boats.
The Victoria Cross, which was instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856, is a decoration recognizing conspicuous bravery in the British Commonwealth’s armed services. The Victoria Cross was posthumously awarded to Flight Lieutenant David Hornell, who came across a surfaced U-boat north of the Shetland Islands in June 1944. Although his aircraft was burning and shaking violently after being hit by anti-aircraft fire, Hornell managed to destroy the enemy submarine and land his damaged aircraft on the water. As the plane eventually sank, all eight crew members managed to cling to a dinghy until they were rescued 21 hours later. Unfortunately, due to the prolonged exposure to the frigid ocean water, two crew members, including David Hornell, passed away.
The vast majority of the Royal Canadian Navy’s 2,000 sailors who were killed during the war, had taken part of the Battle of the Atlantic. Another 752 aircraft members of the Royal Canadian Air Force also died in this theatre of operations.
The Battle of the Atlantic officially ended on May 8, 1945, which marked the end of the Second World War in Europe with the surrender of Germany. The Second World War officially ended less four months later on September 2, 1945 with the formal surrender of Japan.
The Liberation of the Netherlands
Did you know that Canada played a very big role in the liberation of the Netherlands!
In September 1944, as the Canadians prepared, there was a major railway strike which disrupted supply lines to the Netherlands. The Germans retaliated by cutting off the food rations of the Dutch population. Millions of people suffered from starvation and about 20,000 people died of starvation that winter.
In the fall of 1944, the Canadians advanced towards the Netherlands, fighting fiercely to repel the Germans. By December 1944, the southern Netherlands had been liberated. On May 5, 1945, Canada accepted the defeat of German forces in the Netherlands. More than 7,600 Canadians lost their lives in combat.
When the Canadian survivors returned from combat, the Dutch, grateful for their help, greeted them with celebrations, throwing them tulips and treating them as heroes. Canadians repaired roads and distributed 3,000 tons of food daily to eliminate famine in the country.
In 1945, as an expression of their nation's gratitude, the Dutch Royal Family sent 100,000 tulips to Canada to mark Canada's participation in the liberation of the Netherlands.
A Dutch-Canadian tradition began at the end of the Second World War: the “Canadian tulip festival”, which has been held annually in Ottawa since 1945. They are called the flowers of friendship.
I invite you to become a participant in this tradition by planting a tulip in front of your house as an acknowledgement of the sacrifices that all Canadians made while contributing to liberation of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe.
Written by Cadet Petty Officer Second Class Amy Roy, 14 years old, Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps La Hulloise (230)
LA REMONTÉE DE NOTRE MARINE
Le 3 septembre 1939 fut le commencement de six années de terreur, de mort, d’agonie, de deuils et de souvenirs. L’invasion de la Pologne par le führer entraîna la plus longue bataille de l’histoire, qui eut lieu atlantique nord. Plus de 1 600 marins marchands du Canada et de Terre-Neuve ont été tués. C'est pourquoi aujourd’hui et tous les jours, nous nous souvenons. 95 000 braves canadiens en uniformes, 434 navires en service comprenant des croiseurs, des destroyers, des frégates, des corvettes et des navires auxiliaires, sont les symboles de notre liberté. C'est pourquoi aujourd’hui et tous les jours, nous nous souvenons. La marine royale canadienne devint la marine la plus victorieuse et prestigieuse parmi les membres de l’OTAN, mais le prix fut plus que cher à payer. La réserve navale canadienne, la marine royale canadienne et l’aviation royale canadienne se sont occupés de la facture. Leurs mères, leurs pères, leurs frères et sœurs, leurs amis, leurs vies. Les torpilles allemandes avaient beau percer la coque des navires canadiens, jamais elles n’ont percé leur patriotisme. Notre marine, fière défenseur de nos valeurs et intérêts. « Parati vero parati », toujours là, toujours prêts ! Voilà ce qu’était, ce qui est et ce qui, grâce à eux, seront les Canadiens de demain. La MRC a détruit ou aidé à détruire 33 sous-marins allemands et 42 navires de surface ennemis. De nos six navires nous en avons créé 434 et de nos 3500 marins en on fleurit 95 000. Pendant ces affrontements, 2210 marins nous ont quittés et avec eux, 33 navires. Pour eux nous allumons ces chandelles. Pour eux la flamme brillera. D'eux nous nous souvenons. De ce sacrifice le Canada se souviendras.
Rania Mesri, 16 ans
Cadet Première-maitre de deuxième classe et capitaine d’armes