Battle of the Atlantic – 75th Anniversary Commemoration

Battle of the Atlantic – 75th Anniversary

Shipmates, as you are aware, 2020 is the 75th anniversary of our victory in the Second World War’s longest campaign, the Battle of the Atlantic – a national effort against a formidable foe. Ironically, this anniversary has fallen upon us as we now struggle with a different type of foe and again we need to unite from coast-to-coast-to-coast in our actions to secure a critical victory in the pandemic we face. It goes without saying that we are in a very uncertain and unprecedented time as we fight to vanquish this new hidden enemy, as our predecessors did against theirs 75 years ago. Beyond a doubt, the fight against COVID-19 is going to have an impact on all of us – indeed it already has significantly impacted our daily routines, both at work and at home. In this light, I have decided that our year-long celebration of the anniversary will undertake a nation-wide operational pause of all RCN-led commemoration activities until at least the end of May. Significantly, this means that the premiere BOA Sunday commemorative events and ceremonies planned for 3 May 2020, including the National Commemoration at the National War Memorial - as well as the events planned in the few days running-up to BOA Sunday - will all be deferred. This decision aligns too, by the way, with the recent announcement by the Naval Association of Canada (NAC) that, following consultation with the RCN, the NAC-led BOA Gala Dinner previously scheduled for Thursday 30 April at the National War Museum is also deferred. These deferrals align with the unprecedented requirements of our current national pandemic response efforts and clearly reflect our prioritization of the health and well-being of our veterans, our sailors, our families and of our communities at large. Further, the unfortunate necessity for deferral reflects the fact that your safety remains an RCN/CAF priority.

Obviously, we’ll resume our commemorative events again later this year when the situation permits. Expect to hear more from the RCN in this regard as soon as it becomes possible to predict when we’ll resume these important activities. For now, however, I’d share that it is intended that we’ll reset to have all previously planned 75th anniversary BOA commemoration events, ceremonies, and gala (NAC concurring – TBC) scheduled for a Fall date – perhaps coincident with NIOBE Day (TBD).

Meanwhile, expect too some guidance and encouragement soon from the RCN as to how we can all individually and safely salute our amazing predecessors – the veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic as well as the other wars and operations conducted since in which the RCN has repeatedly distinguished itself as a proven warfighting service – come the first Sunday in May.

And, in the interim, Shipmates, please continue to look after yourself, your family, and your shipmates!

Yours Aye,

Art McDonald
Vice-Admiral
Commander Royal Canadian Navy