April 28, 2005 09:30 ET

Canada Post: Longest Battle Of The Second World War Honoured On A New Canadian Postage Stamp

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 28, 2005) - Winston Churchill once wrote that the only thing that "ever really frightened" him during the Second World War was the threat presented by Germany's U-boats. The Battle of the Atlantic was the struggle to protect Allied ships in the North Atlantic from these marauding German submarines. Every year, Canada remembers the sacrifice made by its armed forces and merchant fleet on Battle of the Atlantic Sunday, the first Sunday in May. This year, Canada Post will honour the Canadians who helped to keep these important shipping lanes open, with a stamp that portrays this battle fought at sea. The stamp will be available in post offices across the country on April 29, 2005.

"Every year, on the first Sunday in May, we are reminded that the peace and freedoms we enjoy today are a legacy left to us by some very brave Canadians," said the Honourable John McCallum, Minister Responsible for Canada Post. "These stamps are a memorial to the courage and sacrifice shown by participants in the Battle of the Atlantic and, we trust, a fitting tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom."

Vessels crossing the Atlantic carried crucial supplies from Halifax and other North American ports to Britain, and Canadian forces played an important role in protecting these merchant ships from enemy submarines. The air force gave air cover to the vessels while warships escorted the merchant ships across the ocean. Canada shared these duties at first with Britain, and later in the war with the United States. The Canadian navy was required to carry out much of the escort work in the northwest Atlantic. This was a duty that did not come without cost - by the war's end, 22 Canadian naval ships had been lost, and more than 4,000 Canadians had died, including some 2,000 sailors, 750 airmen and 1,650 seamen from the merchant fleet.

The stamp was designed by Derek Sarty of Halifax's GaynorSarty. Sarty's challenge was to reduce the epic story of this battle into a single small image. Sarty selected the images used on the stamp from the extensive files of the Maritime Command Museum in Halifax. Assembling the composite work of several images (a convoy of vessels, a torpedoed supply ship, a Canadian Navy corvette and a German U-boat) required weeks of fine detailed work, Sarty noted. To heighten the visual drama of the stamp, Sarty added fields of colour in nautical tones reminiscent of the period, which also suggest the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic.

The stamp measures 56 mm x 30 mm, and will be sold in a pane of 16 stamps. Lowe-Martin printed 2.5 million of the stamps, using lithography in 8 colours plus varnish, and P.V.A. gum, on Tullis Russell Coatings paper. The stamp is general tagged on all four sides with 13+ perforations. The Official First Day Cover will read HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA.

Additional information about Canadian stamps can be found in the Newsroom section of Canada Post's website, and a downloadable high-resolution photo of the Battle of the Atlantic stamp is in the Newsroom's Photo Centre. Stamps and Official First Day covers will be available at participating post offices, can be ordered online by following the links at Canada Post's website , or by mail order from the National Philatelic Centre. From Canada and the USA call toll-free: 1-800-565-4362 and from other countries call: (902) 863-6550.

Additional information about the Battle of the Atlantic

Contact Information

  • Canada Post
    Cindy Daoust
    Ottawa, Ontario
    (613) 734-4258