Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 24, 2013 15:26 ET

HMCS Iroquois to Participate in United Kingdom's Battle of the Atlantic Commemoration Ceremonies

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - May 24, 2013) - Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Iroquois and her embarked helicopter air detachment will participate in the United Kingdom's Battle of the Atlantic commemoration ceremonies in Liverpool, United Kingdom on Sunday, May 26.

"Thousands of Canadian men and women in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force served our nation with honour and pride in the face of perilous conditions during the Battle of the Atlantic," said The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "This Sunday, the ship's company of HMCS Iroquois will stand proudly once again alongside our allies in the United Kingdom to honour and remember the brave men and women who fought to protect our values of peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law."

Highlights of HMCS Iroquois' participation will include a commemorative service at the Liverpool Cathedral where Commander Matthew Coates, Commanding Officer of HMCS Iroquois, will deliver a reading. Members of the ship's company will line the steps of the cathedral for the departure of the guest of honour, Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal. The service will be followed by a parade through the city and fly past by historic World War II aircraft. The Second World War era Iroquois participated in similar ceremonies at the Liverpool Cathedral in 1944.

"HMCS Iroquois and her Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter air detachment from 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron have strong connections with the Battle of the Atlantic as both hold Battle of the Atlantic battle honours," says Commander Coates. "Our involvement in the United Kingdom's commemoration will indeed be a proud moment for all Canadian Armed Forces members on board Iroquois."

Fought from 1939 to 1945, the Battle of the Atlantic was the longest military campaign of the Second World War. German U-boats tried to cut Allied supply routes across the Atlantic, which threatened the transportation of vital goods and personnel from North America to Britain. The Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Merchant Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force played a key role in the efforts to maintain this crucial lifeline in the face of the constant enemy threat. May 1943, or "Black May", has been recognized as the turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic, when the Allied forces finally gained the upper hand and managed to "turn the tide" against the German U-boat threat. However, the battle went on until May 1945 and wasn't over until the last day of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945 (V-E Day).

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