May 2019

Local Sea Cadets Commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic

cadets parading to City Hall, May 2017
Cadets marching to commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic, May 2017
  On Sunday May 5th the 34th Chinook Sea Cadets along with cadets from the 50th Lethbridge Navy League Cadet Corps will parade to the Cenotaph at City Hall. They will be remembering and honouring those who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic, which is commemorated by the Royal Canadian Navy on the first Sunday in May.  Commanding Officer Lt. (N) Rob Neufeld will be leading this year’s parade and ceremony.   According to him, “It is important for our youth to understand what their grandparents went though, as they have never had to go through war.”

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 until 1945 with losses of nearly 100,000 lives and more than 4500 ships. The war was brought particularly close to home here in Canada when 136 people died on October 14, 1942 with the sinking of the ferry SS Caribou as it crossed from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.  At the start of the war Canada’s navy included only 3500 personnel, both regular force and reserve, and very few ships:  a few dozen Canadian-registered merchant ships, six destroyers, five small minesweepers, two training vessels, and a single squadron of modern military flying boats. From this tiny beginning, Canada’s forces would go on to play a large and significant part in the Atlantic war and the Canadian Merchant Navy would carry cargoes around the world. The Royal Canadian Navy would grow to a strength of over 95,000 personnel by the end of the war, 6,000 of them members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service. At this point Canada would possess the third-largest navy in the world, after the fleets of the US and Britain Cadet on deployment with SALTS
Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitchell McCormick on deployment with SALTS.

Cadet competing in biathlon event
Able Seaman Malik Gure participating in the 2019 Provincial Biathlon Competition in Canmore.
These types of commemorative activities are important to the cadets, reminding them of Canada’s history, and giving them a sense of pride in their country. The Royal Canadian Sea Cadets is a free program open to youth ages 12 to 18.  Sea cadets participate in activities that remind them of the meaning of citizenship, but also learn leadership, seamanship, musicianship, and marksmanship through yearly activities and opportunities to attend summer camps. The Navy League of Lethbridge is also free and offers similar activities to youth ages 9 to 12.  Master Seaman Shian Mattice participated in both Navy League and is now a Sea Cadet.  She says “Cadets has helped me through a lot, especially when things aren’t great.  It has helped me to find better ways to deal with things and to cope with things, taught me how to ask for help, and how important it is to help others.”

More information on these programs can be found at www.navyleaguelethbridge.com or on facebook @navyleaguecadetslethbridge or @LethbridgeSeaCadets or by clicking the links on the left.