The new Canadian Naval Ensign flies above Sunday's commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic in Chilliwack.

Chilliwack marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic

Chilliwack paused for a moment to honour the men and women who died keeping the sea lanes open during the Battle of the Atlantic.

The clang of a lone ship’s bell echoed off the streets of Chilliwack Sunday, signaling the many vessels lost during the longest running campaign of the Second World War.

The first Sunday in May marks the end of the Battle of the Atlantic – a battle that cost the lives of more than 4,600 Canadians.

This year holds special significance. Seventy years ago in 1943 the tide was officially turned in a battle that kept the sea lanes open and vital supplies flowing to Great Britain.

“The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest running battle of the Second World War. It represents an outstanding contribution by Canadians to the war effort, said veterans affairs minister Steven Blaney in a statement from Ottawa.

“The heroic Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Canadian Merchant Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) members helped the Allies attain a crucial victory.”

In Chilliwack, that effort was remembered as local veterans, cadets and service personnel gathered at the downtown cenotaph.

As the new Canadian Naval Ensign fluttered in the breeze, they honoured the men and women who lost their lives during that six-year battle and played such a vital role in the Allies’ eventual victory over Nazi Germany.