Qualicum Beach Legion Branch 76 president Don Taylor, right, salutes along with an unidentified Sea Cadet after laying a wreath to commemorate the fallen in the Battle of the Atlantic during a ceremony held at the Legion hall Sunday, May 7, 2017. — J.R. Rardon photo

Qualicum Beach Legion commemorates Battle of the Atlantic

Joint ceremony includes participants from Parksville, Bowser, Lantzville and Nanaimo branches

With a parade down sun-drenched Memorial Avenue and participation of dignitaries from multiple mid-Island communities, Qualicum Beach Legion Branch 76 hosted the annual commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic Sunday, May 7.

The Battle of the Atlantic is recognized as the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War, stretching from 1939 to Germany’s defeat in 1945. The Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Air Force played key roles in the ongoing naval campaign to protect convoys bound for Europe.

The commemoration is held annually on the mid-Island, with five area legion branches alternating as hosts. Sunday’s commemoration began with a service in the legion hall, then moved outside for a parade led by the Qualicum Beach Pipe Band.

Along with the legion’s colour guard, parade participants included uniformed members of both the Canadian naval and air forces, including one veteran in his navy seaman’s whites.

Also participating were sea cadets and air cadets from the mid-Island region, who presented wreaths to visiting dignitaries for placing at the cenotaph.

Past-president Jack MacLean led the final wreath-laying portion of the commemoration, which included participation by Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, Qualicum First Nation Chief Michael Recalma, Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek, Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre, Regional District of Nanaimo chair Bill Veenhof, and representatives from Lantzville and Nanaimo. Uniformed officers and the Legion Auxiliary also placed wreaths.

Following the commemoration, the Legion hosted a lunch for participants and guests.

— NEWS Staff