Canadian air crews did their part

Battle of the Atlantic ceremony in Parksville honours the pilots who patrolled the seas

Legion members and the RCMP take part in a parade to mark the Battle of the Atlantic.

Legion members and the RCMP take part in a parade to mark the Battle of the Atlantic.

The coastal patrols flying over convoys of ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean didn’t get the kind of press enjoyed by the fighter pilots or the bombers during the Second World War, but they were every bit as important to securing a victory, said LCol. Dave Robinson, the commanding officer of the 407 Squadron in Comox.

Speaking at Sunday’s Battle of the Atlantic remembrance ceremony at the Parksville Legion, Robinson said the work of the submarine hunters is often ignored. However, without their sacrifices — and 242 of them perished — the world as we know it would simply not exist and an Axis victory would have been virtually assured.

Starting in 1941, over a period of 19 months, the squadron sank an estimated 500,000 tons of enemy shipping, thus earning its nickname “The Demons” for the tenacity the squadron members displayed.

From 1943 until the end of the war, 407 Squadron focused on anti-submarine warfare, sinking four German U-Boats and damaging another seven.

The service, helmed by Padre Brian Kirby, saw both military and civilian dignitaries pay tribute to the aircrews and review a short parade outside the Legion. As well, a CP-140 Aurora aircraft from Comox made a flyby overhead.