‘It was one we had to win’: Veterans and CFB Esquimalt remember the sacrifices made in the Battle of the Atlantic

WatchThis is the time of year, more than ever, that we remember all the men and women who sacrificed so much for Canada. As Kori Sidaway tells us, at CFB Esquimalt, the navy is honouring its past, with a new paint job.

There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint. But HMCS Regina’s new naval camouflage paint, often referred to as “dazzle” paint, is also a nod to the past.

“HMCS Regina was painted in the disruptive paint scheme, to commemorate the sacrifices that were made by the people in the Battle of the Atlantic,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Darren Sleen.

Battle of the Atlantic was the longest fight of the Second World War – a war popularly defined by the trenches. But Allied success there wouldn’t have been possible without success on the seas.

“It was one we had to win. Otherwise, it was game over,” said Peter Chance, a retired commander who served in the Royal Canadian Navy for 30 years and served in The Battle of the Atlantic.

On the Atlantic Ocean, Canadian warships and aircraft hunted German U-boats and convoyed life-sustaining supplies like food and fuel from Canada to the front lines.

It kept entire armies, and communities, fed and able to fight the war.

“Britain was down to three weeks of supplies at one point,” remembered Chance.

Chance is almost 99 now, but his memory of the Battle of the Atlantic remains crystal clear.

“Those seas were pretty murderous,” said Chance.

“In the wintertime with an open bridge, it was freezing. The attitude was…we’re going to win the bloody war against the Germans, and we did!”

HMCS Regina’s new paint job is CFB Esquimalt’s way of remembering people like Peter’s sacrifice.

“Even while the junior members of the ship’s company are applying that paint, thinking about why we’re doing it, and to have that ownership for our current ship’s company, and have that link with our heritage, I think that makes it even more special for everybody,” said Sleen.

“It looks fascinating!” said Chance.

“It reminds me so much of what we used to see in our ships during the war.”

The new paint job linking the present to the past. Bringing life back the many sacrifices on seas.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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