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Lost but not forgotten

Battle of the Atlantic ceremony in Montreal in 2018.
Photo: Jacques N. Godbout/


Meow! Many say that cats do not like water. That can be true, but when it comes to H2O, I know quite a bit. My ancestor, Simon, was a famous feline mascot on a Royal Navy ship, so I might even have salt water in my veins!

During our train ride across Canada, we stopped in my hometown of Montreal. The Remembrance Clubhouse animals followed me to the Old Port where we visited the Clock Tower, a memorial dedicated to sailors lost at sea during wartime. I told my friends that I was there in May for a solemn remembrance ceremony. Every year, people gather in places across Canada to commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest struggle of the Second World War. The whole ceremony was touching, but I got shivers every time they rang the ship’s bell. It sounded out 31 times in total, one loud ding for each Royal Canadian Navy ship that was lost between 1939 and 1945.

Nobody was safe at sea during the war. Even getting to the battlefields was dangerous. On July 4-5, 1943, three Allied ships in a convoy sailing from England to Sicily, Italy, were torpedoed by German submarines. Sadly, more than 50 Canadians lost their lives in the attack. Whenever I hear a bell, I still think about this tragedy at sea.

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