The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities joins
Canadians in recognizing September 3 as Merchant Navy Veterans Day.
Parliament established Merchant Navy Veterans Day in 2003 to commemorate the significant and
valiant contributions made by the 12,000 members of the Canadian Merchant Navy who served
during the Second World War.
Merchant mariners proved an essential part of the Allied war effort, making 25,000 voyages across
the Atlantic Ocean during the height of the war to transport vital goods and personnel to Britain.
Merchant ship crews operated under constant threat of attack from German U-boats, with a casualty
rate of one in seven, a higher percentage than any of Canada’s fighting services. Twenty-three
Merchant Navy ships were lost at sea and 1,629 Canadian Merchant Mariners made the ultimate
sacrifice while serving.
The Canadian Merchant Navy featured prominently in the Committee’s recent report on Ocean War
Graves, which made recommendations on how Canada could best commemorate the final resting
places of those Canadian sailors and merchant mariners who died while serving in the Atlantic