Vice Admiral Drew Robertson stops to talk with veteran Harry Kerrison, 86, (third from right) of RCAF 422 Squadron as he inspects the veteran contingent yesterday during the commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

They were gathered to mark the 65th anniversary of the turning point of the six-year battle.

The Battle of the Atlantic began in 1939, after a German submarine sank a passenger ship near Ireland. In the years that followed, the Royal Canadian Navy lost more than 2,000 personnel and two dozen ships. The merchant navy lost another 1,700 sailors and more than 70 ships. About 900 air force and army members also perished.

About 400 veterans, serving members of the Armed Forces, politicians and diplomats were joined by about 200 civilians in the ceremony.