Merchant navy memorial marked in Halifax
Not considered veterans until 2000
A small group of merchant navy veterans gathered aboard HMCS Sackville on Tuesday to honour their memorial day after years of being denied recognition.
During the Second World War, the merchant navy operated supply ships across the dangerous North Atlantic, escorted by Royal Canadian Navy corvettes, destroyers and small aircraft carriers.
The merchant navy had higher casualty rates than any other division of the armed forces, but it wasn't until 2000 when they were recognized as veterans.
Earl Wagner, a former captain, said the short ceremony is especially poignant given their fight with Ottawa.
"We were veterans in war time, with our fellow comrades in the other services. Unfortunately it took us 55 years to be completely recognized by the Government of Canada," he said.
"We worked very much to get this tribute that automatically befell all the other service personnel. We always thought we were veterans too."
There is still an ongoing debate about how many people actually served in the merchant navy.