The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
TOMORROW Australia pays tribute to those who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest military campaign of the Second World War.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the Battle of the Atlantic commenced on 3 September 1939 and continued until the surrender of Germany on 8 May 1945 and was crucial to an Allied victory in the Second World War.
“Australians served in naval and merchant vessels throughout the Battle of the Atlantic, and Australian aviators served in large numbers with Coastal Command helping to protect the shipping lanes which were a critical supply line for the Allies during the war,” Mr Chester said.
“Royal Australian Navy vessels escorted convoys across the Atlantic, providing essential support to merchant vessels bringing troops, war materiel, food and fuel from North America to Europe and supporting Britain, which was reliant on the supplies provided via the sea lanes.
“Had the Allies lost the battle for these critical shipping lanes, the war may have taken a very different course.
“More than 5,000 British and Allied ships were sunk and some 65,000 Allied and merchant seamen were lost. Over 400 members of the Royal Australian Air Force who served with Coastal Command were killed.
“We must always remember their service and sacrifice along with that of all Australians who have served their country in time of war.”
The Atlantic Star was awarded to some 5,000 Australian service personnel and merchant mariners in recognition of their service in this decisive battle. More information can be found on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.
Rachel Tharratt or Cedric Szigeti: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au