Battle of the Atlantic
Date of Issue
November 8, 1993
The Second World War, 1943, The Tide Begins to Turn
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier.
Canada Post Corporation's tribute to the Canadian war effort continues with four stamps issued on November 8, 1993 to mark the 50th anniversary of the tide turning in the Allies favour. The Battle of the Atlantic began 12 hours after Britain declared war on September 3, 1939, when a German U-boat sank the passenger liner S.S. Athenia off the coast of Ireland. Canada's role started on September 16, 1939 when two Royal Canadian Navy destroyers sailed with the first convoy from Halifax and ended when Canadian warships escorted the Nazi submarine U-889 into harbour at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, nearly six years later. Until 1943, the Allies had been steadily losing the Battle of the Atlantic. During 1942, more than 200 Allied ships had been lost within 10 miles of the Canadian and American coastlines. Things did not get any better, as in the first three weeks of March 1943, 22 per cent of all ships in trans-Atlantic convoy were lost. RCAF air cover was hampered by adverse weather and stormy seas took a heavy toll on ships and men. The RCN were deploying small corvettes, designed for use in coastal waters rather than on the high seas. They were in need of desperate overhauling and the men exhausted from long patrols with few rest periods. In March 1943, the Atlantic Convoy Conference, at which Rear Admiral L.W. Murray, RCN, was made Commander-in-Chief, Canadian Northwest Atlantic, illustrated Canada's growing stature. Technical improvements had a dramatic effect on the Battle of the Atlantic. Hedgehog, a forward firing mortar replaced depth charges. No longer was it necessary to pass over the top of a submerged U-boat. Huff-Duff, High Frequency Direction Finding Sets, provided pinpoint location of subs' radio transmissions and the Corvettes'fo'c's'les were extended to provide more crew space and improve sea-keeping abilities. As Canadian historian Joseph Schull concluded that by the end of 1943 the Atlantic lines of communication were firmly held. The primary condition for the invasion of Europe had been established. The Italian Campaign shows an infantry assault through a village, while a surfaced U-boat appears on the foreground of the Battle of the Atlantic stamp. The night scene background depicts an Allied convoy under attack as a Canadian corvette has opened fire on the sub. The Bomber Forces stamps illustrates a "bombing up" - the groundcrew loading bombs on a Halifax heavy bomber, while stevedores load supplies for Russia on the Aid to Allies stamp.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, No. 12, 1993, p. 12-14, 17.
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