UK

Canadian Flag Raised On HMS Belfast To Mark WWII Contribution

The ceremony marked the work of the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.

The Canadian flag has been raised on HMS Belfast in London to mark the contribution made by the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, particularly during the Arctic convoys.

As part of the ceremony, the same guns which were fired in 1943 in the Battle of North Cape were used to pay tribute to the crew of HMS Belfast and mark the role of the Royal Canadian Navy's personnel on board.

Their work during the Second World War led to the sinking of German battle cruiser the Scharnhorst before it could attack allied forces.

"Belfast played an absolutely vital role because she found Scharnhorst," organiser Tim Lewin explained.

"It was totally dark, the Arctic night.

"It was very, very rough weather - pretty much constant snow.

"Had they not found the Scharnhorst before she reached the convoy - keeping in mind she came within 20 miles, it was absolutely critical that she was found."

guns were used during canadian flag ceremony on hms belfast 201219 credit bfbs.jpg
The same guns used in 1943 were used during the commemoration on HMS Belfast.

The event was a chance to thank the Canadian Navy personnel who were involved.

"It gives me great pleasure to be present, at 96, to join in this particular event," former Royal Canadian Navy captain Ralph Monteith said.

"It is very important for us to be able to show that we were as strong allies then as we are today," Canadian naval advisor, said Captain Yves Germain.

Speaking at the event, former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West, said it was good to show Canadian former and serving naval personnel that their effort and contribution during the Second World War is remembered and appreciated.

"They are very, very important allies of ours," he said.

hms belfast with canadian flag 201219 credit bfbs.jpg
HMS Belfast will keep the Canadian flag flying until the end of the year.

The Canadian flag will be flying on HMS Belfast until the end of the year.

The organisers hope that when tourists and locals see the flag they will ask the question as to why is there and learn more about the role the Royal Canadian Navy played during the Second World War.

In the present day, HMS Belfast is a floating museum, but during the Second World War it survived numerous battles, while 10% of her crew consisted of Royal Canadian Navy personnel.