Veterans, government officials and the public gathered in Halifax on Saturday to remember those who served in the Merchant Navy during the Battle of the Atlantic, and the work horses of crew and ships that ferried goods through enemy-infested waters to supply the allied forces.

"It's really an opportunity for Norway to thank Canada for its support in the war,” said Honorary Norwegian Consul for Nova Scotia Brian Lane. “It's an opportunity, really, to bring back partners that took on this important exercise when the world needed it."

Between 1939 and 1945, more than 1,700 Merchant Navy personnel were lost.

"The sailors of today do their job knowing that they can overcome the difficulties and trials and challenges of our modern-era by looking at the accomplishments of our for-fathers," said Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic.

Angus McDonald was only a teenager when he joined the Merchant Navy.

"We were torpedoed,” he said “The ship broke in two and sank in about 15 minutes."

McDonald worked his way up to the rank of commander. He moved to Canada from Scotland in the 60s.

"I'm very lucky,” he said. “I've been lucky all my life."

May 1 marks Battle of the Atlantic Sunday – a time to reflect on the longest and largest campaign of the Second World War.

Sea cadet Jake Sheppard says it's important for everyone to come out to remember and show their gratitude.

"For our younger people, they should be more focused on the older generation, who fought for us, so they can be more educated, so they can also have the education to show the respect that these veterans deserve," said Sheppard. 

"I still have memories of those days,” said McDonald. “Those years, and people that I knew then."

Coverage on Battle of the Atlantic remembrance events will continue on Sunday at Point Pleasant Parkin Halifax, as hundreds gather at the Sailor’s Memorial.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.