In August, led by the Atlantic Charter Foundation Inc., it will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Atlantic Charter.
This event saw U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill meeting in secret in 1941, in Placentia Bay just off Ship Harbour, and producing a joint declaration that became known as the Atlantic Charter. This later became the foundation for the establishment of the United Nations.
Assisted by an advisory committee made up of respected Newfoundland leaders and others from the mainland of Canada, a program has been prepared that will take place in St. John’s, Placentia and Ship Harbour.
Nicole Walsh is chair of the Ship Harbour committee and the advisory committee is headed up by Ches Crosbie, Gary Walsh and Barry Davenport.
The formal part of the program will commence on Thursday, Aug. 11 with a reception for delegates and invited guests at Government House.
On Friday morning, the group will travel from St. John’s to Placentia where they will visit Castle Hill National Historic Site and tour the former U.S Military Base. Lunch will be available at the Canadian Legion and in local restaurants.
In the afternoon, the group will attend a new play by Agnes Walsh, titled “Mysterious Visitors,” which has been commissioned by the advisory committee as part of the commemoration. It will portray the reaction of Ship Harbour residents to the flotilla that arrived in Placentia Bay for the meeting between the two world leaders.
On Saturday, there will be a noontime tour of the Crow’s Nest Officers Club in St. John’s. This will be followed in the afternoon with a symposium at Memorial University in the Junior Common Room.
The symposium will first focus on the Charter and its lasting significance with presentations by professor Peter Russell (University of Toronto), Hugh Segal (Master of Massey College, Toronto and chair of the NATO Association of Canada), Bob Rae (former Member of Parliament) and Chris Parkes (fellow of the London School of Economics).
A second session will look at the Atlantic Charter and how it led to the formation of the United Nations. Professor Lucien Ashworth, head of political science for Memorial University, will lead a panel to discuss this important link with history.
A reception and commemorative dinner will take place in the evening at the Canadian Forces Station.
Conrad Black will make the keynote address and will be introduced by Randy Barber (president of the International Churchill Society of Canada).
The dinner will closely replicate the meal served to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill on HMS Prince of Wales at the 1941 meeting. The Church Lads’ Brigade will provide the music.
On Sunday, Aug. 14, the commemoration will continue at the Atlantic Charter Memorial site, Ship Harbour, when there will be a re-enactment of the service of thanks led by Rev. Lt(N) Ian March-MacCuish who is affiliated with HMCS Cabot.
The service will replicate that which took place on HMS Prince of Wales 75 years ago. Duncan Sandys (great-grandson of Winston Churchill) will be present and will make an address. A military band will be in attendance and a number of Associations (i.e. The Legion, the Military and community leaders) will lay wreaths.
The formal program will be followed by lunch and a community garden party, with all the usual attractions organized by the local committee representing the Atlantic Charter Foundation Inc.
There will also an opportunity to visit Joe’s Cove were Churchill came ashore, and to view the Foundation’s artifacts and exhibits before the delegates return to St. John’s.
The Atlantic Charter Foundation Inc. invites everyone to attend this activity in Ship Harbour.
Anyone interested in becoming a delegate to all of the conference activities should contact Debbie Meade at 709-227-0214 to register.
For several days prior to this event in Ship Harbour, the Foundation will be running other activities for people of the community and visitors.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development and the federal Department of Canadian Heritage provided funding for the event. Donations were also provided by private individuals and companies, and by the registered delegates.