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Burial of Ashes at Sea for Canadian Veterans

canadian burial at sea

Family members and veterans participate in a burial at sea ceremony on HMCS Sackville during which the ashes of 21 members of Canada’s military placed in the waters outside Halifax harbour on Sunday, May 5, 2013 during a ceremony marking the Battle of the Atlantic. (Devaan Ingraham, Canadian Press)

Have you or a family member considered having your/their ashes buried at sea? This service is available for current and former Canadian military veterans, former members of the Coast Guard and Canadian Merchant Marines,  as well as their spouses, regardless of when they served.

It is the responsibility of the next of kin to forward the urn to the Command Chaplain, with the following 3 required items.

  1. Full Contact information for the next of kin
  2. Cremation Certificate for the deceased
  3. Short Biography of the deceased, including last rank, details of their career, and a copy of their obituary.

There is no cost to the family for the committal of the cremated remains at sea.

It is the families’ responsibility to purchase and provide a biodegradable urn and cover the cost to have the cremated remains delivered to:

Formation Chaplain
Marine Forces Atlantic
P.O. Box 99000
Station Forces
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3K 5X5

There are two options for the committal of cremated remains at sea.

The first option is that the family may be on board the deployment of the HMCS Sackville on the first Sunday in May when the ship goes into the Halifax Harbor to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.  During this guided deployment the cremated remains will be committed to sea in the Halifax Harbor.

The second and more common option is for the Formation Chaplain to take several sets of cremated remains on the next deployment of a naval ship.  During the ships maneuvers that chaplain will commit the ashes to the sea.  The next of kin will be notified what ship will spread the ashes prior to departure and the family will receive the exact position and date of the burial of ashes at sea.

If this interests you as a way to honor the veterans in your family, or you would like to know more about this you can call the Base Padre Office and speak with the Formation Chaplain Administrative Assistant at 902-721-8660.

I’d love your feedback. Please leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one, via the commentluv feature here on the site.

Until next time,

Kat

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2 replies
  1. Gord Harrison says:

    My father (formerly a member of RCNVR (V8809) and Combined Operations, 1941 – 45) died in 2003, wanted to be buried at sea but mother didn’t want to be buried alone, so father relented. However, though most of his ashes are now interred in the family gravesite w his wife, I held some back. I’m mulling over your options and I have a workshop so can build a small wooden container. It would float but biodegrade in time. Is that suitable for your purposes? Also, if I go aboard the Sackville, next year or the year after, can I do the honours of the final toss for my father’s ashes?

    Reply
    • Kat says:

      Hi Gord thank you so very much for reaching out concerning the committal of a portion of your father’s cremated remains at sea. It does seem to be a fitting final tribute to your father and also tremendous that you could also respect his wife’s wishes. This is one of the advantages of cremation, in that your have various options and now you can commit the final portion of his cremated remains at the next burial at sea ceremony.

      As mentioned in the blog the urn must be biodegradable, and yes wood is biodegradable. Concerning the timing, your participation, a short biography of your father, and the type of urn that is acceptable, I encourage you to contact the Formation Chaplain Administrative Assistant at 902 – 721- 8660 or by mail to

      Formation Chaplain
      Marine Forces Atlantic
      P.O. Box 99000
      Station Forces
      Halifax, Nova Scotia
      B3K 5X5

      I look forward to hearing how this works out for you Gord
      Kindest Regards Kat

      Reply

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