Battle of the Atlantic Events Commemorated in Liverpool, UK

Battle of the Atlantic Events Commemorated in Liverpool, UK

This weekend has seen crowds of visitors pack the city of Liverpool to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Tens of thousands of people have enjoyed the first full day of Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary events in Liverpool. There were battles on the Mersey River, flypasts, field gun displays and public open days on warships as young and old flocked to the city centre in the spring sunshine.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War and was pivotal to the overall success of the allied forces. To mark the 70th anniversary, events have been held in London and Derry-Londonderry, culminating in a weekend of activities around Liverpool which was home to the Western Approaches operations room and receiver of over 1,000 convoys.

Saturday morning began with veterans and their families gathering at the city’s Cunard Building for a procession by Chinese Lion dancers, Indian drummers and troops from the Polish community. All of these nationalities played a role in the Merchant Navy and a wreath laying ceremony was held at the Merchant Navy Memorial on the Pier Head.

This was followed by a visually spectacular event as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines took to the river in attack craft and helicopters for a “Battle on the Mersey” along with the Merchant tug, Brocklebank. This was followed by a flypast from a Spitfire and Hurricane.

Later in the day First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, opened the Veterans Visitor Centre at the Port of Liverpool Building where veterans were able to enjoy tea served by Liverpool Sea Cadets. Later in the evening the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines played before a sold out audience at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

But while all of this was taking place many thousands of people visited five ships that were open to the public –  HMS Edinburgh (Cammell Laird Wet Basin), HMS Pembroke (Canning Half Tide Dock), Russian destroyer Admiral Kulakov (Cruise Liner Terminal), Canadian HMCS Iriquios (Cruise Liner Terminal) and German Minesweeper Groemitz (Canning Dock).

Lt Cdr Stuart Parry, of HMS Edinburgh, said:

“The first day of the Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary has gone exceptionally well. We had a larger then expected turnout which was well received by my Ship’s Company. From our vantage point in the Cammell Laird Wet Basin we were also able to watch the events on the river which was an amazing spectacle to behold.

“It is an honour for HMS Edinburgh to be in Liverpool for the Battle of the Atlantic commemorative events as this where Edinburgh was built, so we would invite residents down to see us over this bank holiday weekend.”

A packed programme of events lies ahead over the next two days with more than 250,000 visitors expected in the city over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Press Release, May 28, 2013; Image: Royal Navy