the Atlantic Commemoration 70 years on...
DURING the dark years
of the Second World War (WW2), Liverpool played the key role in
the struggle to keep supply lines open to sustain our nation. It
was in Liverpool that the Command Centre co-ordinated all
efforts to protect our brave Merchant Fleet from the deadly,
German U Boats. So Liverpool was the obvious choice to act as
the focal point for a National Commemorative event, itself
selected as marking 70 years from a turning point in the grim
struggle which was the Battle of
the Atlantic, the longest continuously running military conflict
The theme of BOA 70 is to illustrate the past, present and
future of the UK's rich maritime heritage, with particular
emphasis on the role BOA 70 veterans; both Merchant and Royal
Navy; played in helping overcome the appalling threat that the
German U-boats posed to our country's supply lines during the
Events began on Thursday, 23 May 2013, when a convoy of ships,
Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and representatives of other
countries included Polish, Canadian, Russian and even the
Groenitz, a German Mine Hunter, entered port, encountering a
hail shower en-route, which hinted at what inclement weather
vessels of yesteryear often had had to face over and above the
lurking U Boat menace. The Friday, 24 May and Saturday, 25 May
2013, were days of bright sunshine and the events were able to
go ahead unimpeded. The crowd turnout was massive.
Unfortunately, the weather took a distinct turn for the worse on
Monday and Tuesday.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend, the public were able to see the
vessels at their various berths and were even allowed to board
many at specific times, including HMS Edinburgh who was
returning for one final visit to her birthplace at Cammell Laird
Shipyard in Birkenhead, before her imminent decommissioning.
Cammell Laird, the quickly recovering ship yard, and a sponsor
of this event, played a massive role, both in building,
repairing and supporting vessels, throughout the war.
Also, beside HMS Edinburgh, over the Mersey at the Cruise
Terminal, were the Canadian Navy ship HMSC Iroquois and the
Russian ship, RFS Vice Admiral Kulakov, which allowed visitors
at times. Gen T Kosciuoszk, a Polish Frigate and Patricia, a
Trinity House Lighthouse maintenance vessel and the only
Merchant Navy ship in the formal commemorations were also at the
terminal, but not open to the public. HMS Pembroke and German
mine hunter, Groemitz were berthed in Canning Half- tide Dock
and they also saw their fair share of visitors, whilst ,in the
Albert dock were the P2000 RN patrol boats.
On shore, there were a variety of interesting aircraft, vehicles
and displays awaiting discovery, and all around were proud
veterans resplendent with their hard won medals: there was clear
recognition of the role these gallant people and their fallen
comrades had played in the defence of the free world but there
was no overt bitterness. Indeed, the presence of the German
sailors and even of the plentiful Japanese tourists, served to
underline the futility of war, just as inevitability of the need
to fight evil was acknowledged too. However, the experiences of
these veterans, on the whole very reticent about their horrific
experiences, must not be forgotten and the lessons learnt must
be passed on to inform the future. We learnt that the
experiences of one veteran, whose memories are being collated,
under the title The Wimslow Sailor, reflecting his birth place.
He told us that he has just celebrated his Sapphire (65th)
Wedding Anniversary, and had received a card from the Queen. He
had served under the famous Captain Walker, the power behind the
Command Centre in Liverpool. Also we met wartime Wren, Stella
Pussey, who worked at Derby House, and who was meeting up with
fellow veterans in the special, temporary Veterans' Centre in
The Port of Liverpool Building (the 3rd of the Three Graces at
Pier Head). This sponsored centre was open for the whole period
of the commemorations, and was formally opened with a ribbon
cutting ceremony attended by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr.
Gary Millar, on his third day of office, who welcomed the new
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambella DSC, Director of the
Seafarers UK, Capt. Barry Bryan, and Dep. Master of Trinity
House, Capt. Ian Mc Naught, who had also visited Liverpool as
Commodore of the QE2, and Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson; National
President of the British Legion. There was also a picture
signing. All spent time chatting to the veterans, who well
appreciated the centre as a place to rest, enjoy a chinwag with
others and to receive light refreshments, ably supplied by
Liverpool Sea Cadets.
The Command Centre itself remains open as a permanent exhibit
and museum and is well worth a visit.
On Saturday and Sunday, there was a fly past along the
waterfront, by a Spitfire and A Hurricane; dramatic as ever. And
a Battle of the Mersey was enacted which involved the Liverpool
tug, Brocklebank, playing the role of a pirate ship being
boarded by the RN and RM, and involving attack craft and a
helicopter. This event drew large crowds each day. Besides the
very popular planes, machines and displays of naval
paraphernalia, there were many other events included a model
boat show. Sea Cadets from Tameside performed skilful aerial
manoeuvres on a rigging, and there was Chinese lion and dragon
dancing, Indian drummers, robots, and other entertainments; a
raft race was scheduled for Monday, and an art installation by
Craig Morrison, which comprised 2 high intensity lasers which
were projected from the Liver Building, transmitting the message
"Thank You", in Morse Code, as a tribute to Alan
Turing, who helped crack the Enigma code, thus helping save the
lives of many during the Battle of the Atlantic. The Band of the
Royal Marines played to a full house in the Liverpool
Philharmonic Hall, and elsewhere other Services and civilian
bands performed, and popular 1940's music could be heard. Even
in Chavasse Park, which was also very busy, we caught a local
band finishing its programme with Last Night of the Proms
favourites. There were the usual refreshments on offer, but it
was great to see the new Cruise Liner Baggage handling facility
being used very flexibly as the Typhoo tea rooms! And we must
surely have missed much as there was so much on offer.
in other column...
On behalf Carol,
Eamon and Alison
Also Mum, Dad
and Patrick wish
you a fantastic
you have someone you want to say happy birthday to, for
use the email address below to send
us the names
you want us say
happy birthday to, and/or a photograph.
to the Editor:- "USS Iowa in America,
Zahara joins forces with students from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA)
English Rising Star To Make Nashville Debut at CMA Music Festival
Mayor slams waste contract decision
HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT FOR CHARITY
Stars added to Waterfront line-up
SOUTHPORT GOLFER SHOWS WHO'S BOSS WITH A HOLE-IN-ONE AT HESKETH
Wirral tobacco smuggler sentenced
Action Fund launched to help Lancashire's communities
Merseytravel's new Chief Executive takes the helm
South Liverpool cycling gets safer
Trinidad trade mission to Liverpool
The sky's the limit for Rhys!
St. George's Hall seeks new trustees
BURGLARY WARNING FOR FORMBY, BIRKDALE AND AINSDALE RESIDENTS
required for 'Boom Banger Rally'
Liverpool school is in the running for National Award
FOOTBALLERS FROM SOUTHPORT INVITED TO PLAY IN THE BIGGEST 6 A SIDE TOURNAMENT IN THE WORLD
Bottlenose dolphins may be moving North
MAN ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF AN AIR RIFLE IN PUBLIC
Chilly UK seas could be keeping basking sharks away
NORTHERN RAIL TRIUMPHS AGAIN AT HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARDS
Women's Aid welcomes new research which backs compulsory sex and relationships education for all children
Your Transport, Your Say
TRIBUTE KENNY CLARKE, BROTHER OF CLIFFORD CLARKE
BREAK IN AT SANTANDER BANK IN BIRKDALE
BOA 70 - Photo and Video Coverage
70 report continued...
Not to be forgotten was the laying of
commemorative wreathes at the Merchant
Navy Memorial at Pier Head, preceded by
a procession involving many
nationalities including the Chinese Lion
dancers, Indian drummers and troops from
the Polish community, representing the
nationalities which made up crew on
merchant and royal navy vessels.
Sunday, a Service of Remembrance took
place at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral,
attended by HRH, the Princess Royal,
after which there was a parade,
including platoons from the Merchant
Navy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and
Regulars, Reserves and Cadets of the
Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
The final scenes we have captured are of
the Kulakov and Groemitz leaving the
port and of the departure of the final
11 ships as they sailed out into
Liverpool Bay, on a very gloomy, Tuesday
afternoon, escorted to Perch Rock by 2
Mersey ferries and followed, at length,
by the diminutive Patricia, the Trinity
House supply ship.
The whole atmosphere of the 4 day
commemoration was one of calmness and
friendliness: there was much of general
interest, but it also served its
expressed purpose of reminding
subsequent generations of the debt we
all owe to all those involved in the
Battle of the Atlantic. This was, thank
goodness, definitely not a jingoistic,
nor a sabre rattling exercise, but still
subtly managed to convey its message,
and also reminds us of the role left to
play by today's naval services.
Congratulations to all who played a part
in this BOA70 Commemorations. Liverpool
has proved yet again its capability in
hosting international events and we
consider, has represented the UK well.
To see Part 1 of our photographic
and video coverage, please click on
Email our newsroom to:-
with your views on this event and let us know what you though
Click on to read on!
Click on to read on!
with our free daily news emails.
our daily email news service via...
If you subscribed you can keep in
up-to-date with what's going on in and
around Merseyside. It is free and
we do not send out massive amounts of
emails. Also your email is kept
under the UK's Data Protection Act, so
you can be sure that you will not have