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Battle of the Atlantic Commemoration

Published on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:55 Hits: 3291

Category: General News

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Captain Pat Thompson OBE                                                              

Deputy Chairman

RFA Association                                                                                  Date: 24 August 2012

Dear Captain Thompson,

 I am delighted to inform you that the First Sea Lord and Liverpool City Council have given their full support to a series of events commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic (BOA 70). This will be the major National event in 2013 with Liverpool at its focus.

 The event is timed to coincide with the late May Bank Holiday 24-27 May 2013 and includes: visiting ships being open to the Public, a charity Royal Marine Band Concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Saturday 25 May, a Service of Remembrance at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral followed by a March/Fly Past on Sunday 26 May and a themed period event at St George’s Hall, Liverpool on Monday 27 May, again with music from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. In addition to Royal Navy warships, vessels from the USA, Canada, Germany and Russia are anticipated and the First Sea Lord will be the senior host for Heads of Foreign Navies, Maritime Associations and relevant Trade Associations.

 The National event will highlight the crucial importance of UK maritime trade and the leading part that Liverpool has played, and continues to play, in worldwide commerce as well as commemorating the heroism and sacrifice of the veterans of the convoy campaign in the Second World War.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943 pitting U-boats and other warships of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) and aircraft of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) against Allied merchant shipping. The convoys, transiting from North America to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, were protected for the most part by the British and Canadian navies and their air-forces; ships and aircraft of the United States joined these efforts in September 1941.

 As an island nation, the UK was highly dependant on imported goods and Britain required more than a million tons of imported materials per week in order to be able to survive and fight the war. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was a tonnage war; the Allied struggle to supply Britain versus the Axis attempt to stem the flow of merchant shipping which enabled Britain to keep fighting. From 1942, the Germans also sought to prevent the build-up of Allied supplies and equipment in the British Isles for preparation of the invasion of occupied Europe. The defeat of the U-boat threat was a pre-requisite for pushing back the Germans and the Royal Navy destroyers and operations centre based on Merseyside played the most significant part of this titanic struggle. The outcome of the battle was a strategic victory for the Allies, however, this was at great cost to human life with many of the crews of 3,500 merchant ships, 175 warships and 783 U-boats being lost. Liverpool, therefore, has just cause to take the lead in the Battle of the Atlantic commemoration; I hope that your organisation will lend its full support.

I would be most grateful if you could inform me at the above address of any interest that you and your members have in any of the Liverpool BOA 70 events and I will ensure that you receive more details in due course. Tickets for the RM Band Charity Concert on Saturday

25 May will go on sale in Autumn 2012; tickets for the period themed event on Monday 27 May will be available in early 2013.

 In the meantime if you would like to make an early bid for reserved seats at the Commemorative Service in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral there is an attached proforma to enable you to do so which should be returned by post or e-mail to my office. I would also be grateful if you could inform me of any of your members who would like to take part in the March Past immediately after the Cathedral service.

 

Yours aye,

 

Richard

 S R BAUM

Commodore, Royal Navy

Naval Regional Commander Northern England and Isle of Man