BATTLE OF ATLANTIC LEGACY MUST LIVE ON
WITH Liverpool rightly chosen as the venue for the 70th and last national anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, from May 24-28, 2013, now is the time to consider what its legacy will be.
Even now, Liverpool is streets ahead of any other city as the prime location for a centre for historians and visitors interested in a conflict on which the entire future of UK and European liberty depended.
Commodore Richard Baum, RN Northern England commander and co-organiser of the anniversary event, said: “Liverpool was at the heart of the war effort to keep the UK alive through its main artery of convoys bringing in one million tons of goods a week from North America in 1939-45.
“Liverpool also had a pivotal role directing the battle’s strategy from the Western Approaches HQ and home port for escort destroyer groups under Capt Johnny Walker.”
Bearing this in mind, there is still the unfinished business – long supported by the Liverpool ECHO and Post – of returning the last Battle of the Atlantic warship, the ex-HMS Whimbrel, to Canning Dock, from her current lay-up in Egypt.
She should be linked to what is now the Western Approaches Museum and Birkenhead’s U-534 submarine exhibit.
In addition, there is the Nicholas Monsarrat Archive, which I was honoured to help his widow, Ann, donate to Liverpool Athenaeum backed by its chief executive Pamela Brown – also a 70th anniversary co-organiser.
Nicholas Monsarrat, born in Rodney Street, served on the convoy escort HMS Campanula, based in Albert Dock. It formed the basis of his block-buster novel The Cruel Sea.
Together these elements could make an unbeatable package as international tourism becomes crucial to Liverpool’s economy.
All we’ve got to do now is make it happen.