80-day countdown to Battle of the Atlantic commemorative weekend

An 80 day countdown has been launched to a commemorative weekend to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

The three-day event will take place in Liverpool from 26 – 28 May 2023, bringing together partners from across the city region and beyond.

It will include guests from our armed forces allies and friends in the Commonwealth, Europe, and the USA.

It is about celebrating and commemorating the bravery and resilience of the ordinary – yet extraordinary – men and women whose courage and commitment won the most decisive and long fought battle of the Second World War.

The commemorations will reflect on the experiences of the people behind the battle’s significant shore-side effort, including shipyards, dockers, the defenders of UK ports, Wrens, suppliers, factory workers, and their families.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Roy Gladden, said: “The Battle of the Atlantic was, according to Winston Churchill, one of the most important battles that took place, and if we’d lost that we would probably have lost the war.

“Tens of thousands of Merchant Seamen died to keep the supply lanes open and without them our nation would have starved.

“It is therefore vital that we remember the important role our city played and I am very much looking forward to the series of events the city is putting on to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.”

BoA80’s special weekend of events will include:

  • A riverside 1940s-themed military village
  • Visiting vessels
  • Fly pasts by vintage aircraft
  • A concert by HM Royal Marines Band at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall
  • A drumhead ceremony at the Pier Head

A poignant March of the Medals will follow Sunday’s drumhead service, and members of the public who have a family member who served during the Atlantic Campaign will be invited to register to take part on the BoAM Facebook page.

During the commemoration weekend in May, the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial Charity will unveil two new spectacular and moving memorials to those who were lost: a new national Battle of the Atlantic memorial at the Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas at the Pier Head, and a poignant light installation, Atlantic Lights, on the shores of the River Mersey at Woodside.

Commemorations will conclude at precisely 19.43 hours on Sunday May 28th, with the attending merchant ships and warships leading a convoy down the Mersey, while Beating Retreats are performed on both shores of the river.

The 80-day countdown event also launches a series of free public lectures which will allow members of the public to explore the history and legacy of the Battle of the Atlantic. The first lecture in this series – The Naval Review, by Sir Clive Johnstone – explores the impact of geopolitics on maritime trade. It will take place at St Nick’s Church on Wednesday 8th March, from 1730. Attendance is free, but guests must register in advance.   

The partners involved include: the Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, RAF, Western Approaches Museum, National Museums Liverpool, LJMU, Liverpool City Council, and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Liverpool Waterfront