A PERMANENT memorial to the Merchant Navy heroes of the Battle of the Atlantic was unveiled by the Lord Mayor at Liverpool Town Hall this week.
A plaque bearing the names of some of the 3,500 vessels that were lost from the merchant fleet now has a permanent home in the city. It will also serve as a memorial to the 36,000 Allied merchant sailors who lost their lives on the convoys that brought vital supplies to Britain during the Second World War.
The plaque was created by Neville Greenhalgh (third left) and was presented to the Merchant Navy Association. It was decided to present it to Liverpool due to the role the city’s port played receiving supplies brought via the treacherous North Atlantic Arctic convoys from New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Rector of Liverpool Rev Dr Crispin Pailing (second left) led prayers at the ceremony and there was also a speech by Bill Anderson (far right), chairman of the Merseyside branch of the Merchant Navy Association.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of the Second World War, running from the declaration of war in September 1939 until the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945. The Merchant Navy at the time was the largest formal merchant fleet in the world and sailors from across the Commonwealth and other nations, including Ireland and China, all sailed under the Red Ensign.
The City of Liverpool has previously honoured its Battle of the Atlantic heroes when they were awarded the Freedom of the City in 2003.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Cllr Christine Banks said: “The Merchant Navy was truly Britain’s lifeline during the Second World War and it is important that the Town Hall of this maritime city should be home to this permanent memorial.
“We should never forget the vital role these heroes played. The plaque will act as a reminder both of their tremendous achievements and the huge losses and hardships they endured.”
Bill Anderson, chairman of the Merchant Navy Association Liverpool Merseyside branch: “It is magnificent that the plaque now has a home in Liverpool Town Hall and it will give me such pleasure to see it unveiled there.
“My father was a merchant seaman during the Second World War and I know first-hand the battles that they fought, not only at the time but also when the war had ended.
“They are truly the forgotten heroes of the Second World War. Without them, many of us wouldn’t be here today.”
Photo credit: James O’Hanlon