The Royal Navy – in association with Liverpool City Council and its partners in the wider Merchant Navy community – is delighted to reveal the full complement of ships that will arrive in Liverpool in support of the Battle of Atlantic 70th commemorations over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
In addition, information on which of the vessels among the 21-strong ‘BOA fleet’ will be open to visit by the public is now available.
It should be noted, however, that most of the attending vessels are operational naval ships and the details below are subject to short notice change. Every effort will be made to communicate any alterations to media.
Over May 23-24, the first vessels to arrive will be the First Patrol Boat Squadron, a fleet of 11 small but versatile P2000 patrol ships which serve a number of functions for the Royal Navy, including being assigned to University Royal Naval Units around the UK, enabling unparalleled training opportunities at sea for students.
Over the course of the day on Thursday May 23, a further six ships will sweep into view. The first group contains the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Bulwark, an amphibious assault ship which will be berthed at Alexandra Dock. She will be followed by the Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessel, HMS Pembroke, which will be berthed at Canning Half Tide Dock, and the TS Jack Petchey, a Marine Society and Sea Cadets training ship, which will go alongside in Albert Dock.
The foreign navies are represented by the Groemitz, a German minehunter which will go alongside in Canning Dock and the Belgian frigate Louise-Marie at Alexandra Dock. The Canadian destroyer, Iroquois, will be then be the first ship to arrive alongside at the Cruise Liner Terminal.
However, the most poignant moment will be the arrival of HMS Edinburgh later that evening when the last Royal Navy Type 42 destroyer – which was launched at Cammell Laird in 1980 – returns to her place of build, her last visit to Merseyside before decommissioning in early June.
The Type 42’s predecessor – a Town-Class light cruiser – has a Battle Honour for her part in the Atlantic campaign, something her ship’s company are immensely proud of to this day.
On Friday, May 24, two more foreign naval ships arrive: the Gen T Kosciuszko, a Polish frigate and the Vice Admiral Kulakov, a Russian destroyer. Both will be berthed at the CLT. The Trinity House lighthouse maintenance vessel, Patricia, will then go alongside the Kulakov at the Cruise Liner Terminal to complete the flotilla.
The public are encouraged to go aboard when the crews of five of the above ships throw down their gangways, offering the people of Merseyside and beyond a unique opportunity to learn more about life in today’s Royal Navy… and see how things differ around the other navies.
There are five ships open to visit on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 25-27. The public may board between 11am and 4pm.
HMS Edinburgh – Cammell Laird Wet Basin
HMS Pembroke – Canning Half Tide Dock
Kulakov – Cruise Liner Terminal
Iroquois – Cruise Liner Terminal
Groemitz – Canning Dock
Access is free and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be aware that access to the warships will involve ascending gangways and is therefore not suitable for those with restricted mobility. Additionally, we anticipate there may be long queues to board the vessels – please build this into your planning.
Along with the motor tug Brocklesbank, a regular feature on the Mersey, Patricia will then lead the Co-ordinated Departureon Tuesday, May 28 at around 2pm. Both Merchant Navy vessels will provide a gateway for the 20 other ships to pass along the waterfront and proceed down-river, bringing the curtain down on a packed programme of events over the BOA70 commemorative weekend.