Plans to create the UK’s national memorial to the Battle of the Atlantic are ramping up after the campaign received a major donation.
The Merseyside headquartered Battle of the Atlantic Memorial (BOAM) charity says following a long campaign, a £1.25million gift has been secured to properly develop a fitting national memorial to the Battle of the Atlantic.
There will be a number of elements at different locations in Merseyside, but the most ambitious piece will be a new Battle of the Atlantic Garden in Woodside, Birkenhead, which will be known as the Battle of the Atlantic Arboretum.
Wirral Council has agreed that the site adjacent to the ferry terminal can be used for redeveloping the U-534 visitor centre and the creation of a new International Battle of the Atlantic visitor and learning centre.
This site will be owned and operated by the Western Approaches team but with the local authority committed to the upkeep of the external areas in perpetuity.
Government funding will cover the land acquisition, groundworks, infrastructure and landscaping for the site and approval from the local authority for the entire scheme to have a Battle of the Atlantic focus.
Battle of the Atlantic Park will create an open public realm that will create a narrative of the battle through innovative water features, trees and plants, areas for gathering and the name of every ship engraved within the numerous pathways that spread through the park.
A part of the innovative approach is the option of adaptive design with the use of modern 3D printing technology. This will allow the development of ‘memorials’ than can then act as a blueprint for similar memorials across the country at other key Battle of the Atlantic ports, both nationally and internationally like Londonderry, Glasgow, Bristol, Plymouth to name a few.
BOAM chairman Gary Doyle said the memorial will serve as a permanent high profile reminder to future generations of the ‘incalculable value of peace’.
“We are delighted to receive this donation from the Naval Club to ensure the Battle of the Atlantic is properly recognised and commemorated and thank its team very much,” he said. “But after years of work there could not be a more poignant time for us to unveil these plans. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is showing us tragically that we cannot take peace in Europe or on the Atlantic for granted.
“World War Two is called the greatest catastrophe in human civilisation and without the success of the BOA Britain and Russia would almost certainly have been defeated.
“We want the memorial to act as a warning especially now to Russia and future generations of the consequences of conflict in Europe and how brutal dictatorships endanger the world. The war generation fought for peace and our memorial honours that today more than ever.”
Naval Club chairman Simon Wilson said, “The Naval Club was founded in 1946 by members of the RNVR who had fought in the war and wanted a place to socialise and stay in London. Sadly, due to an aging demographic and increasing costs the club was sold last year.
“Apportioned funds from the sale have been given to eight charities for specific projects. I am delighted that we could support the BOAM charity as the RNVR contributed massively in the battle for our very survival, and a proper national memorial is long overdue.
“I must declare a personal interest as my father served in the RNVR in the Battle of the Atlantic and was a proud Liverpudlian.”
Dean Paton, founder of Big Heritage and Western Approaches Director said, “The Battle of the Atlantic was an international endeavour, but so much of the planning and logistics of campaign was centred around the River Mersey.
“We are delighted therefore to have received this support from the Naval Club to not only create a permanent memorial on both sides of the river, but also to create a new gallery within Western Approaches museum dedicated to the RNVR; an organisation that played a crucial role in the Second World War, but whose story has been somewhat overlooked by history. It will be our honour to tell it to future generations.”
For more information on the campaign visit: www.battleoftheatlantic.org
Main image: Battle of the Atlantic Chairman, Gary Doyle, at the statue of wartime hero Capt Johnnie Walker