The charity behind the campaign to build the UK’s national memorial to the Battle of the Atlantic in Liverpool is announcing the appointment of a new chairman and president to lead the fundraising effort.
Gary Doyle, (pictured above at the Johnnie Walker statue at Liverpool’s Pier Head, near the site of the proposed memorial), formally a Royal Navy Commodore and now Group Harbour Master at Peel Ports has taken over the chairmanship of the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial (BOAM) from Mike Gretton while Captain Ian McNaught, the last Captain of the QE2 and Deputy Master of Trinity House, becomes president.
Garry Doyle said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to become chairman of the campaign. I would like to thank Mike Gretton for all the work he has done to get the campaign to this point. Our job now is to build on that work and create a monument that is known around the UK and across the world. With the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Atlantic later this year it is vital that the contribution of those who served and died is properly remembered for generations to come. The Battle of the Atlantic was absolutely critical to the outcome of the war and around 100,000 people lost their lives in the conflict. The purpose of the memorial is to remember them and all the men and women who served at sea, on land and in the air. It will also commemorate the role that Merseyside played as the headquarters of the battle with many of the seafarers taking part coming from the city. The role of merchant sailors, whose losses where huge and not properly recognised at the time, will be a key focal point. Education will be at the heart of the memorial and we intend to partner with the Mersey Maritime Museum and Western Approaches Museum to create a world-class learning experience for schools, colleges, universities as well as tourists and the wider public.”
Mr McNaught, pictured, said:
“Having spent 40 years at sea in the Merchant Navy, much of it on the North Atlantic, the story of those who went before me so that I could sail in peace needs to be told, but this is a story of more than the seafarer, it involves many ashore on both sides of the Atlantic who suffered much hardship, and those who fought in the air, all of whom came together to conquer this war of attrition. This is a story of commemoration that will, I hope, inspire a new generation that these terrible events and such sacrifice will never happen again.”
Mr Doyle said the memorial campaign will continue its international work engaging countries and Battle of the Atlantic memorials around the world in partnership.
“The campaign has made contact with a number of countries notably the United States where we have the support of the British ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and also the American Merchant Marine Veterans and Project Liberty Ship in Maryland,” he said. “We are now seeking to engage other nations who played a key role in the Battle of the Atlantic both navy and merchant seamen including Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, France, China, India Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Belgium and Greece.”
Mr Doyle said the campaign will also be lobbying the Government for funding to help meet its target of circa £2.5m pointing out that the D-Day memorial received £20 million in 2017 in LIBOR fine cash and while very deserving, D-Day, which saw 25,000 killed, would never of happened without the Battle of the Atlantic which was the longest running battle of the war and saw 100,000 people killed.
In view of development of Liverpool’s waterfront Mr Doyle added that the campaign is undertaking a review of the memorial design to ensure it complements the city’s vision for the World Heritage Site.
For more information on the campaign, sponsorship packages and to make donations visit: www.battleoftheatlantic.org email: email@example.com call: 0151 334 8393 Twitter: @BattleAtlantic Note: overseas donations must be made by cheque.
Notes to editors
Campaign background: The Battle of the Atlantic Memorial (BOAM) is a UK charity. It launched the campaign to build the memorial in January 2018 at a press conference in Liverpool attended by BOA veterans.
The campaign is aiming to unveil the monument in 2023, the 80th Anniversary of the BOA official commemoration date. Although the battle ran throughout the war May 1943 was adopted as the official commemoration date, as the turning point in the battle against the U-boats, see below.
The memorial will work closely with the Museum of the Western Approaches, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and National Museums Liverpool to highlight the project and develop educational projects reinforcing just how fundamental the Battle of the Atlantic was to the war effort. Backing the plans for the memorial in January, British Ambassador to America Sir Kim Darroch said: “Keeping the North Atlantic open to British and American shipping is as important now as it was 75 years ago at the height of the Second World War. At that time, the North Atlantic shipping channels were a vital lifeline, without which the war could not have been won. So it is entirely fitting that a campaign should have been launched to raise the funds to build a UK memorial to the brave and selfless men and women who were wounded or sacrificed their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. I am delighted that the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial Fund are visiting the US to promote this worthy cause.”
Battle of the Atlantic factfile
“The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor all through the war. Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land at sea or in the air, depended ultimately on its outcome.” — Winston Churchill
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of World War Two. It began on September 3 1939 and lasted until VE Day May 8 in 1945, in total five years eight months and five days. The cost of the battle was extremely high for both sides. It is impossible to be sure how many died but an estimated 26,500 British merchant seamen were killed while the Royal Navy lost more than 23,000 seamen. The allied war dead of naval and merchant seaman is estimated at more than 20,000 from Canada, USA, India, China, Poland, Norway, Holland, Greece, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. In total around 3,500 merchant ships were sunk and 15 million tons of allied shipping was lost. Many thousands of civilians were also caught in bombing raids at ports and shipyards on both sides of the Atlantic. In Liverpool, for example, the ‘May blitz’ of 1941 saw 1,746 Merseysiders killed and 1,154 injured in eight nights of bombing. Meanwhile, the U-Boat memorial near Kiel has the names of 28,000 crewmen who died, more than 60pc of those who served. Of the 859 U-boats 648 were lost, across all seas in which U-boats operated. Statistics from Royal Navy Historical Branch and Battle of the Atlantic, Andrew Williams, BBC books.
The Battle of the Atlantic’s core was the Allied naval blockade of Germany, announced the day after the declaration of war, and Germany’s subsequent counter-blockade. It was at its height from mid-1940 through to the end of 1943. The Battle of the Atlantic pitted U-boats and other warships of the Kriegsmarine (German navy) and aircraft of the Luftwaffe (German air force) against the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, United States Navy and Allied merchant shipping. The convoys, coming mainly from North America and predominantly going to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, were protected for the most part by the British and Canadian navies and air forces. These forces were aided by ships and aircraft of the United States beginning September 13, 1941. The Germans were joined by submarines of the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) after their Axis ally Italy entered the war on June 10, 1940.
As an island nation, the United Kingdom was highly dependent on imported goods. Britain required more than a million tons of imported material per week in order to be able to survive and fight. In essence, the Battle of the Atlantic was a tonnage war: the Allied struggle to supply Britain and the Axis attempt to stem the flow of merchant shipping that enabled Britain to keep fighting. From 1942 onwards, the Axis also sought to prevent the build-up of Allied supplies and equipment in the British Isles in preparation for the invasion of occupied Europe. The defeat of the U-boat threat was a pre-requisite for pushing back the Axis. The outcome of the campaign was a strategic victory for the Allies—the German blockade failed—but at great cost: 3,500 merchant ships and 175 warships were sunk for the loss of hundreds of U-boats.
The name “Battle of the Atlantic” was coined by Winston Churchill in February 1941. It has been called the “longest, largest and most complex” naval battle in history. It involved thousands of ships in more than 100 convoy battles and perhaps 1,000 single-ship encounters, in a theatre covering millions of square miles of ocean. The situation changed constantly, with one side or the other gaining advantage, as participating countries surrendered, joined and even changed sides in the war, and as new weapons, tactics, counter-measures and equipment were developed by both sides. The Allies gradually gained the upper hand, overcoming German surface raiders by the end of 1942 and defeating the U-boats by mid-1943, though losses due to U-boats continued until war’s end. (Source Wikipedia)
The final victory in the Atlantic was assured by the American entry to the war. The USA was able to bring overwhelming military and industrial muscle to the campaign with formidable contributions from the US Navy and its Hunter Killer Task Groups. Furthermore, the rapid production of merchant ships in the USA, mainly Liberty ships, was a key factor in the balance between those sunk and new replacements. Canada too played a key role, by the end of the war it had more than 400 ships, almost half the North Atlantic escort force, an extraordinary contribution from a country that could only boast six warships in 1939. In total, 1,600 Merchant Navy personnel from Canada and Newfoundland were killed. One out of every seven Merchant Navy sailors who served was killed or wounded. The RCN and RCAF paid a high toll in the Battle of the Atlantic. Most of the 2,000 RCN officers and men who died during the war were killed during the Battle of the Atlantic, as were 752 members of the RCAF
In 2013, Battle of the Atlantic events were staged in Liverpool, Londonderry and London to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle. The Ministry of Defence made clear those events would be the final official commemoration of the BOA, hence the need for a permanent memorial.