Atlantic Lights - an impression of the commemorative light feature planned for the Exchange Flags in Liverpool for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
WWII

COVID Costs Force Battle Of The Atlantic Anniversary Plans To Be Downsized

The battle's 80th anniversary is to be marked by four projects in Liverpool, where Western Approaches Command was located from 1941-45.

Atlantic Lights - an impression of the commemorative light feature planned for the Exchange Flags in Liverpool for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT ROYAL NAVY

The cost of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the scaling-down of commemorations in Liverpool for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Initial plans would have cost £2.5m but the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial charity is now hoping to raise £750,000 to fund four lasting reminders of the sacrifices made to keep Britain's sea lanes open between 1939 and 1945.

Commodore Gary Doyle, who was the Royal Navy’s regional commander in the north west and is now heading the memorial appeal, said: "We feel we have to innovate and adapt to this new more challenging economic climate and we think the new concept is more realistic."

The main memorial - Atlantic Lights - will be a permanent light show casting the names of ships and men from the battle on to the facade of Liverpool's Exchange Flags office block complex, where Western Approaches Command was located for most of the Second World War.

Three smaller projects are also planned for the city: a garden of remembrance at St Nicholas' Church, a heritage trail and audio tour across Merseyside taking in some of the sites involved in the battle, and more work with Western Approaches Museum to preserve its unique collection and education projects.

It is hoped all the projects will be completed by May 2023.

Originally, the charity had planned to unveil a memorial at Pier Head.

Officers on a destroyer's bridge keep a lookout over a convoy during the Battle of the Atlantic in WW2 in October 1941 CREDIT ROYAL NAVY
Officers on a destroyer keep lookout over a convoy in the Atlantic in October 1941 (Picture: Royal Navy).

Cdre Doyle said one of the project's aims was to highlight how the Battle of the Atlantic was a "Great British and Allied success story".

"We are a maritime nation and perhaps this battle was – with the support of many people from other nations – our greatest achievement," he said.

"Without it, we could not have fed or armed ourselves and there would have been no D-Day, no Bomber Command raids, no trans-Atlantic supplies to the East­ern Front or a North African campaign."

At least 111,000 sailors and military personnel from around the world died in the six-year battle, including 26,500 British merchant and 23,000 Royal Navy sailors.

Some 175 warships - 15 millions tons of allied shipping - was lost, while three in every four U-boats was sunk.

Cover image: An impression of the Atlantic lights memorial (Picture: Royal Navy).