Memorial plans could see new light installation in city square

Proposals for a new Battle of the Atlantic memorial in Liverpool could see new installations at numerous points in the city centre.

The Battle of Atlantic Memorial charity (BOAM) announced a fresh concept for the UK’s official memorial to the longest running battle of World War Two, for which Liverpool served as command headquarters.

The campaign, which lasted from September 1939 to May 1945, saw more than 100,000 lives lost on the allied side alone. Civilians were also killed as a result of sinkings and bombing raids on ports, including Liverpool.

BOAM chairman Gary Doyle told members of the Mersey Maritime trade association on Tuesday that the plans, which have a fundraising goal of £750,000, will focus on four areas.

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That includes a permanent memorial titled ‘Atlantic Lights’ positioned at Exchange Flags, a garden of remembrance at St Nicholas Church on the Pier Head and a Merseyside-wide heritage trail taking in key sites of the battle.

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The memorial will also partner with Western Approaches Museum, based in Exchange Flags.

The museum, the original command headquarters of the battle, aiming preserve its status as ‘a living memorial to the battle’.

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Mr Doyle said BOAM’s original concept of building a £2.5m monument on the Pier Head had been replaced due to excessive cost following Covid and the huge pressure on central government finances.

Mr Doyle said: “We have a new concept, a new board and new brand identity. Our focus is now to raise the funds needed to bring all of it together for the 80th anniversary celebrations. We feel we have to innovate and adapt to this new more challenging economic climate and we think the new concept is more realistic.

“It further offers greater value by focusing investment on improving existing Battle of the Atlantic infrastructure in the city notably St Nicholas Church, Exchange Flags and importantly Western Approaches Museum. By combining all these features we can commemorate, educate and inspire. We particularly want to focus on 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. Without it we could not have fed or armed ourselves and there would have been no D-Day, no Bomber Command raids, no transatlantic supplies to the Russian Eastern Front or indeed a North African campaign.”

He said said it is hoped the new initiatives will be unveiled before 80th anniversary commemorations in 2023.

The event is planned for May of that year to mark the 80th anniversary of the battle’s turning point in 1943.

Dean Paton, director of Western Approaches Museum and board member of the Battle of the Atlantic Memorial Trust, said the museum is “the natural home and centre point for the BOA memorial”.

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He said: “It housed the Western Ap­proaches command centre and was also home to hundreds of men and women working in convoy planning, anti-submarine training, logistics and much more. We have used the many months of museum closure to re-examine what a memorial needs to be for a 21st century audience.

“Atlantic Lights is an innovative and engaging concept, that lets visitors actively engage with this process of remembrance, whilst also learning about, and celebrating the many, many successes and achievements that were made on the path to victory over Nazi tyranny.”