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Chavasse Park fills up in the afternoon with sun-seekers; when South Liverpool’s green lungs throng with the masses enjoying music, cricket and barbecues; when the Mersey river comes to life.

Three consecutive weekends of events will celebrate three special maritime weekends, starting this Bank Holiday weekend with the 70th – and final – anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Atlantic.

Celebrations on the river and riverside will continue in following weeks with Happy Birthday Albert Dock, coinciding with the Tate Gallery’s 25th anniversary event, with a grand finale in the Music on the Waterfront concerts and the Mersey River Festival.

We can’t mention everything, but over the weekend you can expect songs, dance, film, marching, theatre, art, photography, amateur radio, ships, helicopters, areoplanes and much more. And don’t forget that there will be Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and foreign naval ships at the waterfront that will be available to explore.

For now we’ve picked out seven highlights from this weekend – no easy task given the wealth of great activities in the city this week. Liverpool is one of the the focal points for the this commemoration – and the last official events in memory of The Battle of the Atlantic.

It’s a valuable reminder of how important Liverpool was in the war effort, particularly with reference to Western Approaches, the major operational command of the Royal Navy during World War II. Our connection to the river and sea – in trade and leisure and war – is a huge part of what made the Liverpool the city, and Britain the country – it is today; the breadth and depth of events this weekend is a fitting reflection of that, for one last time.

The Battle Of The Atlantic Concert

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, plus local artists, with their musical commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic Don’t miss this special and superb concert in what promises to be a night to remember. Book on 0151 709 3789

The Battle Of The Atlantic Concert
Saturday 25 May
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight

In commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take place over the River Mersey – with a Spitfire and a Hurricane in attendance. Anywhere along the Liverpool waterfront will provide a great vantage point to watch the aircrafts – put your iPhones away and enjoy the spectacle.

Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight
1.30pm, 25 May
River Mersey

Commemorative services and parades

A Merchant Navy Commemorative Service to celebrate of the ending of the Battle of the Atlantic will be held at the Pier Head on Saturday 25 May. Led by Chinese Lion dancers, China Pearl dancers and 24 Festival Drums, a procession will leave the Cunard Building heading to the Merchant Navy Memorial and the Merchant Navy memorial on the Pier Head for a poignant wreath-laying ceremony.

A private commemorative service will take place at the Anglican Cathedral, followed by a parade, which includes platoons from the Merchant Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Regulars, Reservists and Cadets from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The route is along Rodney Street, Mount Pleasant, Hope Street, down Upper Duke Street finishing at the Anglican Cathedral.

Merchant Navy 70th BOA Anniversary Celebration
11.30am, 25th May
Pier Head

Commemorative Parade
12.30pm, Sunday 26 May
Georgian Quarter, Anglican Cathedral

atlantic convoy

Thank You Light Projection

Two high intensity lasers projected from the Liver Building will transmit the phrase Thank You into the skies in Morse Code, as a tribute to Bletchley Park genius Alan Turing, who helped crack the Enigma Codes that allowed the Navy to read U-Baot ciphers during the Battle of the Atlantic.

This promises to be an emotional, visual highlight of the weekend and a pleasingly apt memorial.

Thank You Light Projection
9.30pm – 12am, 25th May – 26th May
Royal Liver Building, Pier Head

GB70BOA

Imagine trying to contact 2,800 radio amateurs from around the world. Well, that’s what the Maritime Marine Radio Museum at Fort Perch Rock will be doing with the help of several local radio groups. The number is significant – representing one for each ship lost during the Battle of the Atlantic.

For this last official commemoration visitors will be able to see the amateur radio stations at Fort Perch Rock New Brighton.

GB70BOA
22nd May – 27th May
Maritime Radio Museum, Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton

Battle Of The Mersey

The armed forces will stage a display of military force when pirates attack a local vessel on the Mersey. Royal Marines will swoop in a Sea King helicopter, supported by assault ships and patrol craft of the Royal Navy, performing a fast-roping rescue exercise as the ship is recaptured and Pugwash and company are brought to justice.

Something of an overreaction? Perhaps, but we’re sure that kids and adults alike will love the spectacle

Battle Of The Mersey
1pm Saturday 25 May, 2.30pm Sunday 26 May, 3pm Monday 27 May
River Mersey

40s Flash Mob

Merseyside Dance Initiative will organise a 40s flashmob on Saturday and Sunday, with dance performances focusing on lindy hop, jive and swing – with a contemporary twist. The high-energy Lindy Hop, a jazz dance started in the dance halls of 19202 and 30s Harlem, was brought across the Atlantic by US troops and banned in Germany.

A veritable feast of local dance groups will be performing regularly in the Pier Head and Albert Dock area.

40s Flash Mob
26th May – 27th May
Albert Dock / Pier Head

Veterans In Pactice

The-Cruel-Sea-Poster

Veterans in Practice (VIP) – a group of ex-military aged between 23-77 years – have produced series of artworks to record the stories and memories of Atlantic Star Veterans.

Additionally, evoking the style of Edward Chambre Hardman, this series of portraits of the Atlantic Star veterans were taken at Liverpool Town Hall by photographer Stephen King and Veterans in Practice.

An exclusive soundscape, made from voice recordings of the Atlantic Star veterans, will be heard over the tannoys of two battleships on the river.

Finally VIP’s First Tuesday Film Club will host a screening of classic war film The Cruel Sea for just 25p – the price a cinema ticket would have cost in 1953 when it was released.

Star Gazing
14th May – 16th June
Merseyside Maritime Museum Foyer

Star Gazing
14th May – 16th June
Merseyside Maritime Museum Foyer

Star Men
26 May – 6 June
FACT

The Cruel Sea
28 May
FACT

Want more?

There are ongoing exhibitions at the Mersey Maritime Museum and Liverpool Cathedral relating to the Battle of the Atlantic.

Five ships – HMS Edinburgh, HMS Pembroke, Kulakov, Iroquois and Groemitz will be accessible to the public in various docks. The visit will be one of the last engagements for Edinburgh – the last Royal Navy Type 42 destroyer, launched at Cammell Laird in 1980 – as it will be decommissioned next month. The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Bulwark (pictured, top), will be berthed at Alexandra Dock over the weekend.

Western Approaches, Mersey Ferries, Spaceport and the U Boat Story will all have extended opening hours for the Battle of the Atlantic commemorative weekend. Ferries over the river will also have live commentaries during trips.

Mersey Ferries will also offer an opportunity to take part in the 70th anniversary commemoration flotilla – the greatest gathering of Naval and Civilian Craft seen on the River Mersey in recent years – as the visiting vessels set sail from Liverpool. Pre-book your tickets on 0151 330 1444.

  • Vicky Anderson

    Thanks for the mention… Veterans In Practice has also made a documentary with the veterans of the Atlantic Star – you can see it in a special exhibition space at the Maritime Museum, as well as an animation made by schoolchildren and inspired by the veterans’ tales.

  • Nick Moreton

    Sounds boss – do you know if the memorial flight goes along the river, past Otterspool?

  • Craig Morrison

    Here are some great images from Last Nights laser light work, Thank You. On again this evening.. http://www.antclausen.com/2013/05/26/liverpool-skyline-battle-of-atlantic/