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 in Liverpool, the original command headquarters of the battle. BOAM said the funding has been awarded following a successful bid to the Naval Club, which is allocating funds to eight charities following the sale of its premises in central London.
With the injection of new investment BOAM is announcing three new concepts around reflection, innovation and education (see notes to editors 1). The first joins forces with Western Approaches Museum, and its operator Big Heritage, to create a new International Battle of the Atlantic Arboretum at Woodside Ferry terminal. The landscaped BOA Park will be part of wider plans to develop the U-Boat story visitor attraction and replace the ferry landing stage which received £19.6million in levelling up funding in October. In addition, the funding will be used to create a Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) gallery and educational programme at Western Approaches Museum and BOA Park.
The third element to receive funding is Liverpool Parish Church, Our Lady and St Nicholas on the Pier Head, known as the sailors’ church. The funding will be used to create a Garden of Reflection to remember the 100,000 men and women who died, and those who served, in the longest running battle of World War Two (see notes to editors 2).
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.”