Remembering Wirral’s contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic

25 May 2023
Battle of the Atlantic 80th anniversary

Keep your eyes to the skies this Bank Holiday weekend to see dramatic flypasts to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

A Lancaster bomber, Spitfire and Hurricane will fly along the Mersey at 12.11pm on Friday, 11.50am and 1.15pm on Saturday and 12.30pm on Sunday and there will also be Seafire and Swordfish displays.

The flypasts are just part of a weekend of events to commemorate the critical part Merseyside played in arguably the most important battle during World War II. The Battle of the Atlantic ran from the declaration of war on September 3, 1939, until VE Day on May 8, 1945.

Wirral played a vital role in the campaign, with 12,000 men and women working around the clock at Cammell Laird, building 106 naval vessels at the incredible rate of one every 21 days. They also repaired more than 2,000 merchant and naval vessels to allow them to return to service.

Many other people in Wirral rolled up their sleeves and made a huge contribution to the war effort, from flour-millers to munitions workers, bus drivers to farmers and dockers to soap-makers.

Liverpool wasn’t just Britain’s main transatlantic port during World War II, it was the Top Secret command headquarters of the Battle of the Atlantic. Around 120,000,000 tons of ocean-going shipping passed through the Port of Liverpool, carried by an average of over 13,000 vessels per year.

The Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Jerry Williams, said: “The Battle of the Atlantic is an important part of Wirral’s as well as the UK’s and Europe’s history. Without the monumental efforts and massive sacrifices made by so many, victory over Nazi Germany and the freedoms we enjoy today would not have happened. The men and women of that generation deserve this recognition and all of our thanks”.

The battle for the control of Atlantic sea routes during World War II kept Britain and Russia supplied with food, industrial supplies, men and munitions, and facilitated all other crucial engagements throughout World War II, including the landings in Europe in June 1944.

In the words of Winston Churchill: “everything happening elsewhere depended ultimately on its outcome”.

The Battle of the Atlantic flypasts are as follows:

Friday 26 May

  • 12.11pm – 12.16pm: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Swordfish, Poseidon
  • 7pm – 7.08pm: Swordfish display

Saturday 27 May

  • 11am – 11.10am: Seafire and Swordfish formation display
  • 11.50am– 12.05pm: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Lancaster, Hurricane, Spitfire - 3 passes)
  • 1.15pm – 1.30pm: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Lancaster, Hurricane, Spitfire - 3 passes)
  • 3pm – 3.10pm: Seafire and Swordfish formation display

Sunday 28 May

  • 12.30pm – 12.45pm: Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Lancaster, Hurricane, Spitfire - 3 passes)
  • 1.50pm – 2pm: Swordfish display
  • 5.20pm – 5.30pm: Swordfish display

All flypasts are subject to the weather.