Historic sea battle remembered

By Juliette MaxamFORMER Merchant Navy seafarers from East Anglia have taken part in the final Battle of the Atlantic commemoration service.A coachful of veterans from the Merchant Navy Association, Harwich and district branch and the Ipswich and Harwich branches of Royal Naval Association made the trip to Liverpool.

By Juliette Maxam

FORMER Merchant Navy seafarers from East Anglia have taken part in the final Battle of the Atlantic commemoration service.

A coachful of veterans from the Merchant Navy Association, Harwich and district branch and the Ipswich and Harwich branches of Royal Naval Association made the trip to Liverpool.

They attended a commemoration service yesterday to mark the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic at the city's Anglican Cathedral.


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It was followed by a march past and a brief ceremony to unveil a Battle of the Atlantic commemorative plaque at the Cenotaph.

The Standard of the Merchant Navy Association Harwich was paraded at the church service and the march by its standard bearer and chairman, Chris Barker, who was be escorted by a least 12 members of the branch. 

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It is the last time the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic was officially marked with a ceremony.

The Battle of the Atlantic, in which vital supplies were protected by the Royal Navy, raged from 1939 to 1945, but was effectively won in 1943 when German U-boats retreated following heavy losses.

The operation was vital to keep Britain supplied with food, supplies and troops from the USA and Canada.

Some 30,000 merchant seamen, 8,000 Allied servicemen and 6,000 coastal command personnel were killed in the battle, while about 29,000 German submariners also died.

The battle was masterminded from a command headquarters in a concrete bunker deep beneath Derby House in Liverpool.

During the weekend of commemoration Essex and Suffolk veterans took part in a full programme of naval events, which included a large number of British and Nato warships open to visitors.

The Harwich branch of the Merchant Navy Association, in association with the East Anglian Daily Times, is trying to raise money to build a memorial to merchant seamen in Harwich.

Many seafarers from the Merchant Navy lost their lives at sea, but remain the forgotten heroes of the war.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the EADT Forgotten Heroes Appeal should send a cheque made payable to the East Anglian Daily Times to the EADT, Fairfax House, Causton Road, Colchester, CO1 1RJ.

A donation can also be paid in at the HSBC, North Station Road, Colchester, sort code 40-18-51, account number 01236660.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk

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