Liverpool

Battle of the Atlantic: Ships in Liverpool for WWII commemoration

Warships sail into Liverpool
Image caption The Battle of the Atlantic was fought over control of supply routes

The first of 25 warships have sailed into Liverpool to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

The battle - the longest continuous military campaign in World War II - is being commemorated in a series of events over the bank holiday weekend.

They include a service at the Anglican Cathedral on Sunday and a parade and fly-past on Monday.

The milestone was also marked in London and Londonderry earlier in May.

Liverpool was the destination of many wartime Atlantic convoys as well as home of the Western Approaches Command, which co-ordinated the effort to protect merchant shipping from the German navy in World War II.

Vital shipyard reopens

Ships from the Royal Navy and around the world - some of which will be open to the public - are converging on the city for the commemorations.

The Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, which was vital to the battle as its 12,000 staff worked around the clock to build a warship every 21 days, will also open its doors for the first time in 20 years.

Liverpool hosted the 60th anniversary events, during which nearly 2,000 guests, including hundreds of veterans and former merchant seamen, attended a memorial service at the cathedral.

The Battle of the Atlantic was fought for control of vital supply routes, beginning as war broke out in 1939.

The climax of the battle was in May 1943, when Germany's submarine fleet suffered heavy losses in the Atlantic.

Skirmishes in the Atlantic continued until the war ended in 1945, but the Allies sank particularly large numbers of U-boats in May 1943, effectively winning the Battle of the Atlantic.

Over the course of the battle, tens of thousands of lives and thousands of merchant ships were lost.

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