Battle of the Atlantic: Liverpool marks 70th anniversary

Veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic at Pier Head.
Image caption The Battle of the Atlantic was fought over control of supply routes

Liverpool is marking the 70th anniversary of The Battle of the Atlantic - the longest continuous military campaign in World War II.

Twenty-five warships have sailed into port to mark the milestone.

Liverpool was the destination of many wartime Atlantic convoys and home of the Western Approaches Command.

Ten of thousands of lives were lost during the battle, which 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.

Aircraft flypast

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Media captionHMS Edinburgh's Commander Nick Borbone on the endurance and bravery of those serving in the Battle of 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.

Its anniversary is being commemorated with a series of events over the bank holiday weekend.

Merchant Navy veterans staged a procession from the Cunard Building at 11:30 BST to the Merchant Navy memorial at the Pier Head for a wreath laying.

A Spitfire and Hurricane flew over the waterfront in a Battle of Britain memorial flight with a concert from the Royal Marines band at the Philharmonic Hall.

Other events include a special service at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on Sunday.

It will be followed by a march to commemorate those who lost their lives.

Shipyard opening

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

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