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An amazing escape

3 April 2014 by Sarah

A black and white photograph of sea and sky with an upturned table barely visible in the centre of the image.

Photograph taken during the aftermath of the sinking of Nova Scotia, Mozambique Channel, 28 Nov 1942 (Maritime Archives reference DX/2592).

This photograph doesn’t look like much, just a grey sea and sky, but if you look closely there is a speck in the middle of the image.  This is a photograph of the aftermath of the wreck of the Liverpool registered Furness Withy ship Nova Scotia which was torpedoed on 28th November 1942 off the coast of Mozambique.  The speck is Read more…

Remembrances

10 November 2013 by Simon

Plan of the first floor of Sudley House in 1943

Plan of the first floor of Sudley House in 1943

“Remembering is often what keeps us from repeating mistakes and other peoples memories can inform and instruct us, without forcing us to undergo the often painful experiences ourselves”. This quote is from a letter sent to me after a visitor came to Sudley House during the commemorations of the Battle of the Atlantic. Heather Harrison was visiting in the hope that she could discover more about her mothers “small part in all of this”, and hoped that we could help her find some details about the time her mother spent working and living here in Sudley House. Read more…

The Merseyside Maritime Museum is featured on a special edition First Day Cover!

15 October 2013 by Jen

Stamps-final

The Merseyside Maritime Museum is delighted to be featured on a recent First Day Cover for The Association of Great Britain First Day Cover Collectors.

Those of you unfamiliar with the world of stamps and stamp collecting might be wondering what on earth a First Day Cover is… let’s find out!

Read more…

Battle of the Atlantic weekend

24 May 2013 by Sam

ships in the Albert Dock

View from the top of the Pilotage Building, with ‘HMS Pembroke’ moored in front of Merseyside Maritime Museum

This weekend Liverpool is marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic with lots of free events at the waterfront. It has been fantastic watching lots of ships arriving in the docks over the last few days ready to take part.If you have been down at the waterfront you may have noticed the red ensign flag, the flag of the Merchant Navy, flying from the flag pole on top of the Pilotage Building. Maritime Museum staff braved blustery conditions to raise the flag yesterday as a mark of respect for the crucial role the Merchant Navy played in the Battle of the Atlantic. Britain’s merchant fleet were a vital lifeline for the country throughout the Second World War. Read more…

Dan Snow to lead Battle of the Atlantic events

5 April 2013 by Sam

Dan Snow

Image courtesy of Dan Snow

Our waterfront venues have a packed programme of events for this year’s River Festival, which includes activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

A highlight of the programme will be a talk by TV presenter and historian at Merseyside Maritime Museum. Dan explained to us why the events are so important to him:

“It is extremely exciting to be coming to Liverpool to mark the official anniversary of a desperate and hugely important battle that raged from the first day of the war to the last. The Battle of the Atlantic was nothing less than a long running attritional struggle for national survival. Britain’s enemies, as so often before in our history, attempted to shut off supplies to our island nation on which we depended. Had they succeeded the war would have been over, a starving population, and a weaponless army would have given the government no option but to sue for peace, on the enemy’s terms. Read more…

Letters from Mother

8 March 2013 by Sarah

Photograph of young man in maritime navy uniform

Willie Dailey, apprentice, c1886 (Maritime Archives reference DX/1924).

This handsome young man is Willie Dailey of Stafford who decided he wanted a life at sea and persuaded his parents to apprentice him on a voyage of the ship Benares, from Dundee to Chile and San Francisco, USA.  It was 1886 and he was 16 years old.

The Maritime Archives and Library hold some letters by Willie and his family and the ones from his mother would be achingly familiar even today.  His worried mother, Jane, tells Willie to mind his manners, wash his clothes and eat well.  She hopes his Captain is kind, his crewmates friendly and that he is warm enough, dry enough and not sea sick.  She tells him off when he fails to write.  Read more…

Remembering SS Ceramic – lost 70-years-ago today

6 December 2012 by Dickie

photo of a ship

Liverpool liner SS Ceramic sunk on 6 December 1942.

At first families back home in Liverpool were oblivious to the horror that had befallen their loved ones.

On November 23 1942 my grandmother watched from Crosby beach as Liverpool liner SS Ceramic left the River Mersey. Her husband Fred was aboard working as a steward. Clutching her three-month-old baby, Annie Felton waved the ship off, unaware that this would be the very final farewell.
 
The 18,400 ton Ceramic was launched in 1912 by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. She was the first ship built by White Star Line after Titanic and spent her years sailing the Liverpool to Australia route. Read more…

Merchant Navy Day

30 August 2012 by Sarah

Image of document belonging to seafarer Thomas Crone

Mariner’s Register Ticket, issued to Thomas Crone, reference DX/850

Whilst remembering the contribution the merchant navy has made, and continues to make, to Britain, you may be tempted into a little family history research on your seafaring ancestors. 

Merchant seafarers are well documented compared with other professions.  Most of the records are held at the National Archives although to complicate matters the documentation changes over time as each system set up by the Board of Trade was overwhelmed by the growth of Britain’s merchant fleet.  The Maritime Archive & Library has an information sheet that explains how to track the records down.  Read more…

National Merchant Navy Day

29 August 2012 by Rebecca

Red Ensign flag flying from a boat

The Red Ensign or “Red Duster” is the offical flag of the British merchant marine (or fleet)

Sunday 2nd September marks National Merchant Navy Day which commemorates the 40,000 seafarers who died whilst in Britain’s Merchant Navy during the Second World War.
Those seafarers ranged in age from 14 years old to 78 years old, and also included  8,500 Asian seaman and seafarers from across the World who served in the British Merchant Navy.

The 3rd September marks the day when war was officially declared between Britain and Germany, and the nearest Sunday to this date is usually chosen to commemorate National Merchant Navy Day.  This year the 2nd is the closet Sunday, and there will be a midday service at Our Lady & St Nicholas’ seafarers Church in Chapel Street, Liverpool.
After the church service there will be a parade from the Pier head, please see the link for details. Read more…

Maritime Tale – Lusitania Survivor

4 May 2012 by stepheng

Painting of Lusitania

A contemporary postcard of Lusitania

This is probably my last Maritime Tales blog as I voluntarily leave the museum service in July 2012 to become a freelance.

 

The Lusitania story is one of my favourites because not only does the disaster seem unbelievable to this day but because this was Liverpool’s favourite liner.

 

At my local church – St James’s in West Derby – you can see a unique glass memorial with an image of Lusitania prominently included to symbolise Liverpool’s suffering in the Great War. Read more…