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Posts tagged with 'World War Two'

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…

Easter 1945 – a time of austerity

28 March 2013 by Sam

old photo pf a shop window display

Anne Gleave, Curator of Photographic Archives, has found this photo in the Stewart Bale collection which shows a very different Easter display to the ones in shops today:

“There are 195,445 photographs in the Stewart Bale collection and this is one of them; a window display for Easter 1945 in the former department store Owen Owen on Clayton Square, Liverpool, which was commissioned by Owen Owen Ltd, April 1945.

I’m guessing that the passer-by’s attention was supposed to be grabbed by the words ‘Easter Harvest’ in large rustic letters in each of the three windows, hopefully to draw them closer to investigate and read the explanatory text panels about this strange phenomenon (how could harvest be at  Easter! But wait a minute…) Read more…

Waves on the Mersey

15 February 2013 by Lucy

image of a giant radio

The Waves on the Mersey team with the giant radio located at the Museum of Liverpool

Hurrah for half term! Aside from all the great half term events that are taking place at our venues next week, we are also set for some radio interference across the city from 18 – 22 February.

Waves on the Mersey is a project that has been created by Open the Door Theatre in Education, who are bringing five giant radios into the city to broadcast documentaries about major historical events that have shaped Liverpool’s history.

The documentaries have been created by young people between the ages of 14 and 21, who have researched, interviewed and devised radio shows and plays on each topic. They have also decorated the radios, which will be located at five locations around the city, broadcasting a different documentary every day. Read more…

Unexpected shrapnel

10 November 2011 by Sarah

Photograph of box containing documents

File of papers relating to postwar repair of the Port of Liverpool building (MDHB collection).

The Maritime Archives & Library holds a very large collection of records relating to the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board (MDHB), who ran the Liverpool & Birkenhead dock system from 1858 until 1971. The MDHB, like most large organisations, were keen on committees and reports, and produced a lot of documents.  These are a great resource for studying the history of Liverpool, but can be a little overwhelming.  Occasionally a box reveals something unexpected, such as this piece of shrapnel stored amongst a file relating to the repair of the Dock Office, the Port of Liverpool Building at the Pier Head.  The note on the envelope states that the shrapnel was taken out of the ‘copper covering of Dome, Dock Office’. The Port of Liverpool Building was hit by a mine on the morning of 3rd May 1941 which caused a fire that destroyed most of the east side of the building before being brought under control. Read more…

Maritime Tales – Twice Lucky

9 November 2011 by stepheng

ship model

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

Many ships survive attacks in wartime and stay afloat and I like this story because the ship concerned was obviously built to last.

 

Some ships have a certain look about them – this is one reason vessels hold a great deal of interest to lots of people.

 

Eight men died in the torpedo attack by a German U-boat submarine but the ship stayed afloat – and went on to survive a second attack later in the First World War. Read more…

Maritime Tales – Bomb Blitz

1 November 2011 by stepheng

Painting of burning city.

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post & Echo

In the early 1950s we spent our holidays at Llandonna, Anglesey, and locals would describe seeing Liverpool burning 50 miles away across the sea during the Blitz.

Whenever I look at this spectacular painting I am reminded of the vivid stories and how even distant communities felt involved.

The Liverpool Blitz brought the Battle of the Atlantic home to everyone when German bombing raids cost thousands of lives and brought huge amounts of destruction.

Although the docks were the main targets, enormous damage was caused to city and residential areas on both sides of the River Mersey. Four thousand people were killed and a similar number seriously injured. Read more…

Politicians

26 September 2011 by Sarah

Photograph of Harrison Line ship named Politician leaving Liverpool

Politician, Harrison Line, leaving dock in Liverpool (reference McR/38/142).

Ok it’s a poor link, but as we don’t have any photographs of politicians, apart from ex-merchant seafarer John Prescot, I thought I’d throw in this photograph of the Harrison Line vessel Politician while the Labour Party Conference is on in Liverpool. 

T & J Harrison, like many shipping companies, used a theme when naming their vessels.  In their case it was professions, which are slightly easier to remember than Blue Funnel’s(Ocean Steamship Company) use of characters from Greek mythology.  Harrison Line never named a ship Archivist, but they did have 3 vessels named Custodian, which is pretty close to my job description.  Read more…

Merchant Navy Day (2)

1 September 2011 by Sarah

Cartoon of man being told not to spoke

Cartoon from Peter Rogan’s wartime log (reference DX/2503)

Merchant Navy Day is celebrated on 3rd September, to commemorate the contribution the merchant navy has made, and continues to make, to Britain.  There is a special service being held on Sunday 4th September at St Nicholas’ Church, Liverpool at 12pm.

This cartoon is taken from the wartime log kept by merchant seafarer Peter Rogan while he was a POW in Milag Nord during the Second World War.  More images from the diary are on our website in a small online exhibition.  With so much merchant navy history to cover, this is just a small example of the service given and hardship suffered by merchant seafarers, plenty more information is available in the records held by the Maritime Archives & Library or on display at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Read more…

Maritime Tales – Secret Victory

7 June 2011 by Lisa

A WREN at work

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

I think this story illustrates how timing and quick-thinking can create major shifts in events. 

In wartime things move very quickly and often with momentous consequences. I have often wondered what would have happened if war leaders had made different decisions. So often the individual plays a key part in the drama.

 

The controversial sinking of a British liner just hours after start of the Second World War and the foundering of a German U-boat submarine are strangely linked. Read more…

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.