Battle of the Atlantic Celebrations


This weekend has been a weekend of celebrations and commemorations in Liverpool this week for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. There has been a great turnout of all the armed forces but as this was a naval conflict there has been a predominantly Royal Navy presence there. As you may already know, my daughter Emma is in the Manchester URNU (University Royal Naval Unit) as an officer cadet and she has been on duty this weekend in Liverpool.

We went to visit her today and to see what else was going on down at the docks and we were blown away by the sheer numbers of visitors and the activity from all of our armed forces.

Emma was involved in a raft race held in Salthouse Dock, which was hilarious. There were teams from the Army and the Navy, as well as the Prison Service, Cammell Laird apprentices, a Belgian Naval Unit and a few others who I couldn’t quite catch. Some took it extremely seriously and were in fully matching uniforms and kit….and others were in fancy dress.

army team on a raft 1
Army team on a raft – I’m fairly certain those moustaches are false…
Emma's raft is the one in the middle at the top of the picture. She is in the straw hat at the front on the right.
Emma’s raft is the one in the middle at the top of the picture. She is in the straw hat at the front on the right.

It was a typical British bank holiday in terms of the weather today – cold, raining, blowing a gale – so that water must have been REALLY cold!

Emma after the race. You can't see the size of her goosebumps on this picture - she was FREEZING!!!
Emma after the race. You can’t see the size of her goosebumps on this picture – she was FREEZING!!!

After Emma had got dried and dressed we took her for lunch.

Getting ready to leave the boat
Getting ready to leave the boat

She wouldn’t salute long enough for me to take a picture of her, but how can I not be proud of this picture?!

After lunch we went our separate ways – Emma to go and do Navy stuff, and us to go and have a look at what the Army and the Marines were offering. We got accosted by a Royal Navy recruitment officer and it didn’t put him off his patter when we told her we’d already got one in the service already. He gave us all his speech about what it costs to train a naval officer and I’m still not sure whether Ethan was empowered or put off by him. Hmmm give it four or five years and we’ll see.

I have to say, especially in the aftermath of the brutual killing of Lee Rigby earlier this week, I am immensely proud of our armed forces and the showing they put on this weekend. It would be too easy to scale these events back in order to deter “trouble”, and I think they have done a great job of involving the public and going ahead with the Battle of the Atlantic celebrations and commemorations as planned.

On the way back to the car we had to pass by the Royal Liver Building on the waterfront. Instantly recognisable by the twin Liver Birds on top of it, there is no mistaking which city you are in when you see this building! For those of my readers who are not native Brits, we pronounce it as Liver-rhymes-with-fiver, not liver-as-in-river. A bit of an anachronism because it is LIVER-(rhymes with river) POOL not LIVER (rhymes with fiver) POOL. Odd that. But that’s the way we Brits roll!

royal liver building

A nice way to spend the bank holiday today even if it was a bit cold and wet. There is plenty more along the waterfront that we didn’t see, and I’ll definitely be going back another day. We’ve seen round the Albert Dock a few times now, but there are museums about the Liverpool’s shipping past as well as the slavery museum and exhibitions etc. I would love to go on the ferry too, just to say I’ve been on the ferry across the Mersey as sung about by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Speaking of ferries, we saw hundreds of motorcyclists queuing up for the ferry to the Isle of Man. This picture is for Simon.

Bikers queuing for the ferry to the Isle of Man
Bikers queuing for the ferry to the Isle of Man.

I’m ready for the TT!! With milk milk and sugar sugar please haha!

Happy Bank Holiday everyone. Hope yours was a good one too.

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12 thoughts on “Battle of the Atlantic Celebrations

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  1. What a good write-up of your bank holiday. The U.S. also has a holiday today, Memorial Day, to honor all fallen soldiers from every branch of service.

    You certainly are a proud mama. Emma looks like Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame!

    I love the photos of the raft racing. Looks like you had quite a bit of fun.

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    1. Thank you Susan, it was fun to watch them in the water even though it was raining and freezing cold! The commentary for the race was really funny too – there is an age old rivalry between the Army and the Navy (as I’m sure there is in the US too) and the commentator was from the Army. As it was a Navy run event he fully went to town on the rivalry. All friendly banter, but very very funny!

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      1. There’s certainly a friendly rivalry between the US Army and Navy. There’s even the Army Navy football (american football) game each year. Personally I always cheer for the Navy. 😉

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  2. Emma Watson-I see that too!
    And well done for giving us this Liverpool post without mentioning The Beatles. (I am a Beatles nut, but it’s good to avoid the expected.) Your pride in your daughter shines through.

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  3. Beautiful blog, Pam. The raft race looks like fun. I like the pictures of your Emma. She looks beautiful. She seems to have withstood the cold quite well.

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    1. Haha! No problem – it’s one of those daft Brit things. We like to keep visitors on their toes by pronouncing things different to their spellings…even when they are spelled the same!

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