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RAF marks Battle of the Atlantic 80th Anniversary

The role played by personnel and aircraft of the RAF in the Battle of the Atlantic has been remembered at a commemorative event in Liverpool.

World War Two aircraft and a P8 Poseidon – the RAF’s current anti-submarine platform – flew over the Pier Head area of the city to remember those who served in the Royal and Merchant navies in the face of the Atlantic blockade of 1939 to 1945.

The event, one of a series held over the weekend, was attended by HRH The Princess Royal who unveiled a Battle of the Atlantic Memorial in a remembrance garden by the River Mersey, the shipping gateway for Great Britain’s wartime supplies.

Mid-May 1943 was the period when the combined efforts of the Royal Navy and the RAF’s Coastal Command turned the tide against the U-boat menace of the German blockade.

“Although the Battle of the Atlantic was predominantly a Naval battle, the aircraft of the Royal Air Force’s Coastal Command played a major role in defending convoys that were under attack from enemy submarines. The Royal Air Force was committed to protecting the nation’s maritime assets then and still is now in the form of the P8 Poseidon, a highly capable anti-submarine warfare aircraft.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ranald Munro
Senior RAF officer at the commemoration

En route to Liverpool, the Poseidon, from RAF Lossiemouth, flew over the site of the former RAF station at Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire, a former Coastal Command base. On its return to Scotland it overflew the Arctic Convoy Memorial at the head of Loch Ewe, Ross and Cromarty. Earlier in the week it overflew the Isle of Man to pay tribute to the dependency’s role during the war.

P-8 Poseidon flies over Liverpool

The battle was the Second World War’s longest, claiming the lives of 72,000 Allied naval and merchant seaman, 6,000 RAF Coastal Command personnel and 30,000 sailors.