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Battle of the Atlantic Memorial appeal campaign appoints new chairman and president

24 May 2019

A charity leading a fund-raising campaign to build an international memorial to the 100,000 people who lost their lives during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War Two, is seeking government funding towards its target of £2.5m.

The Battle of the Atlantic Memorial (BOAM) charity hopes to unveil the planned 28m bronze sculpture, in the shape of a merchant ship, on Liverpool Pier Head in 2023 - the 80th anniversary of end of the longest and most complex battle in naval history. It has also appointed a new chairman and president to help with the public fundraising and campaigning to create a lasting memorial to those who died as well as those who survived.

Gary Doyle formally a Royal Navy Commodore and now group harbour master at Peel Ports has taken over the chairmanship of the BOAM from Mike Gretton, while Captain Ian McNaught, the last captain of the QE2 and deputy master of Trinity House, becomes president.

During the Battle of the Atlantic more than 3,500 merchant ships, and 175, warships were sunk with the loss of an estimated 26,500 Merchant Navy seafarers, and more than 23,000 Royal Navy crew. The global allied maritime war dead of naval and merchant navies is estimated at more than 20,000. In total around 3,500 merchant ships were sunk, and 15m tons of allied shipping was lost which is why the battle is often described as a 'tonnage war'.

Mr Doyle paid tribute to the work of his predecessor adding: 'Our job now is to build on that work and create a monument that is known around the UK and across the world. It is vital that the contribution of those who served and died is properly remembered for generations to come.'

As well as public fundraising, the charity would be lobbying the Government for funding to help meet its £2.5m target, added Mr Doyle, pointing out that the D-Day memorial received £20m in 2017 in London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) fine cash following a rate manipulation scandal.

He said while very deserving, D-Day which saw 25,000 killed, would never have happened without the Battle of the Atlantic.

'The Battle of the Atlantic was absolutely critical to the outcome of the war and around 100,000 people lost their lives in the conflict. The purpose of the memorial is to remember them and all the men and women who served at sea, on land and in the air.'

Image:BOAM president capt Ian McNaught
Captain Ian McNaught

Mr McNaught who spent 40 years at sea in the Merchant Navy, much of it on the North Atlantic, said the importance of the memorial was internationally relevant beyond the maritime community, adding it was a reminder of global sacrifices that should never happen again.

'The story of those who went before me so that I could sail in peace needs to be told, but this is a story of more than the seafarer, it involves many ashore on both sides of the Atlantic who suffered much hardship, and those who fought in the air, all of whom came together to conquer this war of attrition.'
The fundraising effort for a lasting memorial began in 2018.

While 2019 marks the beginning of the battle's 80th anniversary, May 1943 is the officially adopted commemoration date and the unveiling reflects that, as it marked a turning point during the war in favour of the allies.

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