HMS Bulwark leads ships from Liverpool
Thousands of people lined both banks of the River Mersey today (Tuesday May 28) as over a dozen warships left Liverpool, concluding what First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas called “the astonishing success” of the Battle of Atlantic 70th anniversary events.
Though poor weather limited visibility, it didn’t hinder the spectacle of the occasion as Trinity House flagship Patricia, and local merchant navy tug Brocklebank closed up opposite Albert Dock to allow HMS Bulwark to lead a Parade of Sail between them.
Flag Officer Regional Forces, Rear Admiral Hockley was on Patricia to take the Salute and was joined by and Naval Regional Commander (Northern England) Commodore Baum, along with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Gary Millar and other civic dignitaries.
Following the Fleet flagship was Liverpool-built HMS Edinburgh – who is sailing to Portsmouth, her final voyage before decommissioning – a poignant moment for her crew and c ommanding officer, Commander Nick Borbone, who remained on the bridge wing of his Type 42 destroyer for the duration, waving his cap at the onlookers ashore.
The Belgian frigate Louise-Marie, Polish frigate Gen T Kosciuszko, Canadian destroyer Iroquois and HMS Pembroke followed closely astern, a stunning sight strung out along the river in front of the iconic Liver Building.
The Sea Cadet training ship TS Jack Petchy and six of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron P2000s were also in attendance as were a host of other maritime vessels out in support of the Co-ordinated Departure, creating a fitting visual spectacle to a wonderful weekend.
Rear Admiral Hockley said: “It has been a great privilege to stay right through this commemorative weekend and to see the wonderful events that have taken place, in Albert Dock, at the Cruise Liner Terminal and at the Pierhead.
“In particular, it was stirring to witness the extraordinary, powerful Service at the Anglican Cathedral on Sunday, and then to take the Salute from the THV Patricia today.
“It’s been a wonderful reunion, in a great maritime city, with a lot of the navies that have made that link so strong. It was wonderful to see the veterans play such a central part in all of the proceedings, and to have so many coalition navies sailing out with us and it is a fantastic way to sign off such a memorable event.”