Liverpool - WAC

After the Germans occupied most of the western mainland in the spring/summer of 1940, their eyes turned to Britain, which remained alone against the German armed forces. In the autumn of 1940, the Germans launched intense bombardments against British cities and industries to try to cripple British society and the will to war. However, the british resisted and the expected German invasion of the british isles did not occur. This did not mean that the danger was over, but the British were dependent on supplies of all sorts of supplies and materials from the United States and Canada. These supplies were delivered by sea and were vital to British survival.

The German side tried to cripple these supplies by attacking the convoys with submarines patrolling the convoy roads. Liverpool, with its strategic location on the east coast and major port, was the main destination for these convoys. In February 1941, to protect these convoys, the Western Approaches Command (WAC) moved from Plymouth to Liverpool to lead the defence of the convoys. WAC was a collaboration between the British navy and the air force with the express purpose of defending the convoys.

WAC was headquartered in central Liverpool and had a workforce of about 1,000 people, about 80% of whom were young women. Their main task was to locate and (hopefully) identify German submarines, aircraft and ships. This information was then passed on to either the air force or the navy (or both) to combat the threats. In a way, WAC was the heart of the British defense of the islands. The threat to Britain was perhaps greatest in 1942 to reduce in 1943, but still a threat to be taken very seriously. During the war, more than 1,000 convoys entered Liverpool. In August 1945, when Japan capitulated, the WAC was disbanded.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2023).

Address: 1-3 Rumford St, Liverpool L2 8SZ.

Get there: Metro to James Street station.

My comment:

A moderately large museum with both preserved rooms and preserved equipment interspersed with smaller exhibitions linked to the theme. Gives the submarine war and the Battle of the Atlantic a face that easily otherwise falls into the shadow of the more famous battles that took place on land. Can also be combined with the German submarine U-534 located on the other side of the river Mersey.

Follow up in books: Jonathan Dimbleby: The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War (2016).