This Sunday, as the ship celebrates receiving the Freedom of the Borough of Sefton, sailors from HMS Mersey will parade through the streets of Bootle with “drums beating and bayonets fixed.”
A special ceremony at Bootle Town Hall on Thursday, April 13, saw the historic Freedom of the Borough award presented to the ship’s command, reaffirming Sefton’s historic links with the Royal Navy and HMS Mersey.
A naval patrol ship named HMS Mersey is currently docked in Liverpool as part of a four-day community celebration. The historic parade through Bootle on Sunday with 100 sailors will cap off the festivities, which got underway with the Freedom of the Borough ceremony.
HMS Mersey, a naval patrol ship, is currently docked in Liverpool as part of a four-day community celebration. The festivities, which began with the Freedom of the Borough ceremony, will come to a close with the historic parade through Bootle on Sunday.
Captain Walker also played a huge role in the D-Day landings of 1944, helping set up an impenetrable wall of escort ships to stop German U-Boats from attacking allied boats going to and from Normandy.
This two-week blockade contributed massively to the Allied invasion’ success.
On Thursday Lieutenant Commander James Mitchell, HMS Mersey’s commanding officer, and crew from the ship joined representatives of the Royal Navy and civic leaders to commemorated the Borough’s naval links which date back over 80 years.
And on Sunday more than a hundred sailors and Naval personnel will parade past Captain Walker’s house on Trinity Road, Bootle in a salute to his heroic exploits as part of the parade.
The public are being encouraged to turn out in huge numbers for the once-in-a-lifetime parade, which will see HMS Mersey’s crew exercise their newly-awarded right to march through Sefton with ‘colours flying, bands playing, drums beating and bayonets fixed.’
Mayor of Sefton Clare Carragher said:
“Our Borough, and Bootle in particular, has longstanding links with the heroism and dedication of our Royal Navy.
“It is poignant that the parade will pass the house of Captain Walker and I encourage as many people as possible to line the streets of Bootle to pay tribute to HMS Mersey, the Royal Navy and Captain Walker’s memory.
“I am humbled by the sacrifice of those who have gone before us and those who serve in our armed forces today. To be the Mayor who bestows the Freedom of the Borough upon HMS Mersey is an honour.”
HMS Mersey’s Lieutenant Commander James Mitchell said:
“I am delighted that HMS Mersey is returning to spend time ‘at home.’
“On Sunday 16th April, we’ll be parading through Bootle and from all of the Ship’s company of HMS Mersey, we look forward to seeing everyone.”
The Freedom Parade will leave Bootle Town Hall from the Trinity Road entrance on Sunday morning from 10.30am and march via Stanley Road, Merton Road and Oriel Road before returning to Bootle Town Hall.
A special open day is also being held on board HMS Mersey at the Pier Head, Liverpool on Saturday 15th April, during which the public will be touring the ship.