A “once-in-a-generation” restoration project has helped preserve the stories of 1,400 Merchant Navy personnel who lost their lives during the Second World War.

The Liverpool Naval Memorial, which was originally unveiled in 1952, has been painstakingly repaired by craftspeople from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

James King, director of CWGC’s UK Northern Area, said: “The CWGC’s Liverpool Naval Memorial has pride of place at the heart of the city’s docks, a fitting location to remember these men who took to the seas and sadly never returned.

“However, this location on the banks of the Mersey means the stone takes a battering from the elements and it’s important we care for this memorial and its intricate design features. This project really was a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our stonemasons to show the kind of skills it takes to preserve our heritage.”

The memorial records not only local Liverpudlians, but also hundreds of men who came from around the world to join the Merchant Navy between 1939 and 1945.

They served on more than 120 different ships, ranging from ocean liners to rescue tugs, with many also assigned to the escort vessels which protected the merchant shipping that kept Britain from starvation.
Lynelle Howson, historian for CWGC, said: “The contribution of the Merchant Navy to the World War efforts should never be forgotten. During the Second World War, Liverpool was a crucial port that acted as a gateway to the world.

“Many of the men remembered on this memorial were ordinary civilians who chose a dangerous life at sea helping to protect the vital supplies that kept the country going. In doing so, thousands lost their lives and it’s an honour for CWGC to continue to remember them.”