12 noon, Guest Speaker, Richard Doherty
followed by lunch at approximately 1.00 p.m.
- Roast Butternut Squash Soup with crusty Bread
- Pan-roasted Chicken Breast served with Red Onion & Rosemary gravy
- Chef's selection of Market Vegetables & Potatoes
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of the Second World War, and the most important. Without control of the Atlantic sea lanes, the Allies could not have achieved victory. At one point, Admiral Donitz, commanding the German U-boat fleet, was, in the words of historian Corelli Barnett, “torpedoing his way to victory”. After the war, Winston Churchill confessed that the U-boat campaign had been his greatest fear.
Beginning on 3 September 1939 with the sinking of the Athenia, the Battle of the Atlantic did not end until 7 May 1945 - after the German surrender - with the sinking of Avondale Park in the Firth of Forth.
Victory was achieved by an alliance of seamen, airmen, scientists, intelligence experts and others working in one of history’s finest combined efforts. From May 1943, the U-boat threat was reduced but the Allies had still to contend with German ingenuity, skill and courage. Nowhere else in these islands played a more important part in the battle against the U-boats than Northern Ireland, and especially the port of Londonderry where the largest number of convoy escort ships was based - more than in Liverpool, the Clyde and Belfast combined. Londonderry was the “key to victory”.
Richard Doherty, our fellow Club Member, is an acknowledged author on British Military History and has written several books ranging from the Williamite Wars through the Second World War.