HMS Mersey bestowed with Freedom of Borough accolade

18 April 2023 4min read

Naval officers from HMS Mersey paraded through the streets of Bootle this Sunday with ‘drums beating and bayonets fixed’ as the ship celebrates being bestowed with the Freedom of the Borough of Sefton

Freedom of the Borough

The historic Freedom of the Borough award was presented to the ship’s command on Thursday evening (April 13th) during a special ceremony at Bootle Town Hall, reaffirming Sefton’s historic links with the Royal Navy and HMS Mersey.


HMS Mersey’s affiliation with Sefton was granted partly in honour of Captain Frederic John Walker, a World War Two officer who led command of escort ships from Bootle’s Gladstone Dock, during the Battle of the Atlantic.

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 of, 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.

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.”

You can find out more about HMS Mersey here.

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