HMS Mersey's officers and crew parade through Bootle to mark Freedom of the Borough award

16 April 2023 2 min read

Naval officers from HMS Mersey paraded through the streets of Bootle with ‘drums beating and bayonets fixed’ on Sunday 16th April to celebrate the ship being awarded 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 13th during a special ceremony at Bootle Town Hall, reaffirming Sefton’s historic links with the Royal Navy and HMS Mersey.

HMS Mersey, a naval patrol vessel, was moored in Liverpool as part of a four-day public celebration.

Captain Walker

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.


After an inspection by the Mayor of Sefton Clare Carragher, Sunday’s parade left from Bootle Town Hall and passed Captain Walker’s house just off Trinity Road. It then looped back to the Town Hall where the Mayor took the salute.

Despite Sunday’s drizzly and cold weather, members of the public turned out to see the once-in-a-lifetime parade.


Ahead of the event, 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.

“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.”

'at home'

HMS Mersey’s Lieutenant Commander James Mitchell said: “I am delighted that HMS Mersey is returning to spend time ‘at home.’

“On Sunday, we’ll be parading through Bootle and from all of the Ship’s company of HMS Mersey, we look forward to seeing everyone soon.”

A special open day was also held on board HMS Mersey at the Pier Head, Liverpool on Saturday 15th April, when the public were able to tour the ship.

You can find out more about HMS Mersey at

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