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Iconic jacket to go on display at Western Approaches to coincide with Battle of the Atlantic 80th anniversary

12 months ago

Iconic jacket to go on display at Western Approaches to coincide with Battle of the Atlantic 80th anniversary
Walker wearing the jacket at sea in 1943 (Credit: Big Heritage 2023)Walker wearing the jacket at sea in 1943 (Credit: Big Heritage 2023)

The Western Approaches Museum have announced the exclusive display of Navy hero Captain Frederic John Walker’s renowned leather jacket to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

The jacket has been given to Western Approaches on long-term loan by the Walker family, to give visitors a unique opportunity to connect with the heroism and sacrifice of those who served during World War II.

Western Approaches
Bryony Fisher from Western Approaches Musuem installs the display (Credit: Big Heritage 2023)

Captain Frederic John Walker, often referred to as “Johnnie” Walker, was a legendary Royal Navy officer who played a pivotal role in the Battle of the Atlantic. Renowned for his tactical brilliance and unwavering determination, Captain Walker commanded the escort groups responsible for protecting vital convoys across the treacherous Atlantic Ocean, ensuring crucial supplies reached the United Kingdom. His leadership and strategic prowess led to countless victories against German U-boats, effectively turning the tide of the battle in favour of the Allies.

The leather patched jacket was worn by Captain Walker during all his time at sea, and was even incorporated into a statue of him unveiled at Liverpool’s Pier Head by the Duke of Edinburgh in October 1998.

Jane Hedger, Granddaughter of Capt Walker said:

“We are delighted to see a piece of family and indeed national history go on display at Western Approaches. We hope it inspires a new generation to learn and understand the sacrifices made by men like by Grandfather and his crew during the Second World War.”

Located in the heart of Liverpool, the Western Approaches Museum itself holds a significant place in British history. During World War II, the facility served as the operational nerve centre for the British Navy’s fight against German U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean. In a maze of underground rooms, brave men and women coordinated vital intelligence and made critical decisions that ultimately shaped the outcome of the battle.

Western Approaches
Capt Walker’s jacket in the Operations Room of Western Approaches (Credit: Big Heritage 2023)

Today, the Western Approaches Museum stands as a poignant reminder of those tumultuous times. By preserving and showcasing artifacts like Captain Walker’s leather naval jacket, the museum aims to educate and inspire visitors, ensuring that the heroism and sacrifices of the past are not forgotten. The jacket will be displayed alongside other captivating exhibits, including interactive displays, original equipment, and personal testimonies, creating an immersive experience that vividly brings history to life.

Museum Director Dean Paton said:

“This battered jacket lacks the gold trim and medals of Nelson’s Trafalgar coat, but is up there with it in terms of items of clothing that best symbolise moments in British history. Captain Walker’s name should flow from the collective nation’s lips as easily as Churchill and Montgomery when it comes to Second World War legends. We hope this display can help remind everyone of his bravery and that of his crew.”

Visitors to the museum can see Captain Frederic John Walker’s leather naval jacket from 23rd May to 1st June – visit the Western Approaches website here for more info.



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