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Family friendly activities to mark anniversary of historic U-boat surrender

11 May 2018

A day of special activities has been planned by Derry City and Strabane District Council to mark the 73rd anniversary of the historic U-boat surrender on Lough Foyle, which signalled an end to the Battle of the Atlantic in May 1945.

Saturday May 19th will feature a packed programme of indoor and outdoor family friendly activities taking place in the city centre – commemorating the city’s role in one of the most strategic military operations of the Second World War.  It will be a fun packed day with lots of activities centring round the history of the city at that time.

In May 1945, the German U-boat fleet was ordered to surrender to the Commander of the Western Approaches, Admiral Sir Max Horton at Lisahally.  The surrender highlighted the significance of the city in protecting the Atlantic convoys and in keeping the western front open for the duration of the war.

A variety of unique museum collections, both from the Council’s own collection and also from private collectors around Northern Ireland will be on display as well as US and German Navy Troop Re-enactors from Wartime Living History Association, and an American Willys Jeep from the Ulster Military Vehicle Club. A live re-enactment of the surrender event will take place in the Guildhall Square on the hour throughout the day, and families can join in the re-enactment!

A range of family activities will be taking place in the Guildhall, including a photo booth, large-scale Battleship board game, costumes of the time and Morse Code signal machines. Come and visit our Atlantic Cafe for all the fun of the forties without the rationing.  Sway to the sounds of the Andrews Sisters whilst enjoying a pot of tea, a delicious coffee or for the adults, step back in time with a sherry or stout.  

Immerse yourself in the full vintage experience with style tips from Elaine Duffy, or why not get into character for the occasion if you know your victory rolls from your pinups?

Speaking at today’s official launch, Deputy Mayor of Derry & Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle encouraged people to come along and catch a glimpse of the city in a bygone era.

“The U-boat Surrender was a significant occasion in the city’s history and the fantastic activities planned for this year will provide an opportunity for people to find out more about how the city played a pivotal role in World War II”, he said.

“I would therefore encourage everyone to come along and learn a bit more about the city’s key maritime role at a time when the Foyle was buzzing with activity and the North West of Ireland was known throughout the world.”

For the history buffs, a series of talks are also scheduled for the family friendly day of activities – beginning with renowned historian Richard Doherty at 11am entitled ‘The Longest Siege’ – World View from the Banks of the Foyle. At 1:30 pm Dr Marie-Claire Peters will also hold a talk entitled “Thank you, Thank you Derry” exploring the lives of women in WWII Derry.

Finally, at 2:30pm, a live concert with 1940s ‘Swinging and Dancing’ by local act the RingaBellas will close out the event. 

Admission to the Guildhall events are free and admission to the Tower Museum is reduced to a special price of £1 per person for the day. The event runs from 10am-4pm.