Western Approaches Headquarters, Derby House, Liverpool

AddressLiverpool, Merseyside L2 8SZ, UK
Location typeHeadquarters Site
AccessPublic Access
Site Ownership and Access InformationThe Western Approaches headquarters bunker has been restored and opened to the public as a museum.
Contact detailsSee Liverpool War Museum website

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The headquarters that controlled the Western Approaches (the sea lanes leading to the UK’s west coast, particularly those leading past the northern tip of Ireland) moved here to Derby House from Plymouth in 1941. The HQ’s operations room and other offices were in a heavily fortified building, with a 7ft thick ceiling to protect against bombing. The site’s main task was to track German naval forces, particulary submarine ‘wolf packs’, that threatened to sink Allied shipping. This struggle was part of the Battle of the Atlantic, a long and deadly conflict in which the Germans aiming to cut the supply lines between North America and the UK, thus starving the British into submission. However it was not just food and similar supplies that had to cross the Atlantic, but also the US troops and their equipment that would land in Normandy on and after D-Day. Victory in the Battle of the Atlantic was therefore a vital precursor to the success of D-Day.

Liverpool was the destination of many trans-Atlantic convoys during the Second World War, with 3-4 arriving each week. Liverpool was the first part of the UK seen by many US troops. Ships were also constructed and and repaired in the city.

View on the D-Day On Your Doorstep map