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U534 at Woodside

Photographs  John H. Luxton 2009

On February 10, 2009 Kriegsmarine U534 reopened to the public at Woodside just over three years since the ship closed as part of the Historic Warships Collection and around eleven months since it was moved in sections to Woodside by MERSEY MAMMOTH. Strong opinion was expressed on this web site against the sectioning of this historic vessel [click here], however on visiting the newly opened display at Woodside your web master was reasonably impressed by the presentation which has been undertaken quite well. A small museum and new Mersey Ferries booking office has been created within and along side the booking hall of the Woodside Terminal.

The museum displays many interesting artefacts recovered from the U Boat including an Enigma coding computer, crew belongings, documents etc. There is no doubt that the submarine increases the attraction of Woodside for visitors and will ensure that an increasing number of tourists cross the river by Mersey Ferry to this location.

However, it is still to be regretted that it was not possible to preserve U534 as a whole vessel. The sectional cutting was certainly carried out with great precision and it does facilitate the examination of the interior by a much greater audience than was possible when displayed as part of the historic warships collection. Though unfortunately the size of the sectioned vessel and its enclosure does appear to dominate the attractive period ferry terminal building at Woodside.

A visit to U534 is certainly recommended - the exhibition is tastefully executed and is a fine tribute to the young men who served on the U boats - of whom only around 1 in 4 survived.

 

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