October 23, 2019 – TODAY’S sailors and naval leaders will join villagers in Anglesey on Friday as a memorial to the man who helped deliver victory over the U-boat.
A statue and memorial garden will be dedicated in Rhosneigr – ten miles outside Holyhead and next to RAF Valley – to its most famous son: Admiral Sir Max Horton.
From November 1942 until the end of World War 2, Sir Max served as Commander-in-Chief Western Approaches, directing the Allied response to the German submarine menace from his headquarters in Liverpool.
That threat was as its peak in the autumn and winter of 1942-43 but some of the tactical changes made by the admiral – a poacher turned gamekeeper as one of Britain’s leading submariners in World War 1 – notably forming dedicated units of U-boat hunters (support groups) to accompany convoys and hound enemy boats to destruction.
Those groups were to play key roles in March, April and May 1943 as the tide turned and the U-boats suffered losses from which they would never recover. On May 24, the commander of the German Navy, Karl Dönitz, called off the battle.
The German submarine threat never went away until the war’s end, but the UK’s lifeline was never severely threatened.
Sir Max remained at the helm of Western Approaches until it was dissolved in the summer of 1945, overseeing the surrender of more than 150 German submarines.
He died six years later aged 67 and while other WW2 leaders became household names such as Montgomery, ‘Bomber’ Harris, and Cunningham, Max Horton was largely forgotten by the public – including his native Anglesey.
Over the past decade, villagers in Rhosneigr have made an effort to revive his name, firstly with a memorial plaque, and now with the garden/statue overlooking the Irish Sea on the site of the pumping station.
Sir Max spent his formative years in the village – his parents owned the Maelog Lake Hotel which still stands today but as the Oyster Catcher restaurant.
The 7ft bronze cast of the admiral which will be dedicated at 11am on Friday – RN personnel from Valley will be among attendees – has been crafted and donated by Liverpudlian sculptor Terry McDonald, the man behind the famous ‘Mother and Child’ figures at Liverpool’s Women’s Hospital.
The surrounding garden has been created as a community project for villagers to both enjoy and look after.