Port Academy Liverpool opens later this month as part of Bootle’s Hugh Baird College.

A call has gone out for Bootle-related maritime memorabilia.

Port Academy Liverpool (PAL) opens later this month as part of Bootle’s Hugh Baird College and will be the only vocational college of its kind in the North of England offering courses for students from 14-years upwards across the full spectrum of the maritime sector.

Bootle is the home of heroic Naval captain Johnnie Walker – PAL is opposite his former home on Pembroke Road – and the academy wants to create the best possible archive to celebrate the area’s illustrious maritime heritage and inspire young people towards maritime-related careers.

During World War II Liverpool was Britain’s main transatlantic convoy terminus port, with Bootle docks handling practically all of these vessels.

From mid-1941 Liverpool was one of the Royal Navy’s main escort bases for Atlantic convoys, including Capt Walker’s groups, with up to 60 destroyers, sloops, frigates and corvettes in Gladstone and Langton Docks.

Special guests at PAL’s opening will include those whose families have played a big part in Bootle’s maritime history, such as Capt Walker’s grandson Capt Patrick Walker, and the Earl of Derby, whose family was involved with much of the town’s development.

PAL project director Shulah Jones said a fundamental part of its role will be to tell stories of Bootle’s past and how the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy were intertwined with the community: “The maritime sector is part of the DNA of Bootle and the Liverpool City Region,” she said.

“We want to ignite a passion for careers in maritime by recognising and retelling the extraordinary stories of our own community. For example, the lionhearted war generation who gave so much to our city and country. By telling their stories we hope people will be inspired to consider careers in maritime, literally opening up a world of opportunity.”

Ms Jones is appealing for anyone with memorabilia, especially linked with Capt Walker and the Battle of the Atlantic, to donate to PAL’s archive.

People should contact 0151-353 4444 ext 5549, email shulah.jones@hughbaird.ac.uk.