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NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2009 27
Ashes scattered
Fervent
plaque is
unveiled
off D-Day beach
A PLAQUE commemorating
the Royal Naval allied coastal
forces based in Ramsgate during
World War 2, and their base HMS
Fervent, has been unveiled.
The event was attended by
Admiral the Lord Boyce, the Lord
THE ashes of a veteran who the site of the memorial and the Warden of the Cinque Ports, the
campaigned tirelessly for a DUKWs took family and friends Lord Strathcona, President of the
monument in Normandy have – including actor and comedian Coastal Forces Heritage Trust,
been scattered off Sword Beach. Eddie Izzard, who became a Vice Admiral John McAnally,
Two DUKW amphibious friend of Billy’s after meeting National President of the RNA,
vehicles, which had ‘swum’ from him on a ferry to France at the and Sir Donald Gosling.
Portsmouth, took part in the 60th anniversary of the D-Day HMS Fervent was the wartime
scattering of Billy Swift’s ashes landings. base for MTBs, MGBs and patrol
on June 7. Billy, who was born in Hull in craft that played a vital role in
Billy will be remembered for 1922, joined the Navy at the age protecting the narrow strait
his commitment to organising of 18 and saw plenty of action. between the UK and France.
the annual reunions of the 23rd He was sunk during the In one particular action – the
Destroyer Flotilla, and for his war Operation Pedestal convoy to Channel Dash – in February
memoir, I Was An HO. Malta, was mined in the Bristol 1942 the German warships
He attended the Normandy Channel in HMS Tuscan, and Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz
commemorations from 1974 until served on Arctic convoys in HMS Eugen, heading back to base, were
2004 and played a major role in Scourge. attacked by MTBs from Fervent
the creation of a monument to It was as captain of Scourge’s and six RN Swordfish from 825
RN personnel killed during the A Turret that Billy made his NAS.
landings. contribution to D-Day, firing from The aircraft were all destroyed
In 2001 this monument 6am on June 6 and supporting and the MGBs took some damage,
was erected and dedicated at operations for six more weeks. but did not affect the German
Hermanville. He later went on to serve in the squadron.
The ashes ceremony started at Far East in HMS Bigbury Bay. ● Billy Swift Many nationalities served
in Coastal Forces, including
● A contingent from RNAS Culdrose supported the annual Sea
V&W ships remembered
Canadians, Dutch, Polish and
Sunday parade in Falmouth, organised for the 25th successive year Free French.
by Falmouth branch on behalf of the town council and the Church
of King Charles the Martyr. The parade was led by HMS Seahawk
Volunteer Band, and after moving to the church for the service itself
MEMBERS of the V&W Destroyer Association, Of the wartime ships more than a quarter were
Books available
the parade later re-formed for a march to the National Maritime
all well into their 80s, assembled at the National lost, a reflection of the sterling work they did in a
Destroyer Memorial in the Historic Dockyard at wide range of theatres, from Mediterranean convoys
THE following commissioning
Museum Cornwall for a reception. Pictured above is the Lord
Lieutenant of Cornwall, Lady Mary Holborrow, leaving the church
Chatham for a short service of remembrance during to the war against Japan in the Far East.
books are available from the
with her Cadet, Jordan Truscott.
a reunion earlier in the year. “Seventeen took part in the Russian convoys, and
Stourbridge branch: HMS Eagle
Among the 142 names of destroyers lost during many suffered storm damage, but they survived the
(1964-66, 1969-70 and 1970-
World War 2 that are inscribed on the memorial are worst of the storms that Mother Nature tested them
78); HMS Bulwark (1969-71);
several V&W-class ships. with on those awful trips,” said S/M Cliff Fairweather,
HMS Blake (1961-62) and HMS
Of the 67 that were built between 1916 and 1920 founder member of the association.
Centaur (1958-60).
only 48 were available at the beginning of the war – “Wherever the larger ships were operating, they
Please phone in the first instance
many of them having been brought out of mothballs, were invariably escorted by V&W destroyers.
for discussion on despatch –
although others, such as HMS Westcott, were busy in “All of us who served in them will tell you that they
postage is the only requirement.
the 1930s; that ship was exercising with the submarines were damned good ships – and they accounted for 43 The telephone number is 01384
on the China Station when war was declared. U-boats and Italian submarines.” 442396.
Invincible
standard
● From autographs to warships – S/M Dave Forrest of HQ Roll has
cornered a niche in the recycling business. S/M Dave is a celebrity dedicated
autograph collector, and has used plenty of cardboard inserts to
prevent letters being crumpled in the post. So from cardboard,
THE Invincible WO and CPO 82
cocktail sticks, drinking straws and other assorted odds and ends
Association was formed on the
grew a fl otilla of warships, fi nished with a children’s watercolour paint
return journey from the Falklands
set. Among those afl oat on a fl oral sea (above) you might recognise
Conflict, but it took 27 years
HMS Clyde, an Albion-class assault ship and a Type 23 frigate
before the group dedicated its
own standard.
From the outset it was agreed
£50 PRIZE PUZZLE
that any reunion would take the
form of a Ladies Night, the first of
which took place at HMS Dolphin
in September 1983.
Admiral Sir Jeremy Black,
the Commanding Officer of the
carrier in the South Atlantic, has
been association president from
the start.
Last year the association agreed
to buy their own standard and
parade it at a small ceremony at the
THE mystery ship in our July
National Memorial Arboretum.
edition (right) was commissioned
As protocol dictates that the
as HMS Lion, but was launched
standard must be dedicated
as HMS Defence.
before it can be used in public, a
Mr L Hewitt, of Wrexham,
ceremony was held at the Falklands
answered correctly, and wins our
Memorial Chapel in June.
£50 prize.
This month’s ship (above) HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH.
Radio
was one of the second-rate
Coupons giving the correct answer
Blackwood-class frigates built in
will go into a prize draw to establish
the 1950s, and was the first of
a winner.
speaker
three built by Alex Stephen and
Closing date for entries is
Co in Glasgow.
October 14. More than one entry
A FORCES broadcaster with long-
can be submitted, but photocopies
What was her name, and what
standing connections to Cyprus
cannot be accepted. Do not include
was the name of either one of the
anything else in your envelope: no
was the guest speaker at a recent a
other two, one built for the RN correspondence can be entered into
Cyprus branch meeting.
and one for the Indian Navy? and no entry returned.
Chrissie Flint, who worked for
We have removed her pennant The winner will be announced
BFBS, developed a love for the
number from the picture.
in our November edition. The
island after visiting nine times in
Complete the coupon and send
competition is not open to Navy two years as a military wife.
it to Mystery Picture, Navy News,
News employees or their families. Once living in Cyprus she wrote
several articles for the Cyprus Lion
MYSTERY PICTURE 175
and Cyprus Airways’ magazine,
and she was approached by BFBS
Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
radio.
Chrissie became responsible for
four or five interviews a week over
Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ten years in A Taste for Cyprus and
other programmes.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
She has also written a book
on the Cyprus countryside and
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
villages.
In the course of the evening
My answers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
shipmates welcomed two new
members, ex-Royal Ron Jones and
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Allan Hodgson, who has a history
of Merchant Marine and Army
service.
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