Battle of Atlantic -Pembroke Dock Fly’s the flag

24 Feb


Pembroke Dock Fly’s The Flag

Pembroke Dock flew the flag for Wales as the 70th anniversary of the battle of the Atlantic campaign was remembered at the weekend.

Typical Flying boat weather -grey skies and rain-failed to dampen the response and support for the service of commemoration on Sunday which concluded three days of events organised by the Pembroke Dock Sunderland trust.

An open air service at the Dockyard Chapel had to be curtailed just to the unveiling and dedication of a memorial, the remainder of the service later taking place at Pater Hall. This proved to be most successful and was attended by a 150 people, with music for the hymns played by the Pembroke Borough Sliver Band.

The Rev Mike Brotherton of Angle a retired Royal navy Chaplain, conducted the impressive service, joined by the Rev Nicky Skipworth, vicar of Pembroke Dock. Lessons were read by Rear Admiral Terry Lougharan, a former captain of the aircraft carrier HMS ark Royal, and squadron leader John Cairns chairmen of the Coastal command and Maritime Air Association which held its own reunion in the towns Cleddua Bridge Hotel over the weekend.

Special words of welcome were given by Commodore Jamie Miller,RN,the Naval Regional Officer for Wales and the West.

The Costal command associations sister organisation, the Maritime Air Trust sponsored by the funding of the striking Welsh slate memorial which was crafted by Malcolm Grey, of Glasfryn engravings David’s.It depicts a Sunderland flying boat and simple and telling words reflecting the major contributions of the flying boats and the Royal Navy at Pembroke Dock to winning the Battle of the Atlantic. It was unveiled by Air commodore Andrew Neal,AFC,of the Maritime Air Trust and dedicated by the Rev Brotherton.

Despite the damp conditions and several former Costal command personnel joined the parade along Bush Street to the Chapel ,led by the band of no 948 (Havefordwest and St David’s)Squadron,ATC.Standard Bearers of several marchers was Service organisations  from as far away as Cardigan took part and among marchers was Mr Alan Lacy, who served with 228 Squadron at Pembroke Dock in 1943/44.Parade marshal was Dave Boswell of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock British Legion ,and sea Cadets of T/S Warrior also paraded.

Another wartime RAF veteran who attended the service was Mr Ron Curell,of Pembroke, a pilot with two wartime Sunderland squadrons, and he was joined by the Royal Navy veteran Mr Gerry Price, whose wartime service included many convoys across the Atlantic and two to Russia, and former Royal Marine Mr Ted Owen, both of Pembroke Dock.

Among the special guest was chairmen of Pembrokeshire county council,Councillor Arwyn Williams and Mrs Williams; the newly elected Mayor of Pembroke Dock, councillor Jane Phillips; the lord Lieutenant of Dyfed,the hon.Robin Lewis, and Mrs Lewis; Welsh assembly by member Mrs Angela Burns and Mr Hart, MP for West Carmarthen and south Pembrokeshire.

Special thanks were given to Pembrokeshire county council,owners of the Dock yard Chapel for permission to place the memorial stone in the grounds and to ATR construction for generously erecting the memorial on a granite plinth.ATR construction are currently building an extension to the Dockyard Chapel .