Gorleston service of remembrance honours RAF seamen
- Credit: Archant
A poignant day of remembrance was held to remember RAF crews who served in a Norfolk sea rescue unit during the Second World War.
As the battle against Germany edged closer to the county's shores, heroic servicemen embarked on perilous missions to save allied personnel at sea.
The actions of the RAF's number 24 Air Sea Rescue Unit, based at Gorleston, saved the lives of 700 downed aircrew during the Second World War.
Today their bravery was recognised as part of a service which was conducted to mark 65 years of the Anglian Branch of the Air Sea Rescue Club and Marine Craft Sections Club.
More than 100 people including veterans part of the unit, and youngsters, joined together to show their respects at the memorial at Brush Quay in Gorleston.
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The ceremony honoured not only the Norfolk wartime unit but also air-sea rescue units around the country which collectively saved 14,000 lives.
One man present at the service was 94 year old Charles Meacock, who served for the 24 ASRU Gorleston.
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Mr Meacock who now lives in Kent, was involved in three rescue missions during his time based in the town, rescuing downed airmen just off the coasts of Felixstowe, Cromer and just outside Holland.
He said: 'They were very dangerous trips as we ourselves could have been targeted by enemy boats and aircraft.
'We didn't make much money from this, we were just trained boatsmen who went out there to save as many lives as we could.
'What we are doing is honouring lads who are on bottom of the seabed whether they were downed aircrew or part of the rescue units who died trying to save others.
'I am the only war-time person who could make this event, but I know the youngsters will continue to honour and remember us.'
At the ceremony floral tributes were laid out by family members of William Guillfoyle, Mike Daggett and Kenneth Fenton - all of whom had wartime connections with 24 ASRU Gorleston.
Cllr Shirley Weymouth, the mayor of Great Yarmouth, gave a speech at the service, while there was a performance by the Wrentham Brass Band.