Service of remembrance honours heroes who gave their lives during Second World War
PUBLISHED: 17:22 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 10 October 2018
Veterans returned to their wartime headquarters in Lowestoft for a poignant annual event.
The Royal Naval Patrol Service Association (RNPSA) held their 43rd annual service of remembrance at Belle Vue Park in Lowestoft, where a memorial to fallen service members is based.
During the Second World War, the town was the central depot of the RNPS, whose main role was minesweeping and anti-submarine marine warfare duties to keep vital supply lines open.
About 10 veterans, who proudly wore their medals and a silver badge awarded by Winston Churchill, attended the service of remembrance, which drew a crowd of about 100 to the war memorial.
The service which was attended by chairman of Waveney District Council Frank Mortimer, his wife Trish and Lowestoft deputy mayor Peter Knight, was conducted by Rev Peter Paine, Port Chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers with the association’s president Garry Titmus and vice president David Braybrooke also taking part.
After the service, which included a wreath laying ceremony and a two minutes silence led by a bugler from the Great Yarmouth Brass Band, the veterans took part in a march past, salute and sunset ceremony in Sparrow’s Nest Garden – which was the service’s headquarters during the war.
Leo Whisstock, the association’s national secretary, said: “We had about 10 veterans on parade here, which is greatly reduced from what we used to have. “But the reunion is a big family occasion with relatives attending to remember their fathers and grandfathers who served in the RNPS. As with every service it was very poignant.
“They did a very dangerous job in the war and the service lost many ships and 14,500 men were killed. They were ordinary fishermen and seafaring folk who ended up playing a vital role in winning the Second World War.”
This was a view echoed by Commander Titmuss. He said: ”I have been coming to the services here for 33 years to honour the members of the Patrol Service because what they did was amazing.
“They are unsung heroes and had a huge impact on the convoys and the anti ‘U’ Boat work. Without their help we could quite possibly have lost the war. A lot of what they did is recorded in personal memories displayed in the wonderful museum we have here.”
One person, who travelled from America to attend the RNPSA memorial service, was Richard Eagles from South Florida. He was there to represent his uncle, Stoker Palmer, who is almost 94 and lives in Lincolnshire but was unable to make the journey to the service.