Veterans to be honoured at popular annual reunion

A previous reunion parade and service remembers the brave service of sailors in the Royal Naval Patr

A previous reunion parade and service remembers the brave service of sailors in the Royal Naval Patrol Service (RNPS) who had served from Sparrows Nest, in Lowestoft, between 1939 and 1946. Picture: Courtesy of the RNPS - Credit: Archant

Former members of the Royal Naval Patrol Service (RNPS) will be returning to their wartime headquarters in Lowestoft next month for their annual reunion parade and service.

The 2016 Royal Naval Patrol Annual Service and Parade at Belle Vue Park in Lowestoft. Remembering th

The 2016 Royal Naval Patrol Annual Service and Parade at Belle Vue Park in Lowestoft. Remembering the fallen. - Credit: Archant

During the Second World War, the town was the central depot of the RNPS, whose main role was minesweeping to keep vital supply lines open.

The headquarters, HMS Europa, was in the Sparrow's Nest Gardens with other bases around the town.

There were about 66,000 men in the Patrol Service serving in 6,000 ships of which 14,000 were killed and 600 ships lost.

Each year veterans travel from across the country and return to Lowestoft for their annual meeting as the reunion, as the brave service of sailors in the second world war is remembered with a special parade.

The 42nd annual reunion will be held on October 6-7. The veterans will get together for the AGM on the Friday lunchtime, followed by a dinner and dance in the evening of October 6.

The reunion service and parade will then take place on Saturday, October 7.

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RNPS Association national secretary Leo Whisstock said: 'We will be having some of our second world war veterans with us our 42nd annual reunion. All are now well into their 90s, but the draw of the town and of coming back to their old wartime headquarters is still strong.

'We are having our annual general meeting on the Friday lunchtime, a dinner in the evening and on the Saturday we have our reunion service at our memorial in Belle Vue Park at 11am.

'After this will be the march past, salute and 'sunset' outside our museum in Sparrows Nest Gardens.

'We are fortunate that our museum and office is housed in two of the original buildings built by the Royal Navy at the outbreak of war as part of the headquarters complex, later named HMS Europa, of the Royal Naval Patrol Service,' Mr Whisstock added.

'We would be pleased to see members of the public and members of ex-service associations and their standards at the service to honour these very proud men.'

Are you holding a community event in Lowestoft? You can tell The Journal by sending your details via email to mark.boggis@archant.co.uk or alternatively call reporters on 01502 525820.

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