Services of Remembrance - 19 December 2010Services of Remembrance - 19 December 2010
A Service of Remembrance to honour those who lost their lives whilst serving in HMS Neptune and HMS Kandahar was held on Sunday 19th December 2010 at the National Arboretum, Alrewas on the 69th anniversary of the sinking of the two ships, as has been traditional for some years. Due to the inclement weather and consequent travel chaos attendance was very limited compared with previous years, in fact just three: Rorie & Kathy Grieve and Peter Stone, who live locally.
Rorie Grieve reports: "There was a piercingly beautiful blue sky over Alrewas that morning with a scenic covering of snow on the ground. The three of us attended the 11 o’clock silence in the chapel and then proceeded to the monument where we shared out the sections of the Order of Service prepared by Gerry Wright between the three of us.
"As seems to be traditional on our visits to the Arboretum, a skein of geese flew towards the south east as we made our way to the monument but then, after our service, the sky filled with hundreds of geese coming from the south east and over our heads. It really is extraordinary how these aerial displays oriented on the direction of Tripoli always happen.
"The Arboretum staff had put out a poppy cross as requested by John McGregor by ‘phone just before we arrived and there were also four wreaths and several crosses there from November. The dedications on two of the wreaths were sun-faded and the other two were marked for Reginald Rushton and David Forbes respectively. The wreaths were snow encrusted and welded to the flagstones with ice. I resisted the temptation to try to free them as I was fearful of damaging them in the process.
"We were informed that apart from John's call, Mr & Mrs Oliver had also phoned the Arboretum and asked for a photograph to be sent to them. Peter had his camera with him and several photographs of the small ceremony congregation were taken as well as some of the huge air display."
Conditions were also treacherous at Southsea at the Naval Memorial on the anniversary. However, Christine Pittman-Corner made her way there despite the travel problems at the time and laid a cross in memory of the men who lost their lives 69 years ago. Harold and Frances Brooks had planned to attend from Eastbourne but Christine dissuaded them in light of the adverse conditions.
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