Do YOU know anyone who lost their lives at HMS Collingwood shore base 70 years ago?
Mike Crowe, from Sandown on the Isle of Wight, is arranging a memorial service there and has been in touch to see if anyone can help him with information.
He writes: Your readers have been very, very good with their responses, but can they go that extra mile and do something really special, memorable and sympathetic?
Were they serving, or were any relatives serving on HMS Collingwood when Hitler’s men tried to sink it?
In an earlier letter to you, I asked those who had served at any time, in any capacity, at HMS Collingwood, the massive shore establishment at Fareham, to get in touch if they wanted to be reunited with their old shipmates.
They are still coming out of the woodwork and I have received some wonderful stories of their experiences, but something else more dramatic has emerged.
In the early hours of June 18, 1943, just one bomb dropped on to one of the accommodation huts and killed more than 30 sailors. These sailors, all volunteers to serve king and country, were mainly 17 and 18 years old. They had only been in the Royal Navy for just over a fortnight and were still under training. No photos of them in uniform.
Two sisters of those killed saw my appeal and have come forward seeking more information.
Following this interest, I have now tracked down service details of all them. They came from all over the country and I am hoping readers of the local newspapers all over the country and those who had relatives killed or they themselves served at HMS Collingwood at that time will come forward and contribute information ready for the 70th anniversary on June 18, 2013.
We will all meet up and do something special. Thanks to the kind permission of the Commodore of HMS Collingwood, I have arranged for a memorial service to be held in the chapel and a visit to the spot where the bomb dropped, with a short service there. Wreaths may be laid at the tree planted in their memory.
Be they sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, it doesn’t matter, the HMS Collingwood Association, with HMS Collingwood will make this something special, and 70 years seems a good opportunity before it’s too late.
Send the details of the one you have lost, or your story if you were there at the time, to Mike Crowe, Chairman, HMS Collingwood Association, 7 Heath Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight. PO36 8PG or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I also look forward to hearing from anybody who has served at HMS Collingwood at any time, in any capacity, or who would like to ‘swing the lamp’ at one of our reunions or even join one of our other organised visits into HMS Collingwood, to see how it is today.