'What they did was amazing': Poignant service honours 'unsung' heroes
- Credit: Mick Howes
Veterans returned to their wartime headquarters in Lowestoft for a poignant annual event.
The Royal Naval Patrol Service Association (RNPSA) held their 46th annual service of remembrance at the 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.
Nearly 100 people gathered at the war memorial for the service on Saturday, October 2 which was also attended by Mayor of Lowestoft, Alan Green, and 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.
During the service a two-minute silence was held followed by wreaths being laid including one from HMS Tyne.
After the act of remembrance, the standard bearers and Lowestoft Sea Cadets 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 were pleased to still have veterans on parade here today.
"The reunion is a big family occasion with relatives attending to remember their fathers and grandfathers who served in the RNPS."
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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 14,500 were killed and 600 ships lost.
"Every service it is very poignant.
Mr Whisstock added: "The men 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 36 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.”