N.I. Submariners Association
   

HOME

 

NEWS

 

MEMBERS

 

MINUTES

 

LINKS

 

MEMBERS EMAIL

 

GUESTBOOK

 

HUMOUR

 

FUN DAYS

 

Contact Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures from Dervock

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Navy Records Department at Derby holds service details for those RN personnel who enlisted after 1939. The contact details are:

 

Navy Enquiries,

TNT Archive Services, Tetron Point,

William Nadin Way

Swadlincote

Derbyshire

DE11 0TB

 

Telephone number 01283 227912 or 227913

 

They can also be contacted via e mail at navysearchpgrc@tnt.co.uk

 

When applying for a record anyone making an enquiry will have to provide an official service number of the person they are researching and they may be asked to provide documentary evidence of identity or relationship. Records are normally only released to the person or a nominated next of kin. They will make a charge of £30 for the service.

 

There is also another way to access Service Records for men who served from 1924 onwards:  (Not sure if they make a charge)

 

The Director of Naval Personnel Disclosure Cell

Room 109,

Victory Building, PP72

HM Naval Base Portsmouth

Hampshire

PO1 3LT

 

Telephone 02392 723114

 

For Service Records for RN personnel who enlisted prior to 1924 you can access these records online at the National Archive website:

 

It costs £3.50 to download a Service Record.

Hope this helps.

Yours sincerely,

George Malcolmson

Archivist

RN Submarine Museum

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Great news, I have now added a forum for all you chatterbox's to join and use, this forum will be Membership ONLY.

Simply click on the FORUM link to the left and you will be taken to the new forum, click on register and pick a Username and password for yourselves, you must have a valid email address too, you must also fill in the confirmation code EXACTLY as you see it on the page. Once you have done this, the rest of the information is not required. Scroll to the bottom of the register page and click SUBMIT, then check your email account for a new mail, open the mail and click the link it contains, this will activate your new account, you can then return to the forum and login, enjoy.

Click HERE for an instruction document on creating an account.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leading Seaman James Magennis VC Memorial Dinner & wreath laying ceremony Belfast 18/19th

BBC News Links:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/5261594.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/5267208.stm

Paper Cuttings:

Click For Larger Version Click For Larger Version Click For Larger Version Click For Larger Version Click For Larger Version Click For Larger Version

 

Here is a picture of George Fleming presenting a biography of "Magennis VC " to Captain Steve Ramm on the branch's recent visit to Faslane in Scotland. Captain Ramm is our Honoury Northern Ireland S/A branch president.

Photo taken by the Chief our Honourable Standard Bearer.Click for Larger Version

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

RNZN Personnel Awarded NGSM

Email from George Flemming:

Dear all who are interested in this subject,

Enclosed (
below) is another letter I only received yesterday from the NZ minister of Defence confirming RNZN personnel have been awarded the NGSM (Clasp malaya) between the years 1955 and 1960. This documented evidence supports my letter to Vice Admiral Adrian Johns.

No RN personnel received this award during these dates yet the RN were 90% of the Naval force based at Singapore at the time. Confirmation no NGSM (Malaya) was awarded to any RN ships company from 1954 to 1960 can be found in |"Admiralty Fleet Order 2460 1960".

George Fleming


Click For Larger Version Click For Larger Version

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shots from 19th August 2006, Members on parade at City Hall, Belfast.

Click for Larger Version Click for Larger Version

Standards Raised % Standards Lowered

Photographed by Des Regan

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday Life Home > News

You can't 'seafarer' than that!
 

Loyalists replace UFF mural with tribute to Catholic VC Navy hero

By Joe Oliver
18 September 2005

A MURAL dedicated to the UFF has been removed in a loyalist estate - to make way for a giant painting of a CATHOLIC war hero!

The 26ftx30ft memorial to Leading Seaman James Magennis now dominates a gable wall at Tullycarnet in east Belfast. It replaces a grisly UFF 'grim reaper' mural in the style of heavy metal album cover.

The new mural was painted by artist Kenny Blair as part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Allied victories in Europe and the Pacific.

Its unveiling was attended by a host of VIP guests representing the UN, Royal Naval Association, British Legion and the Submariners Association.

West Belfast-born Magennis (pictured) won the Victoria Cross - British highest military decoration - for an incredible act of bravery during a mini-sub attack on the Japanese warship Takao in Singapore harbour in 1945.

Magennis and three colleagues evaded enemy defences to steer their midget sub under the 10,000-ton vessel and attach mines to it.

Magennis made a second dangerous dive in the freezing waters to free the snagged containers holding the limpet mines.

Six days later the first Atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

When Magennis returned home he was feted at Buckingham Palace, but became a shuttlecock in Ulster's great divide.

On his return to his old school, St Finian's on the Falls Road, pupils refused to stand for a "Brit" hero.

Magennis eventually settled in his wife's hometown of Bradford and lived there until his death in 1986.

The story would have ended there but for a campaign orchestrated by George Fleming, who wrote a book about Magennis' remarkable exploits. He eventually persuaded councillors in Belfast to erect a 6ft-high monument at the City Hall in memory of the only man from Northern Ireland to win a VC.

George, an ex-sailor, attended the unveiling of the Magennis mural and admitted: "It's wonderful to see this here. It shows courage crosses all boundaries and I think it's a magnificent gesture by the good people of Tullycarnet."

Loyalist Commission member Frankie Gallagher said: "The story of James Magennis - who lived in east Belfast for a time - is a fascinating one and this mural tells it brilliantly.

"We've removed all the other murals, too, and the one it's replacing is the UFF 'grim reaper'.

"This is part of a five-year strategy for the Tullycarnet estate to address what is the fourth-worst education attainment level in Northern Ireland.

"Education is a major issue and by putting up this mural we want children to learn about their own history, and the diversity of their own history.

"It is vital, and the children themselves will be building a memorial garden at the site in the near future."

Old Mural

New Mural

http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=662067

 

60th Anniversary VE & VJ WW2
by tagit ( Tullycarnet Action Group Initative Trust)

WW2 Submariner James Magennis VC (Ganges 1935) outdoor wall Mural  Tullycarnet (Kings Road) East Belfast 16 September 2005.  Peter Robinson MP for East Belfast unveiled the mural with addresses by Mr Frank Gallagher (Tagit), George Fleming (Ganges 1957) (Author Magennis VC 1998)  and Mr Glenn Barr cross community activist.

Photographs by Marion Garland

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pictures from the Standard Dedication supplied by Roy Mairs

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recent Newspaper Article:

David George, John Erskine and Norman Leslie from the Northern Ireland Branch of The Submariners Association. N21-24/2

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Xmas Draw 18th Dec 2004

N.I. Branch Submariners Association

The winners

1st Prize £200 Gary Duncan
2nd Prize BBQ G. Taylor
3rd Prize Phone D. Keenan
4th Prize Bottle M. Jenkins
5th Prize Bottle S. McGuikan
6th Prize Bottle G. George
7th Prize Bottle A. Kelly
8th Prize Bottle A. Murphy
9th Prize Bottle B. McAllister
10th Prize Deep Fat Fryer D. Napier
11th Prize Bottle C. Smith

Thanks Members for your excellent efforts on selling the tickets.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lucky 13 H.M.S OSIRIS

When the steam-driven "K-13" sank in the Garelock during sea trial in 1917, one of the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry was that no submarine should ever again be numbered 13.

Its was rumored that there was a file an inch thick in FOs/m Block, as to whether we should have been 12a or 14, but 13 triumphed and was proved to be an exceptionally lucky number for those who have served onboard.

Such service has been rewarded with the qualification for the "13TIE" - only awarded to those who had been to sea on H.M.S. OSIRIS on Friday the thirteenth.

I still have my tie !

M(E)I Norman (paddy) Leslie             MAY 1965 - 1967

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Campaign for memorial to MAGENNIS VC.

Uploaded 12/12/04
To all members of the Submarine Association (NI branch)


Dear Chairman Secretary & members,

Most in the Submarine Association (NI branch) members know I wrote a book on Magennis VC but few are aware of my involvement behind the scenes with both Castlereagh and Belfast councils, in campaigning to have a WW2 submarine VC hero remembered OFFICIALLY, as I only explained it briefly in my book, so I wish to explain my involvement in more detail.

In 1996 no councillor from Castlereagh Council  knew Magennis VC  lived at Clonduff estate from 1950 to 55 until I wrote to all of them requesting they erect a plaque on his former home and within the council buildings. Some years earlier Castlereagh council had remembered WW1 hero William McFadzean VC by erecting a plaque on his former home on the Cregagh Rd.  For those interested McFadzean VC was born in Lurgan, his name is remembered on the Lurgan war memorial and on a plaque recently erected by the Lurgan British legion on the wall of the old Lurgan town. I attended the unveiling myself in 1997.  Prior to my first contact with Castlereagh council in 1996  (Battle of the Somme   36 Ulster Division WW1 hero) McFadzean  VC had some *SIX*memorial plaques to him in Northewrn Ireland whereas (Belfast's only WW2 hero) Magennis VC had *NONE*

Today I give credit to Castlereagh council for honouring both Magennis and McFadzean.  Both these VC's were not born in Castlereagh but lived in the area sometime in their lives. Castlereagh was part of the greater Belfast corporation in 1945.  I also give credit to Castlereagh Council for flying Paul Magennis (son of Magennis VC) and his wife over from Bradford to the reception and the excellent lunch they laid on at the La Mon hotel.  A number of WW2 ex servicemen, ex submariners, ex HMS Ganges Boys and myself attended the reception including representatives from both the RNA and the British Legion.

Now WW2 Magennis VC was remembered in Castlereagh in 1997, but he had still not been officially remembered in Belfast.  So while researching for a biography on the Belfast hero I wrote a short letter to the Belfast Telegraph informing the public he had been forgotten. I received a reply letter from City Hall which as an ex submariner, inspired me to campaign with a tenacity and determination I never had before for a memorial to Magennis VC in Belfast.

The letter reads as follows:

From: BELFAST CITY HALL
Chief Executive's Department
Mr ********
Ext 2211
Date 23 rd September 1996.

To: Mr george Fleming
545a lisburn Road
Belfast BT97GQ

Dear Mr Fleming

You wrote recently to the Belfast Telegraph on the subject of a plaque being erected to commemorate leading Seaman Magennis.

The Ulster History Circle, with financial support from the Belfast City Council, has recently erected in Belfast plaques to commemorate Lord Kelvin and Robert MacAdam and will shortly be unveiling a further plaque to James Young.  It is the Ulster History Circle's policy, however, not to erect a plaque until a person has been dead for twenty years and as Leading Seaman Magennis only died in 1986 the Circle would not be able to erect a plaque to him at this stage.

I am sure Belfast City Council would support the erection of a plaque to Leading Seaman Magennis after the appropriate period of time so that this courageous citizen is suitably commemorated.

In the meantime there is a photograph of Leading Seaman Magennis on display outside the Council Chamber in the City with an inscription which records his heroic deeds. I would be pleased to show the photograph to you at a time suitable to you and to discuss your suggestion further. My telephone number is 320202 (extension 2211)

Your sincerely

**************
Members Services Manager

It was obvious this letter was not normal protocol. It smelled of deception and in my opinion was sent to me on behalf of a few councillors who didn't wish to draw attention to themselves. They used  the Chief Executive's Department to write the letter for them so as to  stop me in my tracks from campaigning any further. Little did they know my determination.

When Magennis VC died in 1986 there had been a few who raised voices regards a memorial to the local Royal naval VC hero . Gerry Haigh (member of the Submarine Association & Belfast RNA ) was the only ex-serviceman from Belfast who attended Magennis's funeral service in Bradford of that year. He told Eddie McLlwaine of the Belfast Telegraph 'It would be good and proper that James's home Ciry should honour his name. I'd say Belfast should have paid their respects before anyone else thought of it'  (Belfast Telegraph 17 October 1986)

The Irish Times (10 December 1986) under the heading 'Belfast War Hero Ignored, Remembered in Bradford' noted ' James Magennis who left his home in Belfast thirty years ago to live in Yorkshire was commemorated at a service in the Anglican Cathedral in Bradford on Sunday without any official recognition from his native City.'

Nothing came out of these raised voices, except, that two Unionist councillors hung a small photograph with an attached tiny brass inscription measuring three inches by one inch in the robing room of the City Hall.  It was hidden from public view and could only be viewed by tourists.  As the letter from the Chief Executive's Department stated individual Belfast citizens had to make a request to the City Hall to see it. The bluff worked in 1986, but this recent attempt to bluff me, only increased my determination to campaign further.

I decided it was time for more action.  So I sent copies of material I uncovered in the newspaper library while researching for Magennis VC's biography to all 51 City Hall councillors.  I also sent copies to 18 MP's and a few members of the House of Lords, including ex WW2 naval officers Lord Lewin 'The First Sea lord', former prime Minister Lord Callaghan of Cardiff and also Commander Ian Fraser VC  DSC (Magennis's CO Operation Struggle 1945).

The records of the 6th December 1945 News Letter & Northern Whig covering the City Corporation November meeting of that year read as follows:

"Councillor Clark Scott proposed:  
'The City has conferred the freedom of the City on many notable personages and now you have the  opportunity of honouring one of the common people. Leading Seaman Magennis has preformed a great feat and his heroism should be recognised by the citizens. I move that the General purposes Committee should consider the question of conferring the Freedom'

The Lord Mayor Sir Crawford McCullagh replied to Councillor Scott:
' The General Purposes committee will consider it. They will do it without your asking'

Scott replied:
'But I am not a member of that committee and I am intitled to move the motion'

The Lord Mayor:
'That is not how the Freedom of the City is conferred.'

Councillor Clark Scott:
'But this is Mr Magennis, not Alexander or Mongomery.'

The matter was dropped."

(end of newspaper article)

This was substantial evidence that unknown to todayıs general public a proposal had been made for freedom of the City for Magennis but was rejected by the corporation back in November1945.  What was well known and had been widely publicised even to this very day was that the Lord Mayor had set up a 'shilling fund' shortly afterwards.  The generous Belfast citizens collected £3000 for Magennis.  However this fund was the Lord Mayor's own contrivance and not the Corporation. What did it say for the Corporation who refused their only returning WW2 VC hero Freedom of his native Belfast and instead left it to the common people to collect money for him? The shame lay with the 1945 Corporation. I therefore informed the 51 councillors surely all would agree that one way of eradicating that shame would be for the present City Council to erect a memorial to their forgotten WW2  VC hero.

I also emphasised that in the present circumstances not one penny need come from the citizens rates to pay for this memorial, as art, lottery and community relations grants are all available for such  projects, and what an exellent community relations project it would make.

Over a period of two years I wrote and received many private letters of support from Politicans, MP's, Lords and ex officer & servicemen for a memorial to Magennis VC.  Here is a short list of names of only a few I received:

1  Admiral of the Fleet Lord Lewin
2  Rear Admiral RP Stevens (Flag officer Submarines)
2  Commander Ian fraser VC  (Magennis VC's C/0 in operational struggle)
3  Rt Hon Lord Callaghan of Cardiff  KC  (House of Lords)
4  Rt Hon Rev Martin Smyth MP   UUP
5  Rt Hon  John Taylor, MP   UUP
6  Rt Hon Lord Alderdice  (leader of the Alliance party)
7  Rt Hon Cecil Walker   MP UUP
8  Rt Hon Ken Maginnis  MP UUP
9  Rt Hon Mayor of Belfast Councillor Ian Adamson
10 Councillor Michael  Mc Gimpsey  UUP
11 Councillor Jim Rodgers    UUP
12 Councillor Sammy Wilson  DUP

As a ratepaying Belfast citizen I used the official right to make a written proposal  on 10 December 1996 to the 'policies and resources committee' in the City Hall. Although I received private letters from some councillors I could not find one councillor in the 'policies and resources committee'  to make a proposal for me. Eventually an SDLP councillor made my  proposal which was seconded by a UUP councillor. Finally the majority of SDLP, Alliance, DUP & UUP councillors responded to my original proposal and voted in favour of a Memorial to Magennis VC.  Sinn Fein abstained.  I have copies of my original letter and of the minutes of the 'policies and resources committee' meeting for perusal to those interested.

Having passed one hurdle the next was to get the whole council to approve, and in 1997 the majority of the 51 councillors approved at the main council meeting. There were some abstentions but no opposition. All was to be decided was what and how was the memorial to be sculpted and were the memorial was to be sited.  Finally, sculptor Elizabeth Mc Loughlin's proposed design was chosen as winner of an art competition, and on October 1999 the Lord Mayor Robert Stoker unveiled a 6ft memorial of bronze and portland stone  to Magennis VC in the City hall grounds.  This today stands proudly  beside the statue to Queen Victoria in front of the main building.  I therefore give credit to the Belfast City Council for at last commemorating their only WW2 VC hero.

The Times: 9th October 1999
http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/bbmagenn.htm  

I have deleted the name of the person who wrote the Chief Executive's Department letter on 23 rd September 1996 because that same person has been most helpful to the Northern Ireland branch of the Submariners Association, formed in 2000 after the memorial to Magennis was erected. He has helped the association organise a memorial dinner to Magennis VC to be held in City Hall in 2006. His good name has been exonerated.  However, had I believed his letter back in 1996, there would be no Memorial to Magennis today in the grounds of the City Hall. Instead of having a memorial dinner in the City Hall in 2006 we would still be waiting for the Ulster History circle to erect a small blue plaque to his memory.

In conclusion, I would like to say, writing the Magennis VC  biography was one of the toughest tasks I ever attempted.  An even harder task was the campaign for the Belfast memorial to Magennis VC.  Its with deep appreciation I say a thankyou to Journalist John McGurk who remembered the work I put into the campaign behind the scenes when he wrote: : 'But, thanks to the efforts of people such as ex-sailor, George Fleming, Belfast belatedly honoured their courageous sailor son, with a memorial in the grounds of the City Hall, in the late Nineties. "  
http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/news/story.jsp?story=570597  Sunday Life (10 october 2004).

Many Thanks
George  Fleming.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Historic feats unite rather than divide us by Roy Garland

George Fleming, former submariner and author of ³Magennis VC², welcomed the stated intention of east Belfast loyalists to build a replica submarine in honour of Falls Road man James Magennis VC. The replica is to be placed in Clonduff, a Protestant estate in East Belfast where Magennis lived before departing to England. George applauds these efforts to highlight the bravery of a Catholic submariner and Victoria Cross winner during the Second World War. He suggests a similar memorial be sited at James Magennisıs old St Finnianıs School near Falls Road Swimming baths were Magennis learnt skills that made his daring feat possible.

From his Midget four-man submarine XE3, Magennis swam to place limpet mines on the Japanese 10,000 ton cruiser "Takao" and became the only Northern Ireland Second World War VC. He was also the only naval rating VC to survive the war and the only person in naval history to leave a submarine under water, complete a military operation and return to his submarine. Yet despite decoration with Britain's highest award for valour, Magennis was refused freedom of Belfast by the City Council while a lack of enthusiasm was evident in west Belfast.

After a two-year campaign by George Fleming Castlereagh Council agreed to place a plaque on Magennisıs former home in Clonduff while Belfast City Council sited a memorial in front of the City Hall. The latter was on 8th October 1999, 13 years after James Magennis died in obscurity in England.

George points to curious links between another Irishman, British submarines, and indirectly, with James Magennis. The first Royal Navy submarine, ³Holland 1², was launched at Barrow-in-Furness in 1901. The name ³Holland² harks back to John P Holland a member of the Fenian Movement who was born at Liscannor, Co Clare in 1841. Holland had been rejected by the Merchant Marines before he joined the Christian Brothers to teach in Limerick while engaging in scientific experiments.

Due to ill health he left the Christian Brothers, followed his mother and brothers to Boston and worked for a US engineering firm before he returned to teaching. By 1859 Holland drafted his first submarine design - one that was never radically altered. He was convinced that submarines would prove essential in naval warfare and persisted with his dream of a viable metal submarine. He duly submitted his design to the US Naval authorities but they rejected it as ³fantastic².

Meanwhile, Johnıs brother Michael introduced him to the Fenian Movement and with their help he continued working on a submarine for use against the British Navy. It would carry three men and be small enough to be accommodated on a merchant ship and released under water against British ships.

Because of Fenian help Holland could devote more time to developing his midget submarine, which was called "Fenian Ram". However the Fenians stopped backing his efforts and he severed his links with them. In 1896 he won a US naval authorities competition for a submarine design and established ³The John Holland Torpedo Boat Company². But, because of frustrating interference from US Naval professionals, who insisted on changes that undermined the submarines potential, the project was temporarily wound up.

John Hollandıs sixth and best design was also rejected by the US authorities and he was left virtually bankrupt. In desperation he accepted a buy-out of his company, which became the ³Electric Boat Company². The US Government bought ³Holland No 6² for $150,000 in 1900 and soon designs and submarines were sold to Japan and Britain. The Royal Navyıs first five submarines were ³Holland² boats built at Barrow-in-Furness. Despite this there was still scant recognition of Hollandıs contribution even though by 1951 submarine design returned to the shape of his prototype and could now exceed the underwater speed of his ³Fenian Ram² half a century earlier.

Loyalists in East Belfast hope former Belfast shipyard workers will build a replica submarine in memory of Magennis for Clonduff estate. Michael Copeland UUP MLA and Clonduff Community activist Jamie Leitch are applying to Barrow-in-Furness where the first British ³Holland Boats² were built for the design, and also to British and Irish Governments for funding.

Both Holland and Magennis died in poor circumstances. To make amends, perhaps two replica submarines should be built in their joint memory one for east and one for west Belfast tributes to men whose achievements have been undervalued. Surely enough goodwill can be found to use this to mark an end to some of the futile squabbling over a heritage that is intermingled if not entirely shared. Presbyterians gave birth to the United Irishmen and only our mutual enmity hides the fact that - underneath the surface - we have more in common than most people dream of.

Email: roy@irishnews.com

 

Sunday Life Home > News

Ulster sub hero to be honored By John McGurk

10 October 2004

A huge wave of support has greeted plans to honour the heroism of a Victoria Cross-winning Catholic sailor - in the heart of Protestant east Belfast.

For Ulster Unionist Assemblyman, Michael Copeland's dream of marking World War II seaman, James Magennis's bravery with a memorial in the Clonduff estate is getting closer to reality.

Magennis - Belfast's Boy's Own-styled hero - became the only Ulsterman to be awarded Britain's highest military honour, during the Second World War.

In an extraordinary act of courage, Magennis helped steer a tiny XE-1 submarine under a Japanese battle cruiser, and attach limpet mines to the enemy boat, anchored in Singapore harbour in July 1945.

But the man, originally from the Grosvenor Road area of west Belfast, showed even more backbone when he swam back, to clear snagged containers holding the mines.

Magennis was greeted back home with a civic reception and £3,000 from a public appeal - but, controversially, was not given the Freedom Of The City by the Unionist-controlled council.

Magennis became Ulster's forgotten hero - dying in Bradford in 1986.

But, thanks to the efforts of people such as ex-sailor, George Fleming, Belfast belatedly honoured their courageous sailor son, with a memorial in the grounds of the City Hall, in the late Nineties.

And now the area where he lived in the early Fifties - Clonduff - may become another poignant 'port of call', in memory of Magennis.

Mr Copeland told Sunday Life that he had received numerous phone calls of support for the plan, to erect a replica midget submarine memorial for the Catholic sailor, in the middle of the Castlereagh Road estate.

He said: "My phone hasn't stopped ringing with people who are keen on doing this - both from Northern Ireland and England.

"I looked at an estate on the fringes of east Belfast that, basically, does not enjoy any great standing.

"But, then I thought that it has something unique - a man who was the only VC winner from the island of Ireland during the Second World War having lived there.

"The fact that he was a Roman Catholic is, to me and to most people, an irrelevance. James Magennis's exploits should be a source of pride to everyone in the maritime history of this city."

The Castlereagh councillor revealed that he had organised meetings with potential funding sources to help cover the estimated £3,000 cost of the memorial.

jmcgurk@belfast_telegraph.co.uk

 

THETIS MEMORIAL SERVICE IN BIRKENHEAD

 

Below is an email sent from WMBC:

 

It seems that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council have arranged for a last service of remembrance to mark the 70th Anniversary of the loss of HM/SM Thetis and her crew on the 1st June 1939. Maria =ormington from Wallasey Town Hall has been in touch informing me that a service will be held at the Old Priory, Birkenhead, at 1400 hours on Sunday 31st May. she is co-ordinating this event and has asked for my assistance in making contact with members of the Submariners Association both nationally and locally. As you all know the Thetis service in Holyhead, Anglesey, was officially discontinued at the 60th anniversary in 1999 by the common consent of the surviving relatives and friends because of aging and health/mobility problems they were encountering.
 
Maria has already been in touch with our resident, Admiral, Sir James Perowne KBE, who has agreed to attend the service. I have made arrangements to meet with her next Tuesday morning at the Town Hall to discuss the order of service and others aspects of the arrangements. No mention has yet been made of any official reception following the service. However, it would not be too difficult to arrange such a reception at either the Birkenhead or Wallasey RNA clubs if the civic authority have not yet made their own local post service arrangements which seems unlikely. I will get that information next week and advise you all accordingly a.s.a.p.
 
I appreciate that this is rather short notice but the arrangements are being made by WMBC staff who do not have any previous experience in planning such a naval event and we have only been drawn into it at the last minute. I do think that the occasion being the last such commemoration to the 99 souls who lost their lives in the tragedy should not pass unmarked by Merseyside Submariners who, if possible, can make the effort to be present at this very last tribute to fellow submariners.