We would like to place Cookies on your computer to give you the best possible experience when you visit our website. If you are happy with the current Cookie settings and want to continue to use this website as normal, click 'OK'. You also have the option to change these settings, plus learn more about Cookies and how we use them. More information on Cookies.

Change settings

Sign into my account

Forgot your username Forgot your password

Protecting our Nation's Interests

Skip to main content

Navy pays its respects on Remembrance Day

Navy pays its respects on Remembrance Day


At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, the men and women of the Naval Service paused – as did the nation – to reflect on sacrifices made past and present. In Afghanistan, in Portsmouth, in the Mediterranean, in Torpoint, in short wherever the White Ensign and Globe and Laurel flew, sailors and Royal Marines honoured the nation's war dead.

The whole service was quite stirring – it’s hard to put it into words. So much has been, and continues to be, sacrificed for us all
Chef John Hendren, HMS Defender

AT THE 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, the men and women of the Naval Service paused – as did the nation – to reflect on sacrifices made past and present.

They paused in the sands of Helmand.

At the imposing memorial which has dominated Southsea’s shoreline for nearly a century.

At the small, immaculate memorial church to the Fleet Air Arm in Yeovilton.

At the official war grave of ratings killed when HMS Raleigh was bombed. In the Mediterranean aboard the ships of the Navy’s task group.

Off the South Coast where new ships are preparing to take their place in the Royal Navy’s order of battle.

And within sight of North African shores where the wreck of destroyer HMS Fearless lies, sunk while trying to shield HMS Ark Royal in 1941.

The service at Main Operating Base Price in Helmand, home to the battlegroup of 40 Commando and 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, was particularly poignant; four of its number have been lost in recent weeks.

The service was held in front of the memorial to the fallen, which records the names of all the British and Danish soldiers who have lost their lives in the Nahr e Saraj district since 2010.

Chaplain Paul Andrews, conducting the service said: “It’s with sadness this year that we have new names to remember amongst the fallen the names of David, Channing, Edward and Siddhanta, all known and loved by us.

But remember them we do, because they as the fallen before them have, as the Bible tells us, made the ultimate sacrifice, displayed the ultimate love by laying down their lives whilst serving with those they loved and respected.

"That is why we will always remember them.”

Reflecting on the service, Maj Karl Gray, 40 Commando’s Chief-of-Staff, said:

Remembrance Sunday means to me an important time for not only personal reflection but collective reflection to remember our fallen comrades.”

The service in Helmand was mirrored at the Royal Marines home of Norton Manor in Taunton, attended by family and friends of the commandos.

HMS Montrose came to a stop in the Mediterranean between Sardinia and Algeria over the wreck of HMS Fearless.

Gathered on the frigate’s flight deck, the ship’s company heard the story of her loss and smelled the cordite of the ship’s saluting gun as they stood silently to attention in respect for the 25 men who lost their lives in the final act of her war.

By the summer of 1941, the F-class destroyer had already won battle honours in Norway, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

In July 1941, Fearless was acting as an escort in Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville’s legendary Force H which was shepherding a vital convoy to the besieged island of Malta.

On July 23, Fearless was fatally attacked by an Italian torpedo bomber.  Her sister ship HMS Forester took off as many of her crew as she could before she was forced to sink the burning wreck with her own torpedoes.

Montrose’s sailors sang the Naval Hymn and her captain, Cdr James Parkin, was handed a wreath by the youngest member of his ship’s company Std Samantha Ormerod. The ship’s guard fired three volleys in salute as the wreath was laid in the water over Fearless’ wreck.

Cdr Parkin said:

“The memories and achievements of those who served in the Mediterranean during World War 2 are not forgotten and are firmly in the minds of Montrose’s officers and ratings as she continues to operate in the same seas as her predecessors.

"We will remember them."

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, HMS Bulwark and HMS Illustrious – both about to partake in exercises with the Albanians as part of the Response Force Task Group’s Cougar 12 deployment – held flight deck ceremonies.

Members of all three Armed Forces were represented aboard Illustrious: Army pilots and ground crews with her Apache helicopters, green berets of 45 Commando Royal Marines, a smattering of RAF personnel in support of flying operations and finally the ship’s company.

Also in the Middle Sea, sailors from HMS Northumberland and her Royal Marines boarding team detachment mustered in her hangar for a memorial service before proceedings moved on to the flight deck.

With the White Ensign and 43 Commando standards billowing on the aft flagstaff, CO Cdr Paddy Dowsett and the youngest member of his ship’s company cast a wreath into the ocean.

As did Cdr Phil Nash, Commanding Officer of Britain’s newest destroyer, HMS Defender, off the Dorset coast.

The Type 45 put her trials in the Channel on hold and mustered her ship’s company and embarked BAE contractor staff in the ship’s hangar.

The whole service was quite stirring – it’s hard to put it into words,” said Chef John Hendren, who read John Ch.15 (‘Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’) to his shipmates.

So much has been, and continues to be, sacrificed for us all.”

Cdr Nash added:

Today’s service provided my sailors with a moment of calm during which they remembered those of our fellow service men and women who have fallen in time of conflict around the world.

The pace of life here in this brand new warship is quick and demanding and so it was particularly important for us to put our problems, stresses and strains into perspective as we considered the ultimate sacrifice made by others.

The ship was also represented in her affiliated city of Exeter, where Sub Lt Chris Rothwell laid a wreath on behalf of the men and women of Defender at the civic war memorial during a service of remembrance.

Around 500 sailors from HMS Raleigh – ship’s company and trainees undergoing the conversion from civilians to sailors – stood by the graves of 44 sailors and 21 Royal Engineers who were killed during World War 2.

Personnel from the Torpoint establishment marched to Horson cemetery where those who lost their lives when a German bomb hit an air-raid shelter on the base in April 1941 are laid to rest.

Trainee Submariner Leon Armstrong, who is one of the youngest sailors under training at HMS Raleigh, was among those laying a wreath.

The 16-year-old from Middlesbrough began his ten week initial training course in September. He said:

I’m proud to have been picked to honour the brave people who have gone before me.”

Capt Bob Fancy, the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh and a marching contingent of recruits, who are undergoing their specialist training at the establishment, attended the Civic Remembrance Service in Torpoint.

Capt Fancy laid a wreath along with 18-year-old trainee submariner Daniel Straughan.

AB Straughan joined the Royal Navy in February and is currently undergoing his specialist training at the Royal Navy Submarine School. He said:

Remembering those who have given their lives while serving their country is an important thing to do and I’m really honoured to be chosen to lay a wreath.”

Capt Fancy also attended the service in Truro, while Lt Cdr Simon Bailey, the Officer in Charge of the Seamanship Training Unit at HMS Raleigh, represented the Royal Navy in Saltash.

RNAS Yeovilton’s act of remembrance took place in the churchyard of St Bartholomew’s Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church.

Platoons of personnel marched across the airfield for the service – and past the historic Swordfish torpedo bomber; Remembrance Day also marked the anniversary of the Battle of Taranto, the Fleet Air Arm’s signature action.

After the service in the grounds of the church, attended by Yeovilton Volunteer band, Ilchester Military Wives Choir and local schoolchildren, squads marched past the air station’s Commanding Officer, Cdre Paul Chivers

In Portsmouth services were held at the city’s combined memorial for all its war dead in Guildhall Square and at Southsea War Memorial, attended by personnel from HMS Nelson and the local reservist unit HMS King Alfred.

And at the national act of remembrance at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall, more than 170 sailors, Royal Marines and Royal Marines musicians drawn from across the Service joined members of the Royal Family, the country’s political and military leaders, with First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope placing a wreath on behalf of the Senior Service.

Pictures: PO(Phot) Ray Jones, HMS Illustrious, Sgt Jez Doak RAF, DMC London, LA(Phots) Maxine Davies, HMS Northumberland, Rhys O’Leary, 40 Commando, Guy Pool, FRPU East, Abbie Herron, RNAS Yeovilton, Joel Rouse, HMS Bulwark, and Dave Sherfield, HMS Raleigh

Upcoming Events

Navy News Digital Edition

Related Stories

Related Links


Find the perfect role

Our job finder tool will help you find the perfect role to match your skills

I'm Interested in:
  • Explore Opportunities Chef (Submariner)
    More info
  • Explore Opportunities Air Engineering Technician
    More info
  • Explore Opportunities Logistics Officer
    More info