HMS Collingwood holds commemorative event on 75th anniversary of bombing

On Monday 18 June HMS Collingwood, Fareham held a commemorative event to mark the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the base in 1943 when over thirty sailors lost their lives.

In the early hours of June 18 1943, a bomb dropped onto one of the accommodation huts at the Base and killed over 30 sailors.

The sailors, all volunteers to ‘Serve King and Country’, were mainly 17 and 18 year olds. They had only been in the Royal Navy for just over a fortnight and were still under training.

During the commemorative service Able Seaman (Mine Warfare) 2 Keakan Read-Oldham, the youngest sailor serving at the site at just 16 years of age, read the Act of Remembrance prior to the Last Post and 1 minute’s silence.

Captain Rob Vitali Royal Navy, Commanding Officer, laid a wreath at the precise location that the bomb fell.

He said ‘It is quite a small memorial service for something that happened 75 years ago and it is something which is quite poignant.

“I think with modern training at an establishment like this you often forget these things that happened a long time ago, 33 people were killed and we like to mark these events.

“I think it brings something home to the people serving here, both the new and the old and the young sailors here as well.”

Personnel from across the base attended the event, for which there was a guard of honour, with music provided by members of the establishment’s Volunteer Band.

I think with modern training at an establishment like this you often forget these things that happened a long time ago, 33 people were killed and we like to mark these events.

Captain Rob Vitali RN