HMS Collingwood pauses to remember wartime bombing

A poignant service was held recently at HMS Collingwood in Fareham to remember young lives lost in a wartime tragedy at the Base.

In the early hours of 18 June 1943, a lone German bomber, flying behind a squadron of British planes dropped two bombs on the training establishment. One of these fell onto the playing fields but the other had more deadly consequences, hitting one of the accommodation huts, killing 33 young sailors and wounding 38 others. They were all volunteers, signed up to serve King and Country, and most were just 17 or 18 years old. Often, this would have been their first time away from home, having been in the Navy for just over a fortnight.

As we look back on HMS Collingwood’s 80 years it is important to remember the sacrifice of these young sailors who were just at the start of their wartime naval service when they tragically lost their lives. They are part of HMS Collingwood’s legacy of duty and we will never forget them.

Captain Catherine Jordan, Commanding Officer of HMS Collingwood

Now, 77 years later, civilian and military staff alike joined in a memorial service to remember the lives lost in the tragedy and to observe a minute’s silence. Reverend Edward Northey, one of the Collingwood Chaplains, spoke of the importance of time and making the very best of each day before WO1 (Warrant Officer) Martin Watson read out the names of the young trainees who died.

Afterwards, Captain Catherine Jordan, RN, Commanding Officer of HMS Collingwood, laid a wreath on the spot where the sailors’ accommodation hut had stood.

She said, “As we look back on HMS Collingwood’s 80 years it is important to remember the sacrifice of these young sailors who were just at the start of their wartime naval service when they tragically lost their lives. They are part of HMS Collingwood’s legacy of duty and we will never forget them.”

 

Photographs courtesy of Keith Woodland, Crown Copyright