Memorial is held for ship sunk 70 years ago today

Dunedin picture taken from a copy of Illustrated News around 1940 ''Bill Gill''Pictures supplied from Michael Gill  [mailto:michael.w.gill@ntlworld.com]
Dunedin picture taken from a copy of Illustrated News around 1940 ''Bill Gill''Pictures supplied from Michael Gill [mailto:michael.w.gill@ntlworld.com]
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SURVIVORS of a Royal Navy warship sunk by a German U-boat 70 years ago today will hold a remembrance service for their dead comrades in Portsmouth this afternoon.

HMS Dunedin was torpedoed in the South Atlantic 900 miles west of Freetown, South Africa, on November 24, 1941.

Of the 486 men on board, only 67 survived.

Around 250 sailors escaped the sinking ship and were able to board rafts.

But they then spent four harrowing days drifting at sea before being rescued by an American merchant ship.

During the four days at sea, the men were attacked by sharks, piranha fish, and stung by poisonous Portuguese Man of War jellyfish.

By the time they were picked up by the US freighter Nishmaha, there were only 72 sailors left alive. A further five of them then died on the way to safety in Trinidad because of their injuries.

The last three remaining survivors of the wartime tragedy will attend a reunion service at the Royal Naval War Memorial on Southsea Common this afternoon.

It is expected there will also be 50 relatives of the ship’s company paying their tributes by laying wreaths in remembrance of the fallen Dunedin shipmates.

The 70th anniversary memorial service has been organised by the HMS Dunedin Society.

It is due to start at 1.15pm today and prayers will be conducted by Royal Navy chaplain the Rev Colin Noyce.

A Royal Marine bugler will also be in attendance.