Announcement made to mark 70 years of HMS Collingwood bombing

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PLANS for a memorial service to mark 70 years of the bombing of HMS Collingwood have got underway today.

In June 1943, more than 30 young people aged 17 or 18 died in an attack when a German bomb hit one of the sleeping huts of the training base in Fareham.

Of those killed, 13 have been buried in the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery.

Now 70 years on, Mike Crowe, chairman and founder of the HMS Collingwood Association, has started work on hosting a memorial service at the base.

He said: ‘I know sister’s of the lads that were killed. They are obviously a little bit older now – in their 80s and 90s, but we’re looking for lots of other people and I’m doing general publicity to find them.

‘One of the moving things will be a remembrance service in the chapel and then we’re going to walk up to where the hut was, or at least near to it and have another service there.

‘At the 50th anniversary commemoration we planted a tree and we will lay some wreaths or poppies there.

‘The idea is to get the friends and family as near as to the point of death to their loved ones.

‘The cooperation that I’m having from HMS Collingwood is absolutely superb, they are all for it.’

Speaking about the incident was Bob Flegg, who lives in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, had been one of the trainees.

He said: ‘The first I heard I was fast asleep, and I heard the bomb scream down.

‘I’m pretty sure there was more than one bomb, they screamed down and the next thing I was on the floor out of bed and there was smoke and dust everywhere.

‘It was mayhem, there were people screaming and rushing around and more than anything trying to get in to the shelters.

‘The shelters were very near to where the bombs came down and we stayed there the rest of the night.

‘The morning was the most dramatic thing because when we got up in the morning, there were medical staff sorting the bodies out.

‘We were told the bodies were being buried in Fareham.’