Grave of fallen sailor restored by naval team

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SAILORS from the naval service’s newest tanker paid tribute to a crewman from its very first when they tidied his neglected grave.

Pumpman George Saunders died of illness in March 1918, aged 29, while serving aboard RFA Petroleum, the ship which gave birth to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

In her day Petroleum was the largest tanker in the world, while Tiderace is the second of four Tide-class tankers – the largest vessels in today’s RFA flotilla, built to sustain the UK’s two new aircraft carriers – based in Portsmouth – on operations around the globe.

Tiderace is undergoing final trials and training before entering service later this year. Taking a break from that training in Portland – the ship’s affiliated town – a five-strong team, led by the commanding officer Captain Sam Shattock, headed to St George’s Church in Reforne armed with gardening tools.

After two hours’ hard labour and a spot of rebuilding work, Pumpman Saunders’ grave was restored to its former glory.