FAMILIES are uniting to pay tribute to loved ones who served aboard a renowned Portsmouth-based destroyer during the Second World War.
Tomorrow will see the last remaining members of the HMS Faulknor Association lay a wreath at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the group.
Faulknor was a ship to be proud of and we’re proud of those who served on her and of those who didn’t come backSusan Jones, president of the HMS Faulknor Association
Many of the Faulknor’s ship’s company have either died or are too old to make the reunion – so their families and loved ones will instead lead the service.
Adrienne Howell’s late husband, Bernard Howell, volunteered for the Royal Navy at 16 and served aboard Faulknor from 1941 to 1945 as a stoker.
She said: ‘We’re doing this to keep the memory of Faulknor and her crew alive.
‘Everything has a natural life and no-one wants to burden future generations with history but it’s the individual stories of heroism like Faulknor’s that need to be remembered.’
HMS Faulknor, an F-class destroyer, was leader of the 8th Flotilla and saw action in most of the major sea campaigns of Second World War earning 11 battle honours in total.
These included sinking the first U-boat of the conflict, the defence of Norway, the Atlantic, Malta and Arctic convoys, the Mediterranean invasions and Normandy.
Faulknor was the first surface ship in the D-Day invasion of Europe and then took General Montgomery to the beaches.
She was described as ‘the hardest-worked destroyer in the fleet’ as few other ships took part in so many naval actions.
The HMS Faulknor Association was founded by former members of the ship’s company who met annually at the Royal Maritime Club in Queen Street, Portsea, to toast their old ship.
As crew numbers dwindled with the passing years, the tradition has been upheld by their families.
Seventy years after HMS Faulknor was sent to the breaker’s yard, it is the widows and children of her ship’s company who gather to remember warship.
Association president Susan Jones, 93, is travelling from Manchester with her daughter to be there this year.
She said: ‘Faulknor was a ship to be proud of and we’re proud of those who served on her and of those who didn’t come back.’