Tributes paid to 33 young sailors killed during tragedy at Royal Navy base HMS Collingwood

A POIGNANT moment of silence was held at a naval base to honour dozens of young sailors killed during a wartime tragedy almost 80 years ago.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 4:45 pm

Men and women at the Fareham-based military establishment HMS Collingwood gathered to remember the 33 young sailors killed during a German bombing raid in the Second World War.

In the early hours of June 18, 1943, a lone German bomber, flying behind a squadron of British planes dropped two bombs on Collingwood.

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.

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Captain Catherine Jordan, commanding officer of HMS Collingwood, laid a wreath at the spot where the sailors died.

They were all volunteers, signed up to serve king and country, and most were just 17 or 18 years old.

For many, this would have been their first time away from home, having been in the navy for just over a fortnight.

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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.

Today’s trainees pay their respects.

Reverend Edward Northey, one of the Collingwood chaplains, spoke of the importance of time and making the very best of each day before Warrant Officer 1 Martin Watson read out the names of the young trainees who died.

Afterwards, Captain Catherine Jordan, Collingwood’s commanding officer, 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.’

Members of HM Royal Marines Collingwood attended the service.

HMS Collingwood is the Royal Navy's largest training hub.

It is the headquarters of the maritime warfare school and surface stream which also has units in Excellent, Temeraire, Horsea Island in Portsmouth as well as Longmoor and Raleigh.

It delivers training in warfare, diving, weapon engineering, physical training and seamanship as well as biological/radiation/nuclear damage control and sea survival skills.

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