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Royal Navy bases mark Armistice Day

By Connor Steel

ACTS OF Remembrance were held across the country this morning, November 11, as the UK marked Armistice Day, with millions falling silent for two minutes from 11am to pay tribute to servicemen and women who died in conflict.

Starting in 1919 for the first anniversary of the end of World War One, it has become an important part of global commemoration and is observed every year, with HMS bases Sultan and Collingwood marking those who lost their live defending our freedoms in separate events held simultaneously on Thursday.

Sultan’s personnel came together to pay tribute in a ‘Drumhead Ceremony’, using neatly piled drums at an altar with senior officers including CO Captain John Voyce leading the proceedings. This included reading names of lost military members and observing a two-minute silence, which was accompanied by the Last Post.

​Wreaths were laid by bearers representing HMS Sultan, all civil servants and civilian personnel and by the youngest air and marine engineering trainees serving within the ship’s schools. In addition, wreaths were laid by the families of Marine Engineers who had recently passed away and were also laid at memorials to those lost during the Falklands Conflict and the Gosport Airfield Memorial.

On Remembrance Sunday (November 14), sailors and Royal Navy and Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corp Cadets from Sultan will join in acts of remembrance throughout the area, including services at Gosport War Memorial, the Fleet Air Arm Memorial and the sunken garden in Lee-on-the-Solent. This comes as submariners from Sultan were amongst UK Armed Forces guests supporting the Act of Remembrance at sporting events last weekend, most noticeably at West Ham and Millwall FC before their league games.

Meanwhile at the Fareham establishment, HMS Collingwood, military and civilian personnel gathered to hold a memorial service and wreath-laying ceremony, honouring Royal Navy officers and ratings who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and in all armed conflicts since. During the special service the names of Naval personnel who had died in the past year were read out by the Base Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer One Martin Watson.

Alongside this event, six members of Victory Squadron travelled to Haslar Royal Naval Ceremony to honour those who lost their lives, each sailor laying a cross on the grave of someone who had served at Collingwood Base. They were supported by Alan Gregory from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission alongside sexton Derek and Monica Shilling,

Amongst those honoured were 14 trainees from the base’s darkest hour when, in the early hours of June 18, 1943, a bomb dropped on an accommodation hut killing 33 young recruits.  Afterwards, the sailors gathered in front of the Cross of Remembrance for a minute’s silence after Corporal Ben Paine from The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood had played the Last Post.  Finally, Chaplain Richard Ellingham offered up a short prayer, honouring all those who gave their lives in conflict.

Captain Catherine Jordan, Commanding Officer, HMS Collingwood, issued a statement saying: “Taking the time to conduct this Act of Remembrance is vitally important, both as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of those who have fallen in service to our country, but also of the pledges we make to defend our country should we be called upon to do so.”

Pictures of HMS Sultan’s event can be seen on its Facebook page here, whilst imagery from HMS Collingwood’s ceremonies can be seen on their social media channel here.

PICTURED BY PEPE HOGAN: Two-minute silence held at HMS Sultan at Drumhead Ceremony