plaques to be unveiled in Burnham to mark wartime link
plaques are set to be unveiled on Burnham-On-Sea's seafront this
Saturday (September 26th) to mark 75 years since America gave
Britain 50 destroyers to fight Hitlers German navy - one
of which was named HMS Burnham.
50 of the destroyers, which were called 'Gift Horses', were renamed
to link towns in the USA with towns in England. And HMS Burnham
linked Burnham, Illinois in America with Burnham-On-Sea in the
plaques marking the occasion will be formally unveiled at 1pm
on the North Esplanade by Captain Michael Garrick of the USA Navy
and Burnham resident Neville Jones OBE, followed by a reception
at the Princess Theatre.
of the destroyers were torpedoed and one was mined, but HMS Burnham
spent the better part of four years escorting convoys across the
1942, HMS Burnham was formally adopted by Burnham-On-Sea and woollen
comforts were gratefully received by the crew onboard the ship
from time to time. In 1944 a contingent of the ship's company
visited the town and were well entertained.
Burnham war veteran Neville Jones has spent many months researching
their history and overseeing the design of the plaques.
He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "There are no records in the
National Memorial Arboretum or any monument to these ships which
played such a vital role in the Atlantic convoys which is why
I have suggested these plaques are introduced."
"In 1944 Burnham (despite wartime rationing) gave a tremendous
reception to the officers and crew of HMS Burnham on Trafalgar
Day. In 1981 under Admiral Sir Mark Pizey, the link was re-established
and the ex-crew and their families visited for 20 years."