told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It was such a lovely event. It
was wonderful to have Captain Michael Garrick of the USA Navy
along to perform the unveiling and to have a letter from the Prime
Minister giving his backing to the plaques was just superb."
50 of the destroyers, which were known as 'Gift Horses', were
renamed to link towns in the USA with towns in England, and HMS
Burnham linked Burnham in Illinois, America with Burnham-On-Sea.
Minister David Cameron wrote: "I want to extend my admiration
in honour of the personnel and the 50 First World War destroyers
acquired by Sir Winston Churchill form our close American Allies
during the Second World War. I join you in paying respect to those
who have given their lives in defence of the freedoms which we
hold dear today."
plaques marking the occasion were formally unveiled on the North
Esplanade opposite the Royal Clarence Hotel by Captain Garrick
and Cllr Ian Dyer, Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council.
ceremony, held in brilliant sunshine, was followed by a visit
to BARB to hear about Burnham's maritime charity, and then Burnham
Hospital to see two ceremonial maritime flags, and a reception
at The Princess Theatre.
present heard that seven of the destroyers given to Britain were
torpedoed and one was mined, but HMS Burnham spent the better
part of four years escorting convoys across the Atlantic.
1942, HMS Burnham was formally adopted by Burnham-On-Sea and in
1944 a contingent of the ship's company visited the town and were
well entertained - a visit to be repeated many times over the
Burnham war veteran Neville Jones spent many months researching
the destroyers' 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 suggested these plaques are introduced."
Garrick said it had been his "honour and humble privelege"
to unveil these special plaques and thanked all those involved.
Dozens of people attended the unveiling of the plaques on the
town's sea wall
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