22, 2015 Seafront
plaques unveiled in Burnham-On-Sea to mark wartime link
new plaques were unveiled on Burnham-On-Sea's seafront on 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 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.
plaques marking the occasion were formally unveiled on the North
Esplanade opposite the Royal Clarence Hotel by Captain Michael
Garrick of the USA Navy, Burnham resident Neville Jones OBE, and
Cllr Ian Dyer 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.
Sedgemoor District Chairman Ian Dyer added: "We were delighted
to support these special plaques and I am pleased that we contributed
£2,000 of funding from individual funds to allow the ceremony
to go ahead despite an earlier grant decision."
Burnham Sea Cadets with Captain
Michael Garrick at the seafront unveiling
Two ceremonial flags kept at Burnham Hospital were viewed during
A ship's bell from HMS Broadway went on display during a civic
reception held at The Princess
Dozens of people attended the unveiling of the plaques on the
town's sea wall
Sedgemoor District Council's Chairman and Past Chairman were
Neville Jones presented the Captain with a painting of the lighthouse
by town artist Michael Squire, pictured here
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