January 10, 2016
In Photos: Rain can't halt new plaque unveiling on Burnham seafront

Heavy rain failed to dampen spirits at the official unveiling of a new wartime plaque on Burnham-On-Sea seafront on Saturday (January 9th).

The ceremony, led by former Mayor Neville Jones, and attended by MP James Heappey and current Mayor Michael Clarke, was held to mark the unveiling of comments from the Prime Minister.

It comes after a pair of plaques were initially unveiled on the sea wall opposite the Royal Clarence Hotel last autumn to mark 75 years since America gave Britain 50 destroyers to fight Hitler’s German navy - one of which was named HMS Burnham.

David Cameron sent a letter giving his support to the memorial and on Saturday a section of his letter was added alongside the plaques and formally unveiled.

Petty Officer Cadet Jacob Hatziogiannakis from Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Sea Cadets had the job of formally unveiling the new plaque, as pictured here, alongside Lt (SCC) Scott Fulcher, RNR Officer In Charge.

Neville told "Under the two plaques that already exist, we've added a couple of sentences which the Prime Minister sent in his letter, recording the fact that what we have done here in Burnham-On-Sea is part of a national monument to the Battle of the Atlantic."

"It's very important that although Burnham saw nothing of the Battle of the Atlantic to any great degree, it did have a destroyer named after the town, HMS Burnham, which was one of the so-called 'gift horses' which Mr Churchill acquired from President Roosevelt. These ships had a vital role and the plaque in Burnham-On-Sea recalls the names of those which were lost at sea."

He added: "I read out the letter from the Prime Minister to those who attended the reception after the plaques unveiling last autumn, but it has not been readily available to the general public, so a couple of straplines have been taken from it and added to the sea wall. The letter itself has been given to the Town Council to hang in their chambers."

Prime 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."

Also see:
Seafront plaques unveiled in Burnham-On-Sea to mark wartime link


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