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Remembering heroes


This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post

The last few weeks have seen some significant anniversaries.

On 1st June we marked the 75th anniversary of the loss of HMS Thetis together with 99 of the 103 men on board, when it sank in Liverpool bay off the coast of Llandudno. It was a tragic accident and the Royal Navy's worst submarine disaster.

I have a particular interest in this tragedy as my grandfather worked at Camell Lairds and was involved in the submarine's construction. It is reputed that he was meant to be aboard that day for the ship's first test dive, but he was ill and unable to go into work.

Camell Laird's played a key role in World War II producing nearly 200 vessels both commercial and military in support of the UK war effort, including HMS Rodney, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Ark Royal.

The famous Mulberry Harbours though, were constructed elsewhere, which brings me to the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the thousands of brave soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy on 6th June 1944.

The unimaginable sacrifices made by those men and women helped to secure the freedoms we take for granted today. .

Television pictures of the survivors gathering in Normandy last week, many of them in their nineties, remind us of what we owe to them.

The story of 89 year old D-Day veteran, Bernard Jordan, who sneaked off from his care home to join his comrades captures the indomitable spirit of that era.

Just watching the commemoration ceremonies is a humbling experience. The war effort permeated every aspect of life. People contributed on farms, in coal mines, in ship building yards, in factories and in Whitehall offices as well as on the battlefield.

We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude


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