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This November will be the 60th anniversary of the sinking of HMS BARHAM and the Dean of Westminster Abbey, The Very Rev'd Dr. Wesley Carr, has kindly agreed to our remembrance and wreath laying service being held on the day before Saturday 24 November 2001. We are hoping for a good turn out. As usual those attending the service should arrive at the West door and gather in the seated waiting area of the nave between 2.30 and 2.40 pm. To enable staff to identify members of the Association, medals should be worn and those having badges should wear them. I will bring a few badges to the service for anybody else who would like one. Abbey staff will direct members to the choir or the transepts for evensong. This will be followed by our remembrance service around the nave altar. If you would like to lay the wreath please let me know. The book of remembrance will be open after the service.
As the Abbey staff wish to have some idea of the numbers attending please would you complete and return the attached slip. We shall again ask the Union Jack Club if we can meet there after the service. For security purposes they need a nominal list so please print the names of all your guests on the slip.
The Barham memorials in Westminster Abbey are mentioned in a book 'Britain's Maritime Memorials & Mementoes'. The standard candlesticks commemorating those lost which stand either side of the nave alter in Westminster Abbey were dedicated after evensong on 10 February 1943. Vice-Admiral Pridham-Wippell who was a survivor read a lesson. Also mentioned in the book is a window with an outline of the ship at Playden, near Rye in East Sussex. It is dedicated to Lt Cdr William Brodrick. There is also a reference to a grave stone at St Keverne, just inland from the Manacles south of Falmouth to which has been added the name of a grandson Richard Retallack, an Ordinary Signalman who was lost.
We had a successful Reunion dinner with 11 survivors present and a total attendance of 66. Sadly our President, the Earl of Gainsborough and Lady Gainsborough were unable to come as he had been admitted to hospital. (He has had a pacemaker fitted and is now much better.) We were very glad to have Lady Rosemary Griffin with us again. Many thanks are due to all those others who have very kindly made donations when returning their attendance chits. Many thanks also to members of the N Class Destroyer Association in Australia who kindly sent a large card with their salutations.
Our Annual General Meeting was held during the dinner. The Chairman complained that he was becoming very frail and would like to be replaced however there were no volunteers and so he reluctantly agreed to continue. With regret Ted Sibley said that he would be unable to continue as a committee member however Cecil Hall volunteered to join and was duly elected together with the remaining members.
Our secretary reported that we were sending out newsletters to 54 survivors though 4 had not replied for some years. 8 are sent to previous members of the ship's company and 68 to families of those lost. We send another 45 to members with connections to survivors and 12 to those with connections to previous crew members. There are 25 others and 3 unknowns.
There has been an increase of about 25 due to Sara Wrigley's website at www.watersideweb.co.uk/Barham/new. He then displayed an HMS Barham battle ensign which had been presented to the ship's chaplain the late Reverend Walter Jeffreys Marson when he left the ship in April 1940 having joined in May 1938. His son Paul who lives in Queensland has very kindly donated it to the Association. The ensign measures 17½ feet by 8½ feet.
Jimmy Annandale's executors have kindly donated his memorabilia to the Association. His oil painting of the ship and display list of those killed were auctioned off at the dinner and his ship's badge became a raffle prize. In all £235 was raised for the funds.
The website has now been up and running for over a year. 10,525 people from all over the world have signed and left messages in its 'guest book'. Any members with access to the internet are encouraged to look through the messages as many people signing it are looking for information about lost relatives. Among them are best wishes from Captain Herrick who was in command of HMS Hotspur when she picked some of the survivors.
I have been interviewed for a BBC2 programme to be called 'War Graves' which is planned for broadcasting at 8 pm on Thursday 8 November. It will discuss survivors views about diving expeditions to ships that are war graves.
In July Ted Sibley met up with an old mess mate Keith Bennett who also survived the sinking. It was the first time they had met since then and it was due to Keith's son who had located Ted through the internet. Their accounts of the event were reported in the local newspapers.
It is with sadness that I have to list those that have died since the last newsletter. Two deaths were reported at the dinner. Allan V Andrews a survivor who was an AB at the time and Arthur Harman who joined the ship in 1939 and saw the sinking from HMS Valiant. Since then Ted Parker has died having sadly suffered from dementia in recent years. He joined the ship as a Boy and left before the sinking. His widow Irene has kindly donated £100 to the Association. John MacKenzie who was an ERA4 at the time of the sinking died in August. He had been suffering from ill health but had wished us all an enjoyable evening at our dinner this year.
Next year's Reunion dinner will be held on the Saturday 18 May in the Royal Sailors Home Club, Queen street, Portsmouth.
Many thanks for all your letters and contributions. I would particularly like to thank all those who have written to me with details of their connection with the ship which had not been recorded when Percy relinquished this post. Others have kindly confirmed their address. Returning the reply slips helps us to know that the newsletters are reaching you and if we do not here from you for three years we will ask for a reply. If none is forthcoming after a second request we will assume you do not wish to receive any more.
Please complete this slip by Saturday 3 November and return it to MK Stratton-Brown, 21 Monks Way, Hill Head, Fareham, Hants, PO14 3LU.
I shall/shall not be attending the Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey. I shall be bringing...............family members/guests I shall/shall not be attending the Union Jack Club. My guest(s) names is/are (please print) ........................................................... ........................................................... Please print name...............................................
Again if anyone who was on board at the time wishes to receive a Greek Campaign medal the address to write to is: Defence Attaché, Hellenic Embassy, 1A Holland Park, London W11. Enclose a photocopy of your Service Certificate to authenticate the request
| last updated:
13 July 2013