Remembrance 2012. We will remember them…

Nov 1, 2012   //   by NavyLookout   //   Articles  //  3 Comments
At this time of year when we pay tribute those who gave their lives in service of their country, it seems appropriate to focus here on just a few examples of the sacrifice made by the men of the Royal Navy.


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LOM Paul McCann and OM Anthony Huntrod, HMS Tireless, March 2007
Both sailors were killed when a faulty oxygen generator candle exploded while the submarine was operating under ice near the North Pole. This tragic accident illustrates the inherent dangers present for all who serve at sea which can happen without warning even when not in action against an enemy.

AB Iain Boldy AB Matthew  Stuart, Falklands War, May 1982, HMS Argonaut 
On 21 May 1982 HMS Argonaut was part of the escort for the amphibious vessels during the amphibious landing at San Carlos Water. Argonaut was attacked twice by Argentine aircraft and on the second attack 2 bombs hit the ship, fortunately they did not explode but went deep into the ship and killed these 2 young sailors who were later buried at sea. The Royal Navy’s escort ships suffered the majority of the Argentine air attacks, thus protecting the vulnerable landing ships and ensuring that British forces got ashore successfully to liberate the islands.

HMS Argonaut Returns form the Falklands

HMS Argonaut returns to Devonport after the Falklands war with repair to bomb hole clearly visible.

HMS Gladiolus, North Atlantic, October 1941
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous campaign of the second world war. As an island nation Britain was (and still is) highly dependent on imported goods arriving by sea. The unglamorous, often forgotten Atlantic naval struggle was key to allied victory. To protect them from the submarine menace, the convoys that crossed the Atlantic had to be escorted by the destroyers, corvettes, frigates and sloops of the Royal Navy throughout the war.
HMS Gladiolus
Often in terrible weather, the sailors had to endure the dangers as well as cold, wet and cramped conditions in small ships that had been built hastily during the war. HMS Gladiolus was a ‘Flower class’ corvette, amongst the smallest and most basic of the escort vessels. This gallant little ship and her crew of 65 officers and men disappeared without trace in October 1941, probably sunk by German U-boat U553.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.


  • In some sense, the reduction in the military is being tackled b “soft power”–the focus on diplomacy and aid. Ok, you’re going to criticise DFID for being ringfenced. Only the aid disbursements are ringfenced not the adminstrative budget. Second, DFID’s annual spending is far far less than MOD or even FCO spending and reaches as far as the military can also be projected. Third, unlike nuclear missiles which will never be fired first or used against the large range of threats today, DFID’s spending helps to avert conflict to some degree and thus reduce the need for costly military intervention. And if you want to criticise DFID, you would be saying the same to the military which works with DFID and FCO in peacekeeping and nation building (a la Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo)

  • Thanks @Pesley for your comments. All viewpoints are valued however much we disagree!
    In one sense you are right, conflicts and money spent on weapons are a tragic waste. Unfortunately it is utter fantasy to think we are moving into an ‘era of peace’. There will always be conflict and we must stand ready to defend ourselves. In fact the stronger our we keep our defences, and if we are wise, then conflict becomes less likely (one of the benefits of nuclear weapons which undoubtedly prevented World War III during the cold war period).

    One of the benefits of our democracy, won by the sacrifice generations of servicemen, is that it allows wet, western liberals such as yourself the luxury of this fantasy. The bullies, dictators and even the well-meaning pragmatists that run most countries see this kind of thinking is a sign of weakness and will take every opportunity to exploit the situation.

    In the past we have invaded and dominated other nations and there is much for Britain to be ashamed of, however we are no longer imperialists. We must at least stand up for ourselves and our interests and aim to be a force for good, rather than retreat into a dangerous fantasy that if we disarm it will bring peace and stability.

    As an island nation totally dependent on the sea, 95% of our trade arrives in ships from all over the world. Our economy and survival depends on the timely arrival of these vulnerable ships and we should take their defense far more seriously – therein lies the call for a stronger Royal Navy.

  • The shrinking Royal Navy is a good sign.

    We are moving beyond the days of petty naval feuds and nuclear stand-off into an era of peace. What we should remember is the untold death and destruction that war brings to everybody.

    The day we all rid ourselves of these horrific weapons will be the greatest day in the history of mankind. It will be the day we as a species finally grow out of our infancy and start to progress.

    To remember the fallen and then call to expand our naval killing machine is a contradiction in terms.

    We have wasted enough of our nations resources on war over the last 400 years,

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