Pirate FM News 7 minute read

VE Day being celebrated across Cornwall

VE Day being celebrated across Cornwall

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 9:00am 8th May 2020. (Updated at 9:55am 8th May 2020)

Today VE Day's 75th anniversary is being celebrated across the Duchy. 

HMS Raleigh marks VE Day on parade

As the UK commemorates the 75th anniversary on Friday 8th May, 48 new sailors will pass-out of HMS Raleigh ready to serve their nation.

Just like the thousands who trained at HMS Raleigh, in Cornwall, during the war years and beyond, the recruits will be marking their transformation from civilians into military personnel.

HMS Raleigh was one of a number of establishments set up as part of the Military Training Act passed on 26 May 1939 during a period of international tension that led to World War Two.

The training base in Torpoint, in Cornwall, was formally commissioned in 1940 and played a key role in the war effort with new entry sailors entering at a rate of 300 per week for a course lasting 11 weeks. 

 “Although technology has modernised our training, the basic principles of training remain the same. The values we instil in our recruits during their 10 weeks training, of courage, commitment, discipline, integrity, respect and loyalty, are as relevant today as they were back then.  In this difficult time for our country, when military personnel are being called upon to help our country both at home and ready to do so overseas, many of the veterans will be self-isolating. Our message to them is that their bravery and sacrifices are still in our thoughts and they remain role models for our young recruits passing-out today.”

             Captain Richard Harris, the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh

Construction of HMS Raleigh started on 24 August 1939, on the site then known as Trevol, which belonged to the Antony Estate in Cornwall. In preparation for war HMS Raleigh was initially designated to train members of the Royal Naval Special Reserve, most of whom were members of the merchant fleet or men with some seafaring connection.  

A gunnery school and a signal section were set up where the merchant seaman could be trained to use the weapons and communications equipment that their ships would be fitted with in wartime. The establishment was to consist of long narrow single-story wooden huts with drill sheds, canteens, a sick bay, offices, a parade ground and wardroom.  

There was one boat available to train 4,500 men who were known as hostility only seamen. In addition, 600 civilians were to be employed daily.  

HMS Raleigh was ready to begin training in January 1940 and with war already declared the establishment’s contribution to the war effort grew. 

The establishment was hit by on a German bomb on 28 April 1941 during one of the heaviest attacks of the Plymouth Blitz.  Sadly 44 sailors and 21 Royal Engineers lost their lives and they are buried at Horson cemetery in Torpoint, Cornwall, in official war graves, where each year in November a Remembrance Service is held.  

It is believed that the engineers were part of two troops in the Plymouth area, helping to prepare assault boats for the North Africa campaign.

Later in the war sailors from the Canadian Navy were trained at HMS Raleigh and in 1944 the US Navy took over the entire camp as an embarkation centre for the D-Day landings. HMS Raleigh was returned to the Royal Navy on 29 July 1944.

The community village of Ladock marks VE Day whilst social distancing from their doorsteps  

Date and time:               Friday 8th May @ 11am

Who:                                Musician Kit Trustram Eve and Kate Holborow, The High Sheriff of Cornwall

Where:                             War Memorial, Ladock Church TR2 4PL

What’s happening:    The community of Ladock marks VE Day and the 11am two minute silence with a cornet rendition of The Last Post and The Rouse played by a musician, across the Ladock Valley. The musician Kit's grandparents come from the village. The silence will be followed by a community clap, from peoples' doorsteps so respecting social distancing, to remember the  never-forgotten heroes from WW2, as well as of course our modern day heroes .

Background: Kit Trustram Eve, 18 years old, has been staying with his grandparents, Brian and Hilary Spong of Ladock, since lock down began (his parents are based in Saudi). Kit is taking a gap year internship at an aviation company, before starting his degree at Durham Uni in 2021.  He played both pieces in his Grade 8 cornet exam and passed with merit. 

 “We had some wonderful plans in place for Ladock to mark the VE Day celebrations this weekend.  Bishop Philip was due to lead our church service on Sunday, followed by a community Big Lunch and in the evening a White Cliffs of Dover concert led by Suzanne Manuell.  These events have all now been postponed until August 16th but we are delighted to still be marking VE Day in this small way in Ladock this weekend... It is sad that those residents of Ladock who should be out celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE day are confined to their homes and we hope that many will be able to listen and participate from their gardens.”

              Kate Holborow, The High Sheriff of Cornwall

Cornwall Facebook Group "Voices of the borough" celebrates VE Day online and wants you to join!

VE Day Facebook organiser Rach says "Join online by joining Voices Of The Borough facebook group. We will be live and interactive for the full 2.5 hours.  We have big prizes as incentives and amazing musical acts. Get out into your gardens, wave over the garden fence with neighbours maintaining social distancing, you can broad cast our event through blue tooth speakers for your neighbours not in the Facebook group or with no online access to get them involved, but most importantly I want people to interact with the event, share pictures and videos of their own party on Facebook."

"Both of my grandfathers fought in the Second World War, although they didn't talk about it. Grandad on my dads side's ship was sunk. When I got married I had a silk hanky from his boat as my something  old, it was from HMS Dorsetship/Dorchester. Grandfather on my mum's side went across on a Minesweeper on D -Day - he had told my Gran not to worry because his boat wasn't sea worthy so he wasn't going anywhere.  My fellow organiser Rachel's great uncle was on HMS Britomart and was part of the first recorded 'friendly fire' incident after the ship was bombed. And Rachel's grandfather was a prisoner of war in Germany where he was put to work!"

             Rachel Gerred-Hart, Cornwall Facebook Group "Voices of the borough" VE Day Organiser 

People from around the world can join the VE Day celebrations here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/218043225928419/


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