BRNC Join Commemorations For VE Day

  • Author: Public Relations Office
  • Date: Tuesday 12th May 2020
BRNC Join Commemorations For VE Day

Officer Cadets and staff at Britannia Royal Naval College joined the local community in Dartmouth and Kingswear for a public rendition of “We’ll Meet Again” on Friday 8 May as the nation marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

College personnel gathered on the parade ground to sing Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime favourite, with the music sounding across the Dart river valley via BRNC’s public address system.  

Following the national sing-along and in line with other Royal Navy warships and establishments the College building was illuminated as part of a national campaign to shine a light, which signified the end of the war-time blackout.

Captain Roger Readwin, the Captain of BRNC, said: “In these unprecedented times, it is incredibly important to commemorate and honour the bravery of the World War 2 generation, from the British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces who fought overseas, to the evacuees and those who served on the home-front. It was a special moment on parade, to listen to Her Majesty the Queen’s address live to the nation, in the shadow of BRNC, and 75 years to the day and hour, that King George VI gave his address.   It was particularly moving and poignant for the Officer Cadets and Staff to listen to the voice of King George VI at the start of Her Majesty’s address, as King George VI trained at BRNC in September 1917.” 

Earlier in the day, His Majesty King George VI’s VE Day speech and the speech given by Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister, was also broadcast over the College PA System.  The College also observed the 2 minutes silence to remember the sacrifice of so many, followed by prayers.  

Capt Readwin said:  “For all Service personnel, the men and women who came before us are role-models who inspired follow on generations to serve.  They all are prime examples of courage and selfless dedication, attributes we instil in every one of the Cadets who come through the gates of BRNC for training today.  Thank you, thank you to all those veterans for what they achieved, and for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we will never forget.”

The College played a key role in the Second World War 2 training Royal Naval Officers, alongside those from Commonwealth and Allied countries, to take their place in the fight for democracy.  

Prior to the day, today’s Officer Cadets shared their memories of their ancestors who had served in the war.

Officer Cadet James Driscoll said: “I’ll be thinking of my great-grandfather Jerry Driscoll, who joined the Navy in 1918 in the final year of World War 1. He continued to serve throughout the Second World War, onboard HMS Aurora in the Italian, African and Atlantic theatres. His ship was badly damaged in 1941.  He was vital in saving the ship and his men. If I could speak to him today, I would tell him he has always been a real inspiration to me and is a true hero. I am proud to be following in his footsteps.”

Officer Cadet Owen Moore spoke of his grandfather.  He said:  “I’ll be thinking of my grandfather Leo, who served with the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk. If I could speak to him, as he was then, I would tell him how much his life and his story would inspire his grandsons growing up.”

By joining the Royal Navy Officer Cadet Andrew Pullicino if also following in the footsteps of his grandfather.  He said:  “I’ll be thinking of my grandfather, Read Admiral Sir David Scott, who served in the Royal Navy on various submarines during the war, most notably as First Lieutenant on HMS Seraph during Operation Mincemeat. If I could give him one message it would be to thank him for his courage, professionalism and good humour in the face of lots of enemy bombardment.”

 

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