HMS TRUCULENT MEMORIAL SERVICE 2024
The annual HMS Truculent memorial service on the 74th anniversary of her loss was held at the historic and interesting St Georges Centre in Chatham. This service is organised every year by the Medway Towns branch of the Submariners Association (President Derek Grant).
The service was very well attended once again this year. Not quite as many attending as pre Covid but around 200 people gathered in the centre for the service which was conducted by the Revd. Professor Dr Stephen Dray the chaplain of the Submariners Association.
There was a comprehensive service with readings by Her Worshipful the Mayor of Medway Councillor Mrs. Nina Gurung, Derek Grant branch president, Derek Williams branch chairman and Mr. Garry Hammell.
This service remembers not only the 64 members of the crew of HMS Truculent and members of the Chatham dockyard who were onboard for trials but also the crew of an Avro Lancaster aircraft that had crashed with the loss of all five crew when taking off from RAF Kinloss in Scotland to search for the missing submarine.
During the service wreaths were laid at the Truculent Memorial in the centre and a one-minute silence was observed when the last post was played by a Royal Airforce bugler.
Five of us attended from the Gosport branch, Les Catlin BEM, Pete Davies, Roy Dixon, and Hector McCallum with his lady, Susan.
Tea and coffee where available throughout the event and an excellent cold buffet was served after the service all produced and served by wives of the branch members. A tot of rum or glass of wine was also available also provided by the branch. I did notice that the rum tub had already been updated and “The King god bless him” shown prominently on the rum tub.
A very moving service and a very well organised event by the Medway branch as usual, it was also an opportunity to catch up with old comrades and shipmates.
A piece of bad news we learned was that next years’ service (the 75 Anniversary Service) will be the last one. I was told by Derek Grant that this is due to the event now costing more than the branch can afford going forward. It would be nice if some sort of financial support could be found to subsidise part or all of this prestigious event in the future.
(Article written by Les Catlin and photos by Peter Davies)
(NOTE: See the article on PO Mervyn Johnston one of those lost on HMS Truculent who's grave was discovered cleared and a small service held in his memoyy at the same time as this service was being held).
March on the Standard's
The Revd. Professor Dr Stephen Dray
The view of the front of the service
The wreaths laid at the HMS Truculent Memorial
The contingent from The Gosport Branch (including Pete Davies who took this and all the other photos)
The Mayor of Medway with the air and sea cadets who attended the service
The order of service