Archive | June, 2014

National Armed Forces Day–Stirling–Veterans Parade

18 Jun

If you are intending to march in the Veteran’s parade at Stirling the (draft) timings are as below:

1000 – 1130 hrs  -  register in Albert Halls or Smith Institute if limited mobility

1130 – 1230 hrs  -  Massed march to Event Field.   Assemble for Drumhead Service

1235 – 1300 hrs   -  Drumhead Service

Historic Bell Heads Home to Hull

9 Jun

P & O Ferries is to reunite Hull with an iconic symbol of the city’s seafaring pride by presenting the ship’s bell from the ferry Norland for display in Holy Trinity Church.

The bell is a treasured artefact of the P & O Heritage Collection, representing the ferry that famously switched service from the North Sea to the South Atlantic when requisitioned for the Falklands Conflict.

In 1982 Norland was the largest British registered ferry and sailed to the Falklands with 60 volunteers from her regular crew.  Her passengers were troops of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment.

Initial plans were to keep the ship at a distance from the islands and to transfer the PARA’s ashore using helicopters, but it was realised that the ferry’s doors which were designed for the easy  discharge of passengers and vehicles, would enable the troops to transfer from the ship into landing craft.

On 20 May 1982 Norland was the first merchant ship to enter San Carlos Water and the troops of 2 PARA landed successfully.  Four days later two 500lb bombs fell just short of Norland, a terrible reminder for all on board that their survival was on a knife edge.

The ship also evacuated survivors of HMS antelope;  landed the 7th Gurkha Rifles and the 16th Field Ambulance; repatriated several thousand Argentine prisoners to Montevideo and Puerto Madryn, and withdrew the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Parachute Regiment.

Norland proved so useful that after the war, the MOD pressed her into service to ferry personnel and supplies between Ascension Island and the Falklands.  She did not arrive back at Hull until February the following year. 

After much work to restore the ship for normal operations, Norland returned to the Hull to Rotterdam service before transferring to the Hull to Zeebrugge route.  She was sold in 2002 for service in the Mediterranean, prior to being scrapped in 2010.

Norland’s bell was saved and added to the P & O Heritage Collection.  Now the bell is to sail back to Hull 40 years since it first arrived on the delivery voyage of the Norland in 1974.  It is to be added to the Falklands memorial in the the north transept of Holy Trinity Church. 

Fittingly the bell will return to Hull by the route it knows so well, arriving on board the Pride of York from Zeebrugge on the morning of Saturday 21 June.  The bell will then be transferred to the Pride of Hull for a handover ceremony.