HMS Lapwing memorial service in honour of Saffron Walden ship

PUBLISHED: 16:15 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:20 23 March 2017

Herbie Ketch, 91, came out of retirement to take the role of Parade Commanding Officer, and provides the Mayor with directives for the service. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

Herbie Ketch, 91, came out of retirement to take the role of Parade Commanding Officer, and provides the Mayor with directives for the service. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

Copyright © 2017 Celia Bartlett Photography. All rights reserved

A special HMS Lapwing Memorial Service was held in Saffron Walden at 2.30pm Saturday, March 18.

The Last Post is played. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT The Last Post is played. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

WO/1 Ketch salutes. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT WO/1 Ketch salutes. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

The Close Garden in High Street hosted a visit from The HMS Lapwing Association in memory of the ship, sponsored by the Saffron Walden community during the Second World War, which was torpedoed by a German submarine on March 20, 1945.

HMS Lapwing Memorial. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT HMS Lapwing Memorial. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

Members of the cadets and navy were present at a wreath laying in the garden and a bugle was sounded to mark the passing of the 158 sailors whose ship was hit while on an Arctic convoy bound for Murmansk in Russia.

Air Force salute. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT Air Force salute. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

Malcolm Biggs, son of A B Alfred Biggs, lost on Lapwing, lays a wreath in memory of HMS Lapwing. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT Malcolm Biggs, son of A B Alfred Biggs, lost on Lapwing, lays a wreath in memory of HMS Lapwing. Photo: CELIA BARTLETT

In December 1941, Saffron Walden Borough and Rural Councils decided to band together to raise £120,000 to adopt a ship and have the Saffron Walden coat of arms painted on its quarter deck.

Through a tremendous fund-raising effort the town succeeded and was allocated HMS Lapwing in June 1942, whereupon townsfolk began knitting essentials for the crew, exchanging letters and even hanging the Lapwing crest in the Town Hall where it remains to this day.

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