Naval base commemorated

HUNDREDS of people lined Ipswich's historic Waterfront to resurrect the legacy of HMS Ganges.Soldiers and Sailors, past and present, took part in a parade to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the naval training base in Shotley, which closed in 1976.

HUNDREDS of people lined Ipswich's historic Waterfront to resurrect the legacy of HMS Ganges.

Soldiers and Sailors, past and present, took part in a parade to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the naval training base in Shotley, which closed in 1976.

HMS Ganges Association organised the event as part of the year-long Sea Britain 2005 celebrations and to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The occasion was injected with added patriotism as it was also St George's Day - traditionally a time for commemorating English heritage - and brought to life Suffolk's rich military history.

Association members marched along the Waterfront with the Band of the Royal Marines, the Royal British Legion, 4 Army Air Corps from Wattisham, the Merchant Navy Association and other service organisations.

The parade was attended by the Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, who thanked all the veterans who had loyally served their country.

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Visitors were treated to a spectacular fly-past of helicopters, while HMS Shoreham and HMS Raider provided naval support in the dock.

Richard Hathroll, a former Royal Marine who served in Singapore between 1949 and 1952, was among the supporters.

He said: "HMS Ganges is an historical monument and there was quite a big Royal Marines contingent there.

"Today is a bit like resurrecting it. It is nice to see so many people here."

A member of the HMS Ganges Association added: "It has been a great day."

The celebrations also included Springfest 2005, an Ipswich Borough Council-run day of cultural activities.

Ipswich Transport Museum exhibited one of their historic vehicles and Beacon Rally Karts displayed their go-karts.

Free guided walks of the Waterfront were given by the Ipswich Blue Badge Tourist Guides and the Orwell Lady ran short cruises within the Ipswich wet dock.

The Church of St Clement's - known as the Sailor's Church - displayed its monument to Thomas Slade, the designer of Nelson's Flagship HMS Victory.

HMS Ganges is currently at the centre of a planning dispute, with residents protesting against the size of a proposed housing development.

Did you enjoy the centenary parade? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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