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Interior, North Winding House

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Lt. Col. Paul Corden, deep below the Pumping Station, expains how the vital pumps were destroyed by Lt. Chant and his team

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The Monument Du Commando following the ceremony of remembrance. At the base of the column can be found engraved the names of both the fallen military personnel, and those civilians killed in subsequent German sweeps of the town and port.

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In commemorating Operation CHARIOT, the Society is preserving the memory not only of a military event, but of an ethos which maintains that nothing is impossible if there is the will to overcome all obstacles. This is the message that has carried down through the generations and which continues to be celebrated with each new year.

On March 24th HRH the Duke of Edinburgh attended a Society lunch at the Union Jack Club in London, during which the television presenter Dan Snow proposed the toast to 'Operation Chariot': and on the 25th there were a series of commemorative events in Falmouth.

As ever, the ceremonies on this side of the Channel were followed by the annual visit to Saint-Nazaire, on this occasion very well attended indeed and covered by the BBC, with respects being paid by the Commando Veterans' Association, Royal British Legion Bikers, the 3rd Infantry Division, the Royal Naval Association and 24 Commando Engineer Regiment.

The visit began on 27th March with a tour of the Normandie dock and its associated machinery, and was followed by a short service at the war cemetery, conducted by Canon Lisle Ryder, Commander Bob Ryder VC's son.

On Wednesday 28th, 70 long years since the young Commando and sailor Charioteers fought their way through the estuary of the Loire, came the main ceremony of remembrance, with crowds gathering in brilliant sunshine at the Monument du Commando. As well as a contingent from the French frigate Commandant L'Herminier, the dignitaries present included, for the first time, a representative of the German Embassy, proving, if proof were needed, that the ethos represented by the Society applies to everyone.

A new century, a new generation, and a renewed commitment to a memory that must not die.

2012: 70 years of remembering

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