The officers and crew of the most recent HMS Campbeltown pay their respects at the Monument . A type 22 frigate, she was a regular visitor to the port. Commissioned on May 27th, 1989, she served for 22 years before being decommissioned in 2011.
The Committee in Action
Age having taken its inevitable toll of the original Charioteers, the responsibility for maintaining and perpetuating the memory of the Raid on St. Nazaire now rests with a committee made up of their children and grand-children, as well as with representatives of the growing body of those who, while having no familial connection with individual Charioteers, express a serious, long-term commitment to helping ensure that together we will neither forget nor abandon the raiders and the ethos they represent. As a group we look to the future in terms of adapting to new technologies, expanding our membership and by actively supporting such proposals and projects as mirror the Charioteers' own valour and self-sacrifice.
Communication in its various forms is, of course a key responsibility. For existing Members and Associate Members there is a twice-yearly full-colour Newsletter, distributed in both paper and electronic formats. Containing both news and contemporary articles, this also draws on material sourced from the Society's extensive Archive. Each year, on the anniversary of the raid, the Society hosts a Reunion Lunch in London. This is usually held on the Saturday preceeding the actual anniversary to allow for attendance by those planning to travel on to the Memorial commemoration in St. Nazaire itself.
The lunch has been held in various venues over the years; however, the Union Jack Club, opposite Waterloo Station, has become a firm favourite. There is a different Guest of Honour each year, usually someone with an interest in, or connection to, the raid. Past guests have included Dan Snow (historian and BBC journalist), Robert Lyman (author of a book about the raid) and Captain Trevor Robotham RN (Director of the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust).
Our patron HRH The Duke of Edinburgh joins us from time to time, the most recent occasion being the 70th Reunion, in 2012.
Each year, on the actual anniversary of the raid, the town of Saint-Nazaire hosts a well-attended ceremony at the Monument du Commando, on the seafront. Although the Society is not actively involved in the organisation, it is always represented, and the Chairman Nick Beattie will be happy to assist with information should you wish to attend. As you can see from the image, right, the local authorities spare no effort when it comes to remembering the young men who were 'the first to bring them hope'. On the afternoon prior to the primary morning ceremony, crosses are laid at the graves of the fallen Charioteers interred in the small Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Escoublac/La Baule. Memorial events do sometimes take place in Falmouth and information about these will be made available to members whenever possible.
Dr. Bill 'Tiger' Watson, MC, one of the Society's founding Members, and his son Peter, currently our Membership Secretary.
2015: the Society today...
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