Granite memorial to 825 Squadron Channel Dash men
Courtesy of the Thanet Gazette 19 September 2014
A memorial has been unveiled to the heroes of 825 Naval Air Squadron who flew from Manston during the Second World War.
It had been hoped that Commander Glyn Owen RN should land his helicopter at Manston Spitfire Museum last Thursday to unveil the granite memorial to those involved in the Channel Dash.
Unfortunately prevailing weather conditions en route were such that his helicopter was grounded.
The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Grp. Capt. Patrick Tootal RAF, stepped in to perform the ceremony.
The Royal Navy Commander was to have flown to Manston from Yeovilton, in Somerset, to unveil the memorial to the men of 825 Naval Air Squadron who, in their Fairey Swordfish, left Manston on February 12, 1942 to intercept three heavily armed and defended ships of the German Navy.
The ships were on passage through the English Channel to safe haven in Germany.
All the Swordfish were destroyed and of the 18 crew only five survived and just one of them was uninjured.
825 Naval Air Squadron was disbanded after the Falklands War and reformed in August of this year with Commander Owen as the new CO.
The squadron is now equipped with Wildcat helicopters.
The memorial, erected by Kent Fleet Air Arm Association (KFAAA) in cooperation with the Museum Trust is the only one to mark where the brave men of 825 NAS left Manston on that fateful day in February 1942.
The Lord Lieutenant of Kent, The Commandant of the MoD Fire School, the Mayor of Ramsgate were all present with members of other naval organisations and visitors to the Museum, to witness the unveiling.
The founder member and president of the KFAAA laid a wreath at the ceremony and after, there was a tour of the KFAA exhibition in the Spitfire Hall, followed by a light lunch which was taken in the Officers mess of the MoD Fire School.