RNAS Culdrose personnel parade at Madron
Personnel from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose took part in the annual Nelson Thanksgiving Service and Parade at Madron, near Penzance on Sunday 21 October.
Captain William Entwisle, Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, and other senior naval officers from the Air Station attended the Trafalgar Thanksgiving Service held at Madron Parish Church on Sunday. Also present was the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall Colonel Edward Bolitho, the Mayor of Penzance Councillor Mr Phil Rendle, members of the Royal British Legion and a large contingent of Sea Cadets. The service is held annually to commemorate Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory over the combined French and Spanish Fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The first news of the British Navy’s victory at Trafalgar was passed to fishermen working in Mounts Bay by HMS Pickle as she made her way home from the battle. The fishermen carried the message back to port and, on 4 November 1805, the news of Nelson’s death and victory was announced from the Assembly Rooms in Penzance. The assembled crowd then proceeded to the Mother Church of Penzance, the Church of St Maddern at Madron, where a memorial service was held and the Nelson Banner, which was hastily prepared to mourn the death of Nelson, was paraded for the first time. The Banner is now kept in Madron Parish Church and brought forth each year on the Sunday closest to Trafalgar Day when it is held to the “Immortal Memory”.
For many years similar services were held but it was in 1946 that the tradition of holding an annual Commemoration was revived by the Reverend (later Canon) Michael Hocking, a former naval captain, and vicar of Madron at the time.
Each year RNAS Culdrose plays a major part in upholding this tradition and on completion of the service HMS Seahawk Volunteer Band lead a march past at which the Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose took the salute. The parade included a Colour Party and Guard from RNAS Culdrose, members of the Sea Cadet Corps, the Royal British Legion and various other veterans’ organisations.