Culdrose sailors help to clean up wartime graves
Royal Navy personnel, experienced in helping out with mercy missions overseas, have put their skills to use closer to home helping to restore wartime gravestones.
35 personnel from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose visited Ludgvan Church in Cornwall last week, to help restore WWI and WWII graves. The group of sailors were made up of personnel from the Maritime Aviation Support Force (MASF) and trainees from 824 and 849 Naval Air Squadrons.
MASF Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Steve Griffin, who led the visit said: “The reason that I wanted my unit to visitLudgvanChurchwas to help restore World War I and II graves as part of Culdrose’s contribution to the WWI Centenary. It was really important for us to tidy up the wartime graves of servicemen and women because this year is of course the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI.”
Whilst they were at Ludgvan, the team also carried out a variety of clean-up jobs such as cleaning the windows and surrounds of the church and cutting back overgrown shrubs in the churchyard as Lieutenant Commander Griffin explains: “We also helped with ground clearance and wall improvements making it easier for visitors to park and access the church grounds. All of the work, including the repairs to the tower, helped us to train personnel for potential projects at sea. For example, we carried out similar activities when we provided disaster relief in the Philippines last year. It has been great how all the community has come together in this project, from businesses providing equipment for free and the community giving their time.”
Reverend Nigel Barnes, the Ludgvan Parish Church Rector said: “Since Lieutenant Commander Griffin offered to get his unit involved, many more members of the local community have got involved too. Steve initially noticed that the graves needed attention and that the wording on the war memorial was getting damaged, so the team from Culdrose also helped to improve that too.”
AET Leeam Baxter was happy to get involved in the project, he said: “I am a bit of war geek so I have loved getting involved in this project. We are all part of the community and I feel happy to be helping out. It’s good to be putting something back in and helping out fallen comrades.”
AET James Cain said: “I am glad to be helping out and tidying up. Cornwall has a lovely countryside and it’s good to keep on top of it and help it to stay looking nice.”