Veterans turned out in force to show their support for former members of a specialist branch of the armed forces on a special day .
Members of the Blackpool and Fylde Submariners’ Association gathered to dedicate a new standard for the group.
It was held at St Kentigern’s RC Church in Newton Drive, Blackpool, chosen due to its proximity to the Guards Club where the association members meet.
The event began with the display of a letter of congratulations and best wishes received by the Branch from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Princess Kate.
Present at the ceremony were the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, John Barnett, and his wife Danielle, along with the Mayor of Fylde, councillor Peter Hardy, and mayoress Sheila Hardy and the Mayor of Wyre Coun Tom Balmain and mayoress Alene Balmain.
Association branch chairman Stephen Greenwood said the service began with a vigil service lead by the priest, Father John Winstanley to Lay up the Old Branch Standard of the Blackpool Old Comrades Association.
The Branch then celebrated the dedication of a new branch standard for the Blackpool & Fylde Submariners Association
He said: “This association was founded in 1967 by Bill Woodhouse an ex-telegraphist, who served from 1949 to 1956 in the submarines Scorcher, Selene, Astute, Tudor and Toredo, and Stan Perrett (ex-Able Seaman (SD) who served from 1938 to 1947 in the submarines Proteus and Satyr.
“The Branch then celebrated the dedication of a new branch standard for the Blackpool & Fylde Submariners Association.
“This was led by the branch standard bearer Ian Warner of Blackpool.
“Representatives of the town’s affiliated submarine HMS Triumph, also passed their congratulations to the branch but owing to forth coming operational preparations were unable to attend the event.
“It was a successful and enjoyable service and we would like to thank everyone who helped make it possible.
“It was well attended with around 120 people including the various standard bearers from all other veterans Associations from the Fylde coast as well as representatives from Manchester, Morecambe and even Northern Ireland Submariners associations, along with the Area 10 Royal Naval Association and White Ensign Association.”
The dignitaries were presented with plaques, by branch chairman Stephen Greenwood to mark the occasion and to signify closer ties with the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire’s Office and the three local authorities to support former submariners after they leave the service.
“We are appealing for new members and we know of several serving submariners from our area.
“We want to work closely with the Tri-Services Veterans group to help with support.
“A lot of submariners served in Afghanistan on the ground offering support such as logistics and medical support before returning to their submarines.
“We want to ensure that although they have left the service, they are not forgotten.
“More importantly it is to ensure, that as a specialist branch of the armed forces, we support each other after leaving the service and maintain the strong, unique and lasting bond that very few can appreciate or understand which is formed in the submarine service.
“The Branch will provide a useful source of advice and contacts in the vital process of readjusting to Civilian life, particularly in such areas as housing, schooling, jobs and the many other matters associated with the transition from service to civilian life maintaining the core Branch values of; Unity and Comradeship; Loyalty; and Patriotism.”
A special Honouree Life Membership was also presented to Sid Raynes in recognition of his long support and service to the association and the Blackpool branch.