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Collingwood sailors pay tribute to Collingwood Battalion

14 June 2016
Sailors and officers from HMS Collingwood, Fareham, attended a special service at Collingwood Corner Naval Division Memorial, Blandford Camp Pimperne recently.

The ceremony was in memory of the 63rd Division, 2nd Brigade, Collingwood Battalion, who were initially trained at the Dorset Camp, before they were almost totally destroyed during fighting at Gallipoli.

A Guard of Honour, accompanied by Commander David Johnston, Executive Officer, HMS Collingwood, representing the Commanding Officer, attended the service together with Father Robert Matau, also of Collingwood, who conducted the service. 

It is important that we continue to remember the sacrifices of our forebears.

Commander David Johnston

Commander Johnston said “It is a great honour for personnel from HMS Collingwood to be invited to attend this commemoration today.

“It is important that we continue to remember the sacrifices of our forebears.”

Upon the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, directed that those members of the Royal Navy that could not be gainfully employed at sea should be formed into a land-fighting Division to operate ashore with the Army. 

The Division was made up of Battalions named after famous British Admirals.  The Royal Naval Division was formed and saw service in the defence of, and retreat from Antwerp, where only 22 of 700 from the battalion returned to England before going on to fight in the Gallipoli campaign.

On the 5th June 1916 the Division suffered heavy losses and having been almost totally destroyed the Collingwood battalion was disbanded 3 days later.

A memorial was subsequently erected near the entrance to the Dorset camp to commemorate the valour of the men who fell.

The survivors went on to serve with other naval Battalions with distinction in both France and Flanders.

A short Remembrance Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony was held, with wreaths being laid by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell, Commander Johnston on behalf of HMS Collingwood, the Blandford Garrison and Friends of Collingwood Battalion to name but a few.

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