A reunion service was held at St Hilda’s Church for the crew members of South Tyneside’s adopted ship HMS Euryalus.
The former Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Richard Porthouse, joined the ship’s former crew at a drumhead service at St Hilda’s Church, South Shields.
The service marked the 35th anniversary since the Freedom of the Borough was granted to the HMS Euryalus, which allows the ship’s company to march with fixed bayonets.
HMS Euryalus played a key role in the Gallipoli campaign by taking the 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fussillers ashore. It is documented that members of the Lancashire Fusiliers “won six Victoria Crosses before breakfast.” HMS Euryalus also provided naval gunfire in support of allied troops.
The former Mayor said: “It was an honour to join the former crew of HMS Euryalus at what was a very special service at St Hilda’s Church. The reunion of the crew was an opportunity to celebrate the 35th anniversary of South Tyneside’s adopted ship receiving the freedom of the Borough. The service also provided an opportunity to reflect on the key role in played in the Gallipoli campaign.
“HMS Euryalus holds a special place in the hearts of the people in the Borough and the Mayoress and I were delighted to be a part of the service and to meet the former crew members before the end of our mayoral year.”
The service, which featured HMS Euryalus’s bell that was presented to South Tyneside Council after the ship was decommissioned in March 1989, was followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Merchant Navy Memorial in Mill Dam.
Ex Petty Officer Florrie Ford of South Shields said: “It was very special and we were proud to be able to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the granting of the freedom of South Tyneside to the HMS Euryalus.
“It was great to rekindle our long standing association with South Tyneside and to be able to catch up with old crew members, as we haven’t seen some of them for over 30 years.
“The service was particularly special because it was the first time we have performed a drumhead service and everything on the day went extremely smoothly.”