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PWSTS Standard Bearer

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In Liverpool over last w/e, 27/28 May, 2023, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic was marked in various ways with the main events on Sunday 28th being a static memorial drumhead service at Mann Island, Pier Head, followed by a March of the Medals from Exchange Flags in the city centre to Princes Parade in the old, rejuvenated dock area.

I was able to parade the PWSTS Standard at both, but I must admit it was hard. Firstly though I must commend Elwyn for joining me in representing the PWSTS as it was good to share the day and a beer with a fellow member.

The drumhead service was just a static affair with no march-on of the Standards with the usual array of gold braid, mayors and assorted bigwigs with a couple of bands in attendance with the main honours going to the Royal Marines Band as they played for the hymns and wreathe laying.

                The highlight came at the finale when the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with the full complement of Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire did a fly-past with three low level passes that stirred the blood and completed the event in fine style.

                We then made our way back up to the city centre to form up for the parade back down to the dock area with the red ensigns at the head following the Royal Marines Band and a 48-strong Royal Navy Honour Guard. Being at the front we could not see how the procession was formed behind us but while waiting we saw military from different countries, various bands, including pipes and drums, with all youth sections well represented so it must have been quite a gathering. the crowds were out in force and were wonderful in their appreciation with special applause and cheers for the red duster although, regrettably, there were only nine of us.

However, the route on a warm and sunny day was long and hard with chaps falling out by the wayside as we progressed with even the RN contingent ahead of us feeling it by the time we came to the end.

One thing of note, at least to me, was that as we marched along the dock-front a lone Swordfish bi-plane made repeated, very slow, low-level passes, nostalgically reminding me that my very first ship after leaving PWSTS was the Port Victor which during WW2 served as HMS Nairana, and auxiliary flat-top aircraft-carrier that flew those very same airplanes.

Finally, after eventually coming to a halt, we dismissed ourselves, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, when our first thoughts were, wheres the nearest pub? Like most dock areas Liverpools has been re-developed and is mainly glass and chrome buildings but fortunately Elwyn and I spotted a tapas type bar and headed in there for much needed refreshment. We ordered two pints and whilst the young lady was serving us she checked us out up and down then asked, were you in the Merchant Navy? and upon our replying in the affirmative when Elwyn proffered to pay she said with feeling, No, thats alright, thats on me.

Wow, a free drink for the MN. Amazing, made more meaningful by being so totally unexpected and from one so young.

So being out-and-about wearing uniform and showing our Red Ensign Standard does get noticed, does get appreciated and makes it all worthwhile.


Throughout the events there were loads of photographers although Im not sure where from but I believe one lady said to check out the Liverpool RBL website but Ive seen nothing yet, maybe later or the local press perhaps. There are a couple of videos on You Tube already that concentrate mainly on the RM Band with the red ensigns seen occasionally although Im afraid to admit that the MN seemingly find it difficult to march in step, even behind crunching boots and a wonderful band. However, in mitigation, none of us are in the first flush of youth and that route did not help, but a good day nonetheless and a pleasure and an honour to be there representing the PWSTS.


PWSTS Forum Moderator

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Posts: 869

Thank you Michael & Elwyn for parading the standard.


Celer et Audax

PWSTS Forum Member

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Posts: 1620

What a great summary of the day, many thanks for representing PWSTS and the MN and flying our colors.


Cool Colin, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.

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