HMS Tyne marks historic day
WITH Battle Ensign – an oversized White Ensign – flying, sirens sounding and surrounded by a small flotilla of local boats, Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Tyne performed a ceremonial sail past of Guernsey on Saturday to celebrate 75 years since the island’s Liberation.
The Portsmouth-based warship, which has been safeguarding home waters recently keeping an eye on Russian vessels and helping to save the life of a diver, is spending this week training navigators in the challenging waters around the Channel Islands.
Tyne spent Friday anchored off Sark with the ship decorated in flags from bow to stern.
At 3pm, the same time when Sir Winston Churchill addressed the nation in 1945, she blasted her siren in celebration and from 9.30pm for five minutes shone her searchlight in concert with other Royal Navy warships, signifying the end of the blackout 75 years ago.
On Saturday she sailed past the pier heads at St Peter Port at 10am, flying her Battle Ensign – an oversized White Ensign to make the ship stand out.
For islanders unable to see Tyne from the safety of their homes, the sail past was broadcast live on Govgg, LiberationDay and VisitGuernsey Facebook pages and liberationday.gg.
The Royal Navy, led by HMS Bulldog – which had played a key role in the Battle of the Atlantic by seizing an Enigma coding machine back in 1941 – arrived in the Channel Islands to take the surrender of German forces.
Later on 9 May 1945, sailors from Bulldog went ashore in St Peter Port, while HMS Beagle landed a party in St Helier to raise the Union Flag in Jersey and end Nazi rule there.
As on the mainland, commemorations marking the end of World War 2 have been disrupted and curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, replaced largely by a series of virtual events.
Tyne’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton, said that with events marking the end of the Second World War curtailed due to the coronavirus, it was important the Royal Navy participated in commemorative events.
‘We are delighted to be able to play a small part in Guernsey’s 75th anniversary commemorations of Liberation – we know how important this day is to islanders.
‘The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles occupied by the Nazis – Liberation Day to its inhabitants means freedom and an end to five years of tyranny.’