From the USA
A huge thank you to a generous benefactor in the USA who has made a four figure donation towards the Project in honour of his father who was a 'P' Party (Port Clearance) diver at the end of the Second World War.
Incredibly, despite clearing continental ports including Cherbourg, Caen, Dieppe, Le Havre, Boulogne, Rouen, Calais, Antwerp, Ostend, Terneuzen, Zeebrugge, Flushing, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Bremen (where 60 mines were found and dealt with alone), not a single member of a ‘P’ Party was lost during operations. The sole fatality was AB William Brunskill of 'P' Party 1571 who died from his injuries on 19 Dec 1944 after a German V-2 rocket hit the Cinema Rex in Antwerp where he had been watching a film three days previously.
From Hong Kong
In view of the current situation in Hong Kong, we are particularly grateful to the Commanding Officer and five members of the Hong Kong Police EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Team for their donation, received today, of £500 towards the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument.
According to the associated email, the team took over the clearance diving role in HK from the RN following the handover in 1997 and they still remember the late CPO(D) Stephen 'Darby' Allan who was killed in an explosive incident in South Sudan in 2010 after leaving the RN (see entry for 26 Nov 10 and linked entries in News Archive 32 of the MCDOA website).
The Hong Kong Police EOD Team is responsible for all EOD operations in HK, including IEDD, CMD, CBRN and underwater. The six operators making the donation are cross-trained in the underwater role and they provide round-the-clock coverage. There have been frequent underwater jobs since the RN left, mainly to do with conventional munitions found by dredging operations or found by civilian scuba divers. The objects range from MK XIV mines to large aircraft bombs and all types of shells.
As the legacy of the RN operations in HK, the six current underwater operators were keen to donate the funds to the Vernon project. I'm sure all members of our community will join me in expressing our gratitude to these members of the team for their extraordinary generosity and congratulate them on the work they do.