The Channel Dash 75 Anniversary
Our affiliation with 825 Naval Air Squadron at their base in Yeovilton gives us the opportunity to see the Fleet Air Arm and their Lynx (and now Wildcat) helicopters at work.
We see many sides of their life, and in a special moment on 9 February with other Distillers, I was privileged to be part of the commemoration of the Channel Dash – a heroic, albeit doomed, attempt to attack three German battleships rushing past Dover to defend Denmark from an allied invasion.
Six elderly Swordfish and 18 brave airmen with one torpedo each against the combined power of three battleships, escorts and overwhelming air cover was no match, even with the odds that the RNAS routinely accept. All aircraft lost, 13 airman dead, and all but one of the five survivors injured. One VC awarded. As Dan Snow said that night, what other nation would ‘celebrate’ defeat as we do?
Yet we emerge stronger for it. A moving, yet ultimately uplifting occasion we felt proud to be part of.
The Court Meeting, Livery Lunch and a big surprise.
On a happier note, we were able to entertain several Masters and Clerks, as well as the Commanding Officer of 825 NAS, Simon Collins, at the first Livery event of the year back at the Vintners’ Hall. We were also very pleased to be joined by Phelan Hill, Cox of the British eight and three times world and current Olympic Champion.
Continuing the rowing theme, our speaker was Rory Mackenzie who rowed the Atlantic in the Talisker challenge despite losing a leg in Basra. He gripped the audience and received a standing ovation. His grit, determination, and good humour are inspiring. I hope we shall see more of him.
For me this rounded off a memorable week, which started on Sunday night with our son Chris’s short film “Home” produced for UNHCR for Refugee Day winning a BAFTA. So the Mistress and I ended the week swelling with pride, and ready for the next stage of this amazing journey.