Written by: Ralph H Kirby
For the third consecutive year, EC Member Syd Clifford organised a CFVA party to visit Ostend — this time to join in the celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of Belgium’s Constitution. Veterans and wives made up the company of twenty-eight, which included John Perkins DSC*, CO of MTB 766 on 14 February, 1945, when the fire and explosions amongst Canadian and British boats claimed the life of one of his officers, Sub Lieutenant John N Riley.
The Parade formed up at 10.30 with the Belgian Naval Band leading, followed by the Standards, ours included, then they are veterans, and are contingent. A halt was made at the statue of King Leopold were three lovely wreaths were laid whilst the National Anthem was played. Moving on then to the Church of St Peter and St Paul for a service. When it concluded the Parade reformed and marched to the Town Hall, where all were welcomed with speeches, wine and refreshments.
Early afternoon saw the CFVA party at the Banquet, where there was an abundance of food and wine, with dancing and singing between the many courses. One of our members, Henry Fenney, having a good voice, was invited on two occasions to take the microphone, to the delight of all present. Our wartime songs, our National Anthem and, surprisingly, Auld Lang Syne were sung and enjoyed, and Syd Clifford gave a speech of thanks and best wishes for the future. In the evening, a grand fireworks display took place.
The next morning, two groups went to the Cemetery, where some of our comrades who died in the Holocaust lie. A short service was held and a wreath laid at the main Memorial.
CFVA News: Edition: June 2005 Volume: 122 Page: 10