HMS Charybdis and Limbourne memorial service.

Representatives from St John have taken part in the annual memorial service to remember the lives lost in the sinking of HMS Charybdis and HMS Limbourne in 1943.

The Royal Navy cruisers were sunk by German torpedoes during Operation Tunnel in October 1943. 504 servicemen died in the sinking and the bodies of 21 of crew members were washed-up along Guernsey coastline. The St John Ambulance Brigade had the challenging task of recovering the bodies from the shore in an operation that was described at the time by Reg Blanchford as “difficult and unpleasant” and in “severe weather”.

St John Cadets and adult volunteers attend the service every year as a mark of respect and to remember the significant role of former St John members during the Occupation. The St John standard and the standard of the Emergency Ambulance Service are also paraded during the event.

The service took place at Le Foulon Cemetary where the graves of some of those who died are buried. His Excellency Vice-Admiral Sir Ian Corder and the Bailiff of Guernsey Richard McMahon were present for the ceremony along with some of Guernsey’s Jurats. A number of retired Royal Navy personnel and other veterans also attended the service. The Chief Ambulance Officer of the Emergency Ambulance Service was represented by Steve Ford.