Remembering HMS Stonehenge 80 years on

Representatives from across the military and civilian communities have come together at Stonehenge World Heritage Site on Friday 22 March 2024, for a service of prayer and remembrance to mark 80 years since the loss of HMS Stonehenge at sea.

HMS Stonehenge, a WW2 submarine (S Class P232), disappeared during its second patrol and was declared overdue on 20th March 1944 while patrolling between northern Sumatra and the Nicobar Islands.  It is thought that she likely hit a mine and sunk, however, her wreck has never been found.  She was declared lost on 22nd March 1944 with all 50 sailors who had been onboard.

National veterans’ charity Alabaré have organised this event to commemorate the submarine and are grateful to English Heritage for the opportunity to gather at the iconic site which is the submarine’s namesake.  The event was attended by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, DStJ and the service was led by Rt Reverend Stephen Lake, Bishop of Salisbury and Alabaré Patron.

Alabaré help veterans from across the UK who are vulnerable and homeless, providing safe accommodation and a pathway of support to help them move to bright futures.

The charity have long recognised the benefit of camaraderie when they are supporting veterans who have struggled in their civilian lives.  Their homes and services for veterans are built on an understanding of the benefits that come from veterans helping veterans, and helping clients rejoin the wider veterans and local communities. Part of their support pathway includes the opportunity to get involved in Alabaré’s Boots on the Ground outdoor wellbeing programme, which gives veterans the chance to take part in heritage and conservation activities.

The team from Alabaré’s Boots on the Ground are attending the event on Friday, including 10 veterans.  They were joined by representatives from Naval Regional Command, Royal Naval Association and the Submariners Association. The Navy Larks were on hand to sing “Crossing the bar” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and members of the Sea Cadets read the names of those lost at sea with the HMS Stonehenge.

Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, said:

“I am delighted to be part of this very special and thought-provoking occasion. The submariners must have been proud indeed that their vessel was named after this ancient and beautiful monument. May God rest their souls.”

Commodore Richard Lord, a retired Naval Officer and ambassador for Alabaré, said:

“I am honoured to be associated with this event today. I spent my early and later years in the Royal Navy working with submariners. I have the utmost respect for them; the conditions in which they lived were far from ideal and they undertook very challenging missions.

“The service today brough home the tragedy of one such mission in World War II and the sacrifice the ship’s company of HM Submarine STONEHENGE had made. Their loss must have been so tragic for the families and all who knew them.”

“I commend Alabaré for the initiative to bring the Stonehenges together on this 80th anniversary and for their excellent organisation. Thank you to everyone who have contributed to such a memorable service which brought together veterans, serving personnel, civilians and cadets. It reminded us so powerfully of their valour and we will remember them.”

Commander Nigel Denham, of the Gosport Submariners Association said:

“The Submariners Association are honoured to be supporting Alabaré in Remembering HMS Stonehenge. It is always a privilege to work with such worthwhile charities, in particular those who provide valuable support to veterans. It a particular honour that we are able to parade the Submarine Association (Gosport Branch) Standard, in memory of our fellow submariners lost at sea. We will be thinking of them and their descendants today.”

Alabaré would like to thank everyone who helped make today’s event possible and everyone who attended.

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