On Saturday 1st June some 40 members of the Type 21 Club and their families met at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffs to dedicate a bench to the memory of all those who served in the Type 21 Frigates. Founded in 2010, the “21 Club” is their Association and anyone who served in the Type 21s is automatically a member.
Those present included the President of the Club Admiral Sir Ian Garnett KCB, Chairman Morgan Phillips, Vice Chairman Cdr David Woollard, co-founder Cdr Peter Mosse and Cdr David Childs who actually founded the National Memorial Arboretum.
Morgan Phillips began the ceremony by welcoming everyone and explained that the bench had been donated by members of the Club in memory of all who served in these ships. He then introduced the Club President. Sir Ian dwelt on the unique spirit of the ships, their camaraderie and the pride everyone held in them, from the Captain to the most junior sailor onboard. . He emphasised that the bench was a tribute to the 21 Club and a place to remember all those who had served together, those who had made the ultimate sacrifice and shipmates who were no longer with us. He hoped that many members of the Club would use the bench to recollect their time in the Squadron.
The short service of dedication was conducted by Canon Clive French who had been the Squadron padre to the Type 21s during the Falklands conflict. The 4th Frigate Squadron, known as “The Fighting Fourth”, played a significant part in the Falklands – indeed two of the Type 21s were lost, HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope, and it is fitting that the SAMA Falklands Memorial is just a few yards away, dedicated to the 283 people who lost their lives in 1982. He spoke about the importance of remembering, especially those who have “crossed the bar” in service of their country. A simple timber bench was something tangible, where people could sit and ponder their memories.
After lunch the group was treated to a very special guided tour by David Childs who was himself a Type 21 Club member. He not only conceived the idea of having a National Arboretum but brought it to fruition to fulfil his vision, securing the land, gaining the necessary support from Whitehall and finally creating it.
The Type 21 Club holds its fourth reunion this year over the weekend 11-13 October at the Crownhill Royal British Legion club in Plymouth. Anyone who served in the Type 21s is welcome to come and if they would like to attend they should contact David Woollard (07812) 114452 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Credit: Peter Mosse – Type 21 Club