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Zeebrugge Raid 101st anniversary ceremony at Dover Town Hall and St James' Cemetery

By Sam Lennon

A commemoration takes place for the 101st anniversary of the Zeebrugge Raid.

Dover Town Council is holding the event for this on St George's Day, Tuesday April 23.

It begins with a service at St James’ Cemetery, at 11am and ends with the ringing of the Zeebrugge Bell at the Town Hall at noon.

The ceremony at St James' Cemetery in 2018
The ceremony at St James' Cemetery in 2018

As in previous years members of the public are welcome to observe the commemorations, in particular the ringing of the Bell.

The Bell was a gift of thanks from the King of Belgium following the sacrifice of Dover’s fallen, many of whom are buried at St James'.

Dignitaries at last year's cemetery commemoration at St James' Cemetery
Dignitaries at last year's cemetery commemoration at St James' Cemetery

The Zeebrugge Raid, on April 23, 1918, was an attempt by the Royal Navy to block the port to stop it being used as a base for German U-boats.

The plan unravelled as a change in the wind blew away a smokescreen used to cover diversionary attackers and German gunners then opened fire.

A strong current made it hard for the lead Royal Navy ship HMS Vindictive to place British forces on the breakwater and landing craft were severely damaged.

Old ships, scuttled by the Royal Navy to block the port, did not do this fully and the Germans dug a channel to get around all obstacles.

A total 277 British men were killed against eight Germans.

But it was hailed as a heroic British effort and a success because it curbed enemy submarine attacks on Allied vessels.

It was seen as ultimately helping speed up the end of the First World War.

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