Published: 11:01, 14 April 2021
| Updated: 11:09, 14 April 2021
There will again be no live ceremony for the Zeebrugge Raid commemoration because of Covid-19.
But this time it will be filmed and viewable on the day.
Lst April's event had to be cancelled completely as the country was in lockdown for the first time.
Now, with coronavirus restrictions continuing but easing, pre-recorded footage featuring some of the commemorations will be available online on St George's Day, the anniversary date.
It will include wreath-laying at St James’s Cemetery and ringing of the Zeebrugge Bell by Town Mayor Councillor Gordon Cowan on behalf of the council and the people of Dover.
This ceremony, called Remember from Home, will be officiated by Rev Sean Sheffield, Honorary Chaplain and Chaplain to The Royal Green Jackets Association, with a short service.
It will show footage relating to the raid such as the Lord Roger Keyes Monument (commander of the raid), War Memorial, headstones of the fallen from the First World War, and the Zeebrugge Bell and Grappling Iron.
Similar to last year’s virtual Remembrance Sunday Service, the orator will be Alan Tinker of the Merchant Navy, and the voice-over will be by Tracey Hubbard, Dover Town Council’s customer events team leader.
With the exception of 2020, the Zeebrugge Bell at Dover Town Hall has rung an eight bells sound each year at noon in memory of volunteers who took part in the amphibious raid on the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on April 23, 1918.
It was a desperate attempt by the Royal Navy’s Dover Patrol to stop German submarines wreaking havoc among allied shipping.
Although 277 men were killed and 356 wounded, the raid was seen as a game changer.
Winston Churchill, then Minister of Munitions, insisted that the action had severely curtailed submarine operations against Allied shipping.
He described it as “the finest feat of arms of the Great War.”
Memorial services have been held in the coastal communities of Dover and Zeebrugge ever since.
A spokesman for Dover Town Council now said: “Public safety is paramount at this time.
"We urge those wishing to mark the 103rd anniversary to join the online commemorations to avoid endangering themselves and others by physically visiting the War Memorial at St James’s Cemetery and the Town Hall.
" This is the best way to show respect for the sacrifices made by the fallen and their comrades. Please stay safe and remember from home this year.”
The film will be available on the website dovertowncouncil.gov.uk from 10am on Friday, April 23.