HMS Ajax & River Plate Veterans Association
The first event of 2016 had been a memorial service and luncheon at the National Memorial Arboretum in April around our Battle of the River Plate memorial followed by a trip to Ontario in August.
The final event of a busy Association year was its reunion on Saturday 1st October at Southsea when 50 members gathered. Although we have 25 Cruiser veterans, including 6 River Plate, many are now not up to travelling but three did make it including Ted Wicks one of our Plate veterans who was still on Ajax at the time of the Battle for Crete. He posed for photos beside the Association’s picture that hangs in the foyer of The Royal Beach Hotel.
Most members arrived on the Friday with several visiting the newly re-opened Marie Rose exhibit and the HMS Victory who looked very different without her masts, removed as part of her restoration.
On the Saturday afternoon one of our Associate members, Alan Strachan, delivered a very interesting talk on HMS Ajax that was well received. This was followed by afternoon tea and questions.
The Annual General meeting was held later with a good turn out (minutes have been circulated).
Following the traditional up-spirits by Alf Larkin & Doug Harris in their period uniform Peter Danks was presented with his street sign by Debbie Steer over from the Town of Ajax. Peter had been honoured with having Danks Ridge Street named after him in recognition of all his work for the Association. He had not been present in Canada to receive it so the opportunity was taken to present it now.
Afterwards there was a group photo call with the others present proudly displaying their street signs received during the Canada trip.
After the meal archive video and photo footage of the frigate’s visit forty years ago to Ajax, Ontario was shown with several members pointing themselves out – the audience was kind to them by saying they had not changed a bit.
The rest of the evening was taken up with socialising and all present enjoyed themselves.