Ramsgate Royal Naval Association takes over service to mark World War Two Channel Dash operation

Channel Dash service Photo Brian Whitehead

A service to mark the World War Two Channel Dash operation will take place in Ramsgate on Sunday (February 12).

The Ramsgate Royal Naval Association has taken on the organisation of the service after the Channel Dash Memorial Trust closed down last year. The Dover branch of the Royal British Legion has taken over the service for that town.

One of the most daring actions in the history of naval aviation took place, on the 12 February 1942, when 18 naval aviators from the Fleet Air Arm (825 Naval Air Squadron) flew six fabric-covered Fairey Swordfish bi-planes from RAF Manston in an attack on the might of the German Battle Fleet in the Straits of Dover.

The Channel Dash memorial Photo Brian Whitehead

The British top brass thought the German force would only travel through the Straits of Dover at night, and had rested the majority of its air crews, leaving just the six Swordfish available to combat the German threat.

When the ships were identified in daylight the six biplanes flew on not waiting for more planes to join them being determined to attack the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau which were protected by 6 destroyers, 40 flak ships and 200 fighter aircraft. Only 5 of the British aircrew were rescued and all of their aircraft destroyed.

In honour of these courageous men a service of remembrance is held each year on the 12th February in front of the “825 Squadron” Memorial Ramsgate Harbour.  Last year it was held in Hanger 3 at Manston Airport in a service which also marked the end of the Channel Dash Memorial Trust.

Channel Dash service Photo Brian Whitehead

This year it returns to Ramsgate at the Channel Dash Memorial at Ramsgate harbour at 10.45am.
The Ramsgate Royal Naval Association will continue this service on the 12th February every year so the historic event and the heroes it honours are not forgotten.