On Saturday 3rd March 2018 people will come from all over the world to take part in a Civic Reception, Remembrance & wreath laying Service in Exeter, to remember the 70th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Exeter Window.
HMS Exeter was involved in one of the most significant sea battles of the 2nd World War; The Battle of the River Plate. Following that battle, HMS Exeter went onto further battles and met its demise at the hands of the Japanese on 1st March 1942, with the loss of 50 men. During 3 years in Japanese POW camps, a further 150 crew lost their lives. Survivors clubbed together enough
funds and on the 1st March 1948 the HMS Exeter Window of ‘Christ Walking on Water’ was placed in St Catherine’s Chapel of Exeter Cathedral and dedicated in memory of the Officers and Men of HMS Exeter who were lost in the Java Sea.
Each year since 1948 on the weekend closest to the 1st March, the survivors and their descendants have met to pay their respect to those who served during Exeter’s final days or suffered during their time in the POW camps.
This year the members of the association (including survivor Lloyd Seawardm 100, travelling from Canada and the USA with members of his family) join together to remember the dedication of the window that took place some 70 years ago.
The service being held within Exeter Cathedral on; Saturday 3rd March, 11:00, the Association Members will pay tribute to those men who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our Country.
Tolling of the HMS Exeter bell
The service will begin with the former ships bell of HMS Exeter being rung, for which the Cathedral is a custodian. The service includes wreaths being laid by the Lord Mayor of Exeter, the Deputy Lieutenant of Devon and the Association.
A crystal rose bowl is being presented on this 70th anniversary from the Association to the Cathedral to give thanks for the ongoing support to those Exeter men and their families, some of whom are no longer amongst us.
The service will encompass readings, prayers and a two minute silence where a Royal Marine bugler will play the ‘Last Post’, allowing us time to pause and reflect, once the wreaths are laid at the Exeter window.
About the HMS Exeter Association
The HMS Exeter Association is a unique one, the following quotation being given by Dougie Leask; “As an association with a very small number of actual survivors from HMS Exeter, there is no loss of dedication. In fact, many families and descendants, of those who were lost or survived, carry on the pilgrimage to Exeter to remember their loved ones and ancestors.
Likewise, veterans of the Type 42 Destroyer HMS Exeter will arrive from all corners of the country and overseas to remember their old ship and lost comrades. With so many people likely to attend the service, on the 3rd March, we expect it to be quite something to behold and a fitting tribute to those who have served on these illustrious ships.”