HMS Leigh - Bravest Pier in the World

HMS Leigh - Bravest Pier in the World
Cultural Event - Public Days


Saturday 25th September 2021 - 10 am to 4 pm
Sunday 26th September 2021 - 10 am to 4 pm


Come and celebrate the amazing WW2 history of Southend Pier and the Centenary of the Royal British Legion. Explore the legacy of the lives of those who tirelessly worked for 6 long years making an incredible contribution to the Allied war effort and kept London and the country safe from invasion.

Discover how these men and women changed the direction of the war with Southend’s newest open-air exhibition, the Royal Pavilion. Exhibitions, performances, and films will reveal how crucial a role Southend Pier played in WW2.  Learn about the role they played in the remarkable rescue of 300,000 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940, how the whole town lived in constant terror from bombing by the Luftwaffe and how the threat of invasion caused thousands of children to be evacuated to the countryside with only 2 days notice.

Meet the members and learn about the field guns of the Shoeburyness Royal Artillery Association who guard the entrance to HMS Leigh, as they guarded Southend and the Thames Estuary during WW2.

Find out about the monumental preparations for D-Day as well as the disastrous sinking of the SS Montgomery with thousands of tonnes of explosives that are still a threat 80 years later. 

Meet local charities, such as the Royal Naval Association, the Essex Society for Family History, and the local Royal British Legion who celebrate their Centenary this year.

The Southend Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will be holding open days with live rescue demonstrations in the sea, and exhibitions and talks in the Offshore Boat Shed.

Wherever you go, actors will be there to meet you to introduce you to the remarkable people who made HMS Leigh such an asset to the war effort that the commanding officer Captain J.P Champion was not only given a CBE but also made a Commodore.

After your return trip on Southend Pier Railway, why not pay a visit to the Southend Pier Museum which, along with the 'Toastrack' carriages has some brilliant information and exhibits.

To keep everyone safe this is a ticketed event, with morning, lunchtime and afternoon entry times. Please see the ticket page for further details.

This is an outdoor event that is subject to the weather

so please bring appropriate shoes and clothing.

In the unlikely event that the walkway is closed we will direct visitors to use the 
Southend Pier Railway.