HMS Leigh Paying off The Pier
The Mayor and Mayoress of Southend on the 15th October 2020 will be unveiling a memorial to commemorate the brave men, women and children who served aboard HMS Leigh in WW2 on the 75th Anniversary of the Paying Off of Southend Pier.
At the beginning of WW2 in 1939 Southend Pier became a Royal Navy shore base renamed HMS Leigh to take charge of all shipping in and out of the Thames and the Medway into London. On October 15th, 1945, the Royal Navy handed back HMS Leigh to the people of Southend.
By flying a commissioning pennant or masthead pennant, like the ones flown from the masthead of a warship, a Pier became a shore base. The first convoys of the war came and went from HMS Leigh and the waters off Southend Pier saw ships carrying coal, oil, wood, food, goods and supplies for the heart of the Allied War effort 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, HMS Leigh stood watch and those who served both military and civilian are remembered by the unveiling of a plaque to their memory and a service of commemoration on the 15th October 2020.
When the bombs were dropping and the bullets flying HMS Leigh marshalled thousands of ships and millions of troops together with the fuel for tanks, shells for artillery, bullets for rifles alongside the uniforms, food and supplies necessary to keep the Allied Forces fighting for the freedom of us all.
During the dark days of World War 2, from Dunkirk and the Blitz to D-Day and the fall of Berlin HMS Leigh stood solid in the cold waters of the North Sea as the Guardian of the Thames and the sentry post of London.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions it will only be possible to have a small group at the initial commemoration but any visitor to Southend Pier can pay their respects on any later date but must remain socially distanced. Everyone is invited to stand tall at the plaque to pay their respects to those who lived died or survived in WW2. Any photographs or words of thanks sent to the HMS Leigh Team and Southend Pier will be included in a remembrance gallery.
Please send us your photos of you standing tall by the plaque at