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HMS Leigh Guardian of the Thames Media Release

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

HMS Leigh Guardian of the Thames Media Release

Blade Education is delighted to announce that thanks to the generosity of National Lottery Players our team, in May 2020, in partnership with the great people of Southend-on-Sea on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day will reveal the amazing untold story of the miracle of Victorian engineering that stood firm and steady in the darkest nights and most frightening of days to save London and the country in WW2. Scott Dolling, Director of Culture and Tourism for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council commented, “This is a truly inspirational project that will bring generations together in such a way to help commemorate a nationally significant date whilst being rooted in our most renowned icon, Southend Pier. The Council is delighted to be part of the project and our team are already excited about the prospect of helping bring this story to life with partners.”

(Postcard of Southend Pier 1939)

On the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day in May 2020 local schools lead by Kingsdown School will bring back to life the extreme joy and relief that the war was over. Come with us and join in with a community working together to keep everyone safe, from Lieutenant Commander Idris Morris Burt to the extraordinary Mona who ran the Pier NAAFI which acted as canteen and the supply point for 3,367 convoys of ships comprising 84,297 vessels that departed to fight the war.

Southend Pier is our borough’s icon, a true survivor with an incredible history that makes it the perfect backdrop to bring all ages together to revel in the crucial part it played in World War II where it became the Guardian of the Thames, London and the UK. The pier has always been a wonderful community space and in September 1939 it became the Naval Control Centre for the Thames Estuary and was renamed HMS Leigh with surrounding areas becoming HMS Westcliff.

It is also the perfect setting to celebrate all those veterans and civilians and to learn as much as possible about WW2 in order to discover what it was like to live through these experiences. HMS Leigh Guardian of the Thames project team would be delighted to hear from anyone who wants to share their experiences or those that they heard from those they loved. Either visit our website or email or send a letter to 43, Blenheim Crescent, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex SS9 3DT.

(Southend Pier 2019)

Southend-on-Sea based Blade Education has been awarded £97800.00 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (HF) to support its HMS Leigh – Guardian of the Thames Project.

As well as creating a unique once in a lifetime experience for the community in May 2020, volunteers and experts from the Essex Society of Family History, The Leigh Society, Southend Museum and the Royal Artillery Association, Shoeburyness Branch will be working together to create lifelong learning materials so we never forget the heroism of those who served us in all kinds of way in WW2. HMS Leigh aims to record and archive the stories of those who lived through the amazing years of 1939-1945.

But the final word goes to National Lottery players who have funded this brilliant project.

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