More than 20 Shedders and guests enoyed an expert insight into the stories behind just a few of the hundreds of war graves at the Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery in Clayhall Road, Gosport.

They were taken on a two-hour guided tour of the  site by military historian Alan Gregory, a volunteer with Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Among the graves he pointed out was that of Lt Cdr Richard Ryan, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross after being killed when attempting to defuse a German landmine dropped on Dagenham in 1940.

Shedders also saw the graves of 10 Wrens who died instantly when an anti-aircraft shell landed on a mess hall at HMS Daedalus, also in 1940, those of some of the 43 young naval recruits killed as they slept when a German bomb hit an accommodation block at HMS Collingwood in 1943, and those of sailors, both British and Polish, who were casualties of the disastrous raid on Dieppe in 1942.

Alan also recounted the story of submarine L55, sunk with all hand in 1919 when she struck a British mine in the Baltic. The bodies of 38 officers and men recovered when the wreck was raised nine years later now lie in a mass grave beneath a memorial at the cemetery in Clayhall Road, which is the last resting place of 1,359 men and women who died on active service.

Shedders showed their appreciation by a collection of £115, which has been donated to the CWGC to help fund its continuing work at more than 23,000 grave sites worldwide.

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