Memorial Service held for HMS Sickle

A MEMORIAL service held at St John's Church, Epping on 18th June has commemorated the loss with all hands of HMS submarine Sickle, the warship adopted by the towns of Epping and Harlow during warship week in 1942.

The service also saw the dedication of a plaque in the Garden of Remembrance and the laying of wreaths to remember the 50 men who lost their lives 70 years ago.

Relatives of the servicemen joined civic leaders as a 100-strong congregation for the service which was led by Rev'd Geoffrey Connor and began with the parading of the standards of the Royal British Legion, the Submariners Association, the Royal Naval Association and the Air Training Cadets.

The people of Epping and Harlow had been given the target of raising £175,000 for HMS Sickle.

The Epping and Harlow districts held various events including boxing matches, whist drives, children's parties and collections and personal and business contributions and managed to raise £176,389 in 'sponsorship'.

Local people then sent continued their support of Sickle by sending letters and parcels to the crew.

Sickle, which was commissioned in December 1942, spent most of her active service in the Mediterranean. Epping Town Council, the Epping Forest District Museum, St John's Church and the Royal British Legion organised the service and an exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of the loss.

Wreaths were laid by Epping mayor Barbara Scruton, Epping Forest District Council Vice-Chairman Liz Webster, Harlow Council Chairman Ian Beckett, Epping and District Royal British Legion president Kevin Toole and Keith Bishop, national membership secretary for the Submariners Association who laid a wreath on behalf of the 'We Remember Submariners' Facebook Group.

Mrs Scruton said: "The Town Council is delighted to have worked with the Epping Forest District Museum, the Royal British Legion and St John's Church to create the permanent memorial for the men of Sickle in the town.

"The efforts which went into raising the money for Sickle all those years ago show that the community spirit in our town was as great then as it is today and it is only right that the town gathers to remember those who were so closely linked to Epping exactly 70 years ago."

Story: Everything Epping Forest

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