New exhibition at maritime centre

Maritime Mine sweeping.Bob Richards at Scarboroughs Maritime Museum.Picture Richard Ponter 140230a
Maritime Mine sweeping.Bob Richards at Scarboroughs Maritime Museum.Picture Richard Ponter 140230a

Scarborough’s Maritime Heritage Centre has a new exhibition on show which looks at The Royal Naval Patrol Service (RNPS) and Association.

The display features photographs and documents showing local links to the organisation, which was also known as “Churchill’s Pirates”.

Throughout the early years of World War Two, mines were laid by the Germans, by sea and air, around the British Isles in an attempt to strangle the coastal convoys that kept Britain supplied.

It was the work of the RNPS to keep the shipping lanes clear so that the convoys could continue.

This meant constant minesweeping because as soon as an area had been cleared it was a simple task for E-Boats or aircraft to mine it again.

Bob Richards, of Crossgates, told the Scarborough News about his father Edward, who was a member of the service.

He said: “Dad was working in the North Sea out of Lowestoft and Hull and came home after the war.

“He was originally from Caerphilly in Wales and came to live in Scarborough at the ‘Bottom End’.”

Bob continued: “There were two types of vessel - mine sweepers and anti-submarine trawlers.

“They used to put out ropes to sweep and catch the mines and it was incredibly dangerous work - a lot of men were blown up.”

Bob was an associate member of the Scarborough branch of the association, which closed in 2013 due to many of the members having passed away.

He has provided the Maritime Heritage Centre with pictures and other items from the association’s archive as part of the current exhibition.

These include photographs of vessels his father served on and also a picture of the HMS Almond, which went down in February 1941 with the loss of three Scarborough crew members.

These were AE Johnson, W Eves and JT Clark.

Following the war, one Victoria Cross and 850 other awards were made to members of the Royal Naval Patrol Service.

The loss of life was huge, with 15,000 personnel killed during the war including 2,385 service seamen who have no grave but the sea.

Mark Vesey, chairman of the Maritime Heritage Centre, said: “The thing that annoys me is that were called ‘Harry Tate’s Navy’, which is like calling them a bunch of amateurs.

“It’s quite insulting in a way when they were doing such an important job.”

• The exhibition is on until April. The centre at 36 Eastborough is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Call (01723) 369361 to find out more.