They shall grow not old, as we that are left to grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Skegness played a significant part in the defence of our country in the second world way. During the war years Skegness became a major training station for the R.A.F, it opened on 11th February 1941 and by the time it closed in 1944 over 80,000 airmen had been trained there.
Many of our seafront hotels like the Savoy, Grand, Abbey, Dorchester, Grosvenor house and The County were used by the R.A.F and W.A.A.F as billets and the old Seacroft Hotel now the Royal was the Station Headquarters.
During the war Butlins Skegness became a recruitment and training base for the Royal Navy known as HMS Royal Arthur. Lard Haw-Haw famously broadcast that the Royal Navy had lost the battleship HMS Royal Arthur with all hands. Everyone knew it was a lie as all the Royal Navy knew that HMS Royal Arthur was Butlins Skegness. There is an obelisk at the resort which is the focus every 11th November for Remembrance Day.
During the years 1940-42 there were no fewer than 387 alerts with 39 incidents recorded and 144 bombs were dropped in or around the town, 36 people were killed and 181 were injured.
Bombs fell on Castleton Boulevard, Park Ave, Glenworth Crescent, North Parade, Saxby Avenue, Burgh Rd and many other locations, 8 bombs dropped near to the boating lake and one actually dropped and exploded right in the centre of the lake which had to be emptied and repaired.
The Skegness Lifeboat was launched two or three times a week in the early 1940s often to search for survivors of crashed aircraft both German and Allied.
I hope to join present and ex service personnel, school children, residents and visitors alike in front of the War Memorial in front of St Mathews Church on Scarborough Avenue as we remember our fallen servicemen and women of two world wars and various conflicts since then. I am proud of the part my own family played in service to thier country, my Great Grandfather served in the Boar War, my Grandfather served in the Great War and was badly injured in a gas attack in Ypres and my Farther served in the R.A.F during the Battle of Britain as a member of the ground crew at Biggin Hill and saw service in Europe after D Day, he was later torpedoed on a troop ship on the way to Africa and even though he cant swim spent considerable time in the sea before being rescued. They were all lucky they all returned home safely after the conflict. This is why my thoughts on Sunday will be for other family’s lost ones. To all who gave thier today’s for my tomorrows.
If You would like to read more about Skegness in WWII there is an excellent book available called ‘Skegness At War’ priced only £3.50