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Angle: Service 100 years after the sinking of a Japanese ship

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A NEW memorial commemorating those who died in the German sinking of a Japanese merchant ship in the final days of World War I will be next month in Angle.
The unveiling ceremony for the memorial to the victims will take place on Oct. 4, exactly 100 years after the sinking took place, and will be attended by residents and representatives from the company which owned the vessel, and the Japanese Embassy.
As one of the Allies contributing to the war effort during the first war, alongside Britain and France, merchant vessels from Japan were seen as legitimate targets by Germany.
More than 200 sailors and passengers died when the Hirano Maru, a Somedono Maru class transport ship, was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Irish Sea in October 1918, just over a month before the war ended.
The sinking of the Hirano Maru was the greatest loss experienced in Japanese commercial shipping during the conflict.
After the ship was sunk, residents of Pembrokeshire, found at least 20 bodies along different stretches of the coastline, though the majority were found on Irish beaches. Only 30 of the 240 people aboard survived the attack.
The bodies were buried in a local churchyard, but a wooden memorial erected at the time has since rotted away.
According the owner, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line), the ship had just embarked on a journey from Liverpool to Yokohama when it was torpedoed.
About two-thirds of those aboard were crew members.
At the church in Angle, burial records list nine anonymous victims, naming only one man, Shiro Okoshi, who is listed in the records as having been a waiter on the vessel.
The church also possesses old photos in the churchyard of a wooden grave marker, which according to its inscription was erected 11 days after the ship was sunk.
David James, honorary secretary of the West Wales Heritage Maritime Society, has been raising funds to create a new memorial with support from Nippon Yusen.
As a former serviceman, James served in the British Army in Germany and Libya, where he noticed the graves of British soldiers had markers, inspiring him to commemorate the victims of war in his hometown.
“We must remember them,” he said in an interview with the Japan Times.
“The men in the graves there had families, somebody grieved when they died,” James said. He hopes the memorial will “show there is feeling here, and compassion.”
He also said he wants the memorial to keep the story alive for younger generations and help them understand the realities of war.
A spokesperson for Nippon Yusen said it was always difficult to retrieve keepsakes to send back to the families of victims who die when a ship is lost at sea.

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MP calls on Welsh Government to explain broadband delays

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STEPHEN CRABB has called on the Welsh Government to come clean over broadband rollout delays.

Minister Julie James AM, whose responsibilities include digital infrastructure and inclusion, has been urged to explain the reasons for delays to the rollout of superfast broadband to rural properties across Wales.

Last year, the Superfast Cymru scheme saw BT receive £425m in return for connecting the vast majority of premises in Wales to next-generation broadband.

When the contract ended, 90,000 mainly rural properties still had not been connected. Further details of another scheme to complete the work were due to be announced in July, but at the start of August, Julie James AM suddenly announced that ‘unforeseen issues’ were causing delays which could not be further discussed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’.

Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, said: “It’s simply unacceptable for the Minister responsible to announce delays to the next stage of Broadband rollout but refuse to explain why. Access to reliable, fast broadband is of increasing importance to businesses, large and small, in Pembrokeshire and I have worked with many across the constituency to improve their broadband access.

“However, the digital divide continues to exist with rural communities in Pembrokeshire suffering again. It is an inescapable fact that delivery of broadband infrastructure is devolved to the Welsh Government and Julie James AM should now come forward and explain the reasons for these delays.”

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Air ambulance lands at ‘serious’ crash scene

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THE WALES AIR AMBULANCE has landed at the scene of a serious crash this morning (Sept 25) between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts on the A477.

Posts on Facebook from witnesses at the scene say a man is being treated by paramedics.

Police have said one car was involved in the incident.

In addition to the helicopter, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Welsh Ambulance Service and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene.

The road is currently closed with diversions in place.

A police spokesperson said:  “Dyfed-Powys Police is at the scene of a serious RTC between the Sentry Cross and Honeyborough roundabouts, Pembrokeshire.

“The A477 stretch between those roundabouts is currently closed while emergency services deal with the incident. One car is involved; the driver has received serious injuries.

“No further information is available at this time.”

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Drone guide to limit wildlife disturbance

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY has released new drone guidance for recreational users that seeks to limit the disturbance the aerial devices can cause to protected wildlife.

As well as reiterating general safety advice from the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code, the guidance will help recreational users of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to understand the impact their use could have on rare species and on other people’s enjoyment.

National Park Authority Biodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “While the Drone Code focuses on safety, we have produced this simple guide to help protect the array of wonderful wildlife that attracts many people to Pembrokeshire.

“Species such as seabirds and seals are particularly vulnerable when they are breeding or nurturing their young and even low levels of disturbance can impact on them and can lead to reductions in populations.

“The guidance also highlights how livestock can be easily startled by drones, including the sheep, cows and horses that graze the coastal slopes alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

“We want everyone to enjoy their visit to Pembrokeshire, so being aware of the impact drones can have on other people and the area’s peace and tranquillity is also important.”

The guidance has been prepared in collaboration with partners including commercial drone operators, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, National Trust, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Natural Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council.

The information will be updated as more rules and research findings are released. The document, which is available from the National Park Authority’s website, can also be printed as a reference guide.

You can download the guidance by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/filming.

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