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Angle: Memorial to Japanese sailors lost at sea 100 years ago

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A MEMORIAL dedicated to the victims of a Japanese merchant ship sunk by the German navy in the final days of World War I was unveiled Thursday in a south Pembrokeshire village.

The churchyard ceremony, which took place exactly 100 years after the sinking, was attended by descendants of the victims and members of the British royal family.

Only 30 of the 240 sailors and passengers on board the Hirano Maru survived when the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Irish Sea on Oct. 4, 1918, just over a month before the peace armistice was declared to end the conflict. As Japan was one of the U.K.’s allies, its merchant vessels were targeted by the German navy.

Residents of Pembrokeshire found at least 20 bodies along the county coastline, 10 of which were buried in the churchyard in the small village of Angle where Thursday’s ceremony took place. The wooden post erected at the time to commemorate the 10 victims rotted away and has now been replaced by a new granite memorial inscribed with a dedication written in English, Japanese and Welsh. Bouquets and wreaths were placed by Queen Elizabeth’s cousin Prince Richard after he unveiled the memorial, followed by representatives from the Japanese Embassy and Nippon Yusen K.K., the company that owned the ship.

Only one victim is named in the church records and on the memorial, as the other nine could not be identified.

Flowers were also left by Yoshiko Nakamura, 72, whose grandfather was among the victims. Shintaro Yamamoto, her grandfather, had been an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy and was returning to Japan after visiting Britain on business when the boat was sunk, she explained.

After seeing a story about the planned memorial in her local newspaper, she decided to attend the ceremony with her daughter to pay her respects.

“My father, my mother, and all the people who remember the war have gradually disappeared,” she said. “I want to pass on this history to my daughter.”

Funds were raised for the memorial by David James, secretary of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society. “I feel a great sense of satisfaction … (to have) brought something to so many people,” he said. “Wars are easy. It’s the peace that’s hard to find and keep.”

He said he was “humbled” to have helped Nakamura connect with her family’s history. “She came as an act of remembrance, which I find quite touching,” he said.

The memorial was carved by a local stonemason and cost approximately £3,500 pounds, paid for through contributions from residents and Nippon Yusen.

A spokesman for the shipping company said it was “a great honor and privilege” for representatives of the company to be present at the ceremony.

  • This story contains content adapted from the Japan Times, and the photograph of the ceremony is used by kind permission of the Kyodo news agency, Tokyo. The colourised image of the ship was created by The Herald.

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Haverfordwest High School ski trip updated statement

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Haverfordwest High VC School is closed for a pre-arranged Inset day today (Wednesday, 26th February) for staff training.

The school is intending to re-open tomorrow (Thursday) in line with guidance from Public Health Wales.

The family of two pupils who went on a family trip to Northern Italy over half-term have also sought advice from Public Health Wales. Although the family visited the region of Veneto, they did not visit the quarantined town of Vo. The advice for them is the same as for other people who have visited Northern Italy – that they do not need to self-isolate unless they have symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath or fever. Neither of the pupils have presented any symptoms.

To view the statement released by the school yesterday (Tuesday), please visit https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom/haverfordwest-high-school-ski-trip-statement

* For the latest advice on coronavirus, please visit the Public Health Wales website at https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-outbreak-in-china/

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Pembroke child was kept in almost ‘unimaginable filth and deprivation’

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WHEN Police entered a Pembroke house to investigate an allegation a child was being kept in unsanitary, they found a scene of almost unimaginable filth and deprivation.
On Tuesday (Feb 25), Magistrates in Haverfordwest heard Police officers attended the property earlier this year. They were barely able to open its door to squeeze inside the filthy dwelling.
Officers found the rotting corpse of a dog on the kitchen floor, the toilet bowl overflowing with excrement, and water with a film of scum in the sink.
No food was found in the fridge apart from a single container of out-of-date coleslaw.
The woman’s bedroom was littered with empty boxes of wine.
When officers examined the child’s bedroom, they found the child grubby and unkempt. The child hadn’t been washed for a long time. Its only food appeared to be rice scattered on its bed.
The child is now in foster care.
Given the seriousness of the case, the Prosecution invited the Bench to send the case to Swansea Crown Court.
Neither the child nor its mother can be named for legal reasons.
Mr David Elvey, defending, did not object to the Crown’s application and made no submissions on his client’s behalf.
Magistrates committed the case to Swansea Crown Court for a hearing on March 27.
The Bench extended the woman’s unconditional bail to the Crown Court date.

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Last Pembroke bank to close HSBC confirms

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THE LAST bank branch in Pembroke is due to close in the summer, HSBC has confirmed this week. Pembroke is one of 27 branches HSBC is set to close by the end of this year, with the Pembroke branch closing on July 31.

The bank has said that jobs may be at risk due to the closure.

HSBC was the last bank in Pembroke. Barclays and Santander closed last year.

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