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War grave plans to honour Japanese soldiers

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Hirano Maru: The passenger ship

Hirano Maru: The passenger ship

PLANS to build a new war memorial are underway to pay tribute to fallen Japanese soldiers whose ship was bombed just one month before the end of World War One. The Hirano Maru was torpedoed in the Irish Sea by a German U-Boat on October 4 1918, killing 291 of 320 men on board.

Although most of the poor sailors’ bodies were washed up on Irish beaches, 15 bodies washed up on Pembrokeshire shores – 7 at Freshwater West, 5 in Dale, 2 in Solva and 1 in St. Ishmael’s.

Japan was Britain’s ally during the Great War, making Japanese trade ships one of the primary targets of German U-Boats, with more than 40 Japanese ships being sunk before the 1918 armistice.

David James, Secretary of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, said that though each of the soldiers’ graves have a marker, only one of the drowned men, Shiro Okoshi, was named. He also noted that: “the wooden post which was erected in nearby Angle for seven of the victims has long since rotted away.”

Mr James is now seeking to create a new memorial to commemorate the Japanese soldiers at the site of the unmarked grave in St. Mary’s church in Angle, and has contacted the Japanese Embassy to raise the issue.

Ken Matsui, a retired Japanese Major General living in Swansea, was also contacted by Mr James regarding the memorial and was “touched” that Pembrokeshire residents wanted to mark the loss that his country had experienced.

Japan also has naval roots within Pembrokeshire, as the first ever ship for the Imperial Japanese Navy was built in Pembroke Dock. Remarking on his wish to remember the fallen soldiers, Mr James said: ”You could say I’m keeping a promise that I make every Remembrance Day: ‘We will remember them.’ These people were our allies, somebody’s sons, husbands and fathers. There should be a marker there; I feel it is only right.”

With the permission of St Mary’s Church, Mr James would like to hold a special remembrance service for the Japanese soldiers once the memorial has been built.

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Health

Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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Joinery learner through to Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year Finals

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE joinery learner, Conor Ratcliff has made it through to the final ten in this year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice of the Year competition.

Now in its seventh year, the competition celebrates the next generation of tradespeople as they start out on their career. With over 2,500 nominations, Conor was shortlisted to the top 30 where he had to deliver a video presentation to industry-leading judges and trade body representatives. Judged on professionalism, creativity, innovation, enthusiasm and knowledge of their trade, Conor impressed the judges and is now in the final 10.  

Simon Jackson, Screwfix Customer and Digital director, commented: “Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and, this year, we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade.

“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and £10,000 prize bundle helps kickstart an apprentice’s career. I’d like to wish everyone through to this stage the best of luck!”

The prize package includes everything a future tradesperson may need to start up their own business including £5,000 of tools, a £3,000 training budget and £2,000 worth of technology. The college where they study will also receive £2,000.

Conor is thrilled to have made it through to the finals and commented: “I am extremely honoured to have made it this far in the competition and I am very excited for the final event. It would be an amazing opportunity for me, if I won this competition.

“I hope it encourages more people to consider an apprenticeship in a trade, the Carpentry and Joinery department have been incredibly supportive during my studies.”

The Final is due to take place imminently where the judges will conduct an online interview with the ten finalists before selecting and announcing their overall winner.

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