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Japanese dignitaries visit Pembrokeshire to study maritime heritage

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JAPANESE visitors have been given unique insights into their long naval and maritime heritage connections with Pembrokeshire.

In a visit arranged by David James, of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society, the party braved the rain during a packed schedule which took them to Angle, Freshwater West and Pembroke Dock – special locations in Japan’s maritime story.

The distinguished party consisted of Mr Isao Kano, Regional CEO, Europe, and MD Mitsubishi Corporation and with him were Mr Misumi, Mr Takahashi and Mr Matsushita, also of Mitsubishi Corporation.

They were joined by Mr Kubota, European Vice President and CEO, Nippon Yusen Kaisha Group, Europe Ltd, and Major General (Retd) Ken Matsui and Mrs Matsui.

At Angle’s St Mary’s Churchyard they saw the recently dedicated memorial to members of the crew of the Japanese liner Hinaro Maru which was torpedoed by the German submarine UB91 in the Irish Sea on October 4, 1918 – just weeks before the end of the Great War. In several locations in Pembrokeshire the bodies of crew and passengers were washed ashore and the Angle
memorial replaces a long lost one from the 1920s. David James was instrumental in arranging for the new memorial to be placed at Angle last autumn.

At the invitation of John and Rosanna Allen-Mirehouse the group visited The Hall at Angle for coffee before travelling to a wet and windy Freshwater West beach. It was here that victims from the Hinaro Maru were washed ashore.

Final port of call was Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre were naval historian and volunteer Ted Goddard introduced the visitors to the remarkable connections with the Japanese Navy and the story of the warship Hiei – built locally forJapan and launched in 1877. A model of the Hiei – one of several made by David James – is on display at the Centre and was the focus of much interest.

Before leaving Pembroke Dock the visitors went to the former Master Shipwright’s House in the Royal Dockyard and viewed the Ginko tree which was given by the then Japanese Ambassador who attended the launching of the Hiei in 1877. The Ginko is now a huge and impressive tree in the garden.

Mr Keiji Kubota’s organisation, the Nippon Yusen Kaisha Line (one time owners of the Hirano Maru) had, together with local donors, funded the construction and erection of the Japanese War Memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard in Angle marking the last resting place of ten sailors from the Hirano Maru.
Mr Kubota is a close friend of Mr Isao Kano and so when the topic of the war grave and the Ginko tree project came up Mr Kano was very interested and wished to see the grave and the now famous Ginko tree; hence the visit was arranged.

Cuttings have been taken from the Ginko tree and are being grown on in the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, and the delegates are arranging for the cuttings, once strong enough, to be taken back to Japan to be planted in Places of Honour. One of these places is Kure, the naval base near Hiroshima in Japan.

The Mayor of Kure was told that David James had said ‘The Imperial Japanese Navy was born in Pembroke Dock’. He replied that his city was born because of a ship built in Pembroke Dock.

Pictured: Left to right, Ted Goddard, Naval Historian; Major General( Retd) Ken Matsui, Mr Isao Kano , regional CEO Mitsubishi Corporation Europe, Mr Misumi (Director Mitsubishi), Mr David James local naval historian and secretary West Wales Maritime Heritage; Mr Takahashi (director Mitsubishi) Mr Keiji Kubota , European Vice President and CEO Nippon Yusen Kaisha Europe, Mr Matsushita (Director Mitsubishi). They are admiring the model of Hiei 1877 built by David James. This was one of the first ships in the Imperial Japanese Navy and was once Commanded by Lieutenant, later Marshal Admiral, Hehachiro Togo, a Japanese National hero.

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Milford Haven: Concerns over council refuse collection staff using drugs on duty

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL have confirmed that they are conducting an ongoing internal investigation.

The probe is relating to “illegal drug use by on-duty refuge collection crews” operating from the Thornton Refuge Depot in Milford Haven.

The Herald understands that following suspicions being raised, drug testing was carried out on refuse crews on Monday (May 10) – all before they left their depot.

This newspaper has been told that a number staff, which includes bin lorry drivers, tested positive for drug use, and that the council called in the police.

That information was passed to The Herald by someone who we have confirmed to be a member of staff working at Pembrokeshire County Council, who did not want to be named.

After a request for a statement, a spokesperson for the council has stressed that none of their vehicles were involved, suggesting that, on the day in question, positive tests were arrived at before any bin lorries had left the depot.

As part of the multi-agency operation the police were called and attended Thornton Refuse Depot, but did not make any arrests, and said they had little involvement in the operation.

Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there is an ongoing internal workplace investigation and can clarify that there was no police involvement on the day in question – no Pembrokeshire County Council vehicles were involved.

“We are not in a position to comment any further at this time.”

Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “At the request of Pembrokeshire County Council, officers attended Thornton Refuse Depot to provide [them with] support on the morning of Monday, May 10.

“Officers attended; however they were not utilised.”

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Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Planning Committee this morning (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application for the construction of a new marine engineering project at Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard.
The plans, vociferously opposed by local heritage groups, passed unanimously.

The matter will now go to the Welsh Government, which has reserved its position on the scheme’s approval.
Committee members expressed the view that the balance between heritage and economic development were balanced, with strong views expressed on either side. They decided the balance of the application favoured economic development subject to conditions regarding aspects of the site’s preservation and its ability to be restored in the future.

The Committee members who attended a site visit on Wednesday, May 12, said it was the most informative and best site visit they had this council term. Visiting the site gave them a clearer idea about what was planned and the scale of the project, which would not have been gained from a paper exercise.

While the approval of the scheme was unanimous, one element of the reserved matters caused some members concern: the height and size of the proposed massive new sheds which would be built at a later phase of the project.
Cllr David Pugh, seconded by Cllr Steve Alderman, moved an amendment which would approve the project and delegate reserved matters to officers apart from the sheds’ construction, which would return to the Committee for detailed approval.

Cllr Tony Wilcox and Cllr Mark Carter emphasised the need for certainty regarding the project’s development, a position supported by Cllr David Howlett, Cllrs Pugh, Alderman and Cllr Stephen Joseph said that little delay would be caused to the scheme by bringing the sheds’ development back to the Committee. They noted the significant intrusion of the sheds into the landscape for miles around.

Planning Officer Mike Simmons advised that the project would proceed in five phases and that the applicant, Milford Haven Port Authority, was keen to proceed with the first phase as soon as possible. The first phase would be the infilling of the docks and pool, removing a caisson gate and preserving it, before the building of new slipways.
The Port Authority already accepted the sheds would only be built if there was commercial demand for them.
The amendment proposed by Cllr Pugh passed by six votes to five with two abstentions.

It means before the sheds are built, the Committee will decide the detailed application relating to them.

All other aspects of the development will be decided by officers.

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Business

Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon

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PEMBROKESHIRE businesses that remain affected by Covid-19 restrictions can check their eligibility for a new package of support from the Welsh Government.

This latest support package will help those businesses eligible to meet ongoing costs through to the end of June as they prepare for re-opening and more normal trading conditions.

Businesses that stand to benefit include:

  • nightclubs and late entertainment venues
  • events and conference venues not covered by the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF)
  • hospitality and leisure businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • supply chain business, which have been materially impacted by restrictions

An eligibility checker has opened on the Business Wales website so businesses can find out how much support they are likely to be entitled to and how to apply.

See more information and check your business’ eligibility at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

Funding will be calculated based on the size of the business and the type of restrictions they are under.

Businesses will be able submit applications to the Welsh Government from 24th May 2021 for grants of up to £25,000 and by the end of the month to Pembrokeshire County Council for smaller fixed Discretionary Grants.

To keep up to date and see the future application process for the Discretionary Grants please see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

The above link will be be updated with the latest information.  

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