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D-Day rescue boat will be in Milford Haven for 75th anniversary commemoration

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MILFORD HAVEN will be commemorating 75 years since the D Day landings in Normandy on Thursday, with the Royal British Legion’s local branch organising a service at 11am on The Rath.

But this years’ service will be extra special because out in The Haven an original WW2 RAF air sea rescue launch, which was in Normandy during the invasion, will be motoring past for all to see.

Call sign 441, the RAF high speed launch and her crew rescued the entire crew of a downed B17 aircraft during the Operation Overlord.

Owned by Mr Alistair and Mrs Marion Walker, it is the only working example of its type and during WW2 served at RAF Pembroke Dock

These craft were constructed by the British Power Boat Co, Hythe Nr Southampton. and were designed by George Salman as seaplane tenders. Power was supplied by 2 x 130 hp Perkins diesel engines giving a speed of 23 knots and were constructed between 1941 –1944.

The main work was running the crews out to moored aircraft and acting as tugs and service craft. As the war progressed and more use was made of land bases, they became surplus to requirements. However, a new role was found for them to provide a comprehensive A.S.R cover of the waters around the coast and to this end it was necessary to use some of the smaller tidal harbours. It was almost impossible to use any of the larger High Speed craft for this purpose, and the Seaplane tenders were ideal fitted the role admirably.

Some of the notable rescues by these small craft such as no 1515 operating out of Lyme Regis picked up 26 paratroops from Lyme Bay on D Day and 441 is known to have res¬cued a complete crew of a Fortress bomber and 444 the crew of a Lancaster who were located by light signals.

The RAF Search and Rescue Force

The Marine Craft Section (MCS) was created just days after the formation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1918, but would achieve fame for its role in air-sea rescue operations during the Second World War.

As the UK entered the Second World War, the MCS found itself ill-prepared for war. During the Battle of Britain, the MCS could only keep 10 of 13 High Speed Launch (HSL) boats available for air-sea rescue operations at any one time. The high performance of the craft was at the expense of the service life of the engines, at only 360 hours. Even with the help of civilian vessels and the Royal Navy, aircrew who baled out or ditched in the North Sea and English Channel had only a 20% chance of being returned to their squadrons. Between mid-July and October 1940, the UK lost 215 pilots and aircrew to the seas.

In light of this, in 1941, an emergency meeting was convened by Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris. The Royal Navy offered to take over sea rescue operations in their entirety. The RAF declined and subsequently created the Directorate of Air Sea Rescue in February 1941.

Operationally it was to be known as Air Sea Rescue Services (ASRS), later becoming the RAF Search and Rescue Force. Together with the expansion of the ASRS component of the MCS, the ASRS worked to improve the survival of aircrews through the development and issue of better individual survival equipment. By the end of the Second World War, more than 8,000 aircrew and 5,000 civilians had been rescued, and the MCS had some 300 HSLs and over 1,000 other vessels, located not just in the waters around the UK, but around the world.

After the war, the MCS was granted full branch status in 1947, however the role of the new branch would be greatly reduced post-war. This was due to a variety of factors, including the end of the British Empire, the withdrawal of flying boats from service and the increasing use of helicopters in air-sea rescue. The branch was disbanded in 1986.

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SAVEOURVENUES! Support Narberth Queens Hall

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The Queens Hall Narberth has become part of a national initiative set up by the Music Venues Trust and  is asking for your help to prevent closure of its the popular venue, alongside 100s of independent music venues up and down the country.

They have explained that as the weeks pass the doors on the Queens Hall are looking more difficult to reopen. To gain more support and funding they have set their first Crowdfunder campaign with some exciting opportunities created through teaming up with local businesses and the community.

Local communities such as Sursum Tattoo owner Mat Price has created some amazing t-shirt designs in order to help raise funds to support to Queens Hall during these very hard times for many music venues. They are limited edition so get them before they go!

Lee John Phillips of The Shed Project has also kindly donated a beautiful Narberth photo-collage for the Crowdfunder. Lee had created the original for the Oriel Q project which can be viewed  on the top floor of The Queens Hall, and the print can be seen on the wall next to the Main Hall entrance. There are once again very limited numbers of these prints, so grab one while you can. These are only some of the amazing grabs up for offer, all can be found on the Narberth Queens Hall website.

The money raised through the Crowd funder will be used to help support the venue after the impact Corona virus and lockdown has had on the hall, and will help prevent the closure. If enough money is raised to reach the amount which will support the Hall from closure the left over amount will be donated to the Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund to protect other venues in fear of closure across the country.

With just hours left to donate, your time is short to show your support for one of the most well known venues in west Wales. If you want to help out, here is the link to their crowdfunded page: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savethequeenshallnarberth

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Farm shop helps disabled

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A retail outlet selling a range of products handcrafted by local disabled people has been officially opened.

The farm shop at Scolton Manor near Haverfordwest also provides employment for those with a disability.

It is the result of collaborative working between a number of organisations.

A leading role is played by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Norman Industries – a supported factory in Snowdrop Lane, Haverfordwest, which employs people with a disability.

The opening of the Scolton Manor farm shop has enabled Norman Industries to employ a further six people in the unit, giving them experience in a retail environment and customer service.

A further three disabled people have been taken on in its craft workshop bringing the total number of people on its supported
employment programme to over 50.    

The shop supports a wide range of Pembrokeshire producers – not just Norman Industries – and has opened up a range of work-based alternative day opportunities for people in craft industries.  

Funding has been accessed through a variety of sources including from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) through its Access to Work programme, through Workways+ from European Funds and through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund.

The official opening was performed by the Vice Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Michael James.

He told guests: “This enterprise is an important step in improving the wellbeing of Pembrokeshire citizens. Along with the other initiatives run by Norman Industries, it shows how the County Council has improved its support and employment of people with disability over the last two years.”

Councillor James said the work had resulted in Pembrokeshire County Council being recognised as a DWP Disability Confident
Leader – the first local authority in Wales to achieve the distinction.

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Oil refinery exported to Pakistan from Pembroke Port

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THE FINAL parts of a decommissioned oil refinery have been successfully exported to Pakistan from Pembroke Port in a six-week operation.

The former Murco refinery in Pembrokeshire closed in 2014 and during the past three years over 13,000 tonnes of cargo has been transported over the quay in seven exports to southern Asia.

Over the past couple of months, 1,690 tonnes worth of components were exported on the heavy lift vessel Regine and 1,125 tonnes on the Maria. The largest lift weighed 315 tonnes and measured 21.3m x 8.8m x 8.3m.

In addition to these heavy lift vessels, the Terra Marique barge was positioned at Gelliswick Bay to load the parts that were too large to be transported by road and taken to Pembroke Port along the Milford Haven Waterway. This was a specialist operation as sand had to be dug out of the beach, a ramp built and parts were driven onto the barge when the tide allowed.

Operation underway: The Maria at Pembroke Port

Previously in June this year, 2,227 tonnes were exported on the Grietje and last year 4,865 tonnes were exported on the Annemieke, Regine and Frauke. In 2017, 3,240 tonnes of parts were loaded onto the largest vessel to visit to Pembroke Port, the Combi Dock III.

Chris Oliver, Operations Manager at Pembroke Port, commented “The export of the refinery components from Pembroke Port ran smoothly and efficiently. We deal with a wide range of cargoes on a daily basis but this was definitely one of the larger operations in recent years. Our site is flexible in accommodating numerous sectors including breakbulk, renewables, heavy lift operations and storage with a highly experienced team on hand to deliver a safe and professional service.”

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