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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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3-year-old boy killed in tragic accident on farm near Clynderwen

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A YOUNG CHILD has been tragically killed in a vehicle collision on private land near Clynderwen, the police have confirmed.

A spokesperson for the police told The Pembrokeshire Herald on Wednesday (Aug 4) “Dyfed-Powys Police was alerted to a collision involving a vehicle and a child at a private property in the Clynderwen area at approximately 7pm on Tuesday, August 3.

“Sadly, a three-year-old boy died at the scene.

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing and the family is being supported by specialist officers.

“The Health and Safety Executive and HM Coroner have been informed. Nobody else was injured.”

The Herald understands that the incident involves an agricultural vehicle.

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St. Davids’ Jasmine Joyce scores opening try in Rugby 7’s win against USA

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With just one minute gone, Jasmine Joyce made a fantastic start for GB by crossing the line. Abbie Brown doubled the advantage heading into halftime.

Joyce added GB’s third converted try to make it 21-0 before the USA responded.

Kristi Kirshe crossed and Naya Tapper then went over at the finish for the American team but they could not make up the deficit.

“We had to stay in it,” said Brown. “We were backing each other up and we didn’t let them go. We are all about heart and desire – I am so proud of everyone.”

The GB team had earlier beaten Kenya 31-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals at Tokyo Stadium.

This is an impressive win for Team GB and it guarantees them a place in the semi-finals – where they’ll take on France.

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Trial bathing water testing project makes a splash

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A TRIAL project is making waves in the way the quality of bathing water is recorded and how that information is presented to those thinking of taking a dip.

Launched during the baking hot weather and at the start of the school holidays, the project run by Pembrokeshire County Council aims to develop an information platform for local people, visitors and activity groups to detail the bathing quality away from Blue Flag beaches.

As an Authority, Pembrokeshire County Council is very proud to have the most Blue Flag beaches in the whole of the UK, and this is testament to the fantastic water quality that we have.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the coast is blessed with these conditions and water quality can change on a regular basis

For the project, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Pollution Control Team will take up to six samples, across the period of the school summer holidays.

The team will then provide weekly information on bathing water results, framed against the EU Bathing Water Standards.

Pollution Control Lead Officer, Nathan Miles, said: “To achieve Blue Flag status, it is pretty well known that beaches must meet strict criteria on bathing water quality.

“But we understand that people like to swim right around our coast, not just at Blue Flag beaches, so we thought this trial could provide the bathing water quality information where there’s interest in open water swimming.

“The project is centred around water quality and water safety and linking up with local community councils and interested groups such as the Bluetits Chill Swimmers.

“We are looking for community partners or local councils to develop signage and noticeboards as well as use social media to provide information on water quality and safety in their area.”

Members of the Bluetits were on hand this week to launch the project as Council Pollution Technician Scott Findlay took a sample from Solva Harbour.

That sample will be analysed in the lab and the Bluetits informed of the water quality at the harbour.

Bluetits Chill Swimmers Director Sarah Mullis, said: “We as an organisation believe in giving swimmers the information and tools to increase their knowledge of their local waters in order for them to make choices and take responsibility for their own safety so that they can access all of the benefits that we know open water swimming brings. 

“Up until now this has been in the form of short films on rip currents, waves, tides etc. The data that has already come from this water testing scheme, and talking to Scott about what affects the readings has been fascinating, and we are learning new things about the water we swim in every day.

Pollution Technician: Scott Findlay takes a sample for testing from Solva Harbour (Pic PCC)

“We intend to share this knowledge with our community of 15,000 Bluetits, so this scheme won’t just help Solva Bluetits, but those worldwide to be aware of what may affect the quality of the waters that mean so much to us.”

Cllr Mark Carter, County Councillor for Solva added: “It is great to see this initiative between PCC and the community of Solva that gives local and visiting open water swimmers the information and confidence to make the most of the beautiful area that is Solva harbour.” 

Bruce Payne, Clerk of Solva Community Council said water is the driving force of nature and Solva’s bathing water is precious and must be protected.

He added: “The water testing scheme is very important to the community council. It helps safeguard the water quality for everyone.

“Water sports is also a vital component of village and harbour life. We care about our shared harbour environment and want everyone to be safe and to enjoy the clean seawater of Solva.”

For more information and to get involved in the trial project, contact Nathan Miles on 01437 764551.

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