Time to Remember campaign receives new boost

Time to Remember HMS Achates.

Time to Remember HMS Achates.

First published in News

THE campaign for a permanent reminder in Halesowen to mark the sinking of the town's adopted warship in World War Two has received another boost.

Halesowen South Councillor David Vickers raised the issue at full Dudley Council and called on council bosses to mark the ship which sunk in 1942 killing 113 of her crew.

He said: “I am pleased to support the Halesowen News campaign to recognise the fantastic contribution made by the people of Halesowen to adopt and refit HMS Achates and the incredible sacrifices and hardships endured by those who served on her.

“Nothing we can do ever adequately repay our debt to those who gave so much for us, but by remembering the Achates in this we can at least recognise how much we owe to those who gave, fought and died to protect our freedoms.”

Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris has backed the campaign and believes a street should be named after the ship.

He said: “I hope that Dudley Council will listen to Councillor Vickers’ excellent suggestion that a street in Halesowen should be named in honour of HMS Achates to reflect the pride we should feel in the strong ties between the ship and our community.

“In the year that we mark the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II, as well as the centenary of the start of the First World War, it would be a fitting tribute both to those who served on-board from the coast of North Africa to the perils of the Arctic, and to those who contributed to the appeal.”

Despite close links Halesowen forged with HMS Achates, townspeople paid for repairs and corresponded with its sailors, a memorial marking its demise never materialised.

However, the Halesowen News launched the Time to Remember campaign in the Spring which aims to get a permanent reminder of the ship in the town.

HMS Achates had a proud war record, including stints off North Africa, and joined the hunt for the Bismarck, which resulted in the giant German ship being sunk.

The Class A destroyer also successfully escorted Russian convoys on perilous missions through the Arctic Circle to help our Eastern allies.

However, HMS Achates’ luck ran out in the Battle of the Barents Sea, but its heroic work meant the convoy it was protecting escaped unscathed.

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