By Mike Kemble (c) From information provided by Ray Holden, Clem Bray, Christine Chaplin, Lionel Irish, Mary Davies, Paul Masterson & Others
Updates: 5 August 2008. Latest Information at head of page
This was sent to me by Ray and shows wreaths laid in Nov 05 by Lionel & Ray & one from the Webb Family. The flowers are from Christine Chaplin & her family.
On 21st August 2008, the above plaque joined the Kite Memorial in Braintree.
November 12th 2006
Ray Holden and members of the HMS Kite Association attended a Service at Tom's local church, St George's in Kidderminster. During the Service, Ray presented a plaque to the Church in Tom's memory and the other 216 lads who died in this tragedy. Here are some images from the occasion:
Ray addresses the congregation with a brief history of the 2nd Support Group and HMS Kite
Ray, with Alan McMillan, presents the plaque to the Vicar
The Plaque and the Table of Remembrance in the Church
The vicar with some of the HMS Kite Association
The Vicar, Nick Barker, & Ray Holden with the HMS Kite Plaque. Our thanks to all at St George's who made us feel very welcome.
We then retired to The Crown, on Worcester Road, Kidderminster for some lunch
Mary Davis & her Father Tom McGrath, who also lost a brother on HMS Kite. They made the journey down from Liverpool for this occasion
Alan McMillan entertains the group with some subtle Irish anecdote
Thank you to everyone for coming, it was a good day
Nov 17th 2006.
The local paper has now been released together with the feature on Kite which I am attaching. I have received a phone call from a local person who saw the photo of Tom, Jean his sister in law who I havenít seen since Tomís wedding day in 1944 when she was a bridesmaid aged sixteen. She told me that she has Tomís medals still in mint condition still in the box that they were sent in from the Admiralty and have not been mounted. She found them at her mothers house when she went to clear it after her mothers death and she has held on to them and now wants to hand them to me and I have made arrangements to meet her at her home which is only five minutes away. But she still remembers her sisters husband as one of the loveliest men you could possibly meet. In a way she is related in marriage to Jim Bent who worked with Tom and joined up with him so the newspaper report came as a real shock to her and her husband. How big or small is this world. Ray.
Nov 2004. Hi Everyone,
A few words about Remembrance Day at Braintree when I placed wreaths both on the HMS Kite Memorial and Braintree's War Memorial in their Public Gardens. Also placed on the Kite memorial were a few plaques for those who requested it. It was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky but it did go bitterly cold later in the day at the ceremony.
Unlike any other town in the UK, Braintree holds its ceremony at 2pm on the Sunday afternoon and this caught me totally unprepared, however after a late breakfast we went to the service in St Peters Church which is at the rear of the gardens the last post was sounded there. Reg Jennings who served on HMS Wren was there to welcome us and also a couple from Braintree who regularly place flowers on the memorial even though they have no direct connection with the men lost on Kite. Special mention was made about us over the address system, that we had already placed a wreath on the Kite memorial and were now paying homage to the lost men of Braintree, also that we had made the long journey from Worcestershire to do so.
When Braintree Council chose the spot for the Kite memorial they put it in a very prominent position, everyone passing through the gardens has to walk past it, the bands and detachments on remembrance Day march past it to form up for the ceremony and all march past it again on the way to the church service. I was especially impressed by the interests of the younger generations, the last Post and Reveille played by a young guide to very good effect. I am now in my seventy second year most of them spent working for recognition of the lost men of Kite, I am on a limited income and although I have spent large amounts of money i cannot continue to do so. I asked for contributions and only two responded which brings me to the question that I have been asked by a few members WHAT OF THE ASSOCIATION NOW. That is entirely up to you, I am prepared to continue along the same lines as I always have, and on your behalf but I cannot do it without your support, the Kite Memorial was our achievement, will it remain so are will it be our shame to be left barren. I hope to visit Braintree again, maybe on 21st August next year and I must know if I also represent all of you or will it be a personal homage, as long as I am able to walk this earth Kite's men will remain special to me every single one of them. Some brief news that i have gleaned, Lt Comd Seagrave who commanded HMS Kite was awarded three DSCs by Johnnie Walkers Recommendation, she was more than entitled to be called ONE OF WALKERS SHIPS.
Christine Chaplin will be visiting the memorial next Easter together with her mother and other members of her family and she will be placing a wreath and crosses please contact me if you want a cross placed.
Let me have your opinions on the association
Regards Ray Holden.
Hi everyone, only five people were interested in Kite Ties making the project too costly to proceed with. I am now turning my thoughts towards Remembrance Sunday on Nov 14th when I will be travelling down to Braintree again to lay a wreath on the new HMS Kite Memorial, my wife, sister Shirley and her husband Dennis will be travelling with me and we will be laying two wreaths one on the War Memorial and the other on the Kite Memorial. Stalwart Alan McMillan has already booked his flight over from Ireland to be with us and I am hoping that more of you may be able to attend. If people who cant attend would like a poppy cross placed pleased let me have a donation which I will pass on to the Royal British Legion and I will also see that your relatives name is included on the cross. Both wreaths have been obtained from my local Royal British Legion at a cost of £35 and I will also be obtaining the crosses from the same place. November isn't the best of times to go visiting but spare a thought for the men of HMS Kite who had no choice no matter what the weather or time of year. Now that we all have a special memorial we must see that those men are honoured as well the should be. Ray Holden.
Some members have asked if I can supply ties with the Kite Logo on, the answer is yes at a price. I have contacted a supplier for the ties who will supply at a discount and also a company specializing in ships logos. To design and print the logo is very costly and an overall cost of each tie would be £18 but I need a minimum number of ten members to place an order with me. Please let me know as soon as you possibly can. Ray.
60th Anniversary of the Sinking of HMS Kite 21st August 2004 Braintree The event at Braintree turned out to be a most wonderful rewarding day for me and my family and most all people who attended. The memorial was much more than I ever expect and the
welcome and hospitality shown to the Kite Association was second to none. Many people commented on the buffet which was set out for us and I have sent a letter to Braintree District Council thanking them for everything they did to provide our lost men with such a fine memorial. Many people commented on the poem I read out to the gathering and you may all
have noticed the emotion that overtook me. I have also shown my gratitude for the hard work that Robert Rose and Andrew Gladwell put into this event and also the previous one last November. People are asking me "what now" for the Association, well Kite sails on in her new found glory and who knows perhaps more glorious things. Some of our stalwarts were
missing namely Mike Kemble and Alan McMillan and I would like to thank them for their support in the past and special thanks to Mike whose website gets bigger at every event to his own personal cost. Members who donated towards the memorial and made it possible were:- I will be returning to Braintree for remembrance day and will be laying the first wreath on HMS Kites memorial, I will be more than glad to see some of you there. Best wishes to you all. Ray Holden. (See images below).
60th Anniversary of the Sinking of HMS Kite 21st August 2004 Braintree
The event at Braintree turned out to be a most wonderful rewarding day for me and my family and most all people who attended. The memorial was much more than I ever expect and the welcome and hospitality shown to the Kite Association was second to none. Many people commented on the buffet which was set out for us and I have sent a letter to Braintree District Council thanking them for everything they did to provide our lost men with such a fine memorial. Many people commented on the poem I read out to the gathering and you may all have noticed the emotion that overtook me. I have also shown my gratitude for the hard work that Robert Rose and Andrew Gladwell put into this event and also the previous one last November. People are asking me "what now" for the Association, well Kite sails on in her new found glory and who knows perhaps more glorious things. Some of our stalwarts were missing namely Mike Kemble and Alan McMillan and I would like to thank them for their support in the past and special thanks to Mike whose website gets bigger at every event to his own personal cost. Members who donated towards the memorial and made it possible were:-
I will be returning to Braintree for remembrance day and will be laying the first wreath on HMS Kites memorial, I will be more than glad to see some of you there. Best wishes to you all. Ray Holden. (See images below).
10th July - Liverpool. 60th Anniversary of the Death of Capt Walker
The 10th July dawned and we progressed along to the Pier Head to attend the handing over of the Captain Walker statue to the care of Liverpool Council. Captain Walker's Old boys Association is no more. It was becoming too difficult for its few remaining members to attend functions, travelling as they have been doing, from all over the country. Therefore it was decided to hand the Statue over to the safe keeping of the council. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool graciously accepted this on behalf of the Council and people of Liverpool. Captain Pat Walker CBE, Johnnie Walkers' grandson, presided over the event. Following on we all went on over to the Church of St Nicholas, behind the Royal Liver Buildings, to attend a service from which we were all bussed over to Bootle Town Hall in the borough of Sefton. Here were were to witness the handing over the the Association (CWOBA) Standard to the care of Bootle Town Hall - this was accepted on their behalf by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sefton. A painting of HMS Woodpecker was also handed over and a painting of HMS Kite also along with a plaque which was personally handed over to Capt Pat Walker by Ray Holden and Lionel Irish. Pat Marsh was honoured for her sterling work with the Association. With these memorials in place has finally arrived my lifetimes achievement of a lasting memorial to those lost men of HMS Kite, every one will be named as at Braintree. The 21st of August is the sixtieth anniversary of the sinking of HMS Kite and there will be another visit there on that day when the full HMS Kite Exhibition will be opened. Either a plaque or an inscription on the War Memorial will be put in place paid for by the people of Braintree. These are very special occasions for us with HMS Kite back with her 2nd Support Group. we will not have the support of the Old Boys after this year. Click here, to see the photographic record of this weekend.
I have written a book in which HMS Kite has her own chapter. You may purchase it from HERE
Copyright © Mike Kemble