80th Anniversary 2022
12 February 2022 will mark the 80th anniversary of Operation Fuller, more commonly referred to as the Channel Dash. This was the British operation to halt the German Operation Cerberus following the break out of the German fleet from Brest as it attempted to ‘Dash’ through the English Channel en route to the safe haven of German ports. For a variety of reasons Operation Fuller was deemed a failure, the loss of life and aircraft and ultimately the inability to halt the German fleet as a result for many years those that took apart and particularly those that made the ultimate sacrifice were prevented from getting the recognition they deserved for their bravery and selfless actions in the face of overwhelming odds. Latterly the action on the day was seen as a tactical defeat but a strategic victory confining the German ships within their home ports.
The Channel Dash Memorial Trust was formed out of the Channel Dash Association in 2010 to deliver lasting memorials to all those that participated in Operation Fuller, initially with a memorial in Ramsgate Harbour to the men of 825 Naval Air Squadron led by Lieutenant Commander Eugene Esmonde VC who were at the forefront of the attack, all 6 Swordfish aircraft being lost and only 5 of the 18 aircrew surviving. In 2012 on the 70th Anniversary a further memorial was erected in Dover to all those that participated in Operation Fuller, 825 Naval Air Squadron, other Royal Navy units including the MTBs from Dover and HMS Worcester where 27 men were lost, Squadrons of the Royal Air Force where 107 lives were lost, recognition of the part played by the coastal batteries of the Army, and inclusion of the principal Kreigsmarine vessels Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen. Our message at the unveiling of the Remembrance, Recognition and Reconciliation marking the bravery on both sides, this was underpinned by the presence of official representation from the German Navy and attendance by the sons of the opposing Admirals during the Channel Dash who met for the first time, together with veterans and their families. Sadly no known veterans of the operation are still alive to help as mark the 80th anniversary however, the Trust is actively in contact with and supported by surviving family members of the veterans.
This very significant anniversary will also be the final commemoration organised by the Channel Dash Memorial Trust (CDMT). For this 80th anniversary of the Channel Dash the Trust is delighted to be able to mark this auspicious occasion through the very kind support of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the owners of Manston airport River Oak Strategic Partners by returning to the airfield where the Swordfish aircraft of 825 Naval Air Squadron took off on 12th of February 1942 to undertake an act of selfless bravery.
Courtesy of River Oak Strategic Partners the commemoration is being held in Hangar Number 3 at Manston Airport. It will consist of a standing display of aircraft including a Wildcat Helicopter from 825 Naval Squadron. Negotiations are still underway to display a Swordfish and also a Spitfire. We will be joined by Senior Representatives of the Armed Services, Veterans, Cadets and we are especially delighted to be promised high level representation from Germany.
An audio Visual Presentation paying tribute to the participants in Operation Fuller with a musical interlude which will include a special arrangement of music by the late Sir George Martin will be followed by a short act of Remembrance. Following the closing address a buffet reception will be available. Proceedings will commence at 14.30 with a welcome & introduction and guests should assemble from 1400.
Having delivered 2 significant memorials in Ramsgate and Dover, and kept alive the memory of all those that took part in Operations Fuller and Cerberus through many years it is with some sadness that we reach this "swansong" of the CDMT. This promises to be a very moving and memorable day however, as a small independent charity we need some external financial support to make this day extra special for the relatives of the veterans that sacrificed so much for us all. By raising media awareness now we hope to generate some additional support to this event from business locally and nationally.
The event plans are firming up despite the fact that preparations have been somewhat stymied by the recent pandemic and we are now pushing ahead with confidence. The event will be by invitation only due to the restrictions of space within the Hangar
If you would like to support our work or be involved please do contact us