Royal Navy veterans march for fallen comrades for first time during pandemic

Royal Navy veterans remembered lost comrades as they marched at the Cenotaph in London for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The Naval Associations Parade, hosted by the Royal Naval Association, also honoured those who have died in the past 18 months from Covid-19 or other causes and who may not have had the ceremonial send-off they deserved.

The Naval Associations Parade
Royal Navy personnel and navy veterans during the Naval Associations Parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London (Yui Mok/PA)

The salute was taken by Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Phil Hally and a short service was held at the Cenotaph by the Chaplain of the Fleet, The Venerable Andrew Hillier.

Vice Admiral Duncan Potts, the new national president of the Royal Naval Association and a Royal Navy veteran, said: “I took over as president of the Royal Naval Association only a week ago, so this is my first parade, and I am incredibly proud to be here today to stand alongside my shipmates.”

The Royal Navy was represented by two platoons of trainees from HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood, their commanding officers, and the Band of the Royal Marines HMS Collingwood.

Captain Bill Oliphant, the general secretary of the Royal Naval Association and a Royal Navy veteran, said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult couple of years and today was a poignant but well needed opportunity for us to gather together in solidarity to remember the members of our community that we have lost, especially during the pandemic.

“Our community have deeply regretted not being able to give traditional Naval send-offs to our comrades who have crossed the bar, so today we march for them.”

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