ZEEBRUGGE RAID (ST. GEORGE’S DAY 1918)
Dover Town Council will remember the 105th Anniversary of the Dover Patrol’s heroic and historic raid on Zeebrugge on St George’s Day 1918 on Sunday 23rd April 2023. Beginning with a service at 11.00 am in St James’ Cemetery, the commemorations will finish with the ringing of The Zeebrugge Bell at Dover Town Hall.
After the ceremony at St James’ Cemetery, the civic party and veterans will return to Dover Town to ring the Zeebrugge Bell at midday, followed by a short Remembrance Service at the People of Dover War Memorial.
The Zeebrugge Raid was a daring and heroic mission undertaken by the Royal Navy during the First World War. On 23rd April 1918, a squadron of British warships sailed towards the German-occupied port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, with the aim of blocking the canal entrance and preventing German U-boats from accessing the English Channel.
The operation involved several elements, including a diversionary attack on the nearby port of Ostend, a smoke screen to conceal the ships, and the deployment of troops to storm the mole (a long pier or jetty) at Zeebrugge. The plan was risky and audacious, with the troops facing heavy resistance from the defending German forces. Despite the losses suffered by the British, the mission was ultimately successful, with three old ships sunk in the canal entrance, blocking access for U-boats.
The Zeebrugge Raid was a significant event in the First World War, as it disrupted Germany’s naval operations and contributed to the eventual Allied victory. The bravery and sacrifice of the British and Belgian troops involved in the mission were widely recognized, and the raid became a symbol of the courage and determination of the Allied forces.
The annual commemoration of the Zeebrugge Raid in Dover is a way to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the mission and to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of the troops involved. The ceremony includes service at St James’ Cemetery, where many of the fallen soldiers are buried, as well as the ringing of the Zeebrugge Bell at Dover Town Hall. The bell, a gift from the King of Belgium, is a symbol of gratitude for the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers, many of whom were from Dover. The event is open to the public, and residents of Dover and others are encouraged to attend to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers and to remember their bravery and sacrifice.
Photo Credit: Paul Amos