Cromwell Lock Memorial to 131 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers

28th September 1975

CROMWELL LOCK MEMORIAL

 

SUNDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2014

Today saw the 39th Anniversary memorial to the men of 300 Troop of 131 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, who died on a night Exercise "Trent Chase" on 28th of September 1975. This was an annual water skill exercise over approximately 80 miles. In stormy weather and dark conditions 10 out of the 11 Sappers drowned when their assault boat went over Cromwell Weir, including two Brothers, Sappers Stuart and Peter Evenden. 300 Troop were from Scotland. A memorial was erected by the Locks, opposite to the weir, made of Scottish granite, with the names of the men inscribed on a bronze plaque.

Today's ceremony was attended by the Newark and Nottingham Branches of the Parachute Regimental Association. Fittingly a serving member of the Parachute Engineers laid a wreath for the Newark Branch, and a former member of the Parachute Engineers, Mike Wardle, laid a wreath on behalf of the Nottingham Branch.
A short memorial ceremony was carried out by the memorial with a reading of the incident by Col. (Retd) John Tinsley (23 PFA). A reading of the Airborne prayer was given by Reverend Christine French, of St Giles Church. One of the local village farmers, David Jackson, also attended the service. David’s Uncle, Ron Graves, had been one of the first on scene with the Ambulance service. David had brought along a certificate of service for his Uncles 31 years’ service with the Ambulance service.


Stuart McNair, National bugler for The Parachute Regimental Association, and member of the Newark Branch played the last post.

The service by the memorial was followed by a buffet at Tom and Daphne Sharpe's bungalow in the village of Cromwell. Members of both Branches then headed to St Giles Church in the village, where a church service was held.

The Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace attended the church service, with a talk to the guard of Honour before entering the Church. Col. John Tinsley read the first reading and Sir John Peace read the second reading. The service was given by Reverend Christine French, and Stuart McNair also played the last post. After the service finished there were refreshments, before the two Branches made their way home. Next year will see the 40th Anniversary at the Lock. This had also been the Reverend Christine French's last memorial service, as she is moving to a different Parish at Kirk-Hallam in Derbyshire.

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ABOVE: THE TWO BRANCHES MARCH TO THE MEMORIAL

BELOW: THE TWO BRANCHES HAVE A GROUP PHOTO TAKEN BY THE MEMORIAL GARDEN

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BELOW: THE MEMORIAL STONE WITH NAMES OF THE FALLEN ON A BRONZE PLATE

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Sunday 29th September 2013




Sunday 29th of September saw the annual pilgrimage to the memory of the ten Parachute Engineers killed at Cromwell Lock weir on the night of the 28th September 1975 during a night time exercise. This occurred during a storm when the lights of the weir were put out of action, and ten out of the eleven soldiers drowned at this place. Newark and Nottingham Branch members have an annual memorial dedication on the last Sunday of the month of September to mark this tragic event. This years service was attended by the Bishop of Southwell, Paul Butler and Reverend Christine French of St Giles Church Cromwell. After the short service the two branches were hosted by members of Newark Branch at a buffet in the village, followed by a Church service.