Memorial service for the heroic victims of Second World War bombing raid

Rev Stephen Andrews, RBL branch welfare officer, takes the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a

Rev Stephen Andrews, RBL branch welfare officer, takes the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a German bombing raid which killed 26 ATS women at Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

They were 26 women who were killed in Great Yarmouth while they proudly served their country and defended our freedom.

The standard is lowered during the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a German bombing raid whi

The standard is lowered during the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a German bombing raid which killed 26 ATS women at Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

The deaths of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) personnel 75 years ago yesterday have been remembered at a memorial service at the town’s Burlington Palm Hotel.

The land the hotel is on was a hostel in May 11, 1943 that was bombed by a Focke Wulf 190 leading to the deaths of the 26 ATS members, one of who was from Great Yarmouth, Lillian Grimmer, 19, and who is said to have swapped duties that fateful day.

At 11am the service was held outside the hotel, where a

plaque was placed in 1994 remembering the fallen ATS members.

Rev Stephen Andrews, RBL branch welfare officer, takes the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a

Rev Stephen Andrews, RBL branch welfare officer, takes the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a German bombing raid which killed 26 ATS women at Great Yarmouth. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

It was led by the Rev Stephen Andrews, on behalf of the Royal British Legion.

He said: “Once again we are privileged to gather here to remember with sorrow and with pride all those who sacrificed their lives in the defence of this country.

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“They died doing their duty in the course of freedom.”

Present at the annual ceremony were three former ATS members from Norwich who travel up each year to pay their respects to the 26 women who donned uniform to help the war effort.

Three former ATS serving women who were at the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a German bomb

Three former ATS serving women who were at the service to mark the 75th anniversary of a German bombing raid which killed 26 ATS women at Great Yarmouth. From left, Marjorie Spears, 83; Joan Awbery, 97; and Beryl Manthorp, 97. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Joan Awbery, 97, Beryl Manthorp, 97, and Marjorie Spears had wreaths laid for them and it maybe the last time they all gather to pay their respects.

They all said they attended every year as it was important to keep the remembrance tradition alive.

The memorial event also saw Women’s Royal Army Corps Association standard Sharon Baker-Joyce pay her respects.

From next year the event will be overseen by the Great Yarmouth branch of the Royal British Legion and the Norfolk branch of the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association, with both pledging the tradition will continue for many years.

Paul William, from the Legion branch, said: “We will continue to keep their memory alive.”

The German bombing raid on May 11, 1943 also claimed the lives of another 23 civilians and service personnel.

In 1994, the memorial plaque was unveiled at the hotel by Lady Soames, the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill.