THE granddaughter of one of the heroes of the St Nazaire raid was the guest of honour at this morning's commemoration on Prince of Wales Pier.

Amy Thom, the granddaughter of Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Charles Newman VC, only moved to Cornwall last August to take up a position at Seasalt.

Before her interview for the job she became aware of the St Nazaire installation on Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth with quotes from her grandfather inscribed on one of the stone mounted plates.

The quote reads: "Well chaps, we've missed the boat. Looks like we'll have to walk."

Amy Thom, St Nazaire commemoration

Amy Thom, at the St Nazaire commemoration

Mrs Thom moved to Perranwell Station from Kent with her family last August to start work at Sea Salt. Her daughter Harriet goes to Mylor Bridge School.

"It's lovely to have a family connection to Cornwall for my kids," she told the Packet.

"I'm not from Cornwall and have only been here since last August. When I came down for the first time for my interview at Seasalt I saw it. I thought that's fate. Then I saw they held a service every year. I contacted Mark at the town council and he invited me to pay tribute to my grandfather."

Falmouth mayor Steve Eva, St Nazaire commemoration

Falmouth mayor Steve Eva pays tribute, St Nazaire commemoration

Unfortunately he died before Amy was born but she said she was honoured to be able to lay the wreath in his memory.

"We are very, very, proud of him" she said. "I am very proud to be able to lay this wreath. We are a very, very large family. I have 17 to 18 cousins and my mum was one of six. I grew up in Sandwich in Kent and there is a memorial there to him too."

His Victoria Cross is no longer with the family but is in the Imperial War Museum in London.

Col Newman VC

Lieutenant Colonel Augustus Charles Newman VC

Colonel Newman VC was the officer Commanding No 2 Commando and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry whilst Military Force Commander of Operation Chariot, St Nazaire. He was a prisoner of war after the raid.

The annual St Nazaire Raid commemoration was moved from its previous date of March 29 to the new date of April 18 to allow more people to attend once lockdown rules were eased on April 12.

St Nazaire commemoration

St Nazaire commemoration standards are lowered

This allowed more people to attend.

Last year the the service was cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions.

The ceremony on Prince of Wales Pier commemorates the 611 commandos and sailors who took part in Operation Chariot during World War Two, 169 were killed and 200, mostly wounded, were taken prisoner.

St Nazaire commemoration

Te Royal Navy lays a wreath at St Nazaire commemoration

HMS Campbeltown accompanied by 16 motor launches packed full of commandos and escorted by two destroyers, departed Falmouth on March 26 1942, with the intention of blocking the St Nazaire docks and rendering the port unusable by the German Navy and the Battleship Tirpitz for maintenance and repairs.

A painting of the St Nazaire raid

A painting of the St Nazaire raid

The raid was successful and Campbeltown, packed with explosives, rammed the dock and exploded, destroying the gates and knocking the giant dry dock out of action for the rest of the war.

Only 242 returned to Falmouth after the raid. Some of the dead lie in cemeteries in France, some were brought home to England, others have no known grave.

St Nazaire commemoration

The salute is taken at the St Nazaire commemoration

Five Victoria Crosses were awarded, two of them posthumously.

St Nazaire commemoration

St Nazaire commemoration

This morning the ceremony was led by Canon Bill Stuart-White and wreaths were laid by the RAF, the HMS Ganges Association, the Merchant Navy, Royal Naval Association, Falmouth MP Cherilyn Mackrory, the St Nazaire Society, Falmouth mayor Steve Eva and the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall Colonel Edward Bolitho as well as Mrs Thom.