Northampton marks 80 years since HMS Laforey sank

Laforey Parade in Northampton
The HMS Laforey parade takes place annually in Northampton town centre

A landlocked town that adopted a Royal Navy destroyer during World War Two has remembered her sinking, 80 years on.

HMS Laforey, which was torpedoed by a U-boat on 30 March 1944, had been paid for by the community of Northampton.

An annual parade by sea cadets and the RAF cadet band marks the historic link with the warship and its crew, most of whom perished.

"It's important to remember all those on board and what they did for us," said commanding officer Sam Green.

The parade set off from the Guildhall and marched along St Giles Street, forming a loop before returning to St Giles Square to salute the Mayor of Northampton Stephen Hibbert and other dignitaries.

"It is important to acknowledge the community's huge fundraising efforts in 1941- the thousands of pounds raised then is equivalent to almost £26.5m in today's money," said Mr Hibbert."The Laforey Parade has taken place every year for at least 30 years, reminding us how connected the townspeople were to this ship and its crew during the Second World War.

"The parade also gives us another chance to remember and honour those men who gave their lives to protect our freedom."

As well as helping to pay for the ship, local charities, churches and schools provided the crew with gloves, socks and hats, and schoolchildren wrote letters.

When officers and men from the adopted ship visited the local community, a celebratory parade was organised in their honour.

The warship was assigned to several operations in the Mediterranean, including escorting a relief convoy to Malta as part of Operation Halberd.

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