Fundraising mission launched for memorial in Cleethorpes to honour sea heroes
A FUNDRAISING drive to pay for a memorial in memory of the brave men who lost their lives while trying to save others stranded at sea has been launched.
The Humber Branch of the Air and Sea Marine Craft Section is on a mission to raise more than £2,000 to pay for a memorial stone and place it outside Ross Castle, in Cleethorpes.
But with just six members left in the club – who are all in their latter years – they are struggling to raise the funds and fear the sacrifice of their fellow comrades may be forgotten forever without the memorial stone by which to remember them.
Youngest member of the club, Trevor Smith, 78, of Seaford Road, Cleethorpes, served in the Royal Air Force's Air Sea Rescue Service in 1952.
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He said: "It would mean such a great deal to all members and their families if we raised enough money to get the stone.
"A lot of the members are getting older. I am very much on my own in doing this because I am the youngest, they are all getting on. We have lost a tremendous amount of members in recent years."
During the Second World War the RAF ASR – whose motto was "the sea shall not have them" – saved thousands of highly-trained aircrew from the waters around the British Isles when returning from overseas war zones.
The stone will remember the men of 22 ASR Grimsby and 1110 Marine Craft Unit at Immingham, who were instrumental in rescuing bombers struck by the treacherous North Sea.
Most RAF sorties – or deployments – at Grimsby took place at night in response to distress signals from bombers returning from raids on Germany and the occupied countries and they usually necessitated long trips to the central north sea between the Humber and the Dutch or German coasts.
Mr Smith looks back at his time in the Air Sea Rescue with great fondness, but his memories are marred with sadness of losing his friends during rescues.
He continued: "We didn't feel brave at the time, we were just doing our job and that was it. We were a bit like the RNLI in that respect. We would go out to all sorts of jobs."
But while Mr Smith remains modest, his wife of 51 years, Ruth, 72, wants everyone to know what her husband and so many other men did for their country.
She said: "They were incredibly brave men and it would be nice for everyone to have this stone as a memorial to them. We go to the RAFA Club in Cleethorpes but that is all there is in their memory.
"There are less and less people who served in the ASR because they are all so old and it bothers us that what they did could be lost forever.
"We are not looking for a lot of money, we are just looking for a way to say thank you to these men."
If you would like to donate money, you can send it to Trevor Smith, 89 Seaford Road, Cleethorpes or contact him on 01472 504778.