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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 March 2008, 23:45 GMT
WWII navy warship dead remembered
Wreckage of HMS Hunter
The wreckage of HMS Hunter was discovered in a Norwegian fjord
A wreath-laying ceremony has been held for 110 people who died when their Royal Navy destroyer was sunk off Norway during World War II.

HMS Hunter had been undiscovered since being sunk by German forces in April 1940 during the Battle of Narvik.

But earlier this week, the wreck was found 305m (1,000ft) under the surface by a Norwegian mine control vessel on a multinational training exercise.

Wreaths were laid at the site which will be marked as a war grave.

A procession of ships led by Flag Ship HMS Albion and including HMS Bulwark and HMS Cornwall held a formal wreath-laying and memorial service, conducting synchronised ceremonies on deck.

They then turned in formation and steamed over the wreck.

The crew who died were also were toasted in the traditional Navy way, with a tot of rum poured over the side.

British ships had been sent to the remote port of Narvik during the German World War II invasion of Norway with orders to prevent enemy forces from landing.

Able Seaman John Hague
After so many years HMS Hunter has been found and my fellow shipmates have a resting place
Survivor, John Hague

The British entered the harbour early on the morning of 10 April 1940 and sank two German destroyers and six merchant ships.

However another five German destroyers were at anchor in other fjords and attacked the British flotilla, killing Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee, destroying his flagship, sinking HMS Hunter and damaging two other ships.

HMS Hunter, an 1,880-tonne H-class destroyer, had a crew of 145 - 110 of whom were killed when it was sunk at 0530 GMT.

There have been several attempts to find the vessel over the years, but it was the Norwegian mine hunter Hnoms Tyr, while on an exercise with the Royal Navy, the Norwegian navy and the Dutch navy, which made the discovery.

One of HMS Hunter's survivors, Fred Ward, has spoken of his "great sense of relief" that the wreck has been found.

"I would like to thank the Norwegian people and the Royal Navy for their very kind tributes following the discovery of my old ship," he said.

John Hague, 87, who also survived the sinking, said: "I am so pleased and overwhelmed to know that after so many years HMS Hunter has been found and my fellow shipmates have a resting place."

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