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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 19:09 GMT
Duke unveils destroyer memorial
Ceremony for the memorial unveiling
The memorial was unveiled and dedicated in a ceremony
A sculpture remembering 11,000 men who died on 142 Royal Navy destroyers sunk during World War II has been unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Hundreds of veterans were in Kent for a ceremony to mark the unveiling of the bronze work next to HMS Cavalier - the last operational WWII destroyer.

HMS Cavalier was then dedicated as the National Destroyer Memorial at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

A 65m Royal Navy ship, HMS Ledbury, was moored on the Medway for the event.

'Tangible recognition'

Admiral Sir Ian Garnett said: "We are delighted that not only HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attended to unveil the monument today, but also that nearly 400 guests who lost close relatives serving, or served themselves, in destroyers during World War II, were amongst the 900 attending."

The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust chairman added: "We must never forget the men who served in these destroyers, who made an enormous contribution to the war effort and many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice."

He said their contribution was now "tangibly recognised" for the first time in more than 60 years by the monument.

Ceremony for the memorial unveiling
Hundreds of veterans were at the dockyard for the ceremony

Commissioned by the dockyard as "a major piece of public art", the 12ft 6in (3.8 m) by 10ft 6in (3m) sculpture rests on a granite plinth of recycled dock stone.

Sculptor Kenneth Potts said the scene reflected his research into "the moving story of ordinary men engaged in a titanic battle against an implacable enemy and the unrelenting elements".

HMS Ledbury, which was commissioned in 1981 and is used for mine hunting and mine sweeping, will be open to the public on Thursday and Friday before she leaves on Saturday.

Local companies built a pier on the River Medway so HMS Ledbury could moor next to the dockyard.


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