HMS King Alfred honours D-day trainees

To mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, HMS King Alfred has supported events across Hampshire, honouring the work of the 22,500 Royal Naval Reserve who trained at the unit in WWII.

HMS King Alfred was the main officer training establishment of the Royal Naval Reserve during World War II and between 1939 to 1945 and in that short time trained 22,500 personnel.

Amongst the trainees were commonwealth Naval Reserve officers, most notably from Australia and New Zealand.

One of the specialities of officers trained at HMS King Alfred was that of landing craft commander, and as such D-Day has a particular significance for the unit.

Working at night and launched from Royal Navy submarines, their role was to secretly map the landing sites & make D-day possible.

As part of remember them, HMS King Alfred has been busy supporting ceremonies of remembrance from the spectacular D-Day 75 event at Portsmouth to the smaller events around Hampshire.

Particularly significant for us have been events such as Exbury House (formerly HMS Mastadon), where many Royal Naval Reserve worked and which was the training centre for Landing Craft Coxswain.

There, we were privileged to meet Marion Loveland, one of the WRNS working at the site on D-Day.  In the commemorations we remembered the fallen, amongst them Marion's fiancé.

A Royal Marines signals officer, he landed at Sword Beach on the first morning of June 7th 1944 and was killed in action.

His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Royal Navy Memorial to the missing at Southsea.

Also hugely significant for us were the commemorations at Hayling Island for the swimmer canoeists Combined Operations Pilotage Parties, many of whom were also Royal Naval Reserve trained at HMS King Alfred. 

Working at night and launched from Royal Navy submarines, their role was to secretly map the landing sites & make DDay possible. 

Drawn from all three services they trained at Hayling Island at what is now Hayling Island Sailing Club.

The unit also supported the main commemoration in Portsmouth on Southsea Common.

A truly spectacular event, a unique chance to meet royalty and a fitting commemoration of all those who did so much on D-Day 75 years ago.