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1982, however, was very much a landmark year for the Society, with the Charioteers returning to Saint-Nazaire for the 40th anniversary of the raid on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, generously made available by Her Majesty. Sailing from Portsmouth on Thursday 22nd April and returning on Monday the 26th, this was a rare privilege marked by the publication of a commemorative booklet. 145 Members of the Society were present at the Memorial - a mere 5 fewer than the number attending in 1947. This was a very special return, graced by the presence of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, by distinguished Frenchmen and by the the region's Anciens Combattants. With the clear air ringing to the sound of the piper arranged by (Lieutenant) Stuart Chant, to bugles sounding the Last Post and Reveille, and to the Royal Marines band playing Auld Lang Syne, this was a time for sober reflection and for remembering all those who had been lost. At the War Cemetery on the outskirts of La Baule, M. Guitton praised the fallen with a sentiment first expressed in 1947; 'You are the sons of France. (Your) memory is hallowed'.

With the passing of the years the Society began to expand beyond the veterans of the raid themselves. In 1950 a proposal was accepted that the eldest sons of Members should be allowed to become Associate Members on reaching 21 years of age; and the 10th annual dinner, in March, 1952, saw ladies attending for the first time. Speaking at the event were Lord Louis Mountbatten - whose staff at Combined Operations, had developed the daring plan of attack - and the Mayor of Saint-Nazaire, M. Jean Guitton.

The Charioteers marching through the streets of Saint-Nazaire

L-R: Alf Searson, Bill Clibborn, Dick Bradley, Micky Burn, Robbie Barron, Eric de la Torre, Ronnie Swayne, Neil Oughtred and John May

On board Her Majesty's Royal Yacht Britannia

1982: returning in style, 40 years on


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