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Given the distance to be travelled by Coastal Forces vessels of limited range, it was essential to identify a departure port both close enough to the open sea to permit only one night to be spent at sea, and large enough to accommodate the assembling fleet. It was indeed fortunate that Falmouth not only met both of these requirements, but also had its own Coastal Forces base, HMS Forte IV, located at The Coastlines. Today's Membley Hall Hotel, then designated Forte 1, was another Naval facility which became, temporarily, the Headquarters of Commander Ryder, its former sun lounge used for much of the raid planning. Ryder arrived in the port on March 10th whereupon Falmouth remained intimately involved with the raid until the fleet's departure on March 26th. The port then saw the return of surviving vessels on Sunday March 29th, the destroyer HMS Brocklesby carrying the body of Able Seaman Bill Savage VC who was interred in Falmouth Cemetery alongside Leading Motor Mechanic Tom Parker


Naval Charioteers Bob Nock, Frank Arkle, Bill Tillie and Robbie Roberts

The new site on Prince of Wales Pier

The re-sited original Memorial is now surrounded by annotated plinths.

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, prepare for the unveiling of the new Memorial.

In 1989 more than 170 from the Society went to Falmouth for the first time, and there a memorial to the Charioteers was dedicated on Fish Strand Quay. Viscount Falmouth, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, slipped the White Ensign from a simple granite boulder to reveal the plaque beneath, which read 'From this harbour 622 sailors and commandos set sail for the successful raid on St. Nazaire, 28 March, 1942. 168 were killed and 5 Victoria Crosses were awarded. Dedicated to the memory of their comrades by The St. Nazaire Society.'


In 2008, in recognition of the raid's expanding profile, the original memorial stone was moved to Prince of Wales Pier, to become the centrepiece of a much expanded site in the very heart of the port. Unveiled on July 11th by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, who arrived by boat from St. Mawes to be greeted by veterans and local dignitaries, that single stone, shown right, is now encircled by a series of plinths each capped with inscribed quotations from those who took part in the raid.

2008: Falmouth unveils a new memorial

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