UK and German Ambassadors take part in remembrance of First World War Zeebrugge Raid

Posted on on 02 May 2014
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The British and German Ambassadors to Belgium have attended commemorations marking the 96th anniversary of the Royal Navy's raid on Zeebrugge during the First World War.

Both envoys spoke of the importance of commemorating the war together at the ceremony in the Belgian port.

Britain attempted to stop Zeebrugge being used as a base for German U-boats by mounting an operation to sink blockships at the harbour entrance in 1918. The attack was carried out on 23rd April, St. George's Day, named after England's Patron Saint.

Speaking at the annual remembrance event in Zeebrugge, the UK Ambassador, Jonathan Brenton, welcomed the presence of his German counterpart, Eckhart Cuntz.

He said: "We recognize that thanks to the sacrifices of the past we live in a different Europe. That Western Europe is now at peace. Germany is democratic and our friend."

Addressing representatives from the UK and Belgium, Mr Brenton continued: "The efforts you all make on a day like this are absolutely right.

"It’s because of the extraordinary history that we are honouring – a history of courage and sacrifice, as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines sought in a near suicidal attack to block the German U-boats from their attacks on Allied shipping in the First World War."

More than 200 British servicemen were killed, and eight Germans.

The attack came to be remembered as one of the most daring operations of the First World War, with the award of eight Victoria Crosses, the highest British and Commonwealth decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

Source: UK Government (Foreign & Commonwealth Office)

Date of press release publication: 29th April 2014

Images courtesy of UK Government

Posted by Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News