|Details||In the spring of 1944 the Royal Naval Patrol Service reached its maximum strength of some 57,000. Between 1942 and 1946 new construction ships and craft manned by the Service totalled 1,637, among them minesweepers of various kinds, corvettes, fuel carriers, trawlers, motor launches, naval seaplane tenders and many other types.
The Royal Naval Patrol Service Memorial stands in an imposing position on the cliff top in Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft, overlooking the sea and Sparrow's Nest Gardens which was once main RNPS base HMS Europa. It was erected and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The Memorial commemorates the members of RNPS who died during 1939-1945 and who have no known grave other than the sea. Dedicated in 1953 it consists of a circular base some 40 feet in diameter with a fluted column surmounted by a gilt bronze galleon.
Around the base is a panel of Portland stone with the main inscription and 17 bronze panels listing the 2385 names of those lost including 49 from Newfoundland.
Today Sparrow's Nest Gardens now accommodates the Royal Naval Patrol Service Museum.
|Visitors info||The Museum is located in 'The Stannard Room', on the first floor (the floor above the ground floor) and 'The Europa Room' (behind the War Memorial Museum) which includes the 'slops' shop, in some of the original buildings in Sparrow's Nest, Lowestoft.
Lining the walls of the exhibition are the 17 boards commemorating the 850, or thereabouts, honours won by members of the R.N.P.S. during the war including a VC, along with a list of over 200 'Mentioned in Despatches'.
The VC was awarded to an ex-Merchant Navy officer, Lieut. Richard Stannard, of the Hull trawler Arab, during the Narvik campaign. He steamed his ship into Namsos harbour on August 16th, 1940, to fight a fire on the pier which threatened to blow up an ammunition dump. His junior officer, Sub-Lieut. E. T. Lees, R.N.V.R., was awarded the D.S.O. and three other members of his crew received decorations. There is also a record of the C.B.E. awarded to Commodore Daniel de Pass for his services at the Nest.
In addition to a mock-up of a wheelhouse there are numerous small exhibits including photographs and models of many of the ships of RNPS and much war memorablilia such as shields, uniforms, flags and personal possessions. The photographs illustrate many of the members of RNPS at their various duties, in many parts of the world and at various locations in Lowestoft.
Additional material not able to be displayed is also available for research purposes and there is a small reference library.
Admission to the Museum is free and it is open at Easter and from mid-May until mid-October on Weekday mornings and afternoons and Sunday afternoons. If you are travelling a long distance to visit it will be worthwhile checking opening times in advance. Donations for the maintenance of the Museum will be gratefully received.