February 2022

Henley Probus Club: February 2022 Photo copyright Nigel (Gin) Balchin

The 470th meeting was held at Badgemore Park on 8th February 2022.

The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming members and then summarised plans for the Club for the first 6 months of 2022.

The guest speaker was Commander Tom Cunningham RNR who gave a talk and presentation entitled ‘Raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend on 23/4/2017’.

The environment in 2017 was one of Germany, having stopped fighting with Russia, had moved a significant number of troops to the Western Front and allied ships were being sunk, at a high rate, in the English Channel.

The German Navy had a key naval base in Bruges which accommodated 30 submarines with access to the English Chanel by canal to Zeebrugge where there was a moat structure which provided the access to the English Channel. It was this moat structure which became the target of the British Navy.

Tom, having conducted a vast amount of research, presented the story of how the Navy undertook the demolishment of the moat thereby rendering the Bruges German Naval Base inoperable albeit the Base itself was not actually attacked.

The success of the operation then allowed the British and Allied navies to secure control of shipping in the English Channel which had a materiel effect on the outcome of the First World War.

The members thanked Phil for his presentation and the incredible research work he had undertaken to unveil the story of the operation.