HMS Diamond's Pilgrimage To Wreck Site

Sailors on board one of the Royal Navy's newest warships have made a sea pilgrimage to the spot where their namesake ship sank during the Second World War.

The Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond visited the spot 60 miles north of Crete where the previous ship was attacked by German warplanes in 1941 with the loss of 148 lives.

Commanding officer Commander Ian Clarke took the opportunity to visit the site during Diamond's maiden deployment after it set sail from its home base of Portsmouth earlier this month.

The wartime HMS Diamond was sunk as it attempted, along with HMS Wryneck, to pick up survivors from a Dutch troop ship, SS Slamat, which had come under attack.

But all three ships were destroyed on April 27 1941, by the Germans leading to the loss of 983 lives.

Descendants from those lost on Slamat were able to join the crew of Diamond as they paid their respects.

Cdr Clarke said: ''I felt, as soon as we knew we were coming close to the site, that it was something we had to do, to pay our respects.

''I'm so glad we have been able to do this with our Dutch and New Zealand friends on board and I hope it has given them some closure on such a tragedy.''

Dutchman Frans Luidinga, the 77-year-old son of the SS Slamat's captain Tjalling Luidinga, said: ''This is very emotional for us because it is the first time any family has come to the places where our relatives died.

''We owe Cdr Clarke a great deal for inviting us to pay our respects.''

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