Bravest pier in the world

How much do you know about the heroic history of Southend during WW2?

View from Pier Head toward shore with Pier train in view

How much do you know about the heroic history of Southend during WW2? How did the longest pleasure pier in the world become a naval battle station? How did it remain a secret in plain sight for 76 years after the war ended?

Who walked the dangerous boards and served their country? Come and meet our actors who will be there to bring HMS Leigh to life. Come and see our exhibitions revealing the lives and events of WW2 Southend. Do you know what questions to ask those relatives who went through WW2? How will you rescue and preserve the precious memories of loved ones? Come and pay homage to those who have already left us in our Memory Garden.

How did the longest pleasure pier in the world become a naval battle station? How did it remain a secret in plain sight for 76 years after the war ended?

Just like the HMS Leigh Battle-station, the HMS Leigh Event has come through one of the greatest crisis our world has faced and is still here for our schools and community this month. Thanks to the support from our funders, the National Lottery, Southend Borough Council the Southend SEN Trust, the Royal National Lifeboat Association, the Royal Artillery Association, the Territorial Army Recruitment, the Salvation Army, the Royal British Legion and so many more organisations!

With SchoolsDays on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th, and Public Days on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September – the HMS Leigh Bravest Pier in the World Event brings to life the amazing lives and events that makes Southend such a culturally rich borough.  The Royal National Lifeboat Association will also be there holding their brilliant displays and open days as part of this event!  Come see how they could save you if you were lost at sea!

Guests can learn about the guns that protected our shores come and talk to member of the Royal Artillery Association who will be there with WW2 armaments, visit the HMS Leigh Memory Garden and bring their own stories and photographs to share.

The HMS Leigh Podcast will accompany visitors while they walk the 1.3 miles of Southend Pier, with readings, music and poetry from WW2. Both young and old alike can learn about their ancestors role in Dunkirk, D-Day and saving shipping from dangerous technology. You may come to understand why a massive ship full of unexploded ordnance is still waiting for the unwary in the Estuary, or just come to taste the pleasure of the Spam™ Fritter!

With the superb work of the Southend RNLI on display through demonstrations of lifesaving, the Essex Society for Family History sharing their work unravelling the mysteries of the past, and many other local organisations taking part, this is a celebration of Southend now and during WW2 for all the family. HMS Leigh defended the Thames, kept London running and dispatched over 80,000 ships on convoys throughout the world all of which helped the Allies to get through the war and finally win it.

So come and engage with your heritage and experience WW2 Southend, join us on the Pier from 10am Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September, when we celebrate how HMS Leigh won the war.

We are expecting to be busy over the weekend so if people want to be sure of being able to visit, please buy your ticket from hmsleigh.org.

Hope to see you there!

Published: 16th September 2021

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