On Saturday 16 March 2019, members of the Branch attended the HMS Invincible Memorial Service at Happisburgh. They were joined by members of the RNA – Beccles Branch, Royal Marines Association – Norfolk and numerous other ex-services Associations.
The service, remembering the loss of HMS Invincible on Monday 16 March 1801, who had sailed out of Great Yarmouth, to join the Baltic Fleet, where Admiral Nelson was second in command to Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, for the Battle of Copenhagen.
At 2.30pm she struck Hammond’s Knoll, a sandbank just east of Haisbro (Happisburgh) Sand, sinking the following day and out of 590 men, some 400 perished. During the next few days, bodies were washed up along the coast, and at Happisburgh, cart loads were gathered up and taken to a mass grave on the north side of St. Mary’s church.
Soon after the Battle of Copenhagen (at which 256 men were lost, compared with about 400 from the Invincible), Nelson visited ‘his’ men lying injured in Yarmouth hospital.
Usually the congregation gathers on the burial mound, within sight of Hammond’s Knoll, to lay two wreaths to remember those that had lost their lives; but due to the inclement weather this act of remembrance was conducted inside the church.