A memorial dedicated to the victims of a Japanese merchant ship Hirano Maru, which was sunk by the German navy during the First World War, was unveiled last week by the Duke of Gloucester in Angle Churchyard exactly 100 years after the sinking.
Only 30 of the 240 sailors and passengers on board the Hirano Maru survived when the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Irish Sea on October 4, 1918 - 10 of which were buried in the churchyard in Angle. A monument had been placed on the grave but that had disappeared over the years and David James, secretary of the West Wales Maritime Heritage Society had made it his mission to replace it. Funds were raised for the memorial which was carved by a local stonemason.
Attending the service on Thursday, October 4th were HRH Duke of Gloucester, Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Sara Edwards alongside representatives from the Japanese Embassy and Nippon Yusen K.K, the company that owned the ship. Descendants of the victims also attended the churchyard ceremony. At the service flowers were left by seventy-two-year-old Yoshiko Nakamura, whose grandfather Shintaro Yamamoto - an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy was among the victims.
The event attracted media attention and was broadcast on the national news. In his interview, David James said “I was delighted to see so many Japanese people here. With so many people coming together in an act of remembrance and commemoration.”