Ernest Spence aged 34 years and a sergeant in the Royal Marines Commandos, Service Number PO/X 115872 lost his life 21st July 1944. Remembered panel 87, column 2, Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Ernest was a gamekeeper on the Bleasdale Estate. He married a local girl Mary (Nee Gorst) in 1934 who was a teacher at the local school. Ernest was actually born in Barrow In Furness and the son of James William and Edith Mary Spence. Ernest and Mary moved to Church Town, Garstang in 1937 although mention is also made that they were in Sussex for a period of time.
Ernest volunteered in 1941 and joined the Royal Marines spending time training in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) for intended service in the Far East. After initial training he came back on leave due to compassionate reasons as he was now a Father to a son called Duncan. He was part of the D Day invasion and landed on Juno Beach with 601 Royal Marines Landing Craft Flotilla. On the 21st July 1944 the flotilla was returning to England when a severe storm blew up in the Channel resulting in the sinking of the craft. The majority of the crew were lost including Ernest.
A memorial seat made of oak was placed in Itchenor in memory of all those lost. Mary and Duncan attended the ceremony. The area of Itchenor had close associations with the Minor Landing Craft Flotilla.
Our thanks to Jean Fone and Janet Nelson.