This hand-written memorial on the wall of St. Werburgh's Church in Wembury tells a poignant story. Framed by drawings of the instruments of bandsmen in the Royal Marines and headed by the phrase AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM (to the greater glory of God) are the names of 9 bandsmen who suffered a horrible fate on 29 March 1942 after being trapped in a rising flood of oil and sea water.
Below the names of the men on the plaque are the words:
"Members of the Band of HMS Trinidad who were lost at sea, March 1942, and who, in this Chapel, often assisted in the services of our Church."
Action Stations had been sounded and the whole band had gone to the Transmitting Station where they joined others and took up their complementary duties as gunners, switchboard operators etc. A single ladder provided the only exit from this compartment. A gyro fault on a torpedo fired from the ship caused it to move in an arc and return to HMS Trinidad from which it had been fired, hitting the compartment immediately below the Transmitting Station.
Bandsman George Lloyd survived as did the man whose life he saved (not yet confirmed but he may have been Louis Barber). Of the 21 men in the Transmitting Station, only 4 were to survive. George Lloyd (who eventually became a composer of distinction) was severely traumatised but years later composed a march called HMS Trinidad in remembrance of his colleagues and the event.
The memorial tells us why the men are remembered in Wembury which had close connection with the shore establishment, HMS Cambridge, the Royal Navy Gunnery School which the RoyalMarine Bandsmen would have known well.