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La Fronde Restoration Ceremony

posted 15 Jul 2018, 07:13 by John Leighton   [ updated 15 Jul 2018, 22:46 ]
La Fronde was a French torpedo destroyer which was sunk in Hong Kong during “the great typhoon” of 1906, resulting in the death of 5 sailors. Following this tragedy a memorial was erected to the incident, which now stands in the HK Cemetery in Happy Valley.

Over the years the monument had deteriorated quite alarmingly, but thanks to the efforts of a number of people has now been restored.

A re dedication ceremony was held at 11:00 hrs in the Cemetery on Thursday 5 July 2018, at which a number of branch members were present, including Paul Harrison who was involved professionally with the restoration work.

Background information can be found in an SCMP article linked to here, a copy of which is attached to this web page below.

The event was hosted by the Consul-General of France, M. Eric Berti, and many of the sizeable French community in Hong Kong attended, including M. Xavier Pech, who spoke at the ceremony wearing his uniform as a Lieutenant Commander. Both M. Berti and M. Pech serve in the French Navy Reserve (citizen service), with M. Berti holding the rank of Commander.

M. Pech referred to the vessel as a frigate in his short talk at the memorial, whereas other references to the warship refer to it as a “torpedo destroyer” - it is referred to as a destroyer on the monument.

M. Berti mentioned that although the monument highlights the part played by the British community in Hong Kong when it was first commissioned, sight must not be lost of the efforts made by the French community; not only in Hong Kong at that time, but also the part played by French citizens of what was then known as French Indo-China, in its construction.  And, of course, the role played by the modern French community of HK in terms of fund-raising to have it restored.

Photographs of the occasion can be seen here. M.Berti is wearing the grey suit and red tie, and M.Pech is wearing naval uniform.