Frodsham hero remembered in Belgium

The Town Council has received a touching message from a Belgian couple describing how they honoured Frodsham World War 1 hero Able Seaman Leonard Ellams in a ceremony on the Belgian coast in April.

In a ceremony held on 23 April 2018, the centenary of the Zeebrugge Raid, 6,000 volunteers formed a line the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend and launched 3,000 little boats in the North Sea to commemorate those killed at sea during the First World War.

Hans Vanlancker says “We held a small boat per two persons. On the boats we wrote a name of a victim and a message for peace. My wife, my daughter, my granddaughter and myself had the honour to write the name of your hero “Leonard Ellams” on our boat.”

King Filip of Belgium and the Governor-General of Australia were amongst those sending boats into the sea with a message.

In 1918, the two ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend were the setting for a bloody naval battle in which the Royal Navy tried to block the occupied ports. Despite the heavy casualties, the mission played a role in the end of the First World War.

TV news report about the event (in Flemish):

News article (in Flemish):

Hans and Christine Vanlancker Gelaude carry the commemorative boat to the sea, helped by their granddaughter


Boat dedicated to Able Seaman Leonard Ellams who was killed in action during the WW1 raid on Zeebrugge on 23 April 1918 aged 21

Part of the 20km long line of model boats between Zeebrugge and Ostend.