£3m Port of Sheerness structure named Wildfire Bridge in honour of Dunkirk efforts
PUBLISHED: 16:25 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:25 28 September 2017
The 230m long structure will span the length of Brielle Way when construction finishes later this year
A £3m bridge at the Port of Sheerness will be named Wildfire Bridge to commemorate the historic rescue mission in Dunkirk.
The name references HMS Wildfire III, the British naval shore establishment forming part of the Sheerness Base, and the HMS Wildfire, which coordinated smaller ships that sailed as part of the famous Second World War efforts.
Peel Ports recently called upon the local community in helping name the 230m long structure, which will span the length of Brielle Way, from a shortlist of three.
Wildfire Bridge, suggested by retired tug master and operations manager, David Brown, was chosen as the winner ahead of Blue Town Bridge and Samuel Pepys Bridge, and he will officially open the crossing when construction finishes later this year.
Mr Brown said: “I’m absolutely honoured that my name was chosen as the overall winner of the public vote.
“I’m really interested in the history of the local area, and with the recent Wildfire III parade this month, it was a fitting suggestion.
“Not many people are aware of the role HMS Wildfire played in the rescue operation to Dunkirk in the Second World War.
“Hopefully the new name will help more people remember the historic events that took place so many years ago.”
The bridge will connect the current port estate at Sheerness to the new Wellmarsh development - a state-of-the-art logistics hub on the former Thamesteel site.
Wellmarsh forms part of Peel Ports’ multi-million-pound masterplan for growth at Sheerness and will create around 200 new jobs in the area over the coming years.
Paul Barker, port director, said: “Wildfire Bridge is the perfect name to honour the naval history and heritage of the area, and we are excited to officially announce this to the community.
“We had some excellent nominations and it was hard to pick just three for the final shortlist. All the names were great but we are confident that the public have made the right choice.
“The bridge is a major part of our 20-year Masterplan for growth at Sheerness. It will allow port vehicles to move safely and securely between the port estate and the new Wellmarsh site, improving access for customers and reducing port traffic on public roads.
“We recognise that finding the appropriate name for the new bridge is a matter of considerable interest locally.
“It was therefore absolutely right that people of the Isle of Sheppey had the final say on the identity of this important project.”
To honour the new name, Peel Ports has made a donation to the Queenborough & District Naval Ensign Association.
Each year, the association holds the Wildfire III Parade and Memorial service, which commemorates the Royal Navy’s former base at Sheerness.