PEACE IS NOT A GIVEN

A generation that has experienced peace as the status quo might easily tend to forget that war has historically been more of a status quo than peace. Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute and historian Niall Ferguson’s books are full of examples. The long period of peace in historically hostile Europe was due to the hard work of visionary figures after the Second World War. They worked on a European concept of unity and cooperation. An idea that was unthinkable in the past but is a reality today. For all the shortcomings we may experience, it is of the utmost importance to always remember what a great goal has been achieved over such a long period of time: PEACE.

It would be of utmost importance to create even more initiatives like this as a basis for addressing the global challenges that lie ahead. Challenges that we can only solve on a global basis.

GOST has made it a priority to support INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING through its missions by teaching history and raising awareness of issues of global importance. We are proud to have achieved this again with Expedition Blue Ocean ( www.ExpeditionBlueOcen.org ).

The list of supporters is long and we would like to extend a special thank you to

  • The House of Lords
  • Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Boyce
  • The City of London
  • The Police of the City of London
  • The staff of the House of Lords
  • St. Katharine’s Dock Marina
  • Asociación para la Investigación y Difusión de la Historia Naval de Cuba
  • Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club
  • The Dover Harbour Board
  • Club Nautica Internacional de Hemingway Cuba
  • Maximino Gomez
  • Seaside Productions
  • Münz Corp.
  • Beach Cleaners
  • The Sea Cap Initiative
CDA 80

International Understanding: CHANNEL DASH COMMEMORATION SPEECH

80TH ANNIVERSARY CHANNEL DASH
Manston, 12 February 2022


SPEECH ON THE OCCASION OF THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHANNEL DASH
held by Jochen Werne, Co-Founder of GOST

Speech held by Jochen Werne – Co-Founder GOST


Ladies and Gentlemen


I’m truly honoured to be here to speak on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Channel Dash.
It was 10 years ago that the members of the Global Offshore Sailing Team, planning their commemorative voyage from Brest to Kiel, first met the honourable members of the Channel Dash Association. Outstanding individuals who have done so much to keep history alive and remind us that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves.
The aim of the GOST expeditions has always been to get a feel for the background and struggles of events at sea.

As our dear friend Peter Nixon – whom we will always remember – summed up perfectly:


“ … working so hard to bring history back to everyones attention and recognizing the many great acts of courage performed on our behalf by men and women of all sides during a period of conflict. ... It is not about Winners or Loser`s. … The world is a wonderful place to live because it is made up of many different, but beautiful countries…. We should be proud of this fact. Equally, we should not be ashamed of our past, nor should we glorify it, for it was our past which created what we are today.”

Peter Nixon



In the fateful days 1942, British air and ship crews threw themselves with an incredible sense of duty against German battleships and their protection.
The enemy which the Swordfish crews met on this day 80 years ago consisted not only of large scale naval vessels but also of an air cover operation code named “Thunderbolt“. The operation was planned by Adolf Galland, who himself survived being shot down kept the ships under a constant Messerschmidt fighter jets umbrella during the whole Operation Cerberus.
Anyone who witnessed the performance differences between a Swordfish and a Spitfire, the British equivalent of the Messerschmidt, at one of the recent Channel Dash commemorations understands well the words of Captain Hoffmann of the Scharnhorst; “Poor fellows. They are so very slow. It is nothing but suicide for them to fly against these big ships”. Everyone on the bridges of the Battleships felt the same. Willhelm Wolf, on the Scharnhorst, said; “What an heroic stage for them to meet their end on. Behind them their homeland which they had just left with their hearts steeled to their purpose still in view”.
Admiral Ciliax, watching from the Scharnhorst Bridge, the Swordfish lumbering towards her, remarked to Captain Hoffmann: “The British are now throwing their mothball Navy at us. Those Swordfish are doing well to get their torpedoes away”.


Christoph Ciliax, the grandson of Admiral Ciliax, wanted to be with us today, but unfortunately Covid restrictions got in the way, and he asked me to represent him and his words:
„On behalf of the Ciliax family, I would like to express my utmost respect and appreciation to the British soldiers who lost their lives on 12 February 1942. The German ships and their crews served a brutal, criminal regime of injustice. We Germans can be all the more grateful that the German fallen are also included in the commemoration and that representatives of the German Navy as well as their families are invited to the event. This is a great gesture of friendship and bridging to the former enemy. Today, British and German servicemen and women serve side by side, advocating world peace, a democratic world order as well as stability and security in Europe.
I, too, wear the Navy uniform for this reason and stand for the fact that never again a regime of injustice can grow in Germany, from which terror and violence towards our neighbouring countries and the world emanates. This is what my father already stood up for as a soldier and I am sure my grandfather would do the same, who was first and foremost a sailor and soldier for his country. However, never would I defend serving for a criminal regime what at the end serving in the Kriegsmarine meant. It is all the more impressive and deserving of thanks that Great Britain, when honouring their fallen also remembers the German soldiers killed in action.
My mother and wife of Rear Admiral Otto H. Ciliax, my late father, would as well like to attend the commemoration event and honour the British soldiers; but she is also unable to do so due to COVID restrictions and therefore sends her thanks and greetings.“


Many thanks from our side to the Ciliax family


I am also grateful to be able to quote from the letter sent by the Federal Minister of Defence, Christine Lambrecht, to the Channel Dash Association. She underlines:

“Your thoughtful gesture of not only inviting representative from the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, but also representatives from the German Navy is a sign of reconciliation and long-standing friendship between our nations. “


Captain Heuer, thank you for being as official representative of the Federal Republic of Germany with us today.
As the former Commodore of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club and GOST member Bernard Sealy once said and it remains true today and it will remain the truth into the distant time… we’re all sailors.


Ladies and Gentlemen, please let me conclude on this historic day with a thought and a quote.
The beauty of our nations is that we cherish the same freedoms, defend the same values and respect the same fundamental laws.
We are bound together not simply by institutions, but by our common beliefs in democracy, openness and equality before the law.
We are bound together by friendship.
Friendship, lived through the great people who are in this hangar today, and many who have already left us but whom we keep in our hearts.
Today is a very special day. It is not an end, but a beginning. So let me conclude with the famous words of Konrad Adenauer, the first post-war German Chancellor:

“Wenn die anderen glauben, man ist am Ende, so muss man erst richtig anfangen.” (“when others think we’ve reached the end, that’s when we’ve got to really begin”).

Thank you very much

International Understanding. Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Boyce Prize presented for the first time

This prize to be awarded to the person, group or team that contributed the most to the goal of creating international understanding within the year, of the Lord Warden Trophy and it was unanimously agreed by a panel of judges that this should be presented to Jochen Werne (a founder member of GOST as well as a member of RCPYC) for his outstanding work in reaching across national boundaries and promoting and advancing the spirit of sailing around the world both through his work with GOST and the various other organisations he represents, not least his organising the Lord Warden Challenge race. Congratulations to you Jochen.

Geoff Dunne esq., Commodere, Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club Dover
Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce and the Commodore of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club Dover, Geoff Dunne presenting the Award for special engagement in International Relations to Jochen Werne

It was a great honour to receive the Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Prize, awarded for the first time for international understanding, on behalf of all those who, through their commitment, have helped to unite people from different countries of our beautiful planet. 

A great privilege to receive the prize from the hands of one of the people I greatly admire for his life’s work and especially for his brilliance in bringing people together. The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce is a shining example for so many and a great inspiration.