AROUND 1,000 children will march through Harwich to mark the anniversary of the lifesaving Kindertransport rescue operation.

It has been 77 years since Sir Nicholas Winton brought 241 mostly Jewish children to Harwich in the largest of several transports.

He helped save the lives of 669 Czech children in 1939 by organising safe passage for them to the UK.

He was part of a larger rescue effort, known as the Kindertransport, which saw a recorded 9,354 unaccompanied children rushed to the country in 1938 and 1939.

The vast majority arrived in Harwich via ferry from the Hook of Holland, with hundreds accommodated in a Dovercourt holiday camp.

Lyn Merritt, from Lawford, said: “I have vivid memories of Parkeston Quay on a cold day, when my mother took me to greet the children coming off the ferries from Holland.

“This must have been the winter of 1938 or 1939.

“My main impression was of the railway-lines everywhere, and children being shepherded across the quay in an orderly fashion, presumably to be put aboard a train to London.

“I have never forgotten the cold wind blowing across this unwelcoming space.

“It was all a bit of nightmare for this little four-year-old, so how must those poor children have felt?”

A day of commemoration will take place at various venues around Harwich on July 1.

A service will be held in St Nicholas’ Church at 1pm, the Electric Palace cinema will screen special Kinder transport archive material and the Children’s Carnival will march through the town.

Twenty-five of the original Kinder, including five or six who actually came through Harwich and stayed in Dovercourt for a time, will make the journey to Harwich from London for the day.

They will be welcomed by Pam Morrison, Harwich Mayor, before they are taken on special vintage buses to the site of the Warner’s holiday camp in Dovercourt.

The Electric Palace will screen archive and contemporary Kindertransport related material on a 20-30 minute loop.

Grand Theatre of Lemmings, based in Manningtree, will join their annual Children’s Carnival with the commemorative event.

The carnival brings 1,000 children from schools across the area together, ready to march through the town in costume.

Children have been crafting large wooden versions of a steam train, the dove of peace and a refugee child to lead the procession.

The parade will start at 2pm from Harwich Green, in Harbour Crescent, and will wind its way through the old streets of Harwich before eventually returning to the green at 3pm.

The steam locomotive Tornado, was set to operate a series of special train journeys from Harwich to Manningtree along the first part of the route used by the arriving Kinder in 1938 and 1939.

However organisers have announced this will now not be taking place due to demand, though they hope to organise use of the train for future events.