A PARADE marking one 100 years since one of the First World War's most heroic raids took place in Wirral today.

Wallasey Ferryboats Iris and Daffodil formed part of the fleet that stormed the German stronghold at Zeebrugge in April 1918.

They carried Royal Marines and Bluejackets into the battle inferno and the action is commemorated every year with a special ceremony at Seacombe Ferry Concourse.

Their crews' bravery was remembered by the Royal Marines Reserve this morning, when they marched from Seacombe Ferry to Wallasey Town Hall.

A short wreath-laying ceremony on the River Mersey beforehand was followed by a centenary service at the Zeebrugge Memorial Stone at Seacombe Ferry.

Hundreds of service personnel, including members of the Royal Marines, Royal Navy and veterans took part in the march, accompanied by Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Portsmouth.

Prior to the ceremony, Wirral Mayor Ann McLachlan said it was "a truly memorable occasion and a significant opportunity for Wirral to remember those who took part in the Zeebrugge raid."

The ferries were used because they could carry large numbers of Marines and Sailors in shallow waters. Both Iris and Daffodil sustained significant damage in the raid but both managed to return home – although Iris had been hit by numerous shells and just about limped back.

It was for their heroic service that both ferries – and their successors – were awarded the “Royal” designation.

Since the early 1920s – with the exception of the war years – a commemoration service has been held aboard a Wallasey ferry on the Sunday closest to St George’s Day, 23 April.