ROYAL NAVAL ASSOCIATION AREA 4 – What a month!
Area 4 AGM sees Chairman of 10 years standing down.
The Trinity Club in Dorchester hosted the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Naval Association’s Area 4 meetings in January and shipmates from all over the Area were welcomed to Dorchester by Alastair Chisholm, the Mayor of Dorchester.
This was an exceptional meeting as it saw the standing down of the Area’s Chairman Shipmate Ron Burdekin after 10 years in post and never a meeting missed. Supported over the years by his devoted wife Yvonne, Ron thanked the Association and said he would be continuing to play a part in the Association but felt now was the right time for him to step down from a role he had thoroughly enjoyed for such a long time. The Area 4 Committee were proud to make him their Area 4 Lifetime Vice President, an award which knocked the wind out of his sails and for which he was really surprised.
The newly elected Chairman was National Council Member Warwick Belfritt who thanked Ron for his dedication to the role and confirmed that it is a role which takes up a lot of time, as he was already finding out – look out for a future piece on “A Week in the Life of…..”
Following other formalities involved with the AGM, the Area were delighted to welcome Chris Trevethan – RNA HQ Chief of Staff and the RNA Chief Executive Bill Olliphant, who gave an informative update on things happening at HQ level, updates on the reform of the Wellbeing and Welfare system within the RNA as a whole and generally explaining where 2024 would be taking the Association.
Redruth and Camborne AGM
The Redruth and Camborne branch of the RNA held their AGM at the Redruth Club on a very cold Monday evening recently, or at least cold for Cornwall. Over half of the members attended, where officials were re-elected, the past year was remembered and plans laid for the coming year. The opportunity was taken to record, by way of a photo, those members attending, while dressed in their finery. The branch remains very active with three new members last year. The branch would welcome visiting shipmates, as well as any new members, with a warm welcome and a tot or two. Meetings are held at the Redruth Club on Penryn Street in Redruth TR15 2SP, on the third Monday of every month.
RBL presentation to Bodmin RNA following poppy appeal collection .
The Royal British Legion – Bodmin Branch, were proud to present a certificate of thanks to the Bodmin Branch Royal Naval Association. Former Vice Chair and Life member S/M Mike Frost, together with former Social Secretary S/M Isobel Frost received the certificate on behalf of the Branch, at a presentation that took place in January. The RNA Bodmin Branch couple, were delighted to be able to help out at the Poppy Appeal in November 2023 at the local Bodmin supermarkets, and S/M’s Mike and Isobel managed to raise a healthy sum for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Redruth & Camborne – AGM Attendees dressed in their finery
S/M and Area 4 Life Vice President Ron Burdekin
Bodmin shipmates Mike and Isobel Frost receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the RBL
Standard Bearers Training
The Area Ceremonial Officer Shipmate Malcolm Day will be holding Standard Bearers training/refreshers at Bridgwater Sea Cadets. The dates being Sundays 4th,11th,18th,25th February. The venue will be Bridgwater Sea Cadets,Waverley Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3EX
The time start approx 10.00hrs until 12.00hrs. Refreshments will be provided.
Any Standard Bearer who wishes to attend, please reply to Shipmate Malcolm, He will then have an idea of the numbers attending? I realise that it is a long way to travel, but even if by coming to one session I’m sure it would prove beneficial.
Contact details email email@example.com
Phone 01460 62869 mobile 07563501914
BUDE BRANCH MEMBER: GODFREY HARRISON, BEM
The Royal Naval Association and more locally the Bude Branch, are delighted to learn of Godfrey’s award of the B.E.M. “for services to Bude & Stratton”.
Godfrey is a highly respected and long-serving Member of the Branch who initiated the formation some 35 yrs ago. Together with a close colleague and friend (Brian Braund), they became the founder members of Bude R.N.A. in August, 1989, along with a few friends.
Godfrey became the first Honorary Secretary and over the years has filled the roles of P.R.O. and Chairman to an excellent standard. He sadly lost his wife some years ago, but that did not stop him from steadily filling his loft space at home with numerous Branch items as free storage!
Born on the 1st actual day of Spring in 1938, it was just a few years later, in 1953, that he joined HMS Ganges and thence to Seaman Branch and concluded on HMS Corunna as L/Sea QRI, Seaman Gunner.
He carried on and completed two spells at both HMS Excellent & HMS Cambridge and a bit of sea time onboard HMS Charity (R29), Concord (D03), Saintes & Tiger (C20) prior to Corunna (D97).
Known as “Geordie”, for obvious reasons, Godfrey was not content with full activity within the R.N.A. which in the beginning had just 36 members but he has witnessed the Branch growing to its current strength of 1 Life, 64 Full & 40 Associate members – 105.
In addition, he has been a guiding light as Chair of the local R.B.L. Branch until quite recently and staunchly supportive of both organisations.
Godfrey has always come under the heading of “a doer”, many instances far too numerous to list – but he does make things happen! Successful organisation of numerous annual Remembrance Parades are a prime example.
The receipt of his B.E.M. is a very fitting testimony for a total gentleman, ex-Matelot and friend. BZ Godfrey from all your shipmates at Bude R.N.A. and further afield within the Royal Naval Association.
Bude Branch are delighted to advise that our founder member, Godfrey, past Hon. Secretary, Chairman, President & PRO of Bude Branch, has been honoured within the New Year’s Honours List to receive the B.E.M. for services to Bude & Stratton. He has also been actively engaged as Chairman until recently for the Bude & Stratton Branch of R.B.L.
Soundly echoed by No4 Area BZ Godfrey.
PLYMOUTH BRANCH ANNUAL GALA DINNER 2023
Saturday 18th November 2023 saw HMS Drake Senior rates mess, once again host the Annual Gala Dinner of the Plymouth Branch of the Royal Naval Association.
The black tie event was attended by 165 shipmates and involved members of the Bodmin Branch, the ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare Association) the Royal Marines Association as well as Plymouth Branch.
Plymouth were delighted to have The Lord Mayor of Plymouth Cllr. Mark Shayer , himself a former Naval Artificer ,together with his wife Samantha, as a Guest of Honour. The other Guests of Honour were the National President of the Royal Naval Association, Vice Admiral Duncan Potts CB, accompanied by his wife Pamela and Base Warrant Officer WO1 Steve Harvey MSM and partner Marie Quinn.
Following an extremely tasty five course meal, loyal toasts and speeches from Carl Beeson (Vice Chair), Des McCarthy MBE (Chair) and Honoured Guests were heard.
Afterwards flowers were presented to Mrs Samantha Shayer, Mrs Pamela Potts and Marie Quinn.
Presentations of a Life Membership were made to the Branch Chair Des McCarthy and presented by the Lord Mayor. This was followed moments later by a presentation of Life Membership S/M Debbie Beeson. Life Membership is usually awarded for long service, dedication and duty to a Branch – both well deserved. There was a further presentation to Mrs Ann McCarthy, wife of the Branch Chair where she was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation – given to Associate Members for their Dedication and Service.
There was live music to accompany the dinner and for dancing later in the evening from the Levie Duet before carriages departed at 1pm.
£720 was raised for Branch funds from the end of evening raffle. It is those same funds that allowed the Branch to heavily subsidise the occasion.
Chard Branch activities 9-12th November
Thursday 9th November saw S/mates Malcolm Day and Andy O Brien being the branch standard bearer and standard bearer for the Artificer Apprentices Association attend the dedication of the Poppy of Honour Standard at Taunton followed by them witnessing the release of the Poppy of Honour to the Nation and to have it recognised as a War Memorial.
Saturday saw the branch attend the two minutes silence outside Chard Guildhall where S/m Malcolm paraded our standard and our very own Secretary S/m Ian Phillips was invited to give the Kohima epitaph . S/m Andy O Brien traveled to Bedworth to attend their Armistice day parade with the Tiffs standard.
On completion he traveled all the way back to attend the Sunday service in St Bartholomew’s Fleet Air Arm Memorial Church Yeovil where the Branch had be invited to attend. Members and both standard were used in the service. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the branch and the Artificer Apprentices Association along with others.
Tea, coffee and cake was provided and the service was rounded off when members gathered for a group photo taken by S/m Liz O Brien.
Pickle Night at Redruth & Camborne Royal Naval Association In 2023
218 years to the day – Saturday 4th November , His Majesty’s Ship PickleChard Branch activities 9-12th November arrived at Falmouth , coincidentally the same day in 2023 that Redruth and Camborne Branch of The Royal Naval Association held their Pickle Night at the Redruth Club. Also onboard were guests of the Falmouth and St. Austell RNA and guests of Penryn and Redruth Royal British Legion. All guests were dressed for a night of revelry in their finest 18th century sailor garb.
The Sloop Pickle , known for her speed because of her copper bottom, which was cleaned and repaired at least once a year, and excellent fore and aft rig, raced 1000 miles home to England, under the command of Lieutenant John Lapenotiere, the great-grandson of a Huguenot immigrant.
He arrived in London on a foggy morning to bring news of the great victory at Trafalgar but the sad loss of Lord Nelson – with the words to the Secretary of the Admiralty Board (who was about to retire to bed) – ‘Sir, we have won a great victory, but we have lost Lord Nelson!’ Short and sweet those words may be, but were actually a cut down version of what he had been instructed to impart, from Admiral Sir Cuthbert Collingwood’s despatch to the Admiralty Lordships, which was ………”‘the ever to be lamented death of Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, who, in the late conflict with the enemy, fell in the hour of victory, leaves to me the duty of informing my Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty of a victory … I have only to lament in common with the British Navy, and the British Nation, in the fall of the Commander in Chief, the loss of a Hero, whose name will be immortal, and his memory ever dear to his country’.
Such priceless history was then celebrated in Redruth with a night of rum, Cornish pasties and great social interaction.
Bottles of rum were won by the winners of two games of ‘Heads and Tails’ and a very nice retro radio, renovated with the latest technology won via a raffle.
Dispatches were read out sporadically by guests as well as a poem about ‘The Fighting Temeraire’. In all a wonderful evening that had the club witnessing a brilliant turn out and raised spirits as well as funds for the branch.
The Branch and other local Branches would warmly welcome any serving or former serving Navy personnel or anyone who would like to affiliate themselves to the Royal Naval Association.
Membership is free and for more details or further information, please email Annette Laurie – Area 4 Public relations officer at – Annette.firstname.lastname@example.org or 07802896505
St Austell Trafalgar Night Dinner
There were 52 guests made up as to St. Austell shipmates, honoured guests and Bodmin Branch Royal Naval Association guests.
The whole evening was wonderfully organised by Shipmates Sandy Isted and Pam Walker and meant everyone had a wonderful, mouthwatering, 4 course dinner together with the mandatory port or Baileys for the toasts for the evening.
It was remarked on that it was great to see several younger people attending the event, something which many branches need to encourage to save the smaller Branches from folding due to lack of support.
Portland Trafalgar Night Dinner
55 Branch members and honoured guests, turned out in their finery to welcome Commander Tim Leeder RN, together with his wife Madeleine, who were the Guests of Honour. Commander Leeder had previously been the Commanding Officer of HMS Portland.
There was a presentation to Commander Leeder of a rum tot cup from 1700 and flowers for his wife Madeleine, before plenty of after dinner dancing took place, courtesy of the live entertainment provided by Matt Wallace.
Chard Trafalgar 2023 commemorations
The branch held a wonderful Trafalgar day dinner at the Hornsbury Mill on Saturday followed by their Trafalgar service at St Thomas Church Cricket St Thomas where it was good to see the church with a full congregation in attendance.
The branch retired to the Cricket St Thomas golf club afterwards for tea and coffee before dispersing.
Armed Forces Conference reminder and additional updates
Please join us at this year’s Somerset Armed Forces Covenant Partnership conference on Tuesday 17th October, at The Canalside Centre, Marsh Lane, Bridgwater TA6 6LQ.
The event is jointly organised between Somerset Council and NHS Somerset, and will attract delegates and representatives from across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Organisations and individuals with an interest and stake in the welfare and support of the military community are invited to attend the day which will run from 10.30am (arrival from 9.30) till 4pm.
To book a place please complete the booking form by Friday 29th September https://forms.office.com/e/ZwEZ3aWPRW
The Coventry Cross of Nails and RN connection
Thursday 14th September the Chard branch members and 6 Royal British Legion member guests were treated to a wonderful illustrated talk on The Coventry Cross of Nails and it’s association with the Royal Naval.
The informative and at times very emotional reflection on the famous events of the blitz bombing of Coventry was delivered to the audience by the branches very own S/m and Area 4 Chaplin Martin Kirkbride made even more poignant by the fact that Martin had been associated with the Cathedral in his working capacity within the clergy in the area.
It was not known to many Shipmates present that the Cross of Nails went to the Falklands conflict onboard HMS Coventry the type 42 that was bombed and sunk with (the, now known) 20 shipmates who lost their lives on that fateful day in 1982. The story however never ended there as the Cross was retrieved from the ship and is now proudly onboard HMS Daring the type 45 destroyer travelling the world..
Thanks on behalf of all present was given by branch chair S/m Paula to Martin for his most excellent presentation worthy of the wondrous applause that followed.
S/m Dick Moon
St Austell Quiz Night Liskeard Wins again!
Attended by Bodmin, and Liskeard as well as the hosts – there were 34 competitors in attendance for a fiercely contested quiz covering all aspects of general knowledge and a “Biscuit” Quiz. Over a period of two hours it was finally announced that Liskeard had won – following on from their Croquet Match recent win.
Chocolates and biscuits were the Prizes of the day and following that, pasties were eagerly taken and seen off with a tot or two for all including runners up and competitors. There were copious prizes in the raffle too, ensuring that almost everyone went home with something.
No 4 Area Cornwall Flotilla Croquet Tournament
Post pandemic, and the hotly contested Bodmin and Delabole Croquet Trophy was once more up for grabs.
The weather of light mizzle didn’t stop the matches, organised in 2023 by Biff Griffin of St. Austell Branch. There were 5 Cornish RNA branches vying for the trophy which has been won – several times over – by Liskeard Branch.
The event was first run in 1985 at Altarnun by Delabole’s first President Captain Mike Howett and held between Delabole and Bodmin branches, where Bodmin Branch won. The event was carried on by Delabole’s second president Admiral Alec Weir CB from his home at St Kew for many years.
Following Admiral Alec crossing the bar the event has been held at Pencarrow House, and now Cornwall Croquet Club at Porthpean. Now hosted by St Austell branch
Other Branches have joined including Camborne and Redruth, Liskeard, and St. Austell this year. This year the runners up were St. Austell, with Liskeard holding on to their title.
It was a hotly contested semi-final and final with one hoop lasting over 45 minutes!.
Editor:- I have taken to opportunity to add, a report from Bill Griffin of St Austell branch below.
Cornwall Royal Naval Association Croquet Competition. Played at Cornwall Croquet Lawns, Porthpean. On Sunday August 13th. We had twelve teams enter from as far south as Redruth & Camborne and as far north as Delabole.
We were very lucky as we had the use of three lawns, meaning three games could take place at the same time. We were also introduced to Croquet Golf, which is a much simpler quicker game. A lot more easier to referee as well.
This year’s winners were Warwick Belfitt & Adam Strutt, Liskeard, who retained the trophy, having won it the last time the competition was held. Runners up, new boys, Biff & Pam Griffin, St Austell. A third trophy, the Alex Weir Cup, which was bought to replace the winner’s trophy but that has since turned up, was presented to Brett Crabtree, for showing, Attitude, Endeavour and Enthusiasm, in a true naval spirit. Brett’s partner went sick, so Brett caught a train to St Austell, then with the aid of a goggle map on his phone, walked to the Croquet centre.
Redruth & Camborne branch Out and About!
Cornwall saw Redruth and Camborne branch out and about , celebrating a great day – or maybe not so great – when they commemorated the demise of the ‘Black Tot’.
The forenoon involved a minibus ride up to the ‘Cornwall at War museum’, near Camelford, where a couple of very interesting hours were spent looking at the multitude of exhibits and being entertained by Steve the proprietor – an extremely interesting character. – maybe even a “rum” character!
Treguddick distillery near Launceston , played host for another interesting couple of hours touring the distillery. After all touring and distrillery experiences by the chief distiller were complete, Shipmates fully utilised the tasting opportunities of the extensive range of spirits on offer, which in turn helped us commemorate ‘Black Tot’ day.
On returning to Redruth, an evening meal at a local inn was enjoyed by all after a lovely day A really big thank you to S/M Jack Russell for the minibus driving which obviously excluded him from the tasting sessions but hopefully, once the minibus was returned, he was able to quench his thirst at the meal. ‘Up Spirits’.
Chard branch dine out shipmates Ken and Rosemary Parker
It was a well attended evening on Thursday 3rd August 2023 at the Hunter’s lodge Axminster when 14 Chard Branch member dined out two members due to leave Chard to take up residency further afield.
Ken and Rosemary Parker joined the branch when they moved into Chard 2019 and have been active and supportive members during their time with the branch and will be missed by all the members .
Ken gave the branch a link to Naval history as his Father William George Parker BEM who at his time was the longest serving Able Seaman in The Royal Navy. Ken recalls that he never met his father until he was seven years old as George loved life onboard his various ships so much that if he was granted shore leave he would often go home after arranging with his shipmates to send a GPO telegraph to say he was recalled to his ship.
As leaving gifts the branch presented them with a ships crest of HMS St Kitts a ship that Kens dad served upon for some time and to Rosemary a Chard RNA Pennant and photograph of members and one of the time they were invited to attend lunch onboard HMS Somerset (the branches affiliated ship) with the then Commander Tim Berry.
Images contributed and write up by S/m Dick Moon
Chard branch visit to Bruckland Nature Reserve and Cream teas
Sunday 16th July saw twelve members of Chard branch make a visit to Bruckland Nature Reserve in what was looking to be a possible wet and windy day. The weather held off with the group only facing a very light shower. The reserve was developed in on the land of Lower Bruckland farm as a result of the dairy farmer diversifying due to EU cut packs etc, three lakes were dug out and supplied with constant running water that eventually run into the river Axe and itot the sea at nearby Seaton.
The group were suitably impressed with the reserve and the wildlife found within it They all then met up in Ratties Cafe on site and rounded off the visit with Cream teas. many of who could not resist purchasing the home made cakes that were on offer.
The group many of whom had previously visited the Falconry centre in Dorset two weeks earlier thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon out and are now looking forward to their next ‘away day’
Images and report by S/m Dick Moon
Plymouth Branch – Summer Ball
81 members representing Bodmin and Plymouth branches from Area 4 region were in attendance as well as members from the ASWI (Anti-Submarine Warfare Instructors) Association, Royal Marines Association and Veteran members of the Senior Rates Mess.
Guest of Honour was Mess President Warrant Officer I Steve Harvey MSM who gave an insightful talk about the complexities and vastness of duties undertaken within the Naval Base at Devonport. Afterwards flowers were presented to his partner Marie Quinn and the Branch Chairman’s wife Ann McCarthy.
Guests were treated to a 5-course gala dinner and entertainment from former X Factor and BGT contestant Duane from Cornwall.
£401 was raised for Branch funds from the end of evening raffle. It is those same funds that allowed the Branch to heavily subsidise the occasion.
Blind Veterans UK cheque presentation
Thanks to the generosity of the members who attended the RNA No 4 Area Reunion at Bideford in March £2000 was raised for service charities. This year it was split between Help for Heroes and Blind Veterans UK.
The £1000 cheque for Blind Veterans UK was presented by S/m Mike Lawton, Chairman of the Reunion Committee to Colin Crawley on behalf of the organisation. Colin is the Community Team Leader for Dorset, Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire. It was a pleasure to meet him and hear about all the good work that they do for veterans.
Blind Veterans UK currently support more than 4,000 veterans nationally through home visits, support groups and any other assistance that is required. They also have a residential home in Brighton where they have been for over 80 years but will shortly be moving to new premises in Rustington. The new building will be better suited to providing the care and services needed for present and future veterans who suffer from impaired vision
On behalf of all veterans, we thank Blind Veterans UK for the support and help it provides to veterans of all ages.
MCC SIG (Special Interest Group) The Big Meet
S/M’s Ron Shilton and Andy Fletcher from Southend and Monmouth Branches, together with their fantastic organising team, have been the masterminds behind this years “Big Meet”, a Special Interest Group comprised of Motorhomes, Caravans and Campers. 62 shipmates , from Branches such as Bodmin, Plymouth, Ipswich, Gosport, Portsea and from HQ Roll, all met up at Blackmore in the Malvern Hills , Worcestershire, at the beginning of July for 5 nights where many games, many more tots and much fancy dress took place.
Walks around the area were organised for a few days with afternoons seeing more social activities, including a cocktail party on Friday with shipmates attending in Banyan rig. There was a BBQ on the Saturday and the slight drizzle did not deter the games from taking place – including giant Jenga and Connect 4. There were also quizzes for the less sporty and more intellectual types and horse racing, all followed by the RNA tot time at 1800 where it was believed to be the biggest attendance on a Zoom meeting ever.
There was also the mandatory defaulters – with such terrible crimes as being adrift, non wearing of name badges etc. Such frivolity was watched intently by the many dogs who accompanied their humans to the shenanigans. The afternoon on Sunday was rounded off with tea and cake – and more rum!
Anyone interested in attending next years Big Meet – date tbc but possibly in June – please contact Ron Shilton via Selby Branch.
Bodmin Branch – Downing Street
S/M Annette Laurie, Secretary of Bodmin Branch, was photographed recently gracing the front door step of a prestigious looking address – Number 10 Downing Street. During National Armed Forces Week, Annette, as part of her role as Ambassador to Veterans charity , Help for Heroes, was invited to take part at a reception, hosted by Minister for Veterans Affairs The Rt. Hon. Johnny Mercer MP. Also present were other staff and veterans from H4H, SSAFA and Scotty’s Little Soldiers. A presentation was given by Mrs Akshata Murthy – wife of the prime Minister Rishi Sunak – about the importance of saying thank you to our veterans and remembering the work they do to protect and serve the UK.
Annette said “I felt humbled and honoured to have been asked to attend – it gave me a chance to feel veterans like us mattered and that the Government were willing to listen to our concerns. I was also over the moon to meet and stroke Larry the Cat – who is now a stately 17 years old and still going strong – albeit he was asleep and purring quietly at the time!”
Redruth and Camborne Branch – Murdoch Day
Murdoch Day (2023) pays tribute to inventor William Murdoch, who famously came up with the idea of replacing oil and tallow in lighting by using coal gas instead. The great man lived in Redruth in the late 18th century and his home in Cross Street became the first in the country to be lit by gas lighting.
This meant it was a great day for promoting the branch and generating revenue. Despite all the thunderstorm forecasts , there were a few sociable drinks on completion.
BZ to shipmate Dave (Jack) Russell (far right) a stalwart of the branch who has put so much effort into this event and made such a success of the branches involvement in this local annual celebration.
Chard RNA members Day out at Dorset Falconry Park
Saturday the 24th June saw 12 of our members spend a day at the Dorset Falconry Park, Lowell Dorset guests of the owners Martin and Tara Ballam and their wonderful family and staff.
A most enjoyable day was had by all although a little too hot a time for some. The members watched the demonstrations through out the day with a light lunch had from the tea room whilst sat out in the shade.
It was so interesting that some members intend to return on one of the many experience days that the centre holds through out the year to get hands on experience with the birds.
Our thanks go out to the family Ballam and their excellent staff for entertaining us all and giving us a fantastic day out.
Write up by S/m Dick Moon
Images supplied by S/m Dick Moon and S/m Liz O Brien
Antarctic Antics of a Midshipman presentation at Chard Branch Social evening
The branch was entertained on Thursday 6th of June to an evening of entertainment given by Paul Anderson when he gave an illustrated talk on his time spent as a midshipman on HMS Protector in the Antarctic. Twenty members were kept captive with his recall, images and various charts and diary made at the time. The recall was humourous and informative and struck a cord with all those former matelots amongst the members.
Images and write up contributed by S/M Dick Moon.
FROM BRIXHAM TO CHELSEA PENSIONER
Brixham Rugby Club recently hosted Brixham Royal Naval Association and a very special returning guest, together with Dartmouth RNA and Brixham Royal British Legion.
Former Chairman of the Branch , Edgar Lawrance aged 89 left the area in September 2022 to become a Chelsea Pensioner – pictured here with current chairman Vic Williscroft.
This was his first visit back to Brixham and he was delighted to give a talk about his new life in London. Edgar was granted permission by Royal Hospital Chelsea, to attend the area meeting in his Chelsea Pensioners uniform – and looked quite resplendent!
There was also a talk from Blind Veterans UK followed by a fish and chip supper and a Tot to round the evening off.
ROYAL NAVAL ASSOCIATION AREA 4 – PLETHORA OF PRESENTATIONS AND AWARDS
At a recent Royal Naval Association Area 4 meeting, held in Bodmin ,Cornwall it almost seemed like there were more presentations than you could shake a stick at!
Following the recent highly successful Area 4 Flotilla Reunion, in Bideford, funds raised in excess of £2,000. Blind Veterans Association was gifted £1,000 from Mike Lawton, the Committee Chairman. This was gratefully accepted by Fay Lawton on their behalf. Another charity to benefit was Help for Heroes and the £1,000 cheque was presented to H4H Ambassador and Hon. Secretary for Bodmin, Annette Laurie.
Sea Cadets Bridgewater was given a donation of £100 as a thank you for the use of their training facilities, used throughout the year for the RNA’s standard bearers training and competition.
The Mike and Mary Hannan Trophy was awarded to Plymouth Branch, and was accepted by shipmate Carl Beeson on their behalf . This trophy is awarded to the Branch in the Area who has recruited most new members through 2022. Plymouth recruited 38. Unfortunately it is a sad indictment of society that in this area, more shipmates seem to be leaving or crossing the bar than those numbers joining. There are currently 1337 members in Area 4 with 195 new members in 2022.
That question was addressed at the Area 4 meeting when the question was posed “ What can be done as numbers in the RNA generically are increasing”.
New joiners are urged to consider affiliating themselves to a Branch near where they live or their birth towns. It is also appreciated that operational reasons mean they cannot always attend, but by being present at ceremonial events, members agreed it is great to see a uniformed serving member in attendance. Serving members who wish to rally to call can get in touch with their local branch –details can be found here http://no4arearna.co.uk/index.php/branches/
And finally, recent retiree from the Area 4 Committee, Christine Payne aged 93, is to be awarded a lifetime Vice Presidency for all her exceptional work to the Area – her recent story was published in April/May Navy News.
Before the meeting finished on a high note of Cornish Cream teas and pasties, there was a very successful rum raffle and other tasty treats, raising £522 for the Bodmin Branch which was attended by many branches and Councillor Phil Cooper, the Mayor of Bodmin, who gave a history of military links with Bodmin and the Royal Navy
The next Area 4 meeting will be in Frome, Somerset on 16 September.
A Cornish Nonagenarian Surprise
The Bodmin Branch of the Royal Naval Association was recently invited to share in a surprise party for Shipmate Patricia Cornwell , fondly known as Tricia, when she turned 90 this month and boy has she packed a lot into those 90 years! Many shipmates think of her as a “genteel lady” but read on to discover the real Tricia Cornwell.
Over 50 guests packed into the Borough Arms in Bodmin, Cornwall to welcome this Grande Dame for lunch – with some as far away as Australia sending their best wishes and apologies for not being there.
Tricia was born in Pool Street, Bodmin on 8th April, 1933; after her Southern Irish parents came to the UK to find work. Tricia was one of 10
children who all lived in a small 3 bedroom house in Green Lane, Bodmin. Memories of them sleeping head to toe to all fit in the bed and her parents covering the bed with old army coats in the winter to add extra warmth for them are all still very clear. Tricia said “I remember that me and my siblings were sent to Church Sunday School every week with pennies but we often didn’t bother, instead spending the money on sweets instead. We also used to raid the local fields where swedes were grown and pick one or two as we loved the sweet crunchy taste”
Tricia went on to become a nurse in St Lawrence’s Hospital Bodmin, a job she really loved and she enjoyed caring for the patients.
Tricia met her first husband Gerald – a Bow bell Cockney – at a local dance, she loved dancing and they won many jive dancing trophies. Gerald was a wartime refugee from London and as his father was a soldier based in Bodmin , Cornwall that is where he came to stay. They went on to marry at St. Petrocs Church in Bodmin in 1958 and have three children. They moved to St Mary’s Road and has lived there ever since, including whilst the house was bombed and raised to the ground next door!
Tricia’s husband sadly passed away in December 1986 and she was widowed. A few years later she met Vic Cornwell – a stalwart RNA member and standard bearer, who was also widowed at the time. They had known each other for many years as Vic used to court Tricia’s sister Shirley!. They too married at St. Petrocs.
Vic introduced Tricia to the RNA and it gave her a whole new lese of life – and not just the many and varied social times either. She made many good friends in the RNA including Betty Tilley and Isobel and Mike Frost. She loves the RNA weekends away and has spent many enjoyable ‘retail therapy’ trips with her daughter looking for special dresses for the events.
Sadly Vic crossed the Bar in 1998 but that has not deterred her from, still attending RNA meetings and functions. And not to be put off, at the age of 55, Tricia who had never been on a train or an aeroplane before decided to go and visit her sister Shirley and her husband Nelson in Queensland, Australia, where she travelled solo to the other side of the world, changing flights half way around. “I was just so nervous, I followed everyone else!” Tricia said.
Apart from her three children, and three stepsons, Tricia has 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
Ann, her daughter told the story of her mother Tricia and the “almost Fire Brigade “ date “A couple of months ago I took her to Bristol to visit my daughter, her husband and their children. We stayed at a Travelodge and mum managed to lock herself in the bathroom, I had to go and get the receptionist who wasn’t sure how we would get her out – mum had been in there about 15 minutes and I barged the door and it burst open and we got her out. We all fell about laughing – the receptionist was just about to call the Fire Brigade to release her – we reckoned she’d done it on purpose to get a hunky fireman to rescue her”!
Annette Laurie PRO
Area 4 Royal Naval association
Chard Branch Rum tum commissioning and Quiz night
Eighteen members plus two quests (hopeful members to be) attended last the branches Rum Tub commissioning and annual quiz.
The evening went well with it’s humorous moments although tinged with sadness at the announcement that one of our long serving members had crossed the Bar, RIP Colin Middleton stand down duty done.
The branch are now owners of a ‘Rum Tub’ and members thanks go to shipmates Mike and Brian Kirkland for their hard work in producing it for us, it was duly christened with Mike acting as ‘Rum Bosun’ for the occasion, a job well done.
A most enjoyable evening was had by all and the branch give thanks to the Chard Cricket Club for their support to the branch.
Images and write up by S/m Dick Moon.
Portland Branch 2023 Dinner
60 Members of the Branch were joined by Guest of Honour S/M Ron Burdekin and his wife Yvonne . Ron is the Chairman of number 4 Area and Portland wished to extend the invitation as a gesture of thanks for his ten years service as Chairman of the Area.
Guest are (back row) S/Ms Ben Cartwright, Josie Cartwright, Pete Shoesmith, Dusty Miller; (middle row) David White, Guest of Honour Ron Burdekin, Karen Miller; (front row) Monica White and Yvonne Burdekin.
A superb 4 course dinner, held at the Portland Masonic Centre, was followed by the customary toasts and speeches. S/M Ron Burdekin was presented with a photograph of Portland with the event annotated, whilst his wife Yvonne received a bouquet of flowers.
Contact: Annette Laurie – PRO Area 4 07802896505
Aged 93, Christine is stepping down
Christine will be stepping down just in time to celebrate her 93rd birthday in May and the Christchurch and District Branch will be marking the occasion with a special send off and presentation. This in addition to the RNA Pennant she received at the AGM of Christchurch Branch for her service.
Christine moved to Christchurch in January 1982 and was introduced to the Royal Naval Association by Branch founder members (from 1965) , S/Ms Joe & Joan Waterman in June 2010 and made an Honorary Member in return for help given. As a Ward Councillor Christine was instrumental in getting Christchurch Borough Council to create a wheel-park on Somerford Recreation Ground — now named Waterman’s Park.
“I become a fully paid member about a year later and then became a committee member immediately as there was an essential need for a secretary ( the Branch would have to close without one). I Served in this post for about 12 years and as PRO until 2022. It was at the Branch meetings that I met my partner , the late Dennis Morris, who was also President of the Branch, when we both realised that I knew both his daughter and grandson through various political activities”.
Although never having served in the Navy herself, Christine held a number of roles within the Association, initially as Branch Secretary and Public Relations Officer and Area 4 Deputy Welfare Rep – always on hand to look out for and care for others and served on the Area 4 Committee until 2022.
As the Area’s most senior Committee Member her service has been exemplary and she was rightly awarded an RNA Certificate of Appreciation.
Contact: Annette Laurie – PRO Area 4 07802896505
Armed Forces Day – Flag Relay
Flag Relay Event Format Plan
Bodmin Keep 25 April @ 2pm
Fowey 05 May @ 3pm
Helston 10 May @ 11am *
Isles of Scilly 15 – 19 May tbc
Land’s End 23 May @11am
Launceston 29 May – 2 June tbc
RAF St Mawgan 05 June @ time tbc *
Penzance 12 June @ 11am *
Truro Army Centre 21 June @ 11am *
HMS Raleigh, Torpoint 16 June tbc
Event Format < 1hr Duration:
• Town crier opens event and /or detachment of buglers and drummers play.
• Speech by senior military representative.
• Speech or proclamation to be read by Town Mayor (Lord Lieutenant speech at Bodmin Keep)
• Flag handed by military rep to Town Mayor
• Military salute
• Choir (* indicates selected locations only)
• Town crier closes and /or bugler and drummer play (marching band at HMS Raleigh only).
• Refreshments and event ends.
• Senior military representative e.g., Capt. HMS Raleigh
• COS AFDNE23
• Town Crier
• Town Mayor
• Local Councillors
• Detachment of buglers and drummers (marching band at HMS Raleigh event only)
• A contingent of tri-service veterans
• A small contingent of tri-service cadets
• Military photographer
• Military Wives Choir (* indicates selected locations only)
• Light refreshments if possible.
If you can attend, please confirm which location from the list above via email to: AFDinfo@cornwall.gov.uk
Veterans Groups Coordinator for AFD NE 2023
Please check on the AFD website for updates on the event.
Hundreds of Pounds raised for charity by Royal Naval Association – Area 4.
The Royal Naval Association Area 4 held its Annual South West Flotilla reunion over the first weekend in March at the Durrant House Hotel in Bideford, raising hundreds of pounds for service charities at the same time.
The Reunion, organised by Shipmates Mike and Fay Lawton and their Committee of Pat Knight and Ian Scraggs, is the 46th to take place – having taken a forced break for the last two years. 168 Association members and guests attended the three day reunion on 3rd March and they enjoyed a packed program of events.
Friday night saw the return of the hot and cold buffet dinner, with shipmates getting together , some of whom had not seen each other for many, many months. There was entertainment and dancing, repeated again on the Saturday night at the formal 4 course gala dinner, where shiny medals, shoes, DJ’s and long frocks were the order of the evening.
Guest of Honour, and National RNA President was Vice Admiral Duncan Potts CB, accompanied by his wife Pamela. Also in attendance was the Area 4 President and Area 4 Chairman, as well as members from 18 branches across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and the South West. The National President was able to present Shipmate Gill Essom from Portland Branch with the Jacqui Ward Trophy – awarded to the Associate female shipmate who had contributed most, selflessly within Branch during the last year.
Sunday morning saw Standards from 13 Branches being paraded at St. Margarets of Antioch with the Area 4 Padre Martin Kirkbride and Reverend Julie Harris – who was conducting her first service in the Parish, having received her license only the week before.
Later in the day there was a quiz – fiercely contested and won by Liskeard Branch and the funds raised from that, the Saturday night raffle and the rum raffle raised around £1400.
The rum raffle was eagerly anticipated as this was a rum that could not be bought from retail and was only made for the RN, RNA and RM. There were two bottles up for grabs and the winners soon because extremely popular people! The Saturday night star prize was a crystal decanter, donated by Bodmin Branch member Betty Tiller, now well into her nineties, but still wanting to share that camaraderie that is the backbone of what the Association stands for. The £1,844 raised will be shared amongst Naval and Veteran charities.
Shipmate Mike Lawton on behalf of the reunion Committee said “It all went very well and it was delightful to see so many people able to get out and back together again. Covid 19 has prevented the event taking place for the last two years and much has changed for so many but the coming together and seeing everyone has been wonderful. The Durrant House Hotel, has once again done us proud and we can’t wait to see what we can do for next year”
NOTE: Serving or former serving members of the Royal Navy or Royal Marines are invited to join the RNA – there is no joining or membership fee. Equally, anyone who shares the ethos of the Royal Navy Association and would like to become an Associate Member, please get in touch with your local branch – full details can be found at http://no4arearna.co.uk/
Royal Naval Association – Area 4 Standard Bearers Competition
After an absence of two years, Standard Bearers training again took place at Bridgwater Sea Cadet H.Q. The first three Sundays in February were taken up with training sessions, and the last Sunday 26th February was the Number 4 Area Competition. S/M Malcolm Day, the Number 4 Area Ceremonial Advisor, took the Standard Bearers through their paces in February – several Standard Bearers then went on to parade their Standards at the Annual Area 4 Reunion at Bideford at St. Margarets of Antioch, Newham at the beginning of March.
Despite there being only three competitors taking part, the winning place was fiercely and proudly contested, with the winner being S/M Ben Cartwright of Portland Branch, the runner up was S/M Mike Morton of Street Branch and third place went to S/M Lisa Lambert of St. Austell Branch. S/M Lisa a complete novice, was full of enthusiasm to learn, and her effort was very commendable.
S/M Mike Glendenning was the adjudicator, and S/M Jan Morton provided the much needed refreshments.
The competition was attended by 10 Shipmates who provided raffle prizes and victuals for a buffet lunch. £30 was raised from the raffle and duly passed on to Bridgewater Sea Cadets who once again were thanked for the use of their premises.
Royal Naval Association Area 4 PRO
News from Chard Branch
Chard branch were just some of the many Area 4 Branches that attended the 2023 Area 4 Reunion when they were able to supply eight members for the occasion.
The weekend away was well received and all attending thoroughly enjoyed the break. It was great to meet up once more with members from the many branches in attendance and in particular to Chard branch the meet up with Helston branch lead by S/m George Scott .
The branch thanks go to all those involved in the organisation and we look forward to next year reunion.
Images and write up by S/m Dick Moon.
No 4 Area Standard Bearers Competition 2023
After the absence of two years, Standard Bearers training again took place at Bridgwater Sea Cadet H.Q. The first three Sundays in February were taken up with training sessions, with the last Sunday the 26th, being the No4 Area Competition.
Three competitors took part, with the winner being S/M Ben Cartwright of Portland Branch, the runner up was S/M Mike Morton of Street Branch. Third place going to S/M Lisa Lambert of St. Austell Branch. S/M Lisa a complete novice, was full of enthusiasm to learn, and her effort was very commendable.
Thanks also goes to S/M Mike Glendenning the adjudicator, and S/M Jan Morton for providing refreshments. The competition was attended by 10 Shipmates who provided raffle prizes and victuals for a buffet lunch. £30 was raised from the raffle and duly passed on to the Sea Cadets who again was thanked for the use of their premises.
Report by S/M Malcolm Day
No 4 Area Ceremonial Advisor
Jacqui Ward Memorial Trophy 2023
The trophy was awarded this year to Shipmate Gill Essom of the Portland branch the trophy is awarded annually to any female Area Shipmate who has done the most to further the aims and objects of the RNA during the past year. it was presented at the Annual Reunion at the Durant House Hotel Bideford on Saturday the 4th of March by the RNA President Vice Admiral Duncan Potts CB.