- Shipmate Margaret Asprey
- Axminster and Chard Jolly Day Out
- Admiral Alec Weir Memorial Croquet Match 2018
- Edna Noble
- Falmouth Branch Standard
- The Late Frederick Chapman
- The Jacqui Ward Memorial trophy 2018
- Normandy Memorial
- Shipmate Jack Bevis Chard Branch
- Area Reunion 2018
- Standard Bearers Competition February 2018
- Portland Sea Cadets Prize Giving Evening ~ 22nd Feb 2018
- Shipmate Tony Milliner
- HMS Cornwall
- Chairman’s Annual Report
- Bristol Branch Laying up the Branch Standard
- Chard Christmas Buffet 2017
- IPad Training Arranged By Portland Branch
- RNA Ferndown and District Visit to Parliment
- RNA Plymouth Branch Bi-Ennial Trafalgar Weekend 2017
- Shipmate Derek Haskins Frome Branch
- Shipmate Geoffrey ‘Percy’ Percival CPOME RN
- Portland Remembrance 2017
- Branch Presidents Cross the Bar
- Chard Branch celebrate their 30th anniversary and Battle of Trafalgar
- HMS Illustrious Ceremony on Portland
- Area Meeting Portland September 2017
- Chard Royal Naval Association elect a new President
- SUNDAY 10th SEPTEMBER A Busy Weekend for RNA Portland Branch & Others
- Chief Petty Officer Ernest Pitcher VC
- HMS Queen Elizabeth arrival tickets Cancelled
- Admiral Alec Weir Memorial Croquet Match 2017
- WRNS 100 Weymouth 2017
- Falmouth Sea Sunday 2017
- Chard RNA Hold Sea Sunday Service for Mission to Sea Farers
- Bodmin Branch BBQ
- Dorchester Armed Forces Day
- Chard Branch visit HMS Somerset 2017
- Weymouth Veterans Parade 2017
- Portland Branch remembers HMS Sidon
- Portland Branch visit HMS Portland
- HMS Duncan RCD at Portland
- Presentation Of Cheque To The West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association
- Falklands War 35th Anniversary ~ HMS Glamorgan & Ship’s Flight ‘Willy IV’
- Chard branch visit to HMS Somerset
- Not Forgotten Association Garden Party May 2017
- Area Meeting Ferndown May 2017
- ROYAL NAVY PAST MEETS ROYAL NAVY PRESENT
- Royal Marine Band Concert Frome Branch
- Area Reunion 2017
- Standard Bearers Competitions Sunday 26th February 2017
- 100 years Remembrance SS Mendi
- Area meeting and AGM at Weymouth 2017
- Affiliation and Association – A Success Story
Some images Link to Gallery
Shipmate Margaret Asprey
It is with the greatest regrets that I am announcing the crossing of the bar of Chard RNA member and former WRNS, Shipmate Margaret ‘Mags’ Asprey. Magaret has been fighting illness for the past five years and succumbed to it on Thursday 14th June. Mags leaves her husband Dave (former Matelot and member of RNA), her two sons, daughter in law and a recently born first grandson. RIP Mags.
Submitted by Sm Dick Moon
Chard Branch Press officer
Axminster and Chard Jolly Day Out
Chard and Axminster branches joined forces to go out on a jolly in Tiverton Devon on Saturday 9th June when they went on water (not to sea) for an evening on the Tiverton Horse Drawn Canal Barge which included a Fish ‘n’ Chip supper.
Twenty four shipmates and their guests enjoyed lovely evening weather a comical and informal spoken commentary by the owner whilst being pulled along by our ‘engine’ for the night ‘Ross the hoss’.
The fish n chip supper was taken on board at a stop next to one of the two bridges we passed under. Time was given for the assembly to stretch their legs by a quick walk along the tow path to view he aqueduct.
The round trip took two and a half hours and was a most pleasant and unusual night out for all who thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was good to see both branches join together for the evening.
by S/M Dick Moon
Chard Press officer.
Admiral Alec Weir Memorial Croquet Match 2018
On Sunday the 3rd June teams from local branches Bodmin, Delabole and Liskeard met at Pencarrow House for the Admiral Alec Weir Memorial Croquet Match,
We were blessed with a sunny dry day and with Lady Iona Molesworth- St Aubyn, Ann Weir (Admiral Alecs widow) and Delabole Branch Patron Helen Bull present the teams took to the field of battle. there was a good turn out and even German visitors to Pencarrow were amongst the spectators.
The eventual winners were Liskeard Branch and Bodmin Branch were runners up the trophies were presented by Mrs Helen Bull Delabole Branch Patron
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the Crossing of the Bar of long time member of Chard RNA and wife of long serving past president S/m Mr Jim ‘Nobby’ Noble.
Edna took a fall at home and was being treated in Musgrove Hospital and as a result of her injuries sustained in the fall unfortunately crossed the bar on 23.05. 2018 made worst in that it was also her 86th birthday.
A memorial service will be held in her memory on Wednesday 13th June 2018 at the Methodist Church, Fore Street, Chard at 11.00hrs.
Falmouth Branch Standard
The Falmouth Branch Standard Bearer reports that his Branch Standard Pole Carrier (Carrying strap & bucket) has deteriorated and requires urgent repair or replacement. Before we go ahead and purchase one does any Branch or Area hold a spare from a now closed Branch that they no longer need.
Mick Stevens Chairman
Tel: 01326 317410
Mob: 07778 899705
The Late Frederick Chapman
We have received a request from the family of Frederick William Arthur Chapman born 21st September 1940. via Veterans Bereavement Support and Central Office asking if anyone could attend his funeral. Frederick served for 24 years in the Royal Navy including times on Submarines, he was awarded the LS and GC medal in 1973, and the Queens Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
The funeral will be held on Wednesday 6th June at 1400hrs at St Margarets Church, Northam. DEVON
He served on the following ships:
HMS St Vincent (Gosport Training College) 1956-1957
HMS Eagle (Aircraft Carrier R05) 1957-1959
HMS Dolphin (Gosport Submarine Base) 1959 -1968
HMS Adamant (Submarine Depot Ship) 1959 -1965
HMS Vernon (Royal Navy Torpedo Branch) 1960 -1978
HMS Anchorite(Amphion-class Submarine P422) 1966-1968
HMS Aeneas (Amphion – class Submarine P427) 1962 – 1964
HMS Excalibur (HTP< high test perodixde submarine S40) 1959-1959
HMS Totem (T- Class Submarine P352) 1959- 1959
HMS Astute (Nuclear Submarine S119) 1965-1966
HMS Royal Arthur (Training Campe) 1968-1968
HMS Phoebe (Leander-class Frigate F42) 1971- 1972
HMS Naiad (Leander-class Frigate F39)1975- 1977
HMS Dryad(Maritime Warfare School) 1978-1980
HMS Nelson (nelson Class Battleship 28) 1980 – 1980
The Jacqui Ward Memorial trophy 2018
The Jacqui Ward Memorial trophy for 2018 has been awarded by The Area Deputy Chairman Shipmate Peter Shoesmith and Area Life Vice President Shipmate Chris Hore to a very deserving lady.
She has been a full member of the royal naval association for 30 years and recently was awarded life membership for her services to her branch. These include being branch treasurer for 26 years, organising branch activities including annual dinners and Trafalgar day functions.
What`s more for the past three years she has hosted the branch committee meetings in her home and provides refreshments for those attending. In 2017 she was presented with a RNA Certificate of Appreciation by her branch.
I think that you must agree with Chris and Peter that this lady is a very worthwhile recipient of the trophy. Shipmate Liz Norley of the South Bristol Branch.
The trophy was presented to the Area in memory of Shipmate Jacqui Ward, a former Member of Delabole Branch and is awarded annually to any Lady member of No4 Area who has done the most to further the aims and interests of the R.N.A. during the past year.
You may not be aware that The Royal British Legion is supporting the Normandy Memorial which will be inaugurated next year to mark the 75th anniversary of the D Day landings. The Normandy Memorial Trust has spent the last 12 months researching the names of those who lost their lives under British command between 5 June and 31 August 1944. This is a unique collection of names which have never before been recorded and will appear on the British Normandy Memorial soon to be built in Ver-sur-Mer, Normandy.
You can find the Roll of Honour by visiting www.normandymemorialtrust.org in case you wish to check that the name of an individual is accurately recorded, or to let the Trust have a name that is not on the Roll. All suggestions will need to be submitted to The Normandy Memorial Trust before the end of April. This a fine trawl just in case a D/Day Veteran is not listed.
RNA Deputy General Secretary
Shipmate Jack Bevis Chard Branch
It is with great sadness that It is reported the Crossing of the Bar of Shipmate Jack Bevis 93yrs a former Royal Marine and one of the last survivors of the D Day landings for which he received the French Legion de Honneur in 2017. He was one of the longest serving members of the Chard branch along with his wife Gwendoline who unfortunately passed away about two years ago.
Although in later life he kept himself to himself, whenever any other member visited him it was always Tot Time and he was always willing to attend any great social event although less after the passing of Gwen.
He spent a short time with an illness in Musgrove Park Hospital from where he crossed the bar on 2nd March 2018, he leaves a son Keith, having lost his daughter and wife previously.
Although Jack wishing for a quiet funeral, his son Keith thank the branch for all the help given to Jack and requested the Branch standard be presented and Union Flag to be draped over the coffin, this was carried out with Sm Malcolm Day bearing the standard in respect to Jack a further four members of the branch attended the ceremony.
Area Reunion 2018
It was reported by Shipmate Pete Shoesmith the Area Deputuy Chairman that the Very Inclimate weather horrendous snow drifting making roads impassable that the reunion rally was held with decimated numbers just 32 sat down to dinner on Friday night, and 103 sat down on Saturday night. There was only one act for the Chairmans Concert on the Sunday details below. Images are in the Gallery click the image below.
Portland Hippies Bring Home The Cup!
Ten of us took part in the Chairman’s Concert at the No.4 Area Reunion at Bideford last Sunday 4th March ’18. Our act was titled ‘Love’ and the scenario was that I assumed that we would sing some ’70s songs with ‘a bit of a beat’ and the common theme of love, whereas the others were under the impression that we would do the peace and love hippie type songs.
So I went to the front, dressed in the usual casual gear, and then the others entered in their splendid hippie attire. Anyhow, with much muttering and shouts of ‘Let’s go to San Francisco’ in between songs, we sang ‘Under the Moon of Love’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.
We then agreed to sing ‘So Happy Together’ which was from the hippie era, and asked the audience to join in. While the others handed out song sheets, I said ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ and dashed off and donned a flowery shirt and wig. Meanwhile, the DJ had the idea to play ‘If You’re Going to San Francisco’ and everyone sang along.
We then sang ‘So Happy Together’ along with the audience and finished up by walking off singing along to ‘Let’s go to San Francisco’.
It doesn’t seem to be much when writing about it, but it actually worked very well. We enjoyed ourselves, the audience enjoyed it and they sang along.
No doubt you will all know by now that we were the only branch to do anything in the concert, but we were determined to carry on regardless after all the time and effort spent on it. At least we are probably the first branch to be unanimously voted the best act!
The only trophy to be returned from last year was the Tremlett Cup, so this was presented to us by No.4 Area Chairman, Ron Burdekin. We demand the Rose Bowl as well!
My grateful thanks to Colleen, Christine, Ben & Josie, Nige & Lynne, Grahame & Gill and Doc for giving up their time and especially for their efforts in getting such brilliant costumes.
by Dave, Portland Branch Social Sec.
Standard Bearers Competition February 2018
The Area held its Annual Standard Bearers Training Sessions at Bridgwater Sea Cadets Headquarters on the first three Sundays of February 2018, culminating on the fourth with a keenly contested Competition between 5 Branch Standard Bearers, with very few points separating them.
The Competition, which was judged by Shipmates Charles H Thompson BEM and Tony Seal, consists of an inspection of the Standard Bearers dress and bearing and the condition/cleanliness of the Standard. This is followed by a Drill Routine comprising all of the various drill and Standard movements, both on the March and at the Halt. Not so easy when working within a limited space.
The results were as follows:
1st. Ben Cartwright Portland Branch Winner of the Strudwick Shield
2nd Mick Morten Bridgwater Branch
3rd. Dennis Mathews Ferndown Branch Winner of the William Arthur Shield
4th. Mike Lawton Frome Branch Winner of the Jock Porteus Cup
5th. Lynwood Newman Weymouth Branch
Many thanks to all the Judges, adjudicators etc. The awards were presented by the Area Chairman Shipmate Ron Burdekin.
This was followed by a bun fight which was kindly laid on by our ladies and supporters during which a raffle was held, the proceeds going to the Bridgwater Sea Cadets.
by Shipmate Ben Cartwright
Portland Sea Cadets Prize Giving Evening ~ 22nd Feb 2018
Branch Officers and members were invited to attend the Prize Giving Evening at TS PENN Sea Cadet Unit on 22nd February 2018. The following Shipmates attended – President Ben Cartwright, Chairman Alex Oswald, Treasurer Peter Shoesmith, Dan Sherren and Joan Stevenson.
A Full Report by Shipmate Alex Oswald and images by Shipmate Pete Shoesmith may be found on the Portland Branch Website
Shipmate Tony Milliner
It is with sadness we report that Area Life Vice President Tony Milliner JP, Crossed the Bar Monday 29th of January at 13.40.
ALVP Tony has been a strong supporter of Area 4 Serving on the Area Committee as Assistant Secretary and a Branch Standard Bearer he also served on the Reunion Committee.
The Funeral took place at Gloucester Crematorium. Coney Hill Road, Gloucester. GL4 4PA. On Friday 16th February 2018 at 1500. There were 8 standards (4 RNA and 4 RBL) plus 9 other supporters from Portland, Ferndown, Street, Frome, Bristol and Liskeard. There was a good contingent from the Royal British Legion in the Gloucester area. Nice full eulogy by the Celebrant on behalf of family. A tribute by Shipmate David White, President, South West Area, Royal Naval Association on Tony’s RNA life also by Andrew Cooper, Chairman, Thornbury and District Royal British Legion.
Like many former sailors, some time after leaving the Service, Tony joined the Royal Naval Association. He first came to prominence when the previously commissioned Silverton Exeter branch was renamed simply Exeter branch in the 1990s.
Since then Tony became the branch Delegate to Area meetings and Annual Conferences. For many years he was the branch Standard Bearer, latterly renowned for his consistent presence lining the route at Royal Wootton Bassett for the repatriation of military casualties from overseas conflicts.
He also held the posts of branch Chairman, Welfare Officer and Secretary. Even after moving home to the Gloucester area he regularly made the return trip along the M5 for the monthly meetings.
Much of the liaison work between the branch and the destroyer HMS Exeter was down to Tony’s efforts. He maintained the link and arranged numerous visits to the ship.
Someone who enjoyed being busy, Tony was a useful member of the Area Committee, of which he had been the Assistant Area Secretary. Always a good socialiser Tony was also a most fitting member of the Annual Reunion Committee.
Rewarded for his diligent work on behalf of his branch and the Area, he was made an Area Life Vice President. Richly deserved.His wise council and good humour will be missed – but valued – by all who knew him.
Rest in Peace, Tony.
Area President Shipmate David White MBE MSM
Scott Mann MP for North Cornwall is campaigning for one of the Royal Navy’s new Type 31e frigates to be named HMS Cornwall.
Announced as part of the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, an initial batch of five Type 31e general purpose frigates will be built, with the first coming into service in 2023. A competition for the design of the frigate will open in Autumn 2017.
If you would like to see one of the new Type 31e frigates named HMS Cornwall, then please see this link
to complete and submit the sign-up form. A petition will then be presented to the Ministry of Defence.
Chairman’s Annual Report
Bristol Branch Laying up the Branch Standard
The Bristol Branch Standard was laid up in the Lord Mayors Chapel Shipmates from the Area were joined by the Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Peaches Golding OBE, the Lord Mayor Cllr Mrs Lesley Alexander and Sea Cadets from TS Adventurer. The Lord-Lieutenant passed the Standard to the Lord Mayor for display and safekeeping in the Chapel. After leaving the Chapel, Shipmates, their friends and families retired for a light lunch at the RAF Club in Henleaze.
Chard Christmas Buffet 2017
Members of the Chard branch broke with tradition this year when they held a Christmas Buffet at their base in the Chard Rugby Football Club.
It was unfortunate that the numbers attending were down for this occasion due to the dreaded coughs, colds and stomach complaints that appear to be doing their rounds in the area, however those attending were entertained by husband and wife team S/mates Chris and Anne Trustcott who held two very thought producing Xmas quizzes whilst seasonal music played in the background.
The ‘Girls Ahoy team’ S/mates Sherilyn James and Helen Day played their usual blinder selling raffle tickets with the caller being our chair S/m Malcolm Day.
All attending were suitably impressed with the seasonal buffet supplied by a lovely lady on the Rugby club’s catering committee.
The evening was rounded off when S/mates Paula Moon and Mags Asprey posed for a photograph in front of the tree wishing all members of the RNA a Merry Christmas and best wishes to all for the New Year.
Images write up by S/M Dick Moon
IPad Training Arranged By Portland Branch
The Pilgrim house in Weymouth’s Hope square was the chosen venue due its great facilities and best deal in the area for such an undertaking.
Ten local clients were organised by Shipmate Richard Gray webmaster of the Portland branch. Clients from Dorchester, Christchurch and Portland gathered for a very enthusiastic learning session lasting some two hours on Saturday morning 9th December. Training staff from Plymouth and Hampshire provided the expertise required to encourage the students and develop their iPAD skills.
The highlight of the session was to witness Shipmate Steve Skerman speaking to his son in America, whilst seeing him at the same time, on line.
The project Semaphore team deserve a huge vote of thanks for turning out in force, they were Sarah, Sue and Julie supported by volunteers Nick and Molly. It should be said that you have left some very happy customers behind. BZ
The Portland branch are more than happy to provide the facilities again, if required having learned a great deal this time and will do even better next time.
No. 4 Area PRO
RNA Ferndown and District Visit to Parliment
On Monday 27th November 8 Shipmates of Ferndown Branch accepted an invitation to visit and take part in a Tour of Parliament Buildings from their local Member Mr Chris Chope. The visit was an early one which meant that we had to leave Branch Headquarters at 07.00 to be in time for tour to start at 10.45, but they required us be there half an hour before. On a dark and frosty morning we started off, unfortunately the traffic on the M3 was so congested that we arrived at the \House at 10.55. We were lucky in that we had telephoned from the M3 informing them of the situation. We were allowed to start at 11.00. The security is airport style, everything metal, belts coats bags had to be removed. This done we moved into Westminster Hall and introduced to our guide for the day Teresa. Expecting to be told about the Hall, we were taken right to the Queens Entrance, from there we progressed gradually through the building visiting all the spectacular rooms, into the House of Lords Chamber. Into the lobby and on to the Commons Chamber. In both Houses the stewards were setting up for the start of business at 2.30. We arrived finally back into Westminster Hall, where various memorials to various Kings had laid in state, also where various people had stood trial before losing their heads. Back in the Central Lobby we were joined by Christopher Chope. Following which a sojourn to the Café for a welcome cup of coffee/tea/chocolate.
Leaving London we made our way to the Ship Inn at Mortlake on the towpath of the River Thames, for a welcome stop for food and drink. Finally arriving back at Branch HQ at 19.30.
Photo by Bob Stanyard
RNA Plymouth Branch Bi-Ennial Trafalgar Weekend 2017
Commodore Bob Fancy OBE Royal Navy and wife Sarah were Guests of Honour at the Trafalgar Dinner held at the Livermead House Hotel, Torquay.
Members listened intently to Bob’s enlightening speech about Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, his inspirational leadership and his ability to bring out the best in his men. To conclude Bob proposed the toast to ‘The Immortal Memory’ when all members raised their glasses in silence.
First class cuisine, attentive Hotel Staff and a very warm ambience created a most enjoyable weekend.
Shipmate Derek Haskins Frome Branch
Shipmate Derek Haskins Crossed the Bar at 08.10 Monday 20th November in Cork Street Nursing Home.
He will be remembered as a quiet gentle man who enjoyed his model making and supported Frome branch for many years. As Standard Bearer he represented the Frome branch and the Royal Naval Association throughout Area 4 and further afield.
Although he had been unwell for quite some time he continued to attend meetings until the last few months.
He will be missed by all of us as well as many people in Frome that were fortunate enough to know him and our thoughts go to Joy at this time.
The funeral will take place at the Mendip Crematorium, Old Wells Road, Croscombe, Wells BA5 3RR on Tuesday 12th December. The service will be conducted by the Rev. Graham Owen commencing at 10.00. Joy has requested that the coffin be draped with the Union flag and that the branch Standard be in attendance.
After the service the wake will be held at Phoenix House Communal Room Frome, Dommetts Lane, Frome, BA11 4JT, and all Standards will be welcome.
Joy has requested family flowers only and donations to the Royal Naval Association Frome.
Shipmate Geoffrey ‘Percy’ Percival CPOME RN
Geoff passed away after an 18 month fight with Cancer on 5th November 2017. You may remember him from the days when we lived in Bideford and he was the Treasurer of the Torridgeside RNA when it was decommissioned in 2012. He was also made a Lifelong Member of the RNA by Torridgeside members for the work he did with them at that time, and attended many of the regional Area 4 meetings in the South West.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday 10th December 2017 at 1200 at the Higher Ground Meadow Natural Burial site near Corscombe and afterwards we plan a get together and refreshments at Maiden Newton Village Hall when we hope friends past and present may join us.
It would be really nice if perhaps the RNA (maybe from a local branch to us here?) could be represented at his funeral.
Portland Remembrance 2017
The annual increase in attendance at the Portland Cenotaph was evident again this year with over 500 people braving the cold but dry weather to pay homage to those local residents, who had paid the ultimate price in World wars and other conflicts so that we may live in security and peace. This gathering follows that of the day before when over 50 people joined the Portland RNA to observe Armistice Day, another increase in numbers on this special occasion.
The main Parade and Standards mustered at the “Drill Hall” before marching/walking up Easton Lane to the beat of the TS Penn Portland Sea Cadets Corps of drums, and the standard of the Isle and Royal Manor of Portland. CSM Sergeant Major C. Joynes, the march commander.
The service was led by Rev Tim Gomm – Team Rector of Portland and President of the Royal British Legion on Portland. Assisted by Rev James Menzies – Team Vicar of Portland and Mr David Framer Lay Pastor of the Portland Methodist Circuit. The Parade Commander Shipmate Charles H Thompson Royal Naval Association, ensured the event went to time and in good order.
Over 25 wreaths were laid which included Town Mayor of Portland Cllr. Charlie Flack. MP for Dorset South Mr Richard Drax MP. The Court Leet. The Royal British Legion. The Royal Naval Association. Army Associations. Royal Air Force Association. SSAFA. Dorset Police. Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. National Coastwatch Portland Bill. Portland Sea Cadets T.S Penn. Portland ACF. The Dorset Fire Service H.M. Portland prison. The RAOB and many other organisations and associations.
It should be mentioned and a vote of thanks go to the Portland Town Council for ensuring the Cenotaph memorial was looking so splendid following the refurbishment this year.
Thanks also for the continued annual support goes to the Weymouth Concert Brass. Thanks also to the Portland Conservative Club for laying on very welcome hot soup, roast potatoes and dippers, to accompany ‘Up Spirits’ after such a cold morning.
The 2017 remembrance did not end at the Cenotaph. At 1230 a further service was held in Victoria Gardens at the American Memorial.
Another event, in the evening this time at the St John the Baptist Church Fortuneswell, for the Royal British Legion Portland Service of Remembrance”.
Chairman, Portland Royal Naval Association
Branch Presidents Cross the Bar
|It is with deep regret that I have to notify you of the Crossing The Bar of two of our Branch Presidents. Shipmate Dennis Morris of the Christchurch Branch on the 5th October very unexpected, and Margaret Sallis this morning 8th October.
The Funeral of Shipmate Margaret Sallis will take place at 12.00 at Holy Trinity Church Frome and will be conducted by our Chaplain the
The Funeral of Shipmate Dennis Morris is on 30th October at Bournemouth Crematorium at 14:30 ( North Cemetery Strouden Road BH8 9HX)
Both will very much missed for all the work that they have done in their respective Branches. Margaret has been a very active member of the Area for as long as I can remember.
May they depart in peace and rise in Glory
Chard Branch celebrate their 30th anniversary and Battle of Trafalgar
Over 80 honoured guests and Shipmates were mustered for a reception at 1900 and welcomed the top table in our normal generous fashion. Branch President Shipmate Roy Lovell and Chairman Malcolm Day welcomed everyone and set the scene for the evening. Number 4 area Chaplain Geoffrey Walsh offered Nelson’s Grace and a very fine dinner was served.
The President of Number 4 area Shipmate David White MBE. MSM, who was accompanied by his wife Monica, gave a very informative after dinner speech.
The Loyal Toast was offered by Commodore David Pond, patron of the Chard Branch.
There followed presentations, flowers for the Ladies and various gifts to the other guests. Shipmate Dan Sherren, the Portland branch Chairman asked Charles H Thompson BEM to present a 30th anniversary gift of an engraved glass rose bowl from the Portland Branch to the President of Chard Branch.
The entertainment, raffles and splicing of the Main brace were highlights of the very well organised evening.
Finally, proceedings were brought to a close with the last Waltz, a hymn – The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Over, followed by a Royal Marines Sunset and Pipe Down.
The following day Chard Branch members and some of the guests from the previous evening attended the annual Trafalgar church service at St Thomas’ Church, Cricket St Thomas, during which two Standards were paraded (Chard Branch and Redruth). Following the service those attending relocated to the nearby Cricket St Thomas Golf Club for refreshments prior to departing to their various destinations.
Shipmate Dick Moon Chard PRO
Shipmate Dan Sherren Number 4 Area PRO
HMS Illustrious Ceremony on Portland
The lost Sailors of HMS Illustrious are remembered……… (originally written by John Ellis)
At 2200 hours on Sunday 17th October 1948 in gale force winds and rain squalls, the Ship’s liberty boat, a 36ft open motor launch (called a Pinnace) left Weymouth Pier to return to the 29,000 tonne Aircraft Carrier, HMS Illustrious, which was moored within Portland Harbour. The liberty boat was carrying 50 men; a crew of 5 and 45 liberty men who had enjoyed a few hours relaxation in Weymouth.
The boat headed out across Weymouth Bay, before passing through the northern entrance of the massive breakwater into Portland Harbour. Here, the state of the sea became much worse and immediately the liberty boat was in trouble. As it began to ship water the sailors on board began bailing out the Pinnace with their caps, buckets and anything which came to hand. Others attempted to keep the sea out by forming a breakwater with their bodies. Regrettably, all their efforts were in vain and the liberty boat foundered and sank some 50 metres astern of Illustrious.
Rescue boats were immediately launched from ILLUSTRIOUS and other naval ships in the harbour. The Weymouth Lifeboat also joined the search. Searchlights were trained on the sea, ropes and buoys were thrown from the Ship’s side and men dived from the gangways to assist those trying to stay afloat. There was incredible bravery, strength, resolve, courage and character displayed that night. Despite all their brave efforts and that of the Weymouth Lifeboat, 29 of the 50 on board the liberty boat were list; their average age was 23. Some of these men are buried in the Naval Cemetery in Portland; others went to their home towns. Wherever they lie we will never forget them.
Exactly 62 years later on Sunday 17th October 2010, a beautiful Memorial made locally in Portland of Portland Stone, was unveiled by the First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope GCB OBE ADC. This Memorial, to commemorate those lost in the tragedy, was provided by the efforts of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Association through the generous donations of Association members and other interested persons.
HM Lord Lieutenant of Dorset; senior Royal Naval Officers; relatives of those lost; four actual survivors of the Disaster; and members of the Association and the general public, attended the truly emotional and moving Unveiling Ceremony. Also present was a contingent of 29 sailors for the current HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, each representing a life lost. Those present watched the Royal Marines Band Beating Retreat, also a fly-past by a Seahawk and Swordfish of the Royal Naval Historic Flight. Additionally, two Royal Navy Lynx helicopters flew over the actual site of the sinking of the Liberty Boat and dropped a memorial wreath.
Each year since the Memorial Unveiling Ceremony in 2010, a service has been held at the Memorial on a Saturday as close to the Anniversary date as possible, to remember these brave sailors. In addition, we now also remember the founder and instigator of the Memorial, ex-Chairman of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS Association, John Ellis, who sadly died suddenly in November 2013. We also remember JACK CRANNY, local Historian, who died in 2016, who did so much to help John Ellis with the Memorial project.
Royal Naval Association Portland Branch Chairman, Dan Sherren said that we would ensure members of our branch and other Associations would continue to support this ceremony each year in the memory of those lost Shipmates.
Maureen Sherren RNA Portland Branch PRO.
Area Meeting Portland September 2017
Conservative Club Easton on the Royal Manor of Portland.
The meeting was opened by the Portland Town Deputy Mayor, Councillor Charlie Flack (a former CPOMA and now a Portland branch member) accompanied by his wife Maria. Councillor Flack gave an abridged version of the history of Portland and both he and Maria remained with us until completion.
The standard was marched on by the Area standard bearer Ben Cartwright and Shipmate Chaplain the reverand Geoffrey Walsh offered prayers.
It was encouraging to see so many branches attending – AXMINSTER, BRIDGWATER, BRIDPORT, CHARD, CHRISTCHURCH, DARTMOUTH, DORCHESTER, FALMOUTH, FERNDOWN, FROME, LAUNCESTON, LISKEARD, PLYMOUTH, SALTASH, SOUTH BRISTOL, TORBAY, TORPOINT & RAME PENINSULA, WEYMOUTH, PORTLAND.
During the meeting our President David White presented a cheque for £2,300 to Mr Geoff Robertson on behalf of Scotty’s little Soldiers, a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved British Forces children. Geoff went to great lengths to enlighten us on the mission of the charity.
Continuing the Charity theme.
A presentation by Mr Tim Corke of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity outlined the works of the RNRMC and how as branches and individuals we can contribute. More info is available at rnrmc.org.uk for those who dabble in the nether world of the internet!
DNCM Shipmate Gutteridge read a report of proceedings from the National council.
The President closed the meeting, but not before he had presented me with a £200 cheque for the Portland branch. We are more than happy to host again as and when required.
Of the branches attending we were very pleased to have the following remain for the evening social – AXMINSTER, BRIDPORT, CHARD, DARTMOUTH, DORCHESTER, TORPOINT & RAME PENINSULA, WEYMOUTH, FALMOUTH. With almost 30 raffle prizes on offer I believe everyone had a fair chance of getting something to take home. The daytime raffle was a huge success with another 30 odd prizes not counting the rum raffle, which our social secretary won!
Our branch has benefited greatly from this weekend’s activity both financially and from publicity in the local area with new members keen to join.
For those branches who feel they are unable to host the area meetings please think about what it can do for you, we at Portland will always offer any help you may need in the way of organisation etc.
Looking forward to Saltash for the next meeting.
Yours Aye Dan Sherren MSM Portland Chairman Area 4 PRO
Chard Royal Naval Association elect a new President
The Committee for Chard Branch Royal Naval Association announced, through the Branch Chairman and Standard Bearer Shipmate Malcolm Day, their intention to bestow upon their Vice President Shipmate Roy Lovell, the honour of becoming Branch President. Those members present at the September bi-monthly official meeting showed their agreement and pleasure of this intention. The honour was gratefully received by the surprised Roy who stated he was truly honoured and would endeavour to maintain the high standard that is expected of the role.
The nomination of Roy as President, in this the 30th anniversary year of the Branch, is most worthy in light of the fact that Roy, a local born and bred member, was instrumental in initiating Chard Branch Royal Naval Association. Roy along with other ex-Royal Naval locals talked about the instigating of a branch and due to Roy making the initial contact with RNA Headquarters, Portsmouth was put in the ‘hot seat’ after being ‘volunteered’ as Branch Secretary, a role he held for 27 years. On retiring from this post due to family commitments he was asked to take on the role of Vice President, which he accepted, and has resulted in his continual support of both the Branch and the Royal Naval Association for the past 30 years.
The branch, as a result of his actions, was Commissioned on the 3rd of October 1987 and will be holding its 30th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 21st October, in conjunction with the Branch’s annual Trafalgar Night celebration to be held in The Shrubbery, Ilminster with members from across Area 4 Royal Naval Association attending to give support to this achievement.
Following the evening celebrations at The Shrubbery Chard Royal Naval Association members and their guests will be attending the Branch’s annual Trafalgar Service in St Thomas’ Church, Cricket St Thomas at 10am on Sunday 22nd October. Every year on this occasion the Chard Branch Standard is paraded at the church service, and this year members of other Area 4 Branches attending the Trafalgar Night and 30th Anniversary celebrations will also be presenting and parading their standards.
Photo shows Shipmate Roy Lovell left being congratulated by Shipmate Malcolm Day
submitted by Dick Moon
SUNDAY 10th SEPTEMBER A Busy Weekend for RNA Portland Branch & Others
Shipmates attended two events even though they coincided with the Biennial Parade in London.
The first was held at St Osmund’s Church Osmington and was attended by members of Portland, Dorchester and Weymouth Branches.
This was to re-dedicate a WW1 Memorial Parchment, which had been discovered in the church tower.
The parchment is unusual as it lists not only those who lost their lives but everyone from Osmington who served in The Great War.
The second service attended by Portland Branch members. took place at St Andrew’s Church, Portland. This was to commemorate the 140th Anniversary of the loss of life following a collision
between the “AVALANCHE” bound for New Zealand and the “FORREST” bound for Canada off Portland Bill.
So shocked were people in New Zealand that they launched an appeal for a Memorial to be erected on Portland. This raised £1000 and it was decided to use thethe money to build a church.
A representative of the New Zealand High Commissioner also attended the service.
During the service one of the candles which had also been salvaged from the wreck of the “AVALANCHE” was lit.
Chief Petty Officer Ernest Pitcher VC
We mustered at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Swanage. Sunday 13th August 2017.
Eleven Standards representing a variety of organisations from all over the South and South West of England attended a Service to mark the centenary of the action on 8th August 1917 by Q-5 Dunraven, also known as HMS Farnborough and to honour the memory of Chief Petty Officer Ernest Pitcher VC, DSM, Medaille Militaire, Croix de Guerre.
And those with whom he served.
The standards were very well supported by attendance of family, friends and Shipmates from No. 4 Area of the RNA. Following the service we moved across to Northbrook Cemetery to pay heart felt tributes at the grave sites of CPO Pitcher and other Naval ratings, one of which was that of a boy seaman, only 15 years of age.
Also images from the grave of a 32 year old Stoker 1st class that Ben and Vaughan were at for the Last Post while I was at the 15 year old’s grave.
A very worthwhile undertaking by everyone, especially so those that travelled all the way up from Cornwall.
photographs by Carol Nelson and Maureen Sherren
Dan Sherren MSM
No. 4 Area PRO
HMS Queen Elizabeth arrival tickets Cancelled
HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH will enter Portsmouth harbour at 0710 on 16th Aug 17.
Owing to this short notice, it is with much regret that I have to inform you that the Fort Blockhouse event has now been cancelled for the Royal Naval Association members.
On behalf of the Royal Navy, Capt Krosnar-Clarke and all the team my sincere apologies especially to thoise that have made arrangements.
As originally explained in my last update it was originally envisaged that there would be no limit to ticket allocations for Fort Blockhouse. However, once the finer detail had been investigated it revealed that local traffic congestion and the infrastructure within F/Blockhouse plus large sections of the sea wall which had collapsed and become unusable, due to the consequent H & S issues, a decision was made to reduce attendance numbers to a level that could successfully managed by Fort Blockhouse staff.
The QE first entry team have provided RNA Central Office with 450 tickets for Fort Blockhouse and 50 for the Naval Base, over 670 applications were received and regrettably some applicants will be unsuccessful with their application. I am currently in the process of obtaining addresses for the successful 500 and will arrange for the tickets to arrive with them by early next week.
Please would you be kind enough to strongly highlight to your members that security is very tight and entry will be by numbered ticket only which corresponds to the list provided by RNA Central Office to the Security staff. Finally, please would you remind your membership not to turn up on the off chance of gaining entrance as this will only add to traffic congestion and they will still be denied entry.
Deputy General Secretary
RNA Central Office
Semaphore Tower PP70
Royal Naval Association No 4 Area branches from Bodmin, Bude, Delabole, Launceston, Liskeard and St Austell mustered at Pencarrow House Cornwall the Home of the Molesworth-St. Aubyn Family on Sunday 6th of August for the annual croquet contest.
The Chairman of No.4 Area Shipmate Ron Burdekin and Ann Weir the widow of Admiral Alec was pleased to see and chat to the 50 ish Shipmates who attended the afternoon which was organised by Delabole Branch. A super day out was enjoyed in the grounds of Pencarrow some partaking of the Cream Teas available in the cafe. With 11 teams competing for the Trophies there was some fierce competition.
Lady Iona Molesworth- St Aubyn kindly agreed to present the trophies to the winners who were Liskeard Branch and to Bodmin who were runners up.
Friday 21 July saw a grand turn out for the big 100 years of the WRNS at Greenhill gardens where the floral celebration was on show in the background. It was a very wet day but it did not dampen spirits local RNA and Merchant Navy associations were present and correct. Local MP Richard Drax and the Weymouth town mayor braved the torrential rain to support this very special event.
S/M Maureen Sherran gathered Pat Hudson from her operation’s recovery and also braved the elements!
by Shipmate Dan Sherren Area PRO
Falmouth Sea Sunday 2017
Absolutely superb Sea Sunday parade on 16th July 2017 in Falmouth led by HM Band of the Royal Marines, FO Plymouth.
Many thanks to both the Standards and Shipmates from other Branches attending
Shipmate Mick Stevens
Chard RNA Hold Sea Sunday Service for Mission to Sea Farers
The Chard Royal Naval Association members had a great day today when 17 attended the annual Mission to Sea Farers Sea Sunday Service at the local St Thomas Church on the Cricket St Thomas Estate. The church was well attended not only by the branch but members of the public from the hotel complex and, of course, those regular weekly attendees.
The service was carried out by the local vicar Canon Hugh Williams (ex Royal Navy) who held an excellent service in honour of ALL mariners throughout the world.Vice President Sm Roy lovell gave the reading on behalf of the association.
On completion of the service members lined up for a photo with the standard paraded by Chairman and Standard Bearer Sm Malcolm Day.
Once completed members made their way to the Cricket St Thomas Golf Club for tea and coffee whilst waiting for other members to attend for Sea Sunday lunch organised by Sm Helen Day, this swelling the number of attendees to 26 taking advantage of the golf club’s wonderful carvery lunch, with some following up with dessert.
All in all the Branch enjoyed a lovely Sunday out with great shipmates, family and friends. Thank you to all who supported this well deserved cause.
Our next event will be our annual Trafalgar Night Dinner which, this year, will incorporate the 30th Anniversary of the commissioning of Chard Branch RNA on Saturday October 21st at the Shrubbery, Ilminster followed by the annual Trafalgar church service on the Sunday at Cricket St Thomas Church.
Images by Sm Dick Moon
Image 4655e L-R Shipmates Mike Kirkland, Paula Moon,Gary Pennells, Sherilyn James, Roy Lovell, Malcolm Day, Helen Day, Jim James, John Cope and Liz Cable
Bodmin Branch BBQ
A great time had by all at the Frost place, and a few games of croquet were played.
This seemed a good idea, as a practice before engaging in the Admiral Alec Weir Memorial croquet tournament being held at Pencarrow House on Sunday the 6th of August.
Dorchester Armed Forces Day
Dorchester armed forces day Saturday 1st July was well attended on a very nice day. Standards from the local area were marched on led by the No. 4 Area standard with our very own Ben Cartwright. The service in the park was delivered with the theme being the armed forces. On completion it was up spirits which reminded me of one of the reasons why I do these things!
Dan Sherren MSM
Friday the 16th June saw seven members of Chard branch Royal Naval Association travel to Avonmouth Docks for a visit aboard their affiliated Royal Naval ship, HMS Somerset.
They were quests of the Captain, Commander Tim Berry and his most welcoming crew.
The party of seven were greeted on board by various members of the crew and after a welcoming and refreshing drink, due to it being, a balmy night. Afterwards they were then shown around the vessel stopping off at the bridge for a demonstration of a simulated attack from an unknown force carried by the officer of the watch and men on watch on the bridge.
This then followed by a tour of the operations room where the crew were closed up in high alertness searching for the possibility of attack by unknown forces from sea and air, this was a well honed demonstration and very enlightening.
On resuming, on the flight deck, the party mixed with the various organisations that had also been invited to attend and it was great to see s many ‘local’ people on board especially for the shipmates from Chard and Ilminster as Commander Berry’s parents were guests and are still resident in Coombe St Nicholas where Tim was brought up and went to primary school followed by Holyrood Academy. He played County school boy level rugby and cricket when at the academy.
It is fair to say that at the time of the visit there were more people aboard from Chard and Ilminster that evening than from anywhere else.
Before leaving to return home the party were privileged to observe the Naval tradition of ‘Sunset’ ( the striking down of the Ensign and Union Flag) and witnessed the marching on of the guard just prior to the event. This brought many a memory for the former matelots and brought the evening to a close only to leave time for a photograph on deck of all naval and former naval personnel from the Chard and Ilminster areas of Somerset.
Thank you HMS Somerset.
Sm Dick Moon
Our No.4 Area members were out in force on a very hot day in Weymouth attending the 2017 Veterans Parade. Standards led by our own Area Standard bearer Ben
Cartwright were paraded along the seafront with much applaud from the huge crowds. The five bands attending were magnificent helping to keep everyone in step for the long march to the Pavilion in brilliant sunshine.
Friday saw an annual gathering of Naval veterans at the Heights on Portland
Full Story on Portland Branch website
Wednesday 14 June saw four shipmates from Portland and one from Bridport Ben Cartwright, Dan Sherren, Dave Prowse, Alex Oswald and Vaughan Nelson. Visit HMS Portland
Dan Sherren MSM
Full Story on Portland Branch website
Shipmates, Saturday night out on Portland for members of the Portland and Dorchester branches when we visited HMS Duncan the latest of the type 45 destroyers to enter the Fleet.
From the meet and greet and delivery to the ship in good order it was obvious that the ship’s team were well drilled and enthusiastic.
The Commanding Officer, Commander Eleanor Stack Royal Navy introduced her ship and it’s company in a very well delivered speech. HMS Duncan has already completed a very busy schedule and now prepares to deploy for another three months as part of a NATO force to the Northern waters. HMS Duncan will play an important role in escorting the UK’s new Aircraft Carriers, the two biggest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.
What is a Reception and Capability Demonstration RCD?
People often ask what a Reception and Capability Demonstration is so here is a short explanation.
Warships spend almost all their time either deployed on operations, training for them or undertaking the regular maintenance essential to keep such complex machines finely tuned. On a few occasions each year, however, they have the opportunity to visit non naval ports in the UK. This is not just for rest and recreation, though that is an important element, but to allow what we call “regional engagement” to take place.
What is Regional Engagement?
It is a fact that 95% of all our imports come by sea and this includes oil and natural gas; yet how our trade routes and energy supplies are protected is hardly known by the public. These ship visits are designed to engage with all elements of the community to increase awareness and understanding of the maritime domain and thus reduce this so called “sea blindness”.
During the visit the ship will undertake a number of tasks normally including being open to visit by members of the general public, hosting organised tours from educational establishments and youth groups, offering potential recruits tailored visits and, at the heart of the visit, the Reception and Capability Demonstration.
An extremely interesting and entertaining evening for the numerous guests who gathered at the hangar for a ceremonial sunset to end proceedings and signal our time to say farewell.
Dan Sherren MSM Area 4 PRO
Presentation Of Cheque To The West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association
Shipmates ~ At the monthly Branch meeting on Wednesday 7th June, Dr Richard Sloan, Chairman of the West Dorset Motor Neurone Disease Association, was presented with a cheque for £750, by the Vice Chairman Shipmate Nigel Rimell, along with Shipmate Dave Prowse. This was our chosen charity for 2016, so Bravo Zulu for raising this amount Shipmates.
Full Story on Portland Branch website
Falklands War 35th Anniversary ~ HMS Glamorgan & Ship’s Flight ‘Willy IV’
On the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War, it is a fitting opportunity for the shipmates of RNA Portland Branch to reflect on and commemorate the crossing the bar of fourteen members of HMS Glamorgan ship’s company. Especially as many of those who died where part of the Wessex ship’s flight from 737 Naval Air Squadron, who were at the time based at RNAS Portland, and lived and had families in the area. HMS Glamorgan was a County class guided missile destroyer that formed part of the advanced group of the British carrier battle force deployed to the South Atlantic at the beginning of April 1982 to retake the Falkland Islands following the Argentine invasion.
Full Story on Portland Branch website
Chard branch visit to HMS Somerset
Photos by Shipmate James Kirkland
Here we have six of our Branch Members, including Our Chairman Sm Malcolm Day, Secretary Sm Gary Pennells and Treasurer Sm Mike Kirland along with Sm John Cope, Sm Liz Cable and Sm James Kirkland (not in picture but taking he image) , waiting for a boat to pick them up from the jetty in Torquay.
Our adopted ship, HMS Somerset, is in the distance, over John’s left shoulder. The group were invited to an RCD (Cocktail Party in old money!) onboard the ship on 2nd June. At the close of the party, a sunset ceremony was held, which was an emotional moment for our members, bringing back many memories.
The Branch would like to thank the CO, Cdr Tim Berry, and everyone onboard, for the invitation and for treating us as VIPs during the visit.
Another group from the Branch will be joining the ship next week in Avonmouth, for a similar event.
Sm Gary Pennells
Not Forgotten Association Garden Party May 2017
The security organisation for this event was excellent, as it had to be bearing in mind the tragic occasion in Manchester of the week before.
My wife Maureen and I joined over 2000 former and serving members of the armed forces on a fair weather day with just a threat of rain which luckily did not materialise. The meet and greet team were at their best, full of energy and polite humour which made us feel so welcome.
Hard to say who exactly were there from our area but the ones we did manage to bump into were having a very good day out in the capital’s premier garden. The Christchurch team led by Christine Payne, the Area ” Sin Bosun” Geoffrey Walsh and his wife plus of course George and Dennis from Dorchester who were excellent company throughout. We know there were others present on the day but as I said we did not get to see them, even though we were strategically situated on the beaten track to the heads!
Her Majesty the Queen was not in attendance but her absence was made up in good measure by His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales KCVO (Harry) who kept his security team on their toes, wanting to stop talk to everyone he came across during his walkabout.
Music was provided by the Band of the Corps of the Royal Engineers under the direction of Captain Oliver Jeans Corps of Army Music who also performed a beating of the retreat. Pipe music was played by Pipe Major Duffy Scots Guards Association and Lance Corporal Spence Irish Guards.
An excellent tea was served followed by lashings of strawberries and cream, the caterers had obviously done all this before and we made a point of thanking the Management team of the company, Ampersand who seemed a little taken aback, not being used to being thanked!
His Royal Highness departed around 1700 and we boarded our coach to return to the Union Jack Club dropping off the Chelsea Pensioners en-route.
Shipmate Dan Sherren MSM AREA PRO
Area Meeting Ferndown May 2017
We were treated to being one of the first organisations to hold a meeting at this old but very comfortable Club. The staff were excellent and made sure the proceedings ran without a hitch. We can only wish them well for the future. Even though the deck head was rather low our area Standard bearer found a way to conduct his drills splendidly. The good service was much appreciated, so much so that the Club Stewardess was presented with a RNA No. 4 area pennant by the President. She did however lose some new found friends when she won the rum raffle! in part made up for it by going to all the trouble of baking a cake to welcome us to her club.
The Mick and Mary Hannen Cup 2016 results were as follows: Brixham + 10 Plymouth + 8 Liskeard + 6. As the winning branch were absent the Chairman offered to deliver the trophy enroute home.
Saltash will host the No. 4 area AGM, the event will be held on the 20th January 2018.
Vice Chairman Peter Shoesmith presented the Jaqui Ward trophy certificate to this years winner Helen Day.
Date for your diaries if you can make it to Swanage in August. The Royal Marine Association have invited “Jack” to a memorial service at Saint Mary church, 13th August at 1450. Ben will be parading the Area standard and any others would be most welcome. The service is to celebrate 100 years since the death of CPO Pilcher who served in both world wars, being awarded the Victoria Cross and other decorations. There are a number of other Naval graves at which we will also pay our respects.
Dan Sherren MSM
Portland Branch Chairman
ROYAL NAVY PAST MEETS ROYAL NAVY PRESENT
Image 3168 Commander Berry presents Chard RNA Chairman s/m Malcolm Day with print and skip’s plaque.
Image3171 s/m Dick Moon presents Commander Berry with one of the three Chard iconic photographs of Chard
Present day Royal Navy personnel met up with veterans and associate members of the Chard Branch Royal Naval Association at an affiliation dinner held at the Lordleaze Hotel on Tuesday 14th March 2017.
Chard Branch joined in an affiliation with the appropriately named Royal Naval vessel HMS Somerset starting a friendship bridging the gap of old and new. The Commanding Officer of HMS Somerset, Commander Tim Berry RN, was born and bred in Chard and was educated at Combe St Nicholas Primary School and Holyrood Secondary School prior to attending the Richard Huish College, Taunton and also played Rugby and Cricket for Chard. His parents still live at Combe St Nicholas so is a frequent visitor to the area.
Also attending the celebration dinner of affiliation was the Executive Officer of HMS Somerset, Lieutenant Commander Vince Owen RN who also lives fairly locally at West Coker.
The Chard members enjoyed an introductory speech by Cmdr Berry highlighting the changes from the current day to past ships of the Royal Navy and the changes in crew with 33 members of his crew being female, emphasising the valuable input these females make within the ships company.
Chard Branch received a print of HMS Somerset together with a ship’s plaque and an exchange of gifts was given to HMS Somerset of 3 framed photographs of iconic buildings within Chard (Guidlhall, The Toll House and Chard School) together with an RNA Flag which can be flown on HMS Somerset at appropriate times alongside their ship’s ensign.
It was made clear during the evening’s events that this was the start of a friendship that will grow and all looked forward to meeting up again when day visits can be made for Chard members to visit the ship. An open invitation was also given to all members of HMS Somerset who wished to attend our forthcoming meetings or social events.
Chard Branch is extremely proud to have this friendship, but even more proud to have two ‘local lads’ who have both achieved in the Royal Navy. It is a real honour to have both our patron (Commodore David Pond RN) and the current Commander of HMS Somerset associated with its Branch; both having grown up and received their education in Chard and both having played rugby for Chard.
Royal Marine Band Concert Frome Branch
Following an invitation from the Frome branch of the Royal Naval Association, Maureen and I attended the 2017 annual concert performed by the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. Returning for their 22nd concert in support of the Frome branch fund raising event for a variety of local charities. It should be noted that the Royal Marines from Lympstone all volunteer for this event which comes on the heels of “in the mud” and other training. One very good reason for their return every year is the splendid way in which they are treated by Frome branch RNA.
The evening was a great success, the Memorial Theatre was packed with a very enthusiastic audience who were not backward in coming forward in response to the Bandmaster’s spirited engagement, it was nice to see the local sea cadets getting involved in the proceedings, conducting ceremonial sunset duties.
Following the concert we were invited backstage to meet the branch and the band, another nice touch by these hard working branch members making it a night to remember.
The good news is, it is happening again next year so mark your diaries for Frome in March.
Frome Chairman Mike King has generously offered some very interesting history relating to this annual concert:
During the week of the 14th – 21st February 1942 an advertisement appeared in the Somerset Standard announcing the adoption by Frome of the submarine HMS Thunderbolt and the target of raising £175,000, (£7m by today’s standards), by the people of Frome as part of the war effort. Later it was announced in the same paper that the NOIC Avonmouth Vice Admiral Sir Robert Hornell KBE DSO would be attending a ceremony on the 12th March 1943 in the Grand Cinema Frome, now the Memorial Theatre. He was to receive from the Chairman of the Frome War Savings Committee the badge of HMS Thunderbolt on behalf of the Commanding Officer of the submarine. Unfortunately HMS Thunderbolt never received the gift as she was lost on the 14th March 1943 off Sicily, the badge was not lost and now forms part of the Memorial wall in the foyer of the theatre. In 1994 Shipmate Ken Ring decided that a commemorative event should take place to remind the people of Frome of the sacrifice made by the crew; Ken decided a concert by the Royal Marines Band would foot the bill and the rest is history.
The first concert was held in March 1995 as a one off however this year’s was the 22nd consecutive concert. During that period the money raised has supported the theatre, which is completely operated and maintained by volunteers many of them members of the Frome RNA, purchasing boats and equipment for TS Achilles sea cadets based in Trowbridge as well as many service charities, individuals and organisations such as the RNLI.
Many thanks Mike
Dan Sherren MSM
Area 4 PRO
Area Reunion 2017
Photos by Shipmate Dan Sherren, Shipmate Dick Moon Chard and Shipmate Tony Amos
Over the weekend 3-6 March 2017 more than 200 members attended the 42nd Area Reunion Rally, and the 13th at the Durrant House Hotel in Bideford (with an E). Our area covers some 10,000 square miles and most of us travel a fair distance to get to Bideford, so well done in supporting those who work very hard on our behalf throughout the year. Thus ensuring we remain one of the more dynamic areas in the RNA. On the subject of attendance we should pay tribute to a Portland couple who have attended 41 of the 42 rallies held, they are Dot and Tony Elliott, they hope they might win a raffle prize next year! Bravo Zulu.
Once again the hotel Management and staff pulled out all the stops to ensure our 13th visit was again most memorable. So much so that the Hotel owner Parm Bahia and Head Chef Richard Copp were both awarded associate membership to No. 4 Area for services rendered.
The tried and tested format for the weekend events were once again put to the test and proved sound, ensuring everyone had a most enjoyable time, the organisers and committee should be congratulated for a great result.
In the absence of our President David White, Charles H Thompson took charge and proved that he has not lost his presenting skills honed over many many years.
The acceptance by the Chaplain of the fleet the venerable Ian Wheatley CB. QHC RN, accompanied by his good lady wife Deborah to be our Guests of honour, proved to be an excellent move. Resulting in one of the better speakers we have had for many a year, his background knowledge of the lower deck and wardroom humour stood him in good stead to deliver his message in a very unique way for us all to enjoy. Can we have him back please!
Chairman’s Concert Report: This year the bar was raised very high with contributions from some very skillful and enjoyable acts who kept us fully entertained.
Of note – Tug Wilson must have misplaced his compering suit this year as he conducted the Concert in his patriotic underwear! even after all these years he can still hold an audience, thanks Tug.
The 2017 Associate members awards are as follows:
Jackie Ward trophy – Helen Day Chard
Vic Cornwell trophy – David Newman Saltash (accepted by Jim Patterson)
Results from the Chairman’s concert competition were close run but the winners were:
Best individual – Rose bowl – Malcolm Day.
Best effort – Liskeard Branch
Overall winner – Charles H cup – Axminster Branch.
The church service this year was once again very well attended, eleven standards were paraded and Ben Cartwright had his first proud outing as our Area standard bearer. The large church service attendance collection of around £240 went a long way to boost the overall takings from the weekend to nearly £2000.
Well done to the hard working ladies who continue to extract our hard earned cash from us and also the raffle draw team who persevere, no matter what.
Standard Bearers Competitions Sunday 26th February 2017
Photographs by Mrs J Cartwright
The No4 Area Open and Closed Standard Bearers Competitions took place on Sunday 26th February 2017 at the Sea Cadet Headquarters in Bridgewater. 5 competitors took part and after the usual ‘hand in the pot’ selection the running order was: Mike Lawton, Frome; Mike Morton, Bridgewater; Dennis Matthews, Dorchester; Ben Cartwright, Portland and Lynwood Newman, Weymouth.
After the judges, Charles H Thompson, Jim Patterson and Tony Seal, and the adjudicator had taken their places the Area Ceremonial Officer, Malcom Day, marched on the competitors and addressed the assembly giving thanks to all who attended.
The competitors were inspected on their standard of dress, equipment, bearing, and the cleanliness and condition of their Standard. On completion the competitors were marched off and after a short ‘stand-easy’ the drill section took place where they were marked on their deportment, control of the Standard and drill movements.
It was encouraging to see some new faces there. Mike Lawton from Frome, having attended the Sunday training sessions, and Lynwood Newman who ‘came in out of the cold’ having had some local training from Tony Seal.
After the markings had been scrutinised and verified the results were;
1st place Ben Cartwright Portland Area Standard Bearer for 2017/18
Joe May Memorial Cup and Lilian Florence Cup
2nd place Dennis Matthews Dorchester Deputy Area Standard Bearer 2017/18
Herbert Cup and Davis Cup
3rd place Mike Morton Bridgewater
Ray Pearcey Cup
4th place Mike Lawton Frome Most improved
5th place Lynwood Newman Weymouth.
The trophies were presented by the Area Chairman, Ron Burdekin who thanked all the competitors, judges and officials and Bridgwater Sea Cadets for allowing us to use the hall.
After a superb ‘bun fight’ laid-on by the ladies, a raffle was held with the proceeds being donated to Bridgewater Sea Cadets.
Thanks to Ben Cartwright for sending this comprehensive report through. As I was absent due to family commitments.
Dan Sherren MSM
100 years Remembrance SS Mendi
Following a Royal Navy request for RNA assistance, Standards and Veterans attended the South African Navy, SS Mendi 100 years Remembrance Ceremony at the Pyramid’s Centre on Southsea sea front on Friday 17 February 2017.
Considering the very short notice 10 standards from No 3, No 4 area and other associations which included the Merchant Navy, HMS Ajax Battle of the river plate veterans and Fleet Air Arm veterans, ensured the occasion a very worthwhile event. 22 veterans also made up a fine body of men to greet the South African armed forces as they arrived through the flanks of standards.
I add an abridged history of the disaster:
on January 16, 1917 the Mendi troopship sailed from Cape Town en route to La Havre in France carrying the last contingent of the SANLC comprising 805 black private, 5 white officers and 17 non-commissioned officers as well as 33 crew members. On the morning of 21 February 1917, another ship, the SS Darro (10,0000 tons) travelling at full speed and emitting no warning signals, rammed the SS Mendi (4, 230 tons), which sank in 20 minutes. No steps were taken by the SS Darro to lower boats or rescue the survivors. She stood off and floated nearby while lifeboats from the SS Mendi escorting destroyer, HMS Brisk, rowed among the survivors, trying to rescue them. The loss of life is thought to be between 650 and 800.
Dan Sherren MSM
RNA No 4 Area
Public Relations Officer
Area meeting and AGM at Weymouth 2017
Weymouth pulled out all the stops to ensure the day was prepared in a very well appointed venue, shame about the heating system but the hot air from the floor went some way to compensate. A big thank you must go to the ladies in the galley and we should not forget the barmaids in the beer hatch!
20 branches turned out, some of them travelling a fair old distance, well done. 10 apologies were received and sadly 4 branches did not bother to respond to our secretaries calling notice.
Dan Sherren MSM Area PRO
Affiliation and Association – A Success Story
Shipmates, just one year ago when I started as your Area Public Relations Officer I offered my assistance and experience to any branch who were interested in reaping the rewards of having a Royal Naval partner to interact with and develop friendships throughout the life-time of the chosen vessel.
Having attended the commissioning of HMS Portland and continued full liaison through the years my branch has enjoyed the company of the crew, joining them for days at sea and attending other ship visit invitations. We have also been very fortunate to engage on a more formal basis by having the Commanding Officers as guests of honour at our annual dinners.
The success this year in engaging the Chard branch with HMS Somerset has been most fulfilling for me as it took a deal of patience and effort. Thanks must go to the ships team of HMS Portland and the guys at HMS Flying Fox, who supported my endeavours and achieve a great outcome.
Please find below some email correspondence between the two participants:
I am Hon Secretary of Chard Branch of the RNA. I can see from the emails below, that Dan Sherren, Area Public Relations Officer, has done some work on this affiliation and we are grateful for his help and your support for this project.
I am pleased to let you know that the possibility of an affiliation with HMS Somerset has been enthusiastically received within Chard Branch and we are all keen to see this go ahead, as soon as possible.
We are intrigued to know that your CO was at school in Chard and has connections with the town. Coincidentally, we are about to move our meeting venue to Chard Rugby Club…..it seems that our affiliation is written in the stars!
Chard RNA Branch is an active Branch, with all meetings well supported and a full social calendar throughout the year. Our Branch Patron is Cmdr David Pond, another “local lad” with strong sporting connections, particularly RN Rugby.
We will look forward to hearing from you, and to meeting everyone on HMS Somerset in the not-too-distant future.
With best regards
HMS Somerset Tim J Berry | Commander Royal Navy | Commanding Officer | HMS SOMERSET
(CO to his liaison Officer)
I’m very interested, partly because I went to School in Chard (Holyrood), as well as playing cricket and rugby for the town whilst at school, college and Uni.
I think an associate member is the right level and I’m happy to call on them at some stage as my parents are only 2 miles from Chard and I often visit on the way back up the line.
Pse touch base and see what we can organise as well as nominating an officer to support.As my job is done I will now stand back and let them get on with establishing the relationship. I will of course remain available to help wherever I can.
Not Forgotten Association Christmas Lunch 2016
Maureen, myself accompanied by Dennis and George from Dorchester arrived at the Mercure Southgate hotel, Exeter in time for a cup of coffee and the Champagne reception. It was soon evident that there were a lot of guests attending which was very satisfying for the organisation.
We were escorted to the Seymour Suite where up to 100 guests were to be seated for what turned out to be a very good Christmas lunch. From the very start we were entertained by Rosie Thompson and her multi talented team Annie Riley and Le’arna Castle who made sure this was an afternoon to remember.
As an example of the range of invitations for the above event I have added a nominal list of those associations and groups attending:
Ilford Park Polish Homes, Merchant Navy, RAF Association, REME, RNA No.4 Area, Royal Marines, Royal Signals Association, Somerset Legion House, WRAC Association, Aden Veterans, Algerines Association, Association of WRENS, Blind Veterans UK, Federation of Merchant Mariners, HMS Newfoundland Association. You can imagine the level of competition throughout proceedings – airborne battles with balloon missiles, hard won competition between individuals for the King and Queen winner title and even more robustly during the 12 days of Christmas challenge!
We were also energetically joined by representatives of JTI , the company who has supported the NFA throughout the year raising many thousands of pounds.
A great day and one many of those attending will not forget as new friends and acquaintances were formed. Rosie and I spoke about the Armed Forces Day at Trowbridge and the “Bless Them All” concert this year and we agreed that an outdoor venue for the concert would be a much better idea.
The Admiral Alec Memorial Croquet Match 2016
This years croquet match now named the “Admiral Alec memorial croquet match” was hosted by St Austell at the Cornwall Croquet Club at Porthpean.