RNA 10 Area
Unity, Loyalty, Comradeship and Patriotism
 

RNA 10 Area - News Archive.

Click the month to read the archived news. News from previous years can be found on the left side of the page in .zip format.

January 2009

22.01.09

Armed Forces DayArmed Forces Day for Chatham

The minister for Veterans Affairs MP Kevin Jones  announced  that Chatham would host  the first Armed Forces Day on June the 27th 2009.  Speaking from on board HMS Gannet  in Chatham's Historic dockyard , the minister said this annual event would be complimented  by hundreds of similar events in towns and cities across the UK.

February 2009

05.02.09

Rearranged date announced for SS Stockport Annual Memorial Service.

The Hazel Grove branch have advised a rearranged date for their annual Memorial Service in respect of the Convoy Rescue Vessel, SS Stockport.  The Service and Parade will now take place on Sunday March 15th commencing with the Church service at Norbury Parish church at 1230 (muster outside church at 1200).  On completion of church service, parade will march to the branch HQ's for refreshments.

08.02.09

Blackpool Branch calls it a day

At its annual General Meeting on Wednesday February 4th the branch was unable to form a committee from the members attending the meeting.  The Chairman reluctantly decided to call a vote on the branch's future.  It was then agreed to seek powers to decommission the branch forthwith.  Afterwards, it was suggested by several members they meet on a social basis each month in the Penelope mess at their present HQ's the Stretton Hotel.  The 54 year old branch which commissioned on September 25th 1954 was one of the oldest in the Area.  

25.02.09

Anglesey Branch Club sold.

The Anglesey branch club premises were sold at auction on Thursday last [February 19th)  This latest sale, leaves the Area with just six registered RNA clubs in the region from a total of 17 in 1994.

26.02.09

RNA club forced to quit to make way for 'Travellers'

The RNA branch club in Gravesend  may be forced to lose its premises  to allow the local council to re-house eight travellers families on the site of the club.  The Travellers are being moved from their former homes built illegially on green belt land.  The 130 branch members of the RNA club are furious at the decision of their local council, despite assurances from the council  they will seek to find alternative accommodation  for the branch.

March 2009

09.03.09

Association President calls meeting of all Area Chairmen

The Association President has invited the Chairmen from all of the thirteen areas of the RNA to a specially convened meeting in Portsmouth on March 24th. It is understood the meeting will discuss the implications of the minutes of the No.10 Area winter conference held in Manchester on January 31st 2009. It is feared, some of the comments made in the No.10 Area minutes could be construed to put in jeopardy the tenets of the Association ie, Unity, Loyalty and Comradeship.

April 2009

10.04.09

Mixed Views at Area Chairman’s Meeting

It was acknowledged that although many of the Area Chairmen attending this meeting in Portsmouth on March 24th had their own entrenched views of the association, it was generally thought the meeting was a useful exercise. It has been suggested this should be an annual event.

The meeting had been called at the request of the National President who was concerned about the content of the minutes of No.10 Area winter conference held in Manchester on January 31st 2009 It was felt that remarks made by the Area President and others, could have negative effects for the RNA.

Ten Area Chairman attended the meeting in Portsmouth with apologies being received from Areas 1, 12, and Scottish. In addition the following shipmates were invited for interview if required; The President, Deputy Vice President, National Chairman, General Secretary and S/m H Harley No.10 Area President. S/m I Mc’Queen was elected to Chair the meeting.

Subjects covered at the meeting of Chairman included the topics as they appeared in the Area 10 minutes; these included reference to a letter from S/m Withington of No.2 Area concerning the location of National Conference. It was felt that letters of this type should first go through Area committee. The No.10 Area President was called to give an account of his remarks made to the No.10 Area conference in January. One Chairman said it was not good practice to make personal attacks on people, S/m Harley denied this: although comment from the meeting refuted this with one Chairman reiterating his original point.

It was decided by 7 votes to 3 that S/m Harley should apologise to the National President for his remarks and also to the National; Chairman and Secretary [7 votes 3 abstentions] S/m Harley said he would seek the guidance of his Area committee before making a decision.

In conclusion it was felt that lack of communication has played a part in many misunderstandings, it was felt that a recommendation to National Council for the minutes of future National Council Meetings to be circulated to all Area Chairman would help alleviate problems of this nature in future.

22.04.09

Record of decisions made at the National Council Member's meeting held on 28th March 2009.

The National Council at its meeting in Portsmouth on March 28th arrived at the following decisions;

1. The National Council approved the Accounts for 2008 and will commend them to the Annual Conference.

2. The National Council approved the proposed Operating Budget for 2009 on the advice of the Finance and Administration Committee (FAC).

3. The National Council directed the Chairman of the Association Management Committee (AMC) (SIM C Dovey —8 Area) and The General Secretary (S/M J McClurg) to engage with the officials of the Liverpool Royal Naval Association Club and their legal advisers with a view to concluding an arrangement for the future custody of the deeds to the land on which the Club is located.

4. The National Council (on the advice of the AMC and FAC) approved the proposed RNA Public Relations Strategy Paper and supporting Budget for 2009.

5. The National Council (on the advice of the AMC and FAC) approved a donation of £1, 000-00 from the Central Charities Fund to The Not Forgotten Association

6. The National Council approved a donation of £500-00 to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in memory of the late Paul Broom (for many years the RNA Accountant and Professional Services Adviser) who crossed the bar in January 2009.

7. The National Council (on the advice of the AMC and FAC) decided to take no further action on the Report of an Information Technology Study conducted by TWANG.

8. The National Council (on the advice of the AMC and FAC) decided to take no further action on the Report of an RNA Clubs Support Study conducted by The Route Organisation.

9. The National Council (on the advice of the AMC and FAC) decided to trial a revised methodology for the re-imbursement of travelling costs for Conference Delegates and directed The General Secretary to publish these trial arrangements in the monthly Circular, and to implement them for the 2009 Conference.

10. The National Council approved a proposal to establish a prize of £250-00 for the best article by a serving Warrant Officer or Senior Rating to appear in The Naval Review over a two year period.

11. The National Council accepted the Annual Report by The National President and National Chairman on the activities of The General Secretary and agreed that The President and Chairman should continue to monitor the matter of the General Secretary’s outstanding leave

12. The National Council reviewed the Record of the Proceedings of a specially convened Area Chairmen’s Meeting held in RNA Headquarters on 24 March 2009 and accepted its recommendations, while noting that at least one of them was beyond its level of authority. The National President was requested to send a letter of thanks to the of the Area Chairmen’s Forum for the work which had been completed by them.

13. The National Council directed The General Secretary to provide Area Presidents and Chairmen with the Minutes of National Council Proceedings as from the date of this meeting.

14. The National Council noted that only one Motion for the Annual Conference had been properly proposed and reviewed within the established time scale, although two other Motions are under consideration by The Standing Orders Committee and may be introduced as Motions of Urgency. The National Council undertook to take soundings on matters which might be introduced to Annual Conference as National Council Sponsored Motions, and to report at the National Council Meeting planned for 9 May 2009.

May 2009

07.05.09

Lively Debate Forecast for National Council Meeting.

The meeting of the National Council on April 9th in Portsmouth is expected to produce some robust debate from the members during the meeting. With topics scheduled for discussion including a report by the Chairman of the AMC on a rules dispute in No.2 Area, and the outcome of a meeting  concerning the Liverpool RNA club; a long day appears to be in prospect for the Council.  Another point for discussion is the lack of motions for Annual conference with only one branch motion tabled at present-- although two further Motions of Urgency are expected to be approved. The Branch Motion seeks the Association to hold the 2011 Annual conference at a holiday camp, namely Mill Rythe Holiday Centre Hayling Island.

The two Motions of Urgency concern the election process of NCM's by amending Association bye-law 7.  A further motion suggested for debate by the Nationa Council asks that all Branch motions submitted for debate at Annual conference should first be submitted via their Area meeting or conference for suitably as a motion. If agreed, it should then be forwarded to HQ's with an indication as to whether the Area supports it or is against.

10.05.09

Area Chaplain Honoured by City Council

The Rev. John Williams, Area Chaplain and also Chaplain to HMS Eaglet and Chaplain to several Merseyside branches has been awarded the Citizen of Honour award by Liverpool City Council. The Rev. John was given the award in recognition  of his outstanding contribution to the community and his 30 years as a RN Chaplain at HMS Eaglet.

14.05.09

Area Tote Draw Results

Due to an error in the compilation of the minutes of the Area spring conference, the results of the Area Tote Draw have been omitted from the minutes of the meeting. The result of the draw is as follows; For the month of February, Crosby Branch ((£25) In March Skipton Branch (£25) and at the April conference, Crosby Branch once more: (£100). We apologise for this omission.

23.05. 09

Decisions taken by the National Council at May 9th meeting.

At their meeting in Portsmouth on May 9th 2009 the National Council arrived at the following decisions;

1. The National Council decided to take further legal advice in regard proposal to transfer the deeds of the land on which the Liverpool Club stands back to the Club.

2. Three National Council Members (specially elected from within that body) have been appointed to observe the re-run of Area 2 Elections taking place of 6 June 2009

3. In view of the paucity of Motions tabled for Debate at the Annual Conference, one substantive Motion, and two putative Motions of Urgency (which have yet to gain the approval of the Standing Orders Committee), National Council decided to table two Topics for Discussion (should time permit) and these have been included on the published Agenda.

4. The National President undertook (at the behest of National Council) to write to The President of the Fleet Air Arm Association with greetings and congratulations, on the occasion of their 100 Anniversary Celebrations of RN Flight.

June 2008

05.06 08

Dissapointing number of Delegates attending National Conference.

Recently released figures of the delegates attending National conference in Dundee later this month suggest one of the lowest totals in recent years.  With the figure standing at 121 so far, or about 28% of the number of branches eligible to attend, doubts must be expressed about the future of these conferences in future years.  No.10 Area with over 53 branches can only muster 15 delegtes, No.1 Area with 22 Branches is sending just 4 to represent their interests.   At last years conference in Torbay, 151 delegates were in attendance.

Cost of travel and accommodation in northern Ireland for the 2009 conference in Londonderry  is already causing concern in a number of branches which could lead to a further drop in numbers on this year's figure.

06. 06. 08

Slow progress on Relocation Working Party Front

The Relocation Working Party has little to report  prior to National conference later this month.  Discussions are ongoing with the owner of  a property located in a convenient position close to the main gate of the dockyard in Portsmouth.  However, it is reported that the owners are currently seeking permission to change the use of the upper floors of the premises..  Meanwhile it is expected  that  Headquarters will occupy the Semaphore Tower in the dockyard on a temporary basis following their move from their present home in London sometime later this year.

07.06.08

Concern shown over continuing loss of RNA clubs.

In its Report by the National Council to the Annual Conference 2008  concern is expressed by the Council over the number of RNA clubs during the past year that have ceased trading.  At least five clubs, including Mitcham & Morden, Luton & Dunstable Pembroke Dock Kirkby Runcorn and Wythenshawe have all closed in the past year. Although the recent legislation banning smoking on thir premises has had a significant effect on these clubs, other recent legislation regarding Health and safety and also the new gambling laws have proved to be the last straw formany of these clubs.  Unfortunately, the clubs relied heavily on their Associate members and many of these members will be lost to the Association following the clubs demise.

National Council also reports  a loss of 13 branches and 5 branches newly commissioned.  Although there was a loss of  1,381 members in 2007, this compares well with the figures for 2006 when they reported a loss of 1,709.  There was an operating deficit for the yearof £38,004.  However, income  from  the Association's investments for the past year generated £46,966  It is becoming obvious that future subscription income will be unlikely to cover the Association's day- to- day needs  

Membership of the Associatiion as at December 31st 2007 is 24,590

09/06.08

Area Conference minutes now available.

The minutes of the Area Conference, held at Blackpool on 26th April 2008 are now available to download.

09.06.08

New Gallery in place.

RNA 10 Area now has a fully interactive gallery feature. It allows postcards to be sent via email, slide shows and rating of pictures. Registered users (registration is completely free) are also able to upload their own pictures.

I shall be making some pictorial instructions so that you can all get the most out of the feature. In the meantime, if anyone has any pictures they would like to see in the gallery, please contact me.

15. 06. 08

RNA to be the Main Charity at Cartmel Races on July 17th

The RNA has been nominated as the main charity at the Cartmel Race meeting on Thursday July 17th.  It is hoped that the Association will be well represesented at the one day meeting next month. The RNA publicity tent will be in attendance at the racecourse and it is hoped as many shipmates as possible will attend the event.  Volunteers are required to help with the collections and other tasks.  Admission to the course is £5.00 per person, and the first race is at 1430.  

For further information regarding this event, and ticket details; contact S/m Steve Caulfield (Area PRO) on 07713 834 878  

16.06.08

Record of decisions taken at the national council meeting held on 31st May 2008

1. The National Council approved the following motion:

“That a paper based on work carried out by the National Council’s Overseas Representation Review Group be issued to Overseas Branches for review and comment under cover of a letter indicating the National Council view. ”

2. The National Council approved the following motion:

“That the Codes of Conduct for Trustees drafted by the Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee be adopted forthwith and that the Trustees individually sign their respective Codes of Conduct”

3. The National Council approved the following motion:

“That the Codes of Conduct for Honorary Advisers drafted by the Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee be adopted forthwith and that the Honorary Advisers individually sign their respective Codes of Conduct”

4. The National Council considered its position on the Motions for Conference viz:

Motion No.1 Proposed by Saltash Branch (Seconded by Liskeard Branch)

“That the National Council provides an up to date statement of progress, including intentions for future action, on the asbestos compensation issue, arising from Motion No. 8 at the 2005 Annual Conference.”

The requested report will be provided and the Association’s position re iterated in the July Circular.

Motion No 2. Proposed by Peterborough and District Branch; (Seconded by Newbury and District Branch).

“That the Royal Charter, Rules and Bye as appropriate, be amended to allow Associate Members who have completed at least five years membership of the Association to be designated by their Branch as the accredited Branch delegate, with the power to vote, at Area Meetings and National Conferences”.

The National Council will support the Motion.

Motion No 3. Proposed by Worthing Branch; (Seconded by Waterlooville Branch).

“That Bye-Law A16 be amended to read : “A capitation fee of 10% of the subscriptions received in Headquarters by 31 December each year shall be paid to each Area in respect of Branches within its Area.”

The National Council will support an Amendment to the Motion stating “the additional monies allocated annually to Areas from the amounts received by way of “Gift Aid” be increased to 50% of the amount received by way of gift aid be increased to 50% of the amount received from the exchequer”

Motion No 4. Proposed by Isle of Sheppey Branch; (Seconded by Maidstone Branch).

“That vacant positions on the Royal Naval Association Headquarters Senior Staff be advertised widely in appropriate journals”.

Since this procedure is already in place, the Branch is to be requested to withdraw the Motion.

Motion No 5. Proposed by Isle of Sheppey Branch; (Seconded by Maidstone Branch).

“That the Royal Charter, Rules and Bye-Laws, as appropriate, be amended to provide that decisions on the appointment of Royal Naval Association Headquarters Senior Staff be taken by the elected members of the National Council”.

Since to a large extent this procedure is already in place, the Branch is to be requested to withdraw the Motion.

Motion No 6.Proposed by Huddersfield Branch; (Seconded by Mexbrough Branch).

“That the Royal Naval Association represents to the appropriate authorities those suitable-inscriptions be-added to existing-war memorials in recognition of subsequent conflicts involving United Kingdom Armed Forces”.

The National Council considered this Motion to be extremely difficult to implement given that no central inventory of war memorials exists and the ownership of many are in doubt. The National Arboretum was established to provide a central focus for the recording of the names of individuals who died in service subsequent to recognised conflicts. National Council supports the Motion but because of the limitations described above is limited to representing the issue to The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (the responsible Government Department) via the Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations (COBSEO).

Motion No.7 Proposed by West Lothian Branch; (Seconded by Inverness Branch).

“That biennial National Standard Bearers’ Competitions be held during the appropriate National Conference weekend”.

The National Council will consider supporting an Amendment to the Motion seeking to broaden the scope of the Motion to include other regular/annual events such as The Clubs Conference, The Welfare Conference and the Public Relations Conference provided that these are regarded as opportunities rather than mandates, and the National Council Member for the Scottish Area undertook to produce an expanded motion for consideration.

Motion No.8 Proposed by France Nord Branch; (Seconded by Aquitaine Branch).

“That France Nord Branch hosts the 2010 National Conference”.

The National Council will, in the absence of other proposals, support this Motion.

5. The National Council decided to accept the Memorandum of Understanding with The Royal Navy on Membership Issues for presentation as a

Motion of Urgency at Conference: 2008.

6. The National Council agreed to create a Study Group under the leadership of the Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee to consider proposals for “Evolving our Committee Structures”. Membership will comprise the Deputy National President, S/M P Reed (3 Area), SIM I Hunter (12 Area) and the General Secretary.

19.06.08

New Deputy General Secretary to be announced at Dundee National conference

Following interviews in Portsmouth on June 12th for the position of deputy General Secretary, it is expected the successful candidate will be introduced at the National conference in Dundee on June 28th. The interview panel consisted of the President, Deputy President Chairman and three elected National Council Members.  The present Assistant Gerneral Secretary, S/m Tony Sattin has indicated he will not be moving to Portsmouth when HQ's relocates there later this year, and has opted for retirement.

20.06.08

National Chairman awarded MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours list

S/m David White the Association's National Chairman and NCM for No.4 Area has been honoured by HM The Queen in the Birthday Honours List by the award of the MBE "following many years of selfless work on behalf of the RNA"

22.06.08

ArmadaThe German Armada - a special offer to RNA 10 Area members.

Geoff Hewitt, author of 'Hitler's Armada', a book dealing with the role of the Royal Navy in the prevention of a German invasion attempt in 1940.

Geoff lives in Preston, and as a special offer for RNA 10 Area members, he is offering to supply copies (signed if required) to any members post free within a 30 miles radius of Preston, for £15.00 or anywhere within the U.K. for £18.00 including postage.

You can contact Geoff, via email at geoffhewitt@hotmail.co.uk

July 2008

04.07.08

'Memoradum of Understanding' agreed at National Conference

The Association's 71st Anmnual conference returned to the city of Dundee after an absence of 16 years. The meeting commenced promptly at 10:30 in the city's Caird Hall with 107 delegates in attendance. Following the opening remarks by the President, Vice Admiral J McAnally CB LVO he welcomed the Lord Provost of Dundee Councillor John Letford JP who gave an interesting and amusing talk reminding those present that he too, held the title 'Admiral of the Tay'  He was followed by the Flag Officer Scotland, England Wales and Northern Ireland Rear Admiral P Jones who brought conference up to date with the affairs of the active service.  He dwelt mainly on the new initiatives that are being negotiated between the RNA and the serving Navy and the important benefits this will bring to both parties.

Following the speeches by both guests, conference settled to the business in hand. There were two Motions of Urgency to be discussed; the first sought the approval of the Memoradum of Understanding betwen the Association and the Royal Navy which if approved would entitle all the serving members of the RN - about 30,000, automatic membership of the RNA during the period of their service.  There would be a permanent liasion between every ship in the fleet between both parties.  There are of course other benefits to be agreed.  Conference approved this motion with an overwhelming majority. It was agreed to defer the second Motion of Urgency to Branch motion 8 which concerned the venue for the 2010 national conference, to be discussed at a later stage of the meeting.

Following the reports by individual members of National Council, among them the National Presidents Address to Conference in which he stressed the importance of the individual members of Council who are in fact the Trustees of the Association he made the point they are not so much delegates, but the representatives of the Areas they have been elected for.  He also paid tribute to S/m David White MSM the National Chairman who has recently been awarded the MBE

The deputy President S/m Adrian Nance gave a report on the activities of the Relocation Working Party (RWP) and also an update on the sale of the present HQ's premises at Chelsea Manor Street London. The best possible price had been obtained from the sale of the building, and the money obtained from the sale would be invested (ring fenced) until a suitable permanent Headquarters could be found in Portsmouth.  The temporary HQ's in the semarphore tower whilst inside the boundary of the Naval Base could create difficulties of access to intending visitors to our Headquarters there, arrangements would need to be agreed with the security people for visitors to the semaphore tower HQ.  

New deputy General Secretary introduced at the Dundee gathering.

Following the lunch break the President introduced the succesful candiidate  for the position of deputy General Secretary.  Following interviews in Portsmouth on June 12th Council decided to appoint Commander F Ward  at present the RN Liason Officer  and 2nd Sea Lords representative  to the post.He will take up his duties sometime in August and be responsible for the HQs move to Portsmouth.  The outgoing Assistant General Secretary S/m Tony Sattin was given a prolonged standing ovation for his services to the Association. 

The delegates then considered the Branch Motions.  Motion 1 sought information on the progress of the Asbestosis compensaiton issue first raised at the 2005 annual conference.  The General Secretary replying to this said he had met with the MOD minister and several facts relevant to this motion had emerged. Conference decided to seek further information on this issue.

Motion 2 brought forward by the Peterborough branch was asking for Associate members with at least 5 years membership of a branch be allowed to attend Area, and national conferences as the accredited branch delegate with the powers to vote.  This was defeated by 55 votes to 47  

Motion 3 proposed by the Worthing Branch sought to raise the capitation fees of 5% paid bach on subscriptions to 10%  was lost. Although an initative brought forward by the NC to refund 10% of subscriptions to the Area's, applicable only  to those shipmates  who sign up to the gift aid scheme was suggested.    Motions 4 5 and 6 were also unsuccesful 

 Motion 7 introduced by the West Lotihan Branch was carried.  This concerned the holding of the National Standard Bearers competition at the same venue as  the National Conference during the same weekend.

Motion 8 originally proposed by the France Nord branch to host the conference there in 2010  was joined by the West Malling branch Motion of Urgency who proposed  an alternative venue  in London, at present unnamed. This created a lively debate with the delegate from the Nord branch making a good case for the French venue. Rather suprisingly, the NCM speaker against the London bid from No.7 Area appeared somewhat  suprised to be speaking against the Motion.  One could not help feeling the motion had been hastily put together with very little research into the subject. The conclusion was a card vote which resulted in a vote heavily in favour of the France (Nord) motion.

Conference concluded at about 1715.

05.07.08

A request from Basrah.

Some of you may not be aware of the small, but vitally important RN contingent based at Basrah, Iraq in support of Operation Telic. I have receved a request from CPOWEM(O) Ian Millar, who is serving in the Contingency Operating Base, Basrah, Iraq, under the command of GOC, MND(SE). In order to increase the profile of the RN within the COB and also at home in the UK, to enable others to recognise that the Royal Navy is playing a vital role not only at sea, but also on land in Iraq and Afghanistan, he would like any NAVAL orientated Magazines, as well as letters of support.

Ian can be contacted at:

CPO Ian Millar
D205766N
MediaOps DIVHQ
BFPO 641

07.07.08

Good turnout for Liverpool Branch Annual Dedication Service.

Liverpool Royal Naval Association, Bowring Park Road, held its annual Act of Remembrance and Veteran’s Day Service on Sunday July 6th 2008

Nine branch standards were paraded in front of a near capacity club.

Rev’d John Williams MBE RNR, who is Honorary Chaplain to the RNR and No.10 Area gave a warm welcome to all present and asked that our thoughts and prayers be with S/m Chris Johnson (Jonno) RNVR who had recently crossed the bar and Trooper Paul Stout who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan (RIP)

The lesson (St Luke, Chap. 8 V 22 – 25) was read by S/m Rutter, and. Commander Harry Harley the Branch President gave an uplifting address.

The service closed with the Last Post, Reveille and the Commendation.

Wreaths were laid on the various memorial stones that lie within the grounds of the club

Following the service,those attending were entertained by the branch to an excellant buffet and an afternoon concert featuring the artiste Ray Wilde.

19.07.08

RNA Publicity Marquee at Cartmel Races.

The RNA Publicity Stand attended the Cartmel (Cumbria) race meeting on July 17th. Although the weather was not at its best for the one day meeting, the turnout for the races was very good. Members from two branches; Runcorn and Pendleton braved the weather to attend.

The Association had been designated as the official charity for the event. A collection on the course raised over £500 for the charity 'Help for Heroes'.

22.07.08

Veterans Ball planned for Southport in October.

An invitation has been extended to a Veterans Ball at Southport's Floral Hall Ballroom on Saturday the 18th October. Tickets are £30 for a champagne reception at 19:30 followed by a meal and entertainment. Available for all ex-service organisations and associations and Veterans badge holders.

This presents an opportunity to meet one and other, and at the same time raise money for the Veterans Fund.

Anyone interested in tickets please email Steve Hawkshaw or phone on 0791 491 8381

23.07.08

Low turnout expected for Summer Area Conference.

Only 19 branches have so far indicated they will be attending the Summer Area Conference in Skipton onJuly 26th. It is thought that holidays and the recent hike in fuel charges for cars etc have had some effect on the numbers attending.

27.07.08

First for Skipton Branch at Area Conference in the Town

Skipton may be the first branch in the Area  to have the Area conference officially opened by the Town Crier!  Resplendent in his robes of office, the Town Crier Mr Griffiths dispensed with the use of a microphone to officially open the summer Area confernce in the Herriots Hotel in the town. Despite a low turnout of delegates, (19 branches represented) the delegates enjoyed the hospitality of the Skipton Branch and a lively and interesting meeting ensued.

At the conclusion of conference Bolton branch successfully bid to host the autumn meeting at their HQ's the Deane Ward Labour Club Bolton on Saturday October 25th 2008

Minutes of the Skipton summer conference will appear on these pages in due course.

August 2008

12. 08. 08

Delays expected in delivery of  aircraft for new carriers

Recent reports suggest the new aircraft carrier (HMS Queen Elizabeth)  expected  in service by 2014 will  not receive the new generation of its Joint Strike Aricraft (JSF) until 2016.  THe MOD's preferred option, the Lockheed F35B Lightning  is now not expected to come into service until that date.  It is thought,the ship will deploy initally with a mixture of  RAF Harriers, Merlin and Sea King helicopters before the introduction of the new aircraft.

Meanwhile, India is about to recieve from Russia the latest version of the MIG 29K destined for its new Aircraft Carrier aquasistion from Russia, the former Admiral Gorshkov  currently undergoing refit.  Pilots from the Indian Navy are already in Russia undergoing training on the new version of the MIG 29.

12.08.08

The RN in Iraq - a personal story by CPO WEM(O) Ian Millar.

CPO Ian MillarI never imagined in my 23 years in the RN that I would ever do an operational tour in anything but a ship or submarine. But for many before me and for many in the future, the thought of adapting to military life outside our naval comfort zone is now a reality. For many, assignment orders to Iraq and Afghanistan are now commonplace. Currently, the RN is serving in land based desert roles all over Iraq including Basrah, Um Qasr and Baghdad in addition to Afghanistan. The main role in Basrah involves supporting the 7th Armoured Brigade engaged in OP TELIC, assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in the city and improving conditions for the local communities and population.

The journey starts at HMS Nelson, OPTAG. Two weeks with experienced Naval staff and Royal Marines. Their purpose? To prepare and equip us all for any eventuality that may occur during our operational tour. Here we get briefing after briefing. Specific theatre knowledge and awareness is drummed home, interspersed with basic Arabic language lessons. This is where reality kicks in. The mere thought of trying to converse with the locals in their native tongue seemed very daunting. In reality, the Iraqi people seem very happy to attempt their English speaking skills.

The kit issue can only be described as emotional! Piles of kit are dumped at your feet by the ‘jack dusty’s’, most of which we’ve never seen before but before long we are well versed in its use. Then to top it all off, personal weapons. A full day on the range with the Marines ensures we are not only safe in the use of personal weapons but also a pretty good shot! The culmination of these 2 weeks presents us with 3 days at Longmoor Camp in Hampshire. Here, the Royal Marines show us why they are ‘the best’. The knowledge they share with us is not only comforting but also second to none. Contact drills, mine clearance, medical training, tactical awarenessexercises, are just a fraction of the information I so keenly absorbed. I remember thinking, ‘this is what it’s all about’.

The OPTAG staff present us with constant reminders of the ‘threat’ that we will face on a daily basis whilst on tour. Real video footage and photographs of past incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan is a subtle reminder of the dangers we may have to contend with. I’m not afraid to admit that I started to get a little apprehensive. I remember many occasions I spoke to my ‘oppos’, trying desperately to understand why we volunteered. Most conversations ended with fits of nervous laughter and personal thoughts such as ‘stay strong’ and ‘keep smiling’!

The day I left my home for Basrah, at the end of May, seemed like any other that we’ve all experienced when deploying. Tears, sadness, apprehension, but also an eagerness to get there and get the job done. The thought of 6 months in Iraq for a WE submariner, like myself, was daunting but also very exciting. It is also something I may never have the chance to experience again. I fully intend to make the most of it.

Vice Admiral Boissier with the RN in BasrahArrival in theatre and the heat is overwhelming, reaching well into the high forties and low fifties. Together with the dust it takes a while to acclimatise. Life here is as comfortable as you could expect, with a few little extra perks thrown in. Seeing the light of day is a pleasure as is the countless modes of communication with family and friends, something a submariner normally sacrifices when deployed. The food is as good as I’ve ever had on any deployment; the accommodation is comfortable, considering we sleep in what is effectively a bomb shelter. We call it ‘Stonehenge’; a purpose built sleeping space surrounded by concrete blocks, steel plates and sandbags, designed specifically for protection of incoming ordnance! What strikes me most is the seemingly high morale of everyone I meet here. We all have our own jobs to do, ranging from the technical to the admin, the medical to the logistics. The professional manner in the way everyone conducts their business here makes me proud to be part of it. Even when things ‘heat up’ during occasional rocket attacks on the COB (Contingency Operating Base), everyone stands up, brushes themselves down and gets on with it, seemingly undaunted by what has just happened.

There are a few things to look forward to whilst deployed. The best way to get by is to focus on each day, the time goes quicker. Most personnel are entitled to 2 weeks ‘R n R’, something of which I eagerly await. With the major surge in internet technology, communication with family and friends is first class. I cast my mind back to many previous submarine patrols and remember having to go for weeks and sometimes months without any word from home. A few of us more adventurous types look for opportunities to leave the COB and enter the city or other areas to sample another aspect of life here. Joining up with the Military Transition Teams (MiTTs), gives us the opportunity to see firsthand, the British Army in their mentoring role of the Iraqi Soldiers of 14th Iraqi Infantry Division. I myself had the opportunity to experience this. It was very pleasing to see the Iraqi Army, full of confidence and high morale and putting their new skills and expertise into action.

The past few months of training, and the early part of my time in Iraq has led me to realise one thing, the Royal Navy is once again proving its worth and sharing its expertise at the forefront of yet another major operation in which we find ourselves and I for one, I’m sure I speak for the countless other Naval personnel here, am very proud to be doing my bit for a better Iraq.

CPO WEM(O) Ian Millar
HQ MND(SE)

12.08.08

Area Conference minutes now online.

The minutes from the Area Conference held in Skipton on July 26th are now available.

24.08.08

Whitehaven Branch to close in December.

The Whitehaven Branch is expected to close on December 31st due to falling membership.  With a membership of just 12, the branch Secretary S/m Mrs Robbs said it was proving very difficult to continue as an active branch of the Association; and it was decided at a recent meeting to decommission by the year's end. 

27.08.08

Area Welfare Advisor stands down

Shipmate 'Jan' Thomas the Area Welfare advisor for No.10 Area  has reluctantly relinquished his post due to the increased work load in his other positions as SSAFA representative and a Welfare Case Worker for the Royal British Legion. 'Jan' will continue as Branch Secretary at Bolton, having recently engineered their move to new premises at Derby Ward Labour club near the town centre.

September 2008

15.09. 08

New Headquarters operational from October 1st.

The Association's temporary headquarters in Portsmouth is expected to commence business from October 1st severing its links with its London home for the first time in its history.

The new address is as follows:
The Royal Naval Association HQ.
Room 209 Semaphore Tower,
Building 1/040 PP70
HMNB PORTSMOUTH
PO1 3LT

Tele: 02392 723823 Enquiries. or  02392 720782 (DGS)  722983 (GS).

26.09.08

New deputy NCM appointed.

Following the closure of nominations for the position of deputy National Council Member on September 12th, S/m Stirling Simmons of the Crosby Branch assumes the position of deputy NCM with immediate effect.

October 2008

21. 10. 08

Weather holds for Llandudno's Trafalgar Parade

The weather once more was kind to the Llandudno Branch annual Trafalgar Service and Parade through the town on Sunday October 19th.  The event was witnessed by a large contingent of visitors to the resort who cheered on the 100 or so marchers headed by a dozen standards mainly from the north Wales branches and from farther afield. The service at the war memorial was conducted by the Rev. Jane Allan, and was the 39th anniversary of the dedication of the Llandudno branch standard.  Following the march past with the salute being taken by the Llandudno Mayoral party, those taking part enjoyed the usual tot and the very welcome buffet at the nearby Esplanade hotel on the promenade.

26.10.08

Mayor of Bolton opens Autumn Area conference.Bolton conference

The Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Anthony Connell officialy opened the Autumn Area conference at the Derby ward Labour club on Saturday (October 26th) with 19 delegates representing their respective branches. The Mayor in his welcoming speech paid tribute to organisations such as the RNA in upholding the traditions of the service. He also welcomed to the meeting two young persons, brother and sister: Rachel had recently as part of a four strong team rowed accross the Atlantic, whilst brother Charles had cycled from Lands End to John O Groats in aid of charities.

The minutes of this meeting will appear on the website in due course.

November 2008

03.11.08

Spirits High in Basra.

"Morale remains high, and with your continued support to our guys out here, it will remain so. Your kind gesture is very much welcomed and received. A huge thank you to you all."As the relentless work carries on in the harsh heat of the Iraqi desert, Royal Navy personnel have been treated to a few nice surprises in the form of ‘comfort parcels’ from home. Dozens of parcels have been gratefully received from branches of the Royal Naval Association and distributed to the few hundred naval personnel based there.

The Royal Navy continues to play a major role in the support of the 7th Armoured Brigade in Basra as part of Op Telic. Based in the Contingency Operating Base, work and operations are continuing in order to support the Iraq security forces to RN Personnel in Basraprovide the city of Basra with the security and stability they require. A world apart from life on board, personnel from both the Submarine and General Service, many of whom employed out of their source branch, continue to prove their professionalism and determination in this vital ongoing mission.

On behalf of all Royal Navy personnel in the COB, Basra, CPO Ian Millar would like to offer a very big thank you to the RNA and all its members for the many parcels received. "Morale remains high, and with your continued support to our guys out here, it will remain so. Your kind gesture is very much welcomed and received. A huge thank you to you all."

CPO Ian Millar
Div HQ MND(SE)

06.11.08

HMS Sceptre's crew visiting Wigan for Remembrance Commemorations.

HMS SceptreCrew members from Royal Navy submarine HMS Sceptre will visit Wigan this weekend 7-9 November as part of the town's remembrance commemorations. All ships and submarines of the Royal Navy are affiliated to different towns, cities and regions. This strengthens the Royal Navy's ties with important communities, including organisations such as naval associations, youth groups and charities.

The 4,900 ton Swiftsure class submarine is no different, and has enjoyed close links with the town of Wigan since she was accepted into service into 1978. During the crew's stay, they will be visiting one of their other affiliations, Montrose School, where they'll meet the pupils and help out in the classrooms.

On Sunday, the crew will split in two in order to attend the Wigan and Atherton Remembrance Day parades. They will march in uniform, taking part in wreath laying and the traditional two minutes silence before attending the interdenominational church services. Commander Steve Waller, Commanding Officer of HMS Sceptre, said: "My ship's company and I are very much looking forward to reaffirming our links with Wigan and Atherton, most importantly it is an honour to help the people of Wigan and Atherton remember those who gave so much."

10.11.08

Fears for Future of Liverpool Club

Recent adverse trading figures for the Liverpool RNA club have raised fears for the future of the Bowring Park premises.  A crisis meeting is to be held on Sunday Niovember16th when several options for its future will be put to the membership. It is understood falling membership figures plus legislation prohibiting smoking on the premises have all contributed to the recent downturn in trade.

21. 11. 08

Atherton Branch celebrate their 25th Anniversary

The Atherton Branch celebrated their 25th anniversary in style on November15th at the Formby Hall in the town.  150 shipmates from many branches including the Area President and invited guests enjoyed a four course dinner, and were afterwards entertained by two talented artistes.

23.11.08

Area Committee meet several North County Branches

Four members of the Area committee  including the Area Chairman travelled to Morecambe branch on Friday 21st November to meet several branches in the locality to discuss a variety of subjects including attendance at Area conferences, and the recent developments at HQ's level; with the accent on the recent revamp of the various committees. Representatives from the Morecambe, Millom and Kendal branches enjoyed a lively and an illuminating discussion. Afterwards, the host branch (Morecambe) laid on for the guests a most welcome buffet. It is intended, to convene similar meetings in various parts of the region during the coming year.

December 2008

04.12. 08

Aussie Navy to take two month holiday!

The Australian Navy are planning an extended shutdown over the Christmas period for up to two months for of all, but their essential units. It is understood the reasoning  behind this unprecedented move is to portray a more family friendly image to the public as an aid to recruiting.

11.12.08

Fears for the Blackpool Branch.

Concern is mounting over the future of the Blackpool Branch.  The Branch which meets at the Stretton Hotel on the north Promenade has been struggling recently to form a full committee from its members. Falling numbers at the branch meetings have also played a part in its members beginning to question its survival in the Association.

12.12.08

New Aircraft Carrier Programme  delayed up to two years.

The Royal Navy's two new aircraft carriers are likely to be delayed by up to two years following a cash-saving review of Ministry of Defence equipment spending, it was announced. Work on the aircraft carrier project was due to begin in earnest next spring, with the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales entering service in 2014 and 2016 as the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed for the Royal Navy.  However, the Defence Minister Mr Hutton, said the delay would bring it more closely in line with the introduction of the Joint Combat Aircraft which will provide their strike force. The ships' entry into service was likely to be delayed by 1-2 years, he said in a written statement to the House of Commons. It is hoped to buy 150 joint strike aircraft from Lockhead Martin to replace the ageing Sea Harrier FA2 and the RAF's Harrier GR7, in a £1.3 billion  deal. Some doubts exist if the government will proceed with their original intention of buying all the 150 aircraft, or,if like the type 45 ship programme the numbers will be scaled down. 

Defence Secretary John Hutton also announced £70 million of new spending on Lynx helicopter upgrades which he said would provide significant extra capability to commanders in Afghanistan

14.12.08

General Secretary accepts  further extension to his contract.

Commander James (Paddy) McClurg RNA General Secretary was offfered a further extension to his contract at the national Council meeting in Portsmouth on December 6th.  It is understood, Commander McClurg has accepted the offer to extend his contract for an unspecified period.

16.12.08

General Secretary in post for a further two years

The General Secretary has agreed to remain in post for a further two years, following the National Councils invitation at their meeting on December 6th to extend his contract.

20.12. 08

HMS Ark RoyalHMS Ark Royal Liverpool bound?

HMS Ark Royal is expected to visit Liverpool in January,  possibly between the dates of January 15th - 19th.

Any branch contemplating a visit whilst the ship is in Liverpool, should contact the Naval Regional Officer Headquarters on 0151 707 3400