National Chairman Shipmate Keith RidleyNational Chairman Shipmate Keith Ridley

Chairman's Chat

Dear Shipmates

By the time this edition of Semaphore Circular hits the decks, this year’s National Conference will be over.

Top of the hoist this month is we said farewell to Vice Admiral John McAnally at National Conference, who has been relieved as National President by Vice Admiral Duncan Potts. John, as he is affectionately known throughout the membership, has given outstanding service and commitment to the Association for just over 20 years. He has been an outstanding Ambassador for the Association with everyone he has come into contact with, and not just on the Golf Course! I thank him not only for the wise advice and guidance he has given to the National Council during his time in Office, but to myself, especially when he has complemented me with the phrase “I knew there was a use for Stokers! “We will never forget John for his never-ending catalogue of jokes when it came to his renown walk-abouts at Branch Dinners and Socials. John takes with him our warmest and sincere best wishes for a long and well-earned retirement.

The Association extends a warm welcome to John’s relief our new National President Duncan Potts. Central Office Staff and I passed Duncan’s Inspection when we had the pleasure of meeting him in October 2020 and again this year in July. From my personal 45 year’s membership of the RNA, I can whole heartedly say that Duncan will enjoy the comradeship and hospitality of Shipmates as much as I have and will make many friends.

In advance of the National Conference weekend, I am very much looking forward to meeting in person the many Shipmates I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past 17 months through the Saturday evenings Virtual Tot Nights and those who have attended the Monday night Fireside Chats. It looks to be a great weekend and RNA Nottingham Club will have been invaded at Sunday Lunch time and evening.

On 21 August my wife and I had the pleasure of attending RNA Salisbury Branch’s Post Commissioning Event which had been delayed since last September due to Covid. An amazing evening with the opportunity to meet Shipmates in person rather than via Zoom. Thank you Salisbury for carrying off in true RNA style, a great evening.

It is pleasing that most Covid restrictions have been lifted, and that Branches are now beginning to hold physical meetings. However, we must respect those members who may feel it is too soon to be attending Branch meetings.

I read a comment on Facebook which read “Do our Navy Ships go to sea now “I am not sure where that person has been hiding, nor keeping up to date with Naval Shipping movements, Ship Commissions, and deployments. The answer is a definite yes, and with Sunday sailings! The fleet may be smaller, but our Fleet is out at sea, and worldwide.

New membership continues to increase and no doubt Bill Oliphant in his forward to this edition has mentioned the increasing success of new members since January, which has now reached some 1700 but please take Bill’s total.

Membership Cards & the Database. Central Office is still experiencing delays by Branches who have not inputted their members details onto the new database. As a result, it is these Branches who complain to Central Office that they have not received their New Membership Cards! The new cards are issued based on the data submitted. If a Branch is experiencing a problem, please let your Area Secretary know who may be able to assist or draw on local assistance. The Branches concerned can expect a knock on the door very soon either by their National Council Member or Area Secretary.

Well Shipmates, time to sign off.

To all our serving Shipmates including reservists, who continue to support the frontline against Covid-19, keep up the good work, to Shipmates and your families in the UK and throughout the world keep safe. For those at sea, a safe return. Stay safe everyone, we will overcome Covid.

Yours aye,   
Keith Ridley