Royal Naval Association (RNA)

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Shipmate Keith Ridley National Chairman 2020Shipmate Keith Ridley National Chairman 2020

Chairman's Chat


Dear Shipmates,

As my first ‘Chat’ of 2020, let me start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. May it be a healthy one for all of us. This month it is just a brief piece from me to allow you to shake off the cobwebs of the festive season.

Due to reconfiguration work of office space within Semaphore Tower the December National Council Meeting by permission of the Naval Base Commander was held in the Ark Royal Building, purpose built as the Security access point to our new Carriers. It certainly was a first to have £6.6+ Billions of hardware sitting over my right shoulder and within arm’s length. The most noticeable thing about these two monsters was the eerie lack of naval personnel buzzing around, a reflection of modern day technology. Considering the fact that Carriers back in the 1960’s had a Ship’s Company of up to say 1500-1800 (non-embarked squadrons), these monsters tick over with just 700. Let us hope we do not have to wait too much longer for the birds to arrive, albeit HMS QE has sailed again to undertake further F35B flying trials off the East Coast.

Casting my eye through Facebook it is evident that you have all had a most enjoyable festive season. On the up are the veterans breakfast clubs with one started in my hometown of

St. Neots. It’s a pity that a few resent or dis-allow non-veterans to attend such as family members.

Surely, these clubs are for all members of the military family as we must not forget our partners and children we had to leave behind when deployed. I strongly suggest Shipmates and their families do their best to give such social gatherings every support. In my last chat I mentioned having met Prince Harry & Megan at Westminster Abbey in November. Let me scotch any rumours that I had nothing to do with what followed regarding their domicile. Reading through the December edition of this circular, it was heartening to read articles from some of our overseas Branches; Cape Town & Torrevieja. Hopefully we will receive more news from our other Branches around the globe talking of which. Our thoughts this past month must be not only our Shipmates down in Australia, but all those families caught up in the terrible fires and their devastating losses. Our thoughts are with them all.

To any of our serving Shipmates I would ask if you could hit your keyboard and send and share some news of your Ship/Establishment or some dits to Andy Christie at Remember, you are serving, we served, but we are all part of one BIG Naval Family. Thank you for being part of our Defence Forces protecting our great nation.

Yours aye,   
Keith Ridley