Royal Naval Association (RNA)

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Captain Bill Oliphant 1Captain Bill Oliphant 1
Maritime ClubMaritime Club
Standard BearersStandard Bearers
Ve DayVe Day

General Secretary's Message

Dear Shipmates

Well, here we are in our new offices in Portsmouth Naval Base. I’m sure the bungalow will be lovely once we’re squared away but I must confess it’s looks like we’ve been on the receiving end of a 4.5” shell here at the moment. My computer is up and running but I haven’t actually discovered my landline yet and the toilets in the building aren’t plumbed in but, worry not, we have the tea boat fully flashed up! NATO standard please Andy!

I can commend a good Circular to you this month with some important information which I would be grateful if you could communicate widely across the membership. Indeed, with this in mind I’ve reinstated the printing of 3 x hard copies of the Semaphore Circular for each of our RNA clubs so that they can be hung or laid out in public spaces for the wider membership. I’m thinking especially about Associate Members of RNA clubs who may not understand quite so readily our ethos of Unity, Loyalty, Patriotism and, most importantly, Comradeship.

With respect to the latter of these - Comradeship, we are launching a new initiative this month called the “1000 Good Deeds a Day Fund” which I am hoping you will take every opportunity to exploit this for the benefit of our membership or those possibly more in need within the naval family. Full details at Item 2 below.

I note that more delegates have signed up to the RNA Welfare Seminar on 25 April in the Maritime Club in Portsmouth. That’s very pleasing as I believe that as our members get on a bit, I see this as an increasing and key aspect of our membership. I know that a lot of work has been put into what should be a highly informative and interesting seminar so please consider sending your Branch Welfare Officer. That’s going to be a long day as I plan to start in London that morning for the ANZAC Day dawn commemoration. I hope it’s a bit warmer and drier than it is today!

I still have tickets for the Army v Navy (Twickenham, 02 May) and RAF v Navy (Twickenham Stoop, 18 Apr). Why don’t you put a bus on from your Branch and I’ll give you £250 from the Branch and Club Support Fund towards the costs?

In the meantime, Standard Bearers Brace Up! Andy’s doing a great job with the planning for the Standard Bearers competition in HMS COLLINGWOOD on 16 May so get bullying those shoes! National President can be seeing review all the competitors during the last competition.

The Uckers Committee are also doing their stuff with a view to a launch of the First Sea Lord endorsed, 2020 World Uckers Championships here in Portsmouth on 7 May. Stand-by for an announcement shortly!

Also, most importantly, the RBL have announced their plans for the VE 75 commemorations on the weekend of 8-10 May. They are encouraging applications from all of those who contributed to victory in Europe 75  ago, including spouses and civilians from reserved occupations across the UK and Commonwealth. They are looking for a wide range of people who were affected by the war including land girls, factory workers or even child evacuees. More detail at item 6 and if you are reading this on line at the following link https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/getinvolved/ remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75. Remember the RN was in this fight from day one until the Japanese surrender almost 6 years later so please do what we can to find qualified members in the RNA so that our Association is properly represented. We don’t want this just to be remembered as an Army and RAF affair!

Please also see the section on entries for the RN Veterans Photographic Competition which is an of the prestigious Peregrine Trophy awards. Certainly worth an entry if you’re a budding snapper!! Oops I meant David Bailey.

Finally, good luck to those who have applied for tickets for HMS PRINCE OF WALES' who is due Liverpool on Friday 28 February for her first non-base port UK visit and she will be open to visitors over the weekend. I know it has been almost impossible for any veterans to get tickets and there has even been the suggestion of skulduggery with a bus company obtaining tickets for financial advantage. While it’s sad that we can’t get priority access, these visits are about bringing the Navy into the public eye and, let’s face it, it’s good that the general public are so proud of their Navy that they are clamouring for access. I’ve written to the CO to ask about the possibility of access for a tour on another occasion in Portsmouth when it won’t be quite so busy – fingers crossed.

A briefer intro from me this month as we’re up against it in Central Office due to the office move. Please also note that this publication will be a tad delayed next month as my editor (Andy) is loafing on a WIGS deployment to escape the wind and flooding in Lee-on-Solent!! Have a good month and remember….Catch it. Bin it. Kill it!

Best wishes from the Central Office Team
Bill