Royal Naval Association (RNA)

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Captain Bill Oliphant 1Captain Bill Oliphant 1
Admiral Sir Desmond CassidiAdmiral Sir Desmond Cassidi
Shep WoolleyShep Woolley
British F 35 Lightning From The QeBritish F 35 Lightning From The Qe
D Day 75 Souvenir BrochureD Day 75 Souvenir Brochure

General Secretary's Message

Dear Shipmates

Welcome to our November Circular which is now in the downloads section of the website and again I regret I must start with sad news. Our former National President, Admiral Sir Desmond Cassidi GCB crossed the bar on 10th October at the age of 94. He was our National President for ten years from 1987-97 having retired from the RN in 1985 as Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command. This after a career spanning some 47 years as he joined the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1938 aged just 13. Our current National President, Vice Admiral John McAnally, will represent the RNA at the funeral where both the National Standard and local Area Standards will be paraded in respect. For those reading on line, The Times obituary is here

Continuing the theme, an announcement has been made for a Memorial Service for Sir Donald Gosling in Westminster Abbey on 12th December. If you wish to attend, the link for the application form for tickets can be found in Article 1 below. Again, the National President, National Chairman and General Secretary will attend to represent the Association.

This has been Trafalgar season and my wife Anne and I have very much enjoyed the hospitality of several Branches over the last couple of weeks. It started in Torquay hosted by the Plymouth Branch which was an infinitely more enjoyable experience than the rugby I watched the following day in Dartmouth as Japan put Scotland to the sword at the rugby world cup! The following week we were in Chichester as guests of the Selsey Branch swiftly followed by a trip to Dublin for their Branch’s Trafalgar Dinner in the splendid Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. More rugby failure the following day, this time in the shape of Ireland’s defeat to the All Blacks – Dublin did what it does best…..drink more Guinness! Thank you to all of those Branches; I never knew Trafalgar could be so much fun!

I should also thank Shep Woolley and his ‘Ansom Lads band of musical seadogs for his kind invitation to his highly entertaining concert in the Square Tower. This was the story of Trafalgar told in a more light-hearted and musical vein and, as you can imagine with Shep at the helm and Frenchmen in the rigging (the gallery) the musical sparring was very amusing. Although, I’m not entirely sure that Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime was of the period! Those little exhalations of joy…..well let’s just say it wasn’t just funny…. I was damn nearing wetting myself!

Last weekend also saw the finals of the World Uckers Championship at the Explosion Museum where I’m proud to report, my partner Andy and I reached the quarter-finals. This sounds fantastic but what this actually means is that we got through the first round and were knocked out in the next. The sad truth is, the current organisers have had some difficulty in creating the interest in this event so they have approached us in the RNA to take over the management of the competition. Clearly, we are happy to do this and we can make something of this across the Branches and Areas next year. With Pussers onboard as sponsors it’s a real opportunity to integrate with the serving navy too. More to follow…..

Meanwhile, at sea, both carriers continue their trials package; PRINCE OF WALES is in home waters cracking on with contractor’s sea trials which I hear are going well. Indeed, everyone is hoping she might get into Portsmouth a little earlier to allow her time to prep for her Commissioning in early December. And, I’m glad to say that we have manage to get tickets for the Commissioning for the sons and daughters of some of the men who were lost when the last PoW was sunk by the Japanese on 10 December 1941. QUEEN ELIZABETH is also achieving much off the Eastern seaboard of the US where she is using British jets to achieve the operational element of the First of Class Fixed Wing Flying Trials. The picture to the left was taken on 15 Oct 10 and shows the first ever take off by a British F-35 Lightning from the QE.

Looking ahead, we are now in the Remembrance season, and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Field of Remembrance and at the Cenotaph. Remember that we have sandwiches and chips in the darts room of the Civil Service Club after the parade.

Some Parish notices:

• There are important forms on the attached file for:

o Branch motions for next year’s Conference with a deadline of 14 February 2020.

Get them in the post along with your Valentine’s cards!

o NCM and DNCM election forms for Areas 1,3,4,5,10 and 12, deadline 14 February.

o Nomination forms for Standing Orders Committee.

• Diaries are in and Nigel is awaiting your orders, same for the Christmas cards that are already selling well – order forms attached.


• Also, if you’re looking for a stocking filler for an old shipmate, how about the splendid D-Day 75 Souvenir Brochure now selling at 50% discount at £5 each

Best wishes from the Central Office Team