Welcome to September’s Semaphore Circular on the new publication day of Friday. It struck me that it might be better to publish our Semaphore Circulars and the Semaphore Shorts on a Friday as members may have a bit more time over the w/e to read them. So, for our regular readers, from next month, the schedule in future will be:
· 1st Friday of the month – Semaphore Circular
· 2nd Friday of the month – communique to Branch Secretaries and Chairs only
· 3rd and remaining Fridays – Semaphore Short
We held this one back this month to capture some photos from the tremendously successful Naval Associations’ Biennial Parade in London last Sunday. With handsome numbers involved right across the naval family led by the splendid Combined RN Volunteer Band and serving sailors from COLLINGWOOD and SULTAN, and RNR London Division, HMS PRESIDENT.
As well as the RNA, all the major associations were represented including the Association of Wrens, Submariners Association, the FAA Association, the RFA Association, the Merchant Navy Association and the Association of Royal Navy Officers. And let’s not forget a host of smaller Associations who played their part too. Indeed, the family extended beyond the shores of the UK with the representation on Parade from both the Irish and Belgian Naval Associations
Thank you to The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Martin Connell CBE, who took the salute and all who participated and thank you especially to my team here in Central Office for making sure that everything ran smoothly on the day. Earlier, 2SL had signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the RN and the RNA to allow for closer cooperation.
It was great to speak with some of the young sailors in training. As you would expect when detailed off for a Sunday morning ceremonial activity, there might have been an element of Jack and Jenny whinging, but the ones I spoke to afterwards were mature enough to realise that it had been a privilege for them to do this at the Cenotaph and would look back on it fondly. Indeed, their enthusiasm was infectious and as one veteran said to me later, “the Navy is in good hands.”
With the Parade on the Sunday morning, the National Council – the Association’s Board of Trustees – took the opportunity to meet at the UJC on Saturday afternoon. On completion of the meeting, S/m Keith Crawford (pictured left), at the tender age of nearly 85 and with increasing mobility issues, stood down from his 20 years as National Council Member for No9 Area. Keith, thank you for your service as an Association Trustee and for your wisdom and experience at Council meetings. We’ll certainly miss you.
D-Day 80 – Normandy Cycle. Looking ahead to next June, which will mark the 80th anniversary of the biggest amphibious operation ever undertaken, I plan to take a group of cyclists to France with a view to visiting some of the main sites on the Normandy battlefield, culminating in attending the service at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer overlooking Gold Beach on 6 June 2024. This is not just a MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) exped but a totally inclusive event for those who want to learn a little bit more about that period of the war and pay their respects to those who made it happen. Using our own bikes (electric bikes and wheelchair bikes welcome), we’ll start and finish in Pompey over the week 3-7 June, we’ll plan routes that will suit the ability of those who take part. We’ll spend 3 days/2 nights in Normandy and it will be self-funded but I hope to be able to raise some sponsorship. If anyone is interested, please let me know ([email protected]).
Finally, please come and take part in the 2023 World Uckers Championships - in the Royal Maritime Club, Portsmouth on 14 October – register with Dave MacAskill ([email protected])
And don’t forget, the RNA weekly lottery is launched and live! By playing the RNA lottery, you will not only have the chance to win some wonderful cash prizes, but you will also be backing everything we do, particularly in the welfare space. Since COVID, we’ve done so much more in the welfare/wellbeing space with our veterans and having an RNA Lottery will allow us to do even more. It’s only £1 per line, per week. Every Friday, six numbers are selected at random, and if the player matches three or more in the correct sequence, they will win one of the cash prizes on offer! (up to £25,000). Once players have registered online, they will be given a six-digit sequence, which will be entered into the draw. Sign up here: www.RNAlottery.co.uk Thank you and good luck!