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30 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2009
Vernon
Battle weekend serves as dress rehearsal
Talking
statue
LONDONDERRY branch commemorated the the contribution made to the success of the narrowly avoided the rain and, as always,
Battle of the Atlantic in fine style at its annual battle by the citizens of Londonderry and the comprehensive hospitality was available to all.
points on
commemorative dinner and a well-attended facilities they provided. The Battle of the Atlantic weekend normally
planned
church parade. The usual high degree of Irish catering was includes an enthusiastic contingent from the
The weekend’s events, although traditional enjoyed by all, while (as they say in Ireland) Royal Canadian Navy, who were vigorous
the way
in the city each year, were something of a drink was taken and as always in that isle, there participants in the campaign.
A PROJECT to design, construct
dress rehearsal for the Annual Conference this was more than a hint of song in the air. However, this year they have postponed A FULL agenda for the 2009
and install a monument dedicated
month, which will also have a Battle of the The church parade on Sunday was an their visit so that it coincides with the RNA Conference in Londonderry
to the minewarfare and diving
Atlantic overlay. enormous success, with a considerable body of conference. was expected to be distributed as
heritage of HMS Vernon, now
The Battle of the Atlantic dinner was held shipmates attending from all over the Province The church service on conference weekend Navy News went to press.
Gunwharf Quays, in Portsmouth
in the City Hotel and attracted around 50 – some 15 standards were paraded and the will include the dedication of a Newfie/ Later-than-expected decisions
has achieved one of its early
shipmates – some of whom were veterans of the march was led in fine style by the Churchill Derry Commemorative Bell, which will over motions to Conference meant
goals.
campaign – and their partners. Memorial Flute Band. be a permanent reminder to the people of that the normal deadline of early
Although it took longer than
Guest speaker S/M Paddy McClurg, the A fine Service followed, and there were few Londonderry of the part played by the Royal April could not be met, though
planned, the project achieved
RNA General Secretary (who for once had seats to be had in the packed church. Canadian Navy and the fond memories they a draft agenda appeared in the
charitable trust status in early
little difficulty in being understood), spoke of The march back to the Ex-Services Club possess of the city and its people. Association’s April newsletter.
March, defining the campaign as
According to that there was
worthy, regulated, not-for-profit
just one branch motion to be
and with clear goals and an all-
volunteer team.
It is hoped that sculptor Les
Johnson’s depiction of a larger-
than-life diver and mine will
eventually stand in the Vernon
Trawler memorabilia
considered by delegates – that
of the Isle of Sheppey branch,
seconded by Maidstone, which
proposed that the 2011 Conference
should be at Mill Rythe Holiday
Camp on Hayling Island.
Canal, but the cost of such a work
A number of other motions
now means a revised target of
of urgency are expected to be
£275,000.
To support the project, or see
the latest developments, see www.
vernon-monument.org
High-profi le
takes pride of place
put forward for consideration at
Conference, which is being held
at the City Hotel beside the River
Foyle on Saturday June 13.
Coastal
supporter
A MESS room upstairs in a
subsequent history.
Forces site
pub has outgrown its roots
She was sold to a private buyer
FORMER SAS soldier and author
and could serve as a historical
and ended up in a breaker’s yard
goes live
Andy McNab has lent his support
resource for a Midlands town.
in the Far East, where a former
to the work done by the NHS
Tenbury Wells branch meets at
RN sailor noticed the plaque, saw
THE revitalised Coastal Forces
to treat ex-Service personnel
the 17th century King’s Head Inn
the name Tenbury and acquired it
wn.
Heritage Trust (CFHT) website
in London with mental health
in Cross Street, having secured
as he had relatives in the to
All three items hung in the old
is now up and running.
problems.
the use of a room when the group
Council Chamber for 50 years
When the Veterans Association
Mr McNab visited the Camden
commissioned in 1985.
and more, but a move to new
paid off it was felt that some kind
and Islington Traumatic Stress
Branch vice chairman S/M Chris
offices prompted a rethink.
of replacement was needed for
Clinic, the home of the Veterans’
Dovey said: “Recent landlords,
The town council approached
the many shipmates still taking an
Community Mental Health
and especially the newest one who
the RNA, knowing of the
interest in coastal forces.
Service pilot scheme which started
has only just taken over, have been The CFHT has stepped in with
in 2007.
very supportive of the RNA and
burgeoning mess room, and
a new biannual newsletter, and a
The service handles severe and
have actually given us the room to
offered the items on loan for
promise to promote the history
complex mental health needs
decorate as we like as the Tenbury
display.
and achievements of the branch.
related to time in the Forces,
Wells RNA mess.
They now occupy pride of
Cash has been obtained, from
including depression, personality
“The members redecorated the
place under spotlights on one wall
the Lottery Fund and a generous
disorders and behavioural
room just over a year ago, supplied
(pictured left).
supporter, which will enable the
problems.
new curtains and paid for nearly
“The whole RNA mess room is
production of a new documentary
Five other NHS mental health
all the decoration in exchange for
now fully decorated, and we have
tracing the history of the boats
trusts – South Staffordshire,
being given the room.
very little wall space left to add
and their successes.
Cardiff, County Durham,
“The branch has acquired many branches, Stourbridge, Lichfield March 1942, which resulted
more items,” said S/M Dovey.
And any readers with photos or
Cornwall and Scotland – provide
items of Naval memorabilia itself and individual members. in cash being put towards the
“But the landlord is happy for
film clips, memories or artefacts
similar services outside London.
over the years but more recently “The branch is extremely adoption of minesweeping trawler
us to adorn the bars with Naval relating to any of the boats (as on
For more information on the
has bought or been given items grateful for this support. HMS Balta.
pictures so we can spread out a the website) are asked to contact
London service call 020 7530 3666
from other branches or clubs in “However, pride of place in the A large cast iron crest mounted little more yet. Trevor Robotham, 023 9272 4715,
in confidence, or see the website
the Midlands area which have mess goes to three items recently on a black shield was given by “We are planning to open the trobotham@coastal-forces.org.
www.candi.nhs.uk/veterans
either decommissioned, closed received on permanent loan from the Admiralty, a small plaque was mess publicly for the people of uk, John Ascoli, 01243 514440,
down, or just handed over items Tenbury Town Council.” created by the Tenbury National Tenbury to see and also for history jascoli@coastal-forces.org.uk
Yangtse
surplus to requirement. The items mark the donations Savings Committee and presented students at Tenbury High School or the RN Museum, HM Naval
“Notably items have come made by the folk of the Tenbury to the ship, while the third item, a to come down and be introduced
Base, Portsmouth PO1 3NH.
from Worcester RNA and RMA area towards Warship Week in hand-written note, tells of Balta’s to some of our Naval history.”
www.coastal-forces.org.uk
marina
gathering
REPRESENTATIVES of the ships
Century of aviation
Flying visit
involved in the Yangtse Incident
gathered at the Maritime Warfare
School at HMS Collingwood to
mark the 60th anniversary. marked at Sheppey
to RNA HQ
HAVING spent the weekend
Affiliation with the ship’s
in Portsmouth enjoying the
associations of HMS Amethyst – THE CENTENARY of Naval short distance to the Pioneer
local attractions, including a
attacked and then trapped on the aviation will be celebrated over Memorial, where a short service
visit to the Spinnaker Tower,
river for weeks by hostile Chinese two days next month on the Isle will include the laying of wreaths.
Bourne branch secretary S/M
Communist forces – and HM of Sheppey. At the same time tributes will
Brenda White and her husband
ships Consort, Black Swan and The event, on July 25-26, will be paid at the graves of three fliers
Chalky paid a visit to RNA HQ
London, which were all involved take place on the Eastchurch buried in the churchyard.
to meet General Secretary S/M
in Amethyst’s escape, moved to village cricket green, featuring Among the others taking part in
Paddy McClurg and Sheila
Collingwood with the closure of stalls and a funfair, a display of the weekend’s events will be Sea
Tarabella, who made them
HMS Dryad in 2004. vintage cars and model aircraft, Cadets, who will be staging Field
most welcome.
Guests saw training on bridge amongst other attractions. Gun demonstrations, a Guard of
With great views over the
simulators, two of which are Stallholders will be invited to Honour for the ceremonies and
harbour and out into the Solent,
named Consort and London, and partake of a barbecue at the end of music in the form of Whitstable
the visitors could easily spot
attended a church service with Saturday’s events, which begin at Sea Cadet Band
giant American aircraft carrier
Phase 2 trainees, two of whom 10am and continue until 5pm.
lit 46 candles, one for each of the The show, co-organised by the
Helping heroes
USS Harry S Truman – and with
more than 1,000 Yanks hitting
men who died in the incident. Isle of Sheppey branch under the
Portsmouth it was “just like the
PO Anthony Greening guidance of S/M Mick Withington, HENLOW branch held an inter-
old days,” according to Chalky.
also attended; the senior rate’s gets back on the road at 10am on branch social at Arlesey Football
Brenda and Chalky were
grandfather served with Consort Sunday, and a memorial service Club to support Help for Heroes.
impressed by the spacious
veteran Terry Hodgins at the will be held at All Saints’ Church, Around 120 people attended,
nature of the HQ, and very
time of the incident, as did fellow conducted by Revd Barry Birch –
raising over £500 – further boosted grateful to the busy people
veteran David Morgan, who shared standards are invited – at 10.30am.
by a concert by the Vauxhall Male who gave up their time to meet
memories of events in China. At 11.15 the focus moves the
Voice Choir in Arlesey. them.
● Competition winner S/M Steven Susans (right) collects his trophy
from S/M Jack Harris
Highest standards
CHATHAM branch hosted the Steven Susans, of Bromley
2009 Area 2 Standard Bearers branch, with the runner-up spot
competition at the REME gym in going to S/M Christine Sandmann
Gillingham, all under the watchful of the host branch.
eye of area ceremonial officer S/M Best in the novice class was S/M
Chris Durban. John Cooper, from Maidstone.
The turnout was small, but The open class title was taken
the quality of competitors was by S/M David Corrigan, from
extremely high – seven shipmates Bletchley branch in Area 6.
attempted to impress the judges in Trophies were presented to the
three categories. winners by vice president S/M
The overall winner was S/M Jack Harris.
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