30 NAVY NEWS, JANUARY 2009
Northern Light will be
strike gold clock up
Arctic group’s legacy
BRIDPORT branch celebrated
their 70th anniversary alongside
Trafalgar Day commemorations
ROYAL Leamington Spa branch
with a parade and service.
bagged two gold awards in one
The branch was formed on
September 2 1938 as the Royal
Naval Old Comrades Association
The first came in the form of a
A NEW lifeboat funded by
with 16 members – the first branch
gold-standard rating following a
the North Russia Club has
in the West of England.
hygiene inspection carried out by been named at the RNLI’s
By the outbreak of World
the Department of Environmental headquarters in Poole.
War 2 in September 1939 the
Health at Warwick District The D-class inshore lifeboat,
membership had risen to 81.
Council. D-705, was named Northern
The name was changed to the
The council team carries Light after the club’s former
RNA when the bigger organisation
out comprehensive inspections quarterly magazine.
was formed in 1950 and it was
without giving prior warning of an The club was formed by
granted a Royal Charter in 1954.
assessment visit. ex-Servicemen who served at
No founder members survive,
But that caused no concern to Royal Navy bases in Archangel
but amongst those proudly
the Leamington shipmates, whose and Murmansk during World War
marching through the town were
club achieved ‘excellent’ ratings in 2, and membership was extended two long-serving shipmates, Eddie
all three major categories. to all who served in Arctic convoys Warne (86) and Bob Collins (83).
But there was no time for the to and from Russia. S/M Bob was chairman of the
branch to rest on its laurels as The ball was set rolling by an branch on three occasions.
attention turned to the Clubs appeal printed in Navy News in The parade was led by St
category of the Royal Leamington the early 1980s which asked for Swithun’s Silver Band, and
Spa in Bloom competition. eligible veterans to get in touch; included the RNA, RBL, Burma
The gold-medal floral displays shortly after more than 30 men Star Association, RAFA, and Sea
were provided entirely by Mrs met in London and the club was
Cadets from TS Keppel.
Shirley Badsey and her husband, formed.
The salute was taken by Capt
S/M Brian Badsey. Membership reached more
John Bench RN, Bridport Town
Branch secretary S/M Maurice than 2,500 at its peak, and several
Mayor Martin Ray and S/M David
Williams said: “We are constantly return visits were organised to
White, RNA national chairman.
improving and extending all Murmansk and Archangel.
The service at St Mary’s Church
aspects of our club, and with so But over the years membership
was followed by a buffet and cake-
● D-class lifeboat D-705 is named Northern Light at RNLI headquarters in Poole
many visitors – especially reunions dwindled, and when the time
cutting in the church hall.
– it is vital that standards are came to formally wind-up the Survival Centre at the RNLI’s has evolved continually since RNLI’s relief fleet, which means
achieved and maintained. organisation members decided to Lifeboat College, will be operated its introduction some 40 years she could see service at any of Eddy on Clyde
“We are therefore delighted donate the balance of club funds by a three-strong crew and has a ago, and still proves its worth in the 110 stations that use D-class
with our double golds and very to the RNLI. top speed of 25 knots. hundreds of rescues close to shore boats at times when the station’s
MEMBERS of the City of
grateful for the splendid efforts of Northern Light, which was This small, manoeuvrable in fair to moderate conditions. own boat is under repair or
Glasgow branch were invited on
all concerned.” named at a ceremony in the Sea workhorse of the RNLI fleet Northern Light will join the maintenance.
board the ‘Capital Ship’ – HMS
Edinburgh – during the destroyer’s
Memories of Mauritius
goodwill visit to the Clyde.
The shipmates were presented
with a gift by the POs Mess of
a picture of the warship, which
VETERANS travelled to Chester Services Club, with plenty of good a second reunion later this year
will be displayed with pride at
from the four corners of the UK food and dancing to songs from – to be held on October 3 in
(and one from Canada) to recall those memorable years on the Portsmouth – hopefully with a few
The crew also attended
their time on an island in the tropical island. more shipmates on board.
Remembrance Day services at
Indian Ocean. Presentations were made to If you served at the shore base
Glasgow Cathedral and George
The idea of a Mauritius reunion Ann Dodd, for arranging the
HMS Mauritius and would like
Square, where they were invited
had first been mooted by Robert event, and to Charlie Chase for
to attend, or want details of the
to join the Lord Provost in the city
‘Charlie’ Chase, and when the setting up the website that was
website, contact Charlie Chase on
chambers along with the veterans
date finally arrived some 60 ultimately responsible for the
who attended the services.
veterans gathered. event happening.
HMS Mauritius was the name
The main event took place on With a most enjoyable weekend
of the RN radio station on the
the Saturday evening, in the Joint over, most were committed to
island, which commissioned in
March 1962, ceased operations in MAIDSTONE branch had the
November 1975. honour of attending two cenotaph
It was not to be confused with parades on Remembrance Day.
the 1939 cruiser HMS Mauritius, A large contingent attended
which was broken up March the parade in Maidstone, while a
1965, and was latterly known smaller group of members, on a
as Mauritius (ship) to make the weekend break, joined shipmates ● Lossiemouth branch president S/M Ian White (left) receives the
distinction. Lord Lewin Award for Distinguished Service to the Shipwrecked from Cromer branch for a parade
A Naval radio station also Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society from president at Northrepps, in Norfolk.
operated on the island, south-east Admiral Sir Peter Abbott at a ceremony held in the Fishmongers’ Hall On Armistice Day another small
of Madagascar, during World War in London. Ian has raised the profi le of the society at Lossiemouth, group from Maidstone attended a
1, closing down the transmitters in where he is the harbourmaster, and over the past fi ve years has service at the local parish church
the summer of 1921. generated vital publicity and funds in Aylesford, in Kent.
RN party joins in
A GROUP of officers from wreath of remembrance by the
HMS Raleigh were on hand chairman and secretary of the
to make a visit to the National association at the new Armed
Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas Forces Memorial.
in Staffordshire by members of They were joined by a party
the HMS Diana Association a of serving officers from Torpoint
special occasion. who were there for the day, and
The shipmates were attending whose escorting guide conducted
one of their biannual reunions the service.
in Birmingham when they took Association secretary S/M
● S/M Dave Weaver, of Stourbridge branch, is pictured with the
the opportunity to pay a visit John Fisher said: “On behalf of
model of Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond which he built from
to the 150-acre arboretum near our association we would like to
scratch using only six photos obtained from Navy News. S/M Dave
Lichfield, established in part of thank all the officers from HMS
also made the other models in the background, including HMS Hood
● River Plate veterans (from left) Sam Shale, Basil Trott, John
the National Forest in 1997. Raleigh for making the occasion
(on left). The bridge, Pacifi c sea boats and helicopter hangar of the
Garrard and Bill Empson. Bill, a founder member of the HMS Ajax
They attended the 11 o’clock very special.
model Diamond are illuminated, and the radar aerial and helicopter
and River Plate Veterans Association, died shortly after the
church service, and the highlight “It was an excellent start to a
reunion aged 88. He was in A turret of HMS Ajax at the battle, and
of the visit was the laying of a fantastic reunion.”
attended all reunions Picture: Cliff Hoppe
Mayor tells of plans
for Ajax celebrations
VETERANS from the first major 1940s as a settlement around a
British naval success of World new shell-filling plant, and took its
War 2 gathered at Chatham to names from the battle.
greet a special guest at their latest When the plant closed at the
reunion. end of the war the town took on
Steve Parish, the mayor of the a life of its own, and now boasts
town of Ajax in Canada, and two more than 90,000 inhabitants and
of his colleagues told of the plans is a dormer town for Ontario.
for this year’s celebrations which The association is also keen
will mark the 70th anniversary of to recruit from the Leander-class
the Battle of the River Plate – and frigate HMS Ajax – if anyone is
the visitors extended an invitation interested they should contact Ken
to the veterans. Jones at 1 Coppergate, Hempstead,
Ajax appeared in the early Gillingham, Kent ME7 3QN.
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