NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2009 35
A DISCOUNT travel scheme
for people who receive certain
military pensions or compensation
operates in the London area.
The Veterans Concessionary
Travel Scheme (VCTS) is available
IT’S ALL change in Cyprus since
to all those in receipt of an ongong
Illustrious outing the chairman and founder of the
payment under the War Pensions
branch six years ago, Shipmate
Scheme or Guaranteed Income
Nobby Hall, left one island for
Payment under the Armed Forces
another one – he became Assistant
THE Brightlingsea branch
Commissioner of Police in the
War widows, widowers and
was in the doldrums a couple
Turks and Caicos Islands.
dependents in receipt of the same
of years ago, as Secretary Stepping into Nobby’s shoes as
payments are also eligible.
Ron Underwood told Navy the new chairman is S/M Andrew
Eligible applicants will be issued News, but now it’s alive
Noyes, previously the Royal
with an Oyster photocard, which and very well indeed, if a
Marines Corps Secretary based at
allows them to travel free within
little sore in the head after a
Whale Island in Portsmouth, who
London by bus, Tube, Docklands
most enjoyable visit to HMS
now lives in Cyprus.
Light Railway, tram and London
Asked if it was unusual for
a Royal Marine to become a
The scheme is of particular
The trip happened because the
chairman of an RNA branch, Lt
benefit to veterans under 60 and
branch was invited to submit an
Col Noyes replied that he had no
those who live outside London
application to be affiliated to the
difficulty with taking on the post
who are not eligible for a Freedom
as during his 40 years of service
The Executive Warrant Officer
with the Marines he had served in
For details on the scheme see
on board, Russ Billings, worked
HMS Tartar, a tribal-class frigate,
hard to get the application
on both Albion and Bulwark
approved, with the result that
as a member of the embarked
Brightlingsea RNA is now proudly
force, been a staff officer on the
affiliated to the carrier’s Warrant
Naval Staff in London, and then
taught at the RN Staff College at
YORK branch had a unique present
And so it came about that the
for the commanding officer of
Brightlingsea shipmates were
And after 13 years based at
HMS York, who has accepted
invited to visit the mess and (to
Whale Island as the RM Corps
their invitation to become the
quote the invitation) “give thanks
Secretary, he felt entirely at home
branch’s Honorary Commodore.
to Pusser’s Rum”. chairing the committee of an RNA
When Cdr Andy Price attended
Needing no more persuasion, branch.
the branch meeting he was
the 19-strong team set out for S/M Jean Hall was re-elected
presented not only with a ship’s
Greenwich to join the carrier – as Treasurer and Nobby Hall
crest and a signed picture of the
with the proviso that if anyone and Fred Cooper were elected
ship, but with a volume of poems
were to fall off the PAS boat, no as Life Vice Chairmen. S/M Bill
entitled Soldiers of the Sea written
attempt would be made to retrieve Hellier was elected as the new
by shipmate Bernard Hallas, the
him, and the incident would be slops member in place of Nick
RNA’s oldest PRO.
treated as a “burial at sea”. Smith, whose efforts were much
No such fatalities occurred and taken by PO Chrissy Wood, the Commanding Officer, Capt Steve somehow the glasses kept filling appreciated, and new shipmates
the team successfully boarded the first of several women they were to Chick, proposed the loyal toast up despite their protests – the Richard and Wendy Mottershead
ship, to be greeted by the officer of meet on board that day. and in an ensuing, poignant toast shipmates enjoyed a buffet and were welcomed to the branch.
SOUTH Harrow branch has the day and his team. “We travelled up to the flight the shipmates raised their glasses swapped dits over the curry and
awarded its Shipmate of the Year As Ron takes up the story: “Our deck by the aircraft lift to save to a departed friend, Les Sayer, rice.
Trophy to S/M Brian Joy for his guided tour started on the flight our ageing legs any undue who sadly died before the visit. “We all dredged up long-
efforts, including the Christmas deck, slightly larger than my last punishment,” recounts Ron. “It was a great honour to have forgotten memories and exchanged
draw, proceeds of which were di- ship, MAC Alexia, (Merchant “We finally arrived in the WO/ the Captain of the Illustrious stories of old and not-so-old as the MEMBERS of Wansbeck branch
vided between the RNA and the Aircraft Carrier – Ed) from which CPOs Mess where the residents with us and he and his officers lamps (and us) were swinging to have visited the National Memorial
Royal British Legion, the branch’s I last flew in May 1945. were already preparing to give established an instant rapport – a and fro. Arboretum at Lichfield.
landlords. “There were no arrester wires thanks to Pusser’s Rum. thing unheard of in our days,” “The rapport between our hosts While looking round the
The Peter Cant Trophy, in and no barrier, the aircraft all “The bar was manned (if that’s commented Ron. and us was instantaneous, which impressive gardens and
memory of a former chairman seem to slip in sideways these the right word) by two ladies, one He added: “We were given underlines our motto ‘Once Navy monuments, every shipmate
who had served in the FAA in days.” a stoker and the other an aircraft many mementoes of our stay, Always Navy’,” said Ron. found the name of a friend or
HMS Centaur, was awarded to After a briefing from the handler, and very efficient they one was a Royal Marine bugle, After a challenging but friends they had lost during the
S/M Marion Edwards, Honorary Executive Warrant Officer on flight were too. which as a wonderful postscript successful disembarkation, the Service days.
Treasurer and Social Secretary, operations the shipmates posed for “Ladies are, of course, an was played by our branch bugler Brightlingsea shipmates made They also paid a visit to
for her untiring contribution. a group photograph (see above), integral part of any ship’s crew at the funeral service for Les a few their way safely home and are colleagues from the Lichfield
nowadays.” days later.” already planning their next trip to branch before they headed back
£50 PRIZE PUZZLE
The ship’s outgoing After many more tots – the carrier. home to Northumberland.
Lottery comes up
trumps for Hertford
HERTFORD branch held a special dinner at the Age Concern Hall,
Ware, to celebrate their 70th anniversary – thanks to Lottery funding.
A grant of £2,500 enabled members to have a subsidised ticket and
free transport when their circumstances do not normally allow them to
attend the annual dinner.
Guest of honour was submariner Capt Dick Husk, Chief of Staff to
Flag Officer Submarines during the Falklands Conflict, and around 100
members, partners and friends attended the event.
Capt Husk was welcomed by branch president S/M Bryan Smalley.
At the end of the dinner the Eric Knight Award for Shipmate of
the Year was presented to three people who tied for the honour –
S/Ms Maurice Kerr (social secretary and acting branch secretary), Tony
Faulkner (standard bearer) and Bryan Smalley (president and press
THE mystery ship in our officer), all three founder members.
January edition (right) was HMS
Family gathers to
Each received an engraved pewter hip flask.
Medway. The Eric Knight Award honours the memory of a former shipmate
Among the many who
who rose to high office in the Association in the 1960s.
correctly identified her was
honour Naval hero
Hertford’s evening of celebration concluded with dancing to the band
Jacqueline Ralph, of Tasmania,
Australia, who wins our £50
SHIPMATES from Plymouth Merchant Navy Association,
This month’s mystery
HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH.
branch gathered at Ford Park Korea Veterans Association and
vessel (above) was an ironclad
Coupons giving the correct answer Cemetery on the last day of 2008 the Ex-Services Federation.
will go into a prize draw to establish to once more pay their respects to A short service was conducted
Naval hero Lt George Hinckley at the graveside following a
After a somewhat shaky start Closing date for entries is April
VC. wreath-laying ceremony.
she settled down to a long life
15. More than one entry can be
Standing with the shipmates Lt Hinckley, then serving as an
with many modifications and
submitted, but photocopies cannot
(pictured above) were George’s able seamen aboard HMS Sphinx
became a favourite of the Fleet.
be accepted. Do not include
anything else in your envelope: no
great-granddaughter Joan Smith during the Taiping Rebellion
King George V served in her
correspondence can be entered into and his great-great-grandson in China in 1862, carried two
for a while as Lieutenant Prince and no entry returned.
Andrew Smith. wounded officers to safety whilst
George of Wales.
The winner will be announced in
Also present, for the first under continuous heavy enemy
What was her name?
our May edition. The competition is
time, were relatives Mr and Mrs fire.
Complete the coupon and send
not open to Navy News employees
Lethridge, who only learned of He was awarded the Victoria
it to Mystery Picture, Navy News,
or their families.
their great-grandfather’s grave Cross in February of the following
from a press report in the West year and, after leaving the Service
MYSTERY PICTURE 169 Country a year ago. in 1867, settled in Devon, where
Standards were paraded from he died on New Year’s Eve 1904
Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plymouth branches of the RNA, at the age of 85.
Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dagenham toasts Paddy
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
RNA General Secretary Paddy Loyal Toast, preceded by
McClurg stepped into the breach an explanation of why it is
● France Nord branch’s chairman S/M John Marett presents a
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . at Dagenham branch when they traditionally held sitting down, belfry to the Branch at the members’ Trafalgar lunch. The bell had
found themselves without a guest followed by a speech in which his
long since been gathering dust when the idea was mooted that it
My answer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . of honour at their annual dinner. well-known Irish humour was should be put on display. John put his carpentry and ropework skills
Shipmate Paddy gave the much appreciated. to the test, and the impressive result is shown above.
034-035_NN_mar.indd 2 19/2/09 13:54:32
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