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A colourful tribute to a black day

PLYMOUTH branch celebrated Black Tot Day – or at least marked its passing in an appropriate way to dull the pain.

● Founder shipmates of Bude RNA. Left to right: Mick Philp, Peter Phillips, Godfrey Harrison, Brian Braund, Alan Litchfi eld, Bob Stewart, ‘Tanky’ Williams and Mick Luxton

Bude-iful memories

BUDE branch threw a lavish 21st birthday party to celebrate the anniversary of its commissioning in August 1989. Fifty shipmates and guests held a social evening at Bude RFC, with refreshments generously supplied by the Bude Rugby Club. The room was decorated with Cornish and naval decorations courtesy of steward Stu Bell. Musical entertainment was provided by ‘Friggin’

the potency of Pusser’s Rum was enjoyed by all present. Brian and President Shipmate Alan Litchfield cut an anniversary cake,

decorated with an RNA motif by Shipmate Peter Phillips.

Bude’s own lifeboat music group, who led the guests in a number of well-known shanties and folk songs. To mark this milestone in the


branch’s history, its Chairman, Shipmate Brian Braund, gave the signal Splice the Mainbrace and

Shipmate Mick Phlip raised more than £120, due in no small part to his unusual rules, which meant that anyone in the room who was unwise enough to speak, or on occasion move their head, was deemed to have made a bid. Tanky Williams, the branch Standard Bearer, has to his surprise been the successful bidder on scores of occasions. All money raised is donated to designated charities annually.

Dublin remembers

MEMBERS of the Dublin branch joined colleagues from the Royal British Legion Republic of Ireland for their annual commemoration service in the magnifi cent setting of the Irish National War Memorial Park in Islandbridge, Dublin. The service was hosted by Major General David Nial Creagh, The O’Morchoe, President of the RBL in the Republic and attended by the Lord Mayors of Dublin and Belfast as well as representatives from countries around the world. The service was led by The Right Reverend Monsignor Eoin Thynne, Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces, assisted by The Venerable Christopher Long and the lesson was read by Lt General Sir John Kiszely, National President of the RBL. This was the first public parade for the new officers of the Dublin

branch who were well-supported by their branch members.

addition there were others who by their attire appeared to be shipmates. On further enquiry and calls of ‘Who goes there?’ it turned out that the strangers were five eligible full members from the County of Wexford – there was much jubilation followed by invitations and promises to attend the next meeting of the Dublin branch. Unfortunately the excitement


was so overwhelming that no-one thought to get their names and addresses – so if any of the mystery Wexford shipmates read this, please send your contact details to RNA HQ for forwarding to the Dublin Branch Secretary, Shipmate Alan Easter, or to Alan direct, as he handed over his address.

Atherton makes the day

ARMED FORCES DAY saw a big turn-out in Atherton where shipmates took part in the celebrations at the Leigh Sports Village, new home of Leigh RLFC.

watched a march-past of veterans and standards from all sections of the Armed Forces and admired a display of restored military vehicles, including a Spitfire.

More than 5,000 spectators

Inside one of the indoor arenas, an area was set aside for branches from many volunteer organisations and the RNA Atherton Branch handed out numerous membership forms for the Wigan, Leigh and Atherton areas. Branch chairman Peter Wilkie

said: “The day was a great success, and we have certainly raised the awareness of the RNA within the area.”

Ketton’s crucifix

KETTON and District branch has a new badge – a crucifix hung with a lifebuoy which will be used to identify branch members during collections and events.

The crucifix was made by branch member Chalky White

and was formally handed over to the branch President, Chairman and Standard Bearer. It will be the centre-piece of meetings for the branch and has already proved useful at a tombola stall as part of Armed Forces Week in Stamford.

An auction conducted by obtained and suitably

Shipmates dressed up in period costume (of various periods, judging by the photo right) and gathered around the Rum Tub in the Warrant Officer and Senior Rates’ Mess HMS Drake to mark the tot’s demise. It was on July 31 1970 (better known as Black Tot Day) that the final tots were issued around the globe. Before that sad date, all serving personnel over the age of 20 were entitled to one eighth of a pint of rum every day.

Green berets thank RMA

work it does in organising tributes to those killed in operations. The network was set up to promote attendance

along ‘Repatriation Road,’ the 47-mile route along which military funeral corteges travel when they make their way from RAF Lyneham to the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford. Poole branch RMA, along with Guildford

THE Commando Training Centre, in Lympstone, hosted members of the Royal Marines’ Association Repatriation Network to a King’s Squad passing-out parade. The invitation was to thank the group for all the

running the communications network. Within 24 hours of a repatriation being confirmed by the RAF, a bulk text message is sent out to about 80 individuals and groups giving them basic information. Then, two or three days later, once the police have

confirmed their arrangements, a bulk email goes out to nearly 300 people giving fuller details and the timings of various vigil points along the way. On the day of the repatriation, the groups and individuals are kept informed of the progress of the cortege. Afterwards a Royal Marine veteran, the ‘duty

branch, and helped by many other organisations and individuals, has been a leading light in organising the vigils which line the route every time a military funeral cortege passes through. The tradition of paying tribute to the casualties

way, to encompass the whole of ‘Repatriation Road.’ Now when a cortege sets out, the entire route of 47 miles is lined to make sure that no Service person makes the last journey alone. There are many markers along the route where people come to pay their respects, ranging from private houses to pubs and police and fire stations. Officers at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham

started when residents of Wootton Bassett began spontaneously lining the streets as the processions drove through their Wiltshire town. It has now grown, albeit in a discreet and dignified

information for those parading at locations other than Wootton Bassett was very hit and miss. Now the network system continues to grow and is truly tri-service.

The guests at CTC Lympstone represented people from many walks of life who support the network in different ways, including two ladies who supply the vigil points with tea and practical help. A spokesman from the Poole branch of the RMA

scribe,’ gathers information from the various vigil points and writes a post-repatriation report, which is sent to the bereaved families and to units in theatre. Before the RMA network was established,

said: “We are truly humbled to have the task of doing a job that we wish we didn’t have to do, but do it willingly to show respect for the fallen and support to the bereaved families. “We want to make sure that no Royal Marine or his

turn out, as do staff at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the final destination on the route. Getting everyone in the right place at the right time is a feat of organisation and the Poole branch of the RMA, being at the midway point along the route, has the honour, along with the Guildford branch, of

brothers-in-arms are on their own on that long last, mournful journey and as they approach silence falls, Standards are lowered and salutes given. “Afterwards as people disperse silence still reigns and tears are wiped away with each in their own deep thoughts of the young who have given their all.”

Drawn to D-boats? Cadet standard

CAPTAIN Paddy McAlpine, CO of HMS Daring, took the day off from running the Navy’s newest warship to take the salute for the D Boats’ annual reunion in HMS Nelson. After lunch Capt McAlpine gave a talk on how the modern Navy

works, and the highly technical skills which the modern sailor needs. Capt McAlpine and his wife, Janette, were joined for lunch by the D

Boats’ patron, Vice Admiral Sir John Lea, President Brian Wines, John Richardson from BVT Shipbuilders, and the D Boats’ chaplain, the Rev Martin Poll. For more information about joining the D Boats Association, contact Mike Smith, D Boats Secretary, at 206, Main Road, Clenchwarton, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE34 4AA, tel: 01553 765530 or visit the website:

the TS Colne

dedicated the standard at his church, St Barnabas, Old Heath, during a morning service at which AB Cadet Laura Kemp carried the standard, escorted by the Colchester and Clacton-on-Sea RNA Standard Bearers.

T23 welcome

WETHERBY shipmates enjoyed a great day out when they were entertained in HMS Westminster whilst the ship was visiting Sunderland. Shipmate Audrey Lawson, from Durham branch, the ship’s liaison officer, made the arrangements for the visit, for which her Yorkshire colleagues were very grateful. Among the shipmates was Alan Shaw,


THE Sea Cadet unit in Colchester now has its own standard, thanks to Colchester branch who made the presentation at the cadets’ training ship, Light.

Sheppey’s blue day

ISLE of Sheppey branch celebrated 300 years of maritime history this summer with a parade through Blue Town. Fourteen Standards from 2 Area paraded, including Merchant Navy, Sheppey Sea Cadets and Association Standards from Phoebe, Cavalier, Bulwark, Albion and Centaur. One of the aims was to get

young people and residents new to the island to know more about their maritime history, and the closure of the Royal Dockyard. After morning colours and

prayers the RNA, led by a guard of Sheppey Sea Cadets and the band of Sittingbourne Sea Cadets, marched down the High Street passing the dais where Cdr Mankerty took the salute, accompanied by Cdr William Barker of the South Africa Navy. On completion of the parade the rest of the day was their own to spend as they wished until sunset, which was held at 4pm with RNA Standards and Sea Cadets and other branch members parading before shore leave was granted.

celebration this summer – the 90th birthday of shipmate Jack Cornwell, affectionately known as ‘Our Jack,’ or ‘Sailor Jack.’ Jack is a founder member of the branch and had a long and varied career in the Navy, surviving two sinkings, one being HMS Welshman. He finished his service career as a CPO Coxswain.

Shipmates joined the cadets and staff with their padre, Father Richard Tillbrook, for the presentation evening. Later Father

Jack was an instructor in HMS Ganges and many years later some of the boys he had instructed decided to trace him. Every year since then a handful of his old pupils have made the trip to Sheppey to see him, but this year being a special year, they came in numbers. One of his old boys, Chris ‘Dinger’ Bell, organised a special birthday trip with the help of Jack’s daughter and his former pupils wined and dined him for a 90th birthday bash.

York says farewell

MEMBERS of the York branch of the RNRMA assembled as a guard of honour to say a last farewell to Commando David Hart, who died in Afghanistan in July.

Hundreds of the city’s residents turned out to line the streets when his funeral service was held at York Minster. The branch has also been

mourning the death of Chief Lionel Crossley, for many years a stalwart of York Sea Cadets. On a brighter note, the branch

Northumberland, the last surviving person from the SS Ohio, of Malta convoys fame.

from Blyth,

held a very successful collection day on behalf of the Alexander Rose Charity, a day out to support the Bradford branch.

At one point in his career The branch had another

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