Merchant Navy Day and National Conference 2021

Merchant Navy Day – 3 September 2021

Merchant Navy Day is celebrated on 3 September, and is intended to raise public awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependance on seafarers, and the huge contribution they have made during our times of crisis.

Why not come along to the front of the Barrington Centre at 11am to show your support, and see the Red Ensign hoisted by our Vice President Gareth Peaston, supported by local dignitaries. The Red Ensign will also be flown at our Branch Headquarters, St Leonards and St Ives Club.

Change of National Conference Date to 4 September 2021

In light of the ongoing Covid crisis and the restrictions this poses on gatherings of any kind, the decision has been made to push the date of the 2021 National Conference to Saturday 4th September, in the hope that there is a much better chance of it taking place.

The venue remains the same as originally planned for 2021 – The Crowne Plaza, Wollaton Street, Nottingham.

The new Conference booking form has been distributed with the February Issue of Semaphore Circular, and can also be found on the members area of the RNA website at https://royal-naval-association.co.uk/members/downloads/conference.

Prices range from £106.50 pp for a 1 day stay to 4 nights at £224, these prices include the cost of the Gala Night Dinner.

We understand that many Shipmates will be disappointed that we have had to reschedule the conference once again, but we hope you all understand the reason behind this decision. We are really looking forward to coming together once again and celebrating the end of such a difficult period, in true RNA fashion.

Shipmate Mick Arnold MBE stands down as Branch Chairman

Shipmate Mick Arnold MBE

The Ferndown and District Branch is sad to report that our long serving Chairman, S/M Mick Arnold MBE, has been forced to stand down due to a medical condition, though he will continue as a Member.

S/M Mick joined our Branch at its Commissioning on 7th March, 1980, (41 years), joined the Committee in 1986, and in the same year became Branch Delegate to No. 4 Area. Shortly after he was elected to the No. 4 Area Committee, then served as Area Secretary from 1999 to 2019, (20 years). From 2000 until 2019 he served as Secretary/Treasurer of the No. 4 Area Reunion Committee, which for many years has been held in Bideford. For services to the RNA S/M Mick has been awarded as Life Vice President and Life Member of Area 4.

S/M Mick was elected Ferndown and District Branch Chairman on three occasions, 1994 to 1996, 2000 to 2002 and finally 2012 to 2021, totalling 13 years. During the latter period he arranged for three Members to be presented with their Legion d’Honneur in Nelson’s cabin on-board H.M.S. Victory, by former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB, and a further Member received the Legion d’Honneur at our Branch Headquarters in 2019.

S/M Mick was a member of the ‘Algerines Association’ for many years. In addition, he was our Area 4 point of contact with the ‘Not Forgotten Association’ for over 20 years. S/M Mick was also the County Chairman and Vice President of the Royal British Legion and awarded the Royal British Legion Gold Badge. For Services to the Community of Ferndown he was awarded the MBE in the 2004 New Year’s Honours list.

This year S/M Bob Stanyard has succeeded S/M Arnold MBE as Branch Chairman.

From the new Chairman: “What shoes to fill.

A pillar of society, S/M Mick was a Councillor, and twice the Mayor of Ferndown, along with other social positions of merit within the Dorset Masonic Order.

S/M Mick Arnold has been a huge credit to our Branch and I am so pleased that he and his lovely wife Jean will still be members. I was going to say “Job Done” but no doubt his knowledge and experience will be called upon.

Well done Chairman and thank you Shipmate, thank you for your excellent service.”

The death of the Duke of Edinburgh – a statement from our National President

Duke of Edinburgh

I know I speak on behalf of all Shipmates in expressing deep sadness on hearing that His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has crossed the bar.

Today, I have written to Her Majesty The Queen, our Patron, to offer heartfelt condolences from us all.

After serving this country on the front line during the Second World War, Prince Philip demonstrated extraordinary dedication and determination, and an unwavering commitment to duty, in supporting Her Majesty The Queen throughout the decades of her reign.

The Duke of Edinburgh has been associated with the Royal Navy and the wider Naval community for more than 80 years, both through his service and through his support for the Naval Service and Naval charities and veterans’ organisations. Shipmates of the Royal Naval Association have a particular affinity for this distinguished Royal Navy veteran.

Together we mourn the loss of a man who has been a feature of our national life for more than seven decades, and for whom we feel deep affection and respect.

John McAnally

41st Annual General Meeting

Calling all Shipmates….. the Ferndown and District Branch of the Royal Naval Association will be holding its 41st Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 9 February 2021, at 2000 hours.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the meeting will be held online as a Zoom Meeting.

For further information, and details of how to join the AGM, please either email us at rna.ferndownanddistrict@gmail.com or phone 07787 182162.

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM.

Shipmates’ Update November 2020

Good Evening Shipmates

Below is an update on upcoming events that we have unfortunately had to cancel/change due to the current Covid situation:

Remembrance Service – Sunday 8 November 2020

The Remembrance service at St Leonards and St Ives Club on Sunday 8 November has been cancelled.

We would ask you not to attend the St Ives Church which will be open only for private prayer.

Messnight – Tuesday 10 November 2020

Unfortunately we are unable to have a Messnight on 10 November 2020 due to lockdown.

Hopefully we will be able to have a Christmas gathering next month if lockdown has finished. We will keep you posted as soon as we know.

In the meantime, if any of you fancy a chat next Tuesday evening, there will be a Zoom call at 7 pm.

To join the Zoom Meeting, please refer to the information provided to you in a recent email from Pauline Chalk, Hon Secretary, alternatively please contact Pauline at rna.ferndownanddistrict@gmail.com or by telephone at 07787 182162.

Wreath Laying Service – Wednesday 11 November 2020

Unfortunately the Unofficial Wreath Laying Service at St Leonards and St Ives Club on Armistice Day at 11 am, has also had to be cancelled due to the current regulations. Shipmates are asked not to attend as the Club could incur fines for breaking the Covid rules.

Keep safe Shipmates, we look forward to welcoming you to future events when the current restrictions have been lifted.

Shipmates’ Update, January-March 2020

Hello Shipmates

We hope this update finds you and your families well.

As we’re currently unable to hold our usual mess nights and social gatherings, below is an update on what’s happened earlier in the year:

  • January mess night was a social evening.
  • February mess night was our branch Annual General Meeting – below are details of the changes to the Branch Committee:
    • Our new president is S/m Chevalier Robert Barnett – S/m Chevalier Ron Cunningham has moved away for health reasons, but retained his membership.
    • S/m Dave Ashley did not stand for re-election to the Committee for personal reasons.
    • Our new Standard Bearer is Karl Keeble, who has taken over from Dennis Matthews. We’d like to record our thanks to Dennis for all of his help over the past few years.
  • March mess night was the presentation of Legion D’Honneur, the details are below:
    • At our recent March mess night a Legion d’Honneur medal was presented to Alfred Guenigault who has recently joined the Royal Naval Association, and is now a member of our branch.
    • Alfred Guenigault was presented with the Legion D’Honneur Medal by the Mayor of Ferndown, Mrs Julie Robinson, on 10th March at the 40th annual birthday celebration of the Ferndown & District Royal Naval Association at St Ives & St Leonards ex Services Club.
    • Alfred Guenigault with 6th Ulster Rifles Regiment, part of the Airborne Division, landed 60 metres from Pegasus Bridge. He was sent with his regiment to the the small villages to protect the villagers. He was wounded whilst helping others later in the day.