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Royal Naval Association Worthing Branch "Once Navy, Always Navy"
Royal Naval Association       Worthing Branch "Once Navy, Always Navy"

Background of the RNA

The Royal Naval Association was formed in 1950. Before that year a number of naval clubs and associations had sprung up from the spontaneous wish of naval people to carry on the special comradeship that is a feature of life in the Royal Navy. In particular there were a number of Branches of the Royal Naval Old Comrades Association dating back to before the Second World War. In forming The Royal Naval Association as the principal naval association recognised by the Admiralty Board, the aim was to attract all existing naval associations to join it so that there would be a single association maintaining and representing the high standard and reputation of the Royal Navy. It was also designed to provide comradeship and assistance in need for all naval people throughout the United Kingdom and indeed in any place in the world where people who had served in the Royal Navy came together. A significant change was the inclusion of serving as well as ex-service members so that there should be a close liaison between the active Royal Navy and those who had earlier served in it. Furthermore the intention has been that it should include all ranks, ratings, other ranks and all Branches and specialisation's of the RN, RM, QARNNS, WRNS, and the Reserves so that we should be "all of one company". An early innovation was the adoption of the term "Shipmate" to be used as a form of address between members of whatever rank on Association occasions.


     Reprinted from the April 1936 issue of THE FLEET 



Both Service and Ex-Service members of the National Royal Naval Old Comrades Association will, no doubt, be interested to learn that in future all matters concerning the Association and its work and activities will, in THE FLEET, have a ready platform and the generous co-operation and help of its Editor . 

It will also be of interest to readers to have an idea of how and where the National Royal Naval Old Comrades Association originated, and why it was inaugurated. 

It was said in many quarters, Why isn't there a Naval Association? It was felt that the time had come that an attempt should be made to see if "the whole, or majority of Naval men wished to keep up the old shipmate feeling in civilian life. It is quite simple to keep in touch with one another while serving, but more often than not when time- expired we lose touch with one another. Then is the time that the feeling comes along: I wonder what my old pals Smudger Smith and Dusty Miller are up to ! 

Commander C. L. A. Woollard, R.N. (Ret.), and myself met to discuss the matter of an Association and decided to convene an inaugural meeting, held at Ye Olde Ship Restaurant, Whitehall, on 3rd January, 1935. Fourteen ex-Naval men gathered and agreed that a National Royal Naval Association should be formed, the meeting being presided over by the present chairman. Since that day we have not looked back, always forging ahead. In London and the outlying towns the membership is on the uphill climb and new branches are being formed. 

An interesting side of the Association is the large number of old shipmates that are found through one another meeting at these social functions organized by the Branches. This is only one of the pleasures obtained out of a large number by being a member of the Association. It will no doubt be of interest to the serving personnel to know that only to-day I have had enquiries from a member going out East for a little information. This member has been put in touch with several members serving out there, so what may happen, no doubt, will be several enjoyable evenings together in the far-off East, and something to talk about when those members return home again. . 

I shall be glad to hear from anyone who may be interested in the Association, of which a few particulars of the Association's objects and other items follow this letter. 

Yours sincerely, 

26th March, 1936                                                                                                        Thos. Oakley, Hon. Gen. Secretary    

16 Tring Road, Wendover, Bueks 



I. To perpetuate the Comradeship which began in the Service. 

2. Foster good fellowship. 

3. Render Service to one another. 

4. Encourage and promote social gatherings amongst ex- Naval personnel. 

The Association is non-political, 

Obligations of Members:- The only obligation is that every member undertakes to do everything in his power to assist ex- Naval men in obtaining civil employment. 

Membership.-Membership of the Association is open to all Officers, N .C. Officers and ratings (past and present) who have been attached for a period of not less than twelve months' definite duty, lent or gazetted, transferred to or enlisted in the Royal Navy, Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Marines, Royal 

Naval Reserve, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Royal Naval Division and the Dominion and Colonial Naval Forces. 

Serving personnel are also eligible to join the Association. Organisation:- The organisation consists of a Central Com- 

mittee, a Headquarters Roll and Branches. The policy of the Association is to expand Branch development as membership increases. . 

Subscriptions :-                                                                       £ s. d. 

Annual Membership               ..              ..              ..                 2   6      

Entrance Fee                           ..              ..              ..                 1   0

Badge                                      ..              ..              ..                 1   0

Membership Badge.-The Association Badge is issued on enrolment and is numbered and registered. The Badge is the property of the Association, and is to be returned on recipient ceasing to be a member. If there is no Branch in your district, join the Headquarters Roll and transfer to a Branch later, if you so desire. 

Branches: Bucks, Aldershot, Central London, Liverpool, Isle of Thanet, Tower Hamlets (London), Edmonton, Kingston-on- Thames, Dublin, Welling, Kent, St. Helens (Lancs.), Dagenham, Windsor. Further particulars may be obtained from the 

Hon. General Secretary, Mr. Thos. Oakley, 16 Tring Road, Wendover, Aylesbury, Bucks. 


Anniversary ofJutland (Sunday, May 31St, 1936). Arrangements are being made for all members to rally at the Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham; Members, their wives and friends included, are invited to join in. Further particulars may be obtained on application. 

The Annual Dinner 

The Annual Dinner will be held at the Lyons Corner House Restaurant on November 21st, 1936. 

Aylesbury Dinner

Members of the Bucks Branch of the National Royal Naval Old Comrades Associaton returned to the "old love", as men who go down to the sea in ships always will, at the Bull's Head Hotel, Aylesbury .They were gathered together for their third re-union dinner, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger J. B. Keyes, Bt.,G.C.B., of Zeebrugge, presided, supported by Vice-Admiral T. N.James,C.B., M.V,O., Vice-AdmiraIT. E. Wardell, C.B., D.S.O., R.N., Paymaster Rear-Admiral Siddalls, R.N., captain Hawes, R.N., and Commander C. L. A. Woollard, R.N. 

Others at the head table included Lieut.-Commander A. E. Seymour, R.N., Paymaster-Lieut. E. F. Driscoll, R.N.R., Colonel G. R. Crouch and Colonel 0. Viney (ex-Commanding Officers of the Bucks Battalion), and Group Captain Courtney, D.S.O., of the Royal Air Force. 

Mr. M. Payne (Chairman of the Branch Committee), Mr. C. H. Kennedy (Hon. Branch Secretary), Mr. F. Read (Hon. Branch Social Secretary) and Mr. T. Oakley (Hon. General Secretary of the parent association) were also present, together with serving Naval men in uniform. An excellent repast was laid by Host G. Gargini. Mr. W. B. Dewhurst, who, as a Corporal of Marines, served under Admiral Keyes in the Zeebrugge exploit, proposed "The Health of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes, our Chairman". 

A programme of songs; comedy, conjuring, etc., by Messrs. T. Petty, Bert Lee and Fred Lee, with Mr. Wally Wall at the piano, was well received. The company also joined in community singing.

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Royal Naval Association - Worthing Broadwater Working Men's Club, 44 Broadwater Street East, Worthing, BN14 9AW