The December Circular is now on the website and our last of the year and my last one ever! We are expecting the HMS Queen Elizabeth to be returning to Pompey in mid-December following very successful F35 trials in the Western Atlantic. HMS DIAMOND has returned following a very successful deployment that included operations in the Med. Also, this week the HMS PRINCE of WALES has started her main diesel engines for the first time, up in Rosyth where she is fitting out.
We have welcomed the IMC Executive Council to Semaphore Tower for their annual meeting. We had a very moving service on Spitbank Shoal (about 2 miles out of the harbour), taken by the Chaplain of the Fleet. We scattered paper petals in remembrance of shipmates, poppy petals for the RN and dark and light blue for forget-me-nots and cornflowers for French, Belgians and Germans.
A huge thanks for branches and shipmates who contacted us for crosses in our Field of Remembrance – we had a great display for the NP to show HRH Prince Harry. It was great to see so many shipmates there. I had the great privilege of marching with the RNA platoon this year, under the capable direction of S/M Bob Coburn. We were at the head of the march this year which made it even more special. The new GS Captain Bill Oliphant marched with us and enjoyed a brew or 3 in the Civil Service Club afterwards
Don’t forget to keep an eye and ear out for those who might be feeling lonely over Christmas and why not give them a ring – or better still share a tot!
I am delighted to report the appointment of S/M Nick Purkis as our new Chair of the Standing Orders Committee and advisor on Rules to the National Council. He will continue to be advised and supported by our NCBA-emeritus and Life Vice President), S/M Ivan Hunter. His CV is in the Circ and you will see he is a very well qualified person for the job.
A reminder that the Open Days are in the Longcast and to book up with Nigel. It’s a real highlight to see the new carrier from the water – but, of course, no guarantee that she’ll be in!
Don’t forget the Jutland Wood Planting event on 16 March 19 at Langley Vale, where we aim to plant Jutland Wood. I’ve asked COLLINGWOOD and SULTAN for Part 2 sailors to come and the Sea Cadets have asked how many minibuses they can park! More details in the New Year, but plan for an 1100 start and to wear warm clothes and wellies.
Some important matters of business:
• There are important forms on the attached file for:
• Diaries are selling well please contact Nigel. We have sold all this year’s Christmas cards, but still have a few of last years at a reduced price.
• Michelle has covered the annual returns in her section, they are attached for you to complete, also downloadable from the website.
• We have run out of the subsidised beret badges, full price now available.
Due to Central Office closed period 21Dec to 2 Jan, There won’t be a January Circular
Captain Bill takes over on 8 Dec as the new GS. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be around until the CO closed period on 21 Dec, drafting the annual trustees report. So please use his e-mail for GS business after the 8th.
This is my 87th and last Circular. I have enjoyed writing this Circular introduction over the years and feel it is the closest I get to communicating with the RNA across the Board. It has been a great privilege and honour to be the GS of the RNA and 10 times more fun than I thought possible. A huge thank you to all those who have hosted me, chatted to me and supported the various projects that we have worked on together over the last 8 years and 7 months. Thanks also to the many NCMs I have worked with and our inspirational National President, Adm John. As GS I work particularly closely with the National Chairs and I have been so lucky to have had Chris Dovey and Keith Ridley in those positions, two hard-working individuals, tireless in their advocacy for the RNA.
I am so proud of the RNA and what it does, evident every month in our ever-growing branch news section. We don’t own the RNA either at Central Office, NC or Branch level – we keep it in trust for the young sailors that Andy and I see every week and who deserve to have a vibrant RNA for them – including our young sailors (both male and female), RFA and Reserves, so I echo and support the National Chair’s comments about recruiting and welcoming all to our wonderful Association.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Central Office Team and goodbye from