Re-Commissioning Norwich Branch RNA – Commissioning Service

Recently, on the website, were printed the Minutes from the first meeting of the Branch held in September 1979.

The following month, 18th. October 1979, the official Commissioning Service was held in the British Legion Hall. No. 5 Area was represented by the Chairman, S/M CR Wilson from Chelmsford who was to chair the Ceremony; National Councillor S/M BA Hemmings who was to perform the Inauguration and the Treasurer S/M Chas. Claxton.

The meeting commenced with Commander Bowles welcoming all guests and members who were present. A special welcome for members from Branches at Ipswich, Braintree, Cromer, Dereham, Thetford and Dagenham, and the Norwich Royal Naval Careers Office.

S/M Wilson took the chair and welcomed Norwich to the Area and extended an invitation to attend the Area meeting at the Thetford RNA Club on 24th November. The meeting held a minute’s silence in remembrance of Earl Mountbatten.

National Councillor Hemmings said that the aim of the Association was Unity, Loyalty, Love of Country, Patriotism and the renewal of old comradeships. After the dedication of the four founder members present, S/Ms Coffee, Bowles, Riches and Ketteridge, he wished the Branch a long happy Commission.

Area Treasurer, S/M Claxton, said that it was a pleasure to come to Norwich and welcomed the Branch to the Area where he held the purse strings. The RNA was like life and marriage, the more you put in, the more you got out. Money had been raised by the Area to buy an ambulance for Pembroke House, and it was possible to build up funds by many means once the Branch got under way.

S/M Coffee then took the chair, thanked all present for attending, was very glad to see many young faces and young blood and wished the Branch all the best.

S/M Riches then read a telegram from Harlow, letters of good wishes from Rear Admiral Briggs, Area Secretary Mr Helyer and Cromer and Cambridge Branches.

Commander Bowles closed the meeting with a vote of thanks to everyone present. He said the RN was the greatest club in the world, thousands of people throughout the world were grateful to the Navy in times of crisis. Naval men had special qualities being able to turn their hands to anything; something which made them such good husbands!

The meeting ended with National Councillor Hemmings cutting the magnificent Commissioning cake donated by S/M Curtis. He was assisted by one of the Sea Cadets who cheerfully gave their services during the evening, helping on the car park and selling raffle tickets etc.

After refreshments, which were beyond expectations, further enrolments took place. £31.52 was raised from the raffle, £13 from sale of rolls, a gift of £1.30 from the British Legion and £18.30 from enrolment monies.
In due course the Minutes were accepted as a true record; Proposed by S/M Bromfield; Seconded by S/M Heighway and Signed by S/M Coffee.

RNA Norwich

The Norwich Branch is one of 300+ branches of the Royal Naval Association world wide. It was commissioned in 1979 and today has a membership of just over 90. It is a registered charity in its own right - the Registered Charity Number is: 1068699

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