Bexhill Royal Naval Association

THE usual reports and comments on our finances, membership, and social matters were made by the various branch officers on Monday October 25. Shipmates and their guests attended our annual Trafalgar Day dinner on October 22. Our special guests, the Town Mayor Jimmy Carroll and the Mayoress, expressed their appreciation of the warm welcome and friendliness they experienced.

The secretary gave notice of reunions for H M ships Glasgow and Ceres. There were also opportunities to attend the Hastings Sea-Cadets’ carol concert on December 12.

After Stand-Easy, ex-WRNS Mollie Hickie, Pat Pern, Dorothy Berrecloth, Barbara Hutchcroft, Shelagh Black and Rita Murphy, spoke in turn about their experiences in the service. Shipmates were amazed at the many and various duties which they were called upon to undertake. These included sewing aircraft fabrics, typewriting and teleprinting, Writer duties including the paying-off of those being demobilised, keeping of medical records, intelligence work (including service at Bletchley Park), aircraft mechanics, coding, V1-spotting from the lighthouse on Plymouth Hoe, and making their male officers apple-pie beds and taking them breakfast in bed. For some, their service had taken them to Germany, Ceylon, Trincomalee, and Malta. Dorothy related how she and others were working on an MTB just about to sail for the Normandy beaches, and were discovered and taken off just in time. Your scribe remembers the three-Wren crews of Liberty-Boats ferrying sailors out to their ships in harbour, and encountered one in Sydney who remembered him as the Signalman who played the piano at a WRNS party in Tobermory two years before.

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All those men and women who have served in any branch of the Royal Navy or the Merchant Navy are assured of a warm welcome as new members.In the response to duty we have found the gift of comradeship. This comradeship is in evidence not only at our branch meetings but also at our Christmas socials, at our anniversary dinner, and at our annual Trafalgar dinner. Information about joining the RNA, and dates of meetings and events can be obtained by telephoning 01424 219035.

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