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1 CONFERENCE OF NAVAL ASSOCIATIONS CONA Website The CONA Newsletter No 1 July 2014 Revealed at last in all its magnificence the Naval Service Memorial is Dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum 1

2 Dear CONA members Welcome to the first CONA newsletter, which I hope you will find interesting. We would love to hear your news, adverts, reunion dates, dits, Royal Marines recommendations for ladies lingerie and suspenders and Fleet Air Arm for hard wearing mattresses. A big thank you to the very many CONA members who turned out for the dedication of the Naval Service Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum your attendance really emphasised what the First Sea Lord called the Naval Family. It was especially good to see so many standards paraded and I was delighted that CONA colleagues were awarded the NSM memorial standard pennant. Interestingly Captain Malcom Farrow OBE RN(Rtd) a leading light in the world of Flags, says this may be unique. I would like to say a particular thank you to the Submariners Association who suggested that we invite Mrs Gill Molyneux, the widow of Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux GM RN (ex WEO HMS ASTUTE) and their 4 children as representatives of families for whom the memorial is meant as well as representing the submarine community (since we could not arrange a submarine sail-past up the River Trent). She was a fantastic ambassador for the Naval family and gave very moving interviews on the BBC and ITV. The CONA family is growing fast and we are about the see the joining of our 30 th member! This is great news. Thanks to the FNA we have built a relationship with the UK Holiday Group now re-branded for us as the CONA Travel Service. They did a brilliant job at the NSM dedication transport and for the RNA Conference arrangements and really earned their spurs. I know that the WRENS association and others are now using them. We have just asked them to help us find our 2016 conference venue and they have found some unrivalled value. They are about to launch an individual travel service. I am also delighted to say that the very successful Branch insurance scheme has now been extended to CONA members and rebranded accordingly. The link is at and has rebranded as CONA for associations, areas and branches to use. This is fantastic value for money. They are also looking at a policy for individual insurance underwritten by Ansvar, and we are about to trial the policy to check for value. The main topics covered at the July Conference, attended by 2SL were: Marine Society / Sea Cadet Corps voted in as Affiliated Members Public/Employers liability Insurance deal with Coleman/Ansvar Approval for Newsletter twice annually after Conference meeting Assistance to Smaller Associations work passed to the Working Group for investigation Virtual Branch Telephone Conferencing for the house bound extended to CONA The deadline for the next edition is 19 January 2015, so please let us have anything in good time. Finally, we run Open Days at RNA HQ for our members which includes a 1 hour boat tour of the dockyard and harbour in a MoD 60 person PAS boat. Any CONA member interested in joining us for the day, please let us know. Dates are 19 September and 10 October, contact Andy on or I hope you have a great Summer Paul Paul Quinn OBE CONA Working Group Chair 2

3 INDEX Contents 1. CONA Website News 2. 2 nd HMS Manchester Association 3. Association of Wrens 4. A reflection of the Naval Service Memorial Dedication by Paul Quinn 5. Naval Service Memorial Dedication - News and Video Clip Links 6. Colemans/Ansvar Insurance 7. Mesothelioma and other Asbestos related Lung Cancer 8. Veterans UK 9. CONA Holiday Services 10. Virtual Branch 11. Can you assist (1) 12. NAAFI Queue Buzzes 13. Can you help or know someone that can??(2) 14. Book Review - The Royal Navy (A photo Record by Adrian Vicary) 15. Friends of Carrier Newsletter 8 June China Fleet Club CONA News Diary Swinging the Lamp Contacts: CONA President Vice Admiral David Steel (2SL) CONA Chairman John McAnally CONA Working Group Chairman Paul Quinn CONA Secretary Andy Christie List of Member Associations Association of Royal Naval Officers Merchant Navy Association Association of WRENS Chatham Naval Officers Association Britannia Association 2 nd HMS Manchester Association Federation of Naval Associations Ton Class Association Fleet Air Arm Association HMS Loch Fada F390 Association Fleet Air Arm Officers Association HMS Cossack Association QARNNS Association HMS Bristol Association Submariners Association HMS Tartar Association Bulwark, Albion and Centaur Association Type 21 Association Surface Warfare Officers Association RN Communicators Association Bath White Ensign Association Ganges Association Royal Fleet Auxiliary Association HMS Dido Association Royal Marines Association Royal Naval Association Mine Warfare & Clearance Diver Association HMS Hermione Association RN Medical Branch Ratings and Sick Bay Staff Association HMS Victorious Association 3 SCC/MSC (Affiliated Member)

4 CONA News 1. CONA Website News The Website is now up and running if you would like to place an item on the website please contact the CONA Secretary. Hot of the Press News... I am sure Associations would like to be aware that the CONA Holiday Service now has direct access to the website and updates special deals immediately they are released. So keep a weather eye on the Website 2. The Second HMS Manchester Association - A Potted History The Association was formed in 2001, after much deliberation over copious amounts of alcohol, selflessly consumed at various locations. The first Re-union took place in the Spring of 2002 at the WO, SR and SNCOs Mess at HMS Nelson, and our most recent, our 13 th, was held like all the others, at our first venue, in June. Our next Re-union is scheduled to take place over the weekend of the 12 th 14 th June The title 2 nd HMS Manchester Association was chosen to differentiate between ourselves and the original HMS Manchester Association, formed some 15 years earlier by those who fought and served on board the Second World War cruiser of the same name. It was hoped that there would be an all encompassing Association for those who had served on either ship, but this did not come about. This is understandable as the old HMS Manchester was lost in tragic circumstances in 1942 on Operation Pedestal and it is only natural that her survivors and their relatives all octogenarians plus, should wish to keep to themselves. So 2MA was formed, and nearly fourteen years later is still going strong, whilst we all hope we enjoy the cruiser boys with whom we enjoy a strong mutual respect longevity! The 2 nd HMS Manchester is free to join, and there are no annual fees. All our operating costs are covered by the profit from our annual Re-unions and voluntary donations. The Association, which currently numbers 220 members worldwide, also plays an active part in raising money for service charities and other good causes, and to date we have raised in excess of 7k. Commendable for such a small totally independent Association. 4

5 As well as arranging an annual Re-union, 2MA also operates and maintains an award winning website which currently receives in excess of five thousand visits per month. Additionally, the Association also produces an annual magazine The Buzz (a reference to the bee that featured on the ship s funnel badge) which should not be read if you cannot take a joke! There is also an HMS Manchester Facebook page operated independently by one of our members In 2012 the 2 nd HMS Manchester Association joined CONA, one of the first individually named ships to do so. At the time of writing, preparations are being made in Portsmouth Naval Base to tow a hulk currently languishing on Fountain Lake Jetty to Turkey for breaking up. In her heyday she was Warship Wonderful The Mighty Manch. When the time comes for her final departure, former members of her ship s company plan to muster on the Round Tower for Tot Time and Tears come rain or shine! 3. Association of Wrens Visit the Association of Wrens new website at for Forthcoming Events, News, Members Stories and an Application Form to join. or ring us on or Pop in and see us in Room 215 Semaphore Tower H M Naval Base Portsmouth 4. A reflection by Paul Quinn (Chairman CONA Working Group and RNA General Secretary) of the Dedication of the Naval Service Memorial. After 2 years planning, 22 designs and one year of fabrication and event planning; the Naval Service Memorial was unveiled by HRH Prince Michael of Kent and dedicated by the Rev Scott Brown CBE QHC, the Chaplain of the Fleet on Sunday 15 June 14 at the National Memorial Arboretum. The week before the dedication had presented its challenges with the final glass panels only installed on the Tuesday and the ground saturated 7 days before the service with standing water in the arena area. Fortunately the panels all went in perfectly first time and after a recce the HQ staff decided to board and carpet around the memorial the area for the Chairs and the Royal Marine Band to prevent all sinking without trace on the big day. To everyone s relief a dry week meant on the day that all was well and the carpet proved sufficient. HMS COLLINGWOOD trainees turned up for an unveiling practice on Saturday afternoon and a final clean of the glass done by the artist s parents and Nigel Huxtable s wife, Pat. An early end to 5

6 Conference meant that the HQ team and Admiral John were able to see the memorial in its finished state and help clean the glass. The day started bright and early with a 0700 radio interview with the GS in the Royal Court Car Park that eventually went out on Radio 2. Then GS gave interviews for 2 early morning live BBC broadcast to BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel. Overall we have had fantastic media coverage. The big logistics challenge of shifting 600 shipmates from Coventry to the Arboretum was done perfectly by our partners UK Holiday Group, with standard bearers and stewards taking early priority. A huge surge of early arrivals (trust the RNA always to be early!!) almost overwhelmed our hosting and VIP teams, but they coped due to wonderful support from HMS SHERWOOD and RNA Market Harborough Branch Bravo Zulu to both and thank you. Also thanks to the Sea Cadets from TS TORMENTOR for street lining, handing out the orders of service at the parade and arena areas and wreath bearers. The Standard bearers arrived in time for their rehearsal and were issued with their NSM pennants, which now may be worn on all occasions for all time. There was a certain amount of banter about the close order formation, but it worked and hardly any standard bearers were pronged by their oppos. We were joined by many other naval associations including shipmates from Belgium and the Republic of Ireland. The main parade formed well ahead of time and Bob Bainbridge took charge, which later cost him his voice! 137 standards paraded and the column was led by the RM band of CTCRM Lympstone, in fine playing order. 1SL arrived early for a BBC interview and snuck in, leading to the GS searching for a lost Admiral, he was eventually found and all was well. 2SL and Min(AF) arrived and were met this time! HRH Prince Michael of Kent and HRH Princess Michael flew in on an aircraft of the Queens Flight to a nearby stately home. They were driven in a convoy of 3 Staffs police cars directly to our marquee, to be met by a broadly grinning National President and many passing shipmates. The VVIP Party were able to see the parade march past, which included 40 trainees from HMS COLLINGWOOD and the Guard mounted by HMS FORWARD, with the Queen s RNR Colour. We estimate that over 700 Shipmates marched, wheeled, scootered and shuffled the parade route. All was in place for the arrival of the VVIPS and all sat at the planned time of 1158 and 30 seconds. Admiral John then did a wonderful intro of the Flypast of a Lynx Mk8 from 702NAS and a Merlin Mk1 from 829NAS. John s intro broke the ice and brought a lovely informal family feel to the occasion, but with the right dignity for a Royal occasion. His words were very well received by our guests who enjoyed his off-the-cuff banter. John took great pleasure in telling Min(AF) that the aircraft had to base at a nearby Army camp because the RAF 6

7 weren t open at the weekend! The aircraft turned up on time and made a very impressive pass over our heads (having synchronised watches to the speaking clock), just about as far from the sea as a naval aircraft can get in the UK. The service went ahead as planned with HRH Prince Michael unveiling the main glass panels, by cutting a ribbon in the form of a cap tally with HMS inscribed. The scissors presented by Mrs Gail Dovey on a special RNA cushion. The veil was briskly removed by a team from COLLINGWOOD, which looked marvellous on telly. HRH, 1SL, NP and Min(AF) all laid wreaths, presented to them in a most seamanlike manner by Sea Cadets from TS TORMENTOR, Warsash. Then S/M Chris Dovey the RNA spoke the core theme of the the going unveiled the figure of the had been draped in a moving and poignant have heard a pin drop, around the memorial. in a pool manner of a The service Naval Hymn speech by the the memorial finished with memorial for a standards at the Service. Highnesses shipmates that were very generous with their time. the National Chairman of exhortation, that is the memorial, and at the down of the sun... sailor, head bowed, that Union Flag. It was a very moment and you could despite the 3,000 people The unveiling left the flag around the feet of the figure in the wreath. finished with a rousing chorus of the and a really moving and inspirational First Sea Lord, He thanked the RNA for on behalf of the Naval Service and the words that this was a cutting edge cutting edge Navy. A final dip of the National Anthem heralded the end of HRH withdrew to meet the COLLINGWOOD un-veilers. Their Royal took the chance to chat to many were not in the formed parade. They They then made their way to the Bevin Boys memorial to meet Graeme Mitcheson the designer and David Proto, who made the glass sails with their wives. We had also planned a huge Selfie with TS TORMENTOR and they were delighted when they also had 1SL and 2SL included for a really impressive picture for the unit records. 7

8 The Royal Reception went ahead in the marquee with many representatives from Areas, Associations and CONA friends. Also the 15 Commanding Officers of front line units that had been our guests. The GS s carefully planned horseshoe hosting system almost immediately broke down to an informal party atmosphere helped when 1SL shook off his minders to chat to Shipmates and HRH Princess Michael set up a circle of chairs to chat to everyone. This is a lovely picture of our Michelle chatting to HRH many of those normally too shy were encouraged to meet HRH, which went down very well. Min(AF) gave a very thoughtful and personal speech, thanking HRH for his attendance and reflecting on the D-Day commemorations and those many sailors without a grave. The National President presented HRH and Min AF each with the stunning memorial tie (available from HQ slops). The big tidy up was quickly completed and posttraumatic cake enjoyed by the HQ staff in the adjacent tea tent The evening do in the Royal Court was a fantastic affair with over 500 sitting down, enjoying a lovely meal, a tot courtesy of Pusser s and the cake cooked by our own Chrissie and two brilliant sets by Shep Woolley. Presentations were made to Graeme and David A relaxed and appropriate end to what I have heard described as The RNA s high water mark. The Shadow ship makes an appearance the following day. 8

9 5. Naval Service Memorial Dedication - News and Video Clip Links CONA Members may wish to view some of the News and Video clips from the Dedication below (Main ITV piece) (Main BBC webpage) (Interviews with Gill Molyneux and Rita Lock) (Parade clip from You tube) (BFBS radio interview) (Main Gov.UK article) (Flypast) 6. Coleman/ Ansvar Insurance cover The RNA has recently negotiated a discounted deal with Coleman/Ansvar Insurance which covers RNA branches for Public/Employers liability and cash liability i.e in transit & 1000 held in a safe. Currently over 60 Branches have taken out this policy with Coleman/Ansvar. This policy is now available to CONA associations with the same discounts being applied. The policy is only available On line however Ansvar will answer issues/queries concerning the policy all information is available at the following link - A New Insurance Product for CONA Building on the relationship Coleman Insurance Brokers has enjoyed with the Royal Naval Association for several years, we are delighted to announce a new insurance product for CONA which is now available. Following consultation with the RNA, Coleman has chosen to work with Ansvar, a specialist charity insurer, to formulate an insurance policy at very competitive premiums based on three core covers. Public Liability cover with a limit of 5,000,000. This will cover CONA and RNA branches for their legal liability arising from bodily injury to third parties or damage to third party property arising during the course of normal CONA/RNA Branch activities. Employer s Liability cover with a limit of 10,000,000. This will cover associations and branches for their legal liability for injury to people employed by the branch or people working for the branch in a voluntary capacity. 9

10 Money - cover is provided for 2,000 in Transit and 1,000 in a safe in respect of monies collected by each Branch at any fundraising event The annual premium for these three sections of cover is 100 including 6% Insurance Premium Tax Associations/Branches can also select extra covers at an additional premium. Some of these covers include All Risks, Personal Accident, Trustees Indemnity and Business Interruption. Cover is available to members of CONA and RNA branches based in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The policy will only be available on-line. Coleman and Coleman Insurance Brokers are trading styles of E Coleman & Co Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 7. Mesothelioma and other Asbestos related Lung Cancer The Royal British Legion is researching current compensation arrangements for veterans with mesothelioma and other forms of asbestos-related lung cancer. They are particularly interested in hearing from single or widowed veterans currently living with this disease. If you know someone who has been affected, please contact Harriet Deane, Policy Adviser, by ing or calling Veterans UK CONA Members may be interested to know that due to a merger between Defence Business Services and Veterans Agency (SPVA) a number of changes will take place behind the scenes, in the main name changes which should not affect the Veteran community. The use of SPVA terminology will be phased out by You may also like to be aware that the Veterans UK helpline s with its new memorable number ( ) and extended opening hours ( (1700 Fri)) have proved very successful. Veterans UK are also now working in partnership with Combat Stress and The Samaritans to provide a 24 hour crisis advice service if needed, which again, is already proving of great value to veterans in need of immediate support. These services complement our existing Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) who will continue to assist veterans one to one via the telephone or home visits where needed. Our Veterans UK website remains unchanged 10

11 9. CONA Holiday Service The latest CONA Holiday Service offers can be found on Page... and at the following link 10. Virtual branch Telephone Conferencing Calls for the House-Bound The Virtual branch weekly telephone conference call scheme, which is sponsored by Sea Farers UK (SFUK), has now been extended to cover all CONA members. The scheme which has been running successfully within the RNA for the last two years enables house bound shipmates to discuss/ spin dits debate issues with like minded people. The RNA Welfare Advisor Rita Lock explains below how it works... Once a group have been formed then the following takes place and only varies over the Christmas period. Every two weeks at a set time everyone in the group receives a phone call which links them to the others in their group and they have one hour of conversation among themselves free of charge. They must have a land line calls are not funded to mobiles. This is run by Community Network Link as a Seafarers link funded by Seafarers UK There must be many interesting Dits from civilian life as well as the Services. For anyone who wishes to join what is needed is their name/address/phone number and if available. It is also a help to know which Branch of the RN they served in to link them with like minded folk and if they have a nickname they prefer to be known by. Then they will receive a phone call to discuss which day/time group they want to be in. What actually happens is that one of each group is the coordinator, he s the one who keeps the conversation going if there is a lull. Not that you get many silences with 7 or 8 ex RN on line all chatting and time actually passes quickly. The person on the LINK end rings the coordinator first and then in no particular order calls the others in that group. You all chat away and 5 minutes before the end (1055) you hear a reminder that there is only 5 minutes to go. If one week you know you cannot be there for the next link due to hospital or whatever then just tell your coordinator. If something crops up and you are out then not to worry, they will still call you for the next link up in two weeks. Should you need to leave part of the way through your link then just tell your shipmates you have to go, no problem! Those joining can be in a strictly RN group of if they wish can be in a combination of RN and MN for added interest. I hope this explains it to your members but any queries then please get back to Chris Rankin or me by phone or , okay? All members may make contact direct or through their Hon Sec we don t mind which. The person who organises these links are; 11

12 Chris Rankin MBE MNM Projects Manager Seafarers Link She will be more than happy to answer any queries, fix up a group or a link so please give her a ring or an and see if this would be suitable for some of your members. I will also be happy to answer questions or help if I can, so two points of contact there okay. Yours aye Rita Lock Rita Lock MBE National Vice President, National Welfare Adviser, Royal Naval Association, Can you help or know someone that can?? Laura Tucker is starting a PhD at Warwick University in October and is asking for assistance in her research into the therapeutic benefits of pets to people recovering from different illnesses. Laura wanted to provide a bit of a background, below, to what she is doing to illustrate her personal interest and dedication to this area of research. Following her Master thesis she will be focussing her PhD on the benefits of dogs to veterans suffering from mental and/or physical injury (and their families). Laura s own experiences have shaped her interests as she was involved in a road accident, 15 years ago, which left her paralysed and in a wheelchair. Following the accident she experienced depression which she still considers to be far worse than her life in a wheelchair. It lasted for years and when she eventually recovered she completed a diploma in psychology where her thesis looked at the impact of deployment for the wives and families of SAS soldiers. Laura was interested in this, as the media at the time focussed on the impact of war for soldiers but no mention was made of how the families coped during that time. Reflection during her recovery from the accident led her to realise the part her cocker spaniel, Milo played in helping her over the years. He gave her a routine and the need and confidence to leave the house amongst many other things. This simple but significant and positive influence on her life enabled her to gradually reintegrate back into society. This (and the lack of academic research on this topic) is why Laura believes that research into this area is necessary and may benefit many people in the future. If you could assist, Laura would be delighted to hear from you and can be contacted at the following and she would like to thank you in advance for your interest. 12

13 12. NAAFI Queue Buzzes 1. Inheritance Tax - Exemption for Death on Duty. In the latest budget, an exemption from Inheritance Tax for members of the emergency services killed in the course of their duty was announced. This does already apply to Armed Force personnel in accordance with section 154 of the Inheritance Act. has prompted a number of members to ask why this doesn't apply to the Armed Forces. 2. Please beware of Unofficial Sites... Passports - will charge you the normal passport renewal fee of 72.50, but won't charge additional handling fees. Other sites do. This is particularly important as the government is now encouraging all passport applications to be made on line. E111 Renewal. Renewing a European Health Travel Card is FREE and easy. But if you use an unofficial site they will charge you up to Visa Renewal Sites. Beware if applying online for visas. Again, there are plenty of sites willing to take more money than you need pay. 13. Can you help or know someone that can?? Sue Redmond a Phd Student at Portsmouth University is conducting research into 'Perceptions of Self and Identity in Royal Navy Officers promoted from the lower deck '. She is hoping to interview Shipmates that were promoted from the Lower Deck, their wives and a number of Senior Rates who decided not to join the Officer Corps Please read the specific details below along with Sue s contact details. If you are a retired officer who was promoted from the lower deck I would like to invite you to participate in my research which is being undertaken at the University of Portsmouth. The purpose of the study is to investigate how Royal Navy officers promoted from the lower deck managed the transition from rating to officer. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many officers promoted from the lower deck found the transition to be a complex shift. For example some officers found their friendships with their rating friends changed or that the culture of the wardroom was alienating or different than expected. Maybe you felt that you had to behave differently once you were an officer or felt that other people saw you in a different way? These feelings extend to wives and partners and in some cases to children of promoted officers who have to adapt. The study is to investigate the reality of these stories and to hear about officers and their family s personal experiences. It is hoped that by looking at officers individual experiences it may give those officers a voice and may encourage and give guidance to future officers. If you would like to take part please contact me and I will send you a brief questionnaire about your progress in the Royal Navy. You will then be asked to participate in a group interview with other officers so that you can share your experiences and elicit further memories and comments about your response to promotion. 13

14 After the group interview you may be asked to an individual interview. Interviews will last for approximately one hour and can be held in a mutually agreed place anywhere in the UK. The interview will be quite informal and will enable you to reflect on your own experience. If you would like to bring photographs, diary entries and any other material you would like to show me that will help to illustrate your career in the navy that would be welcome. As the success of a military career is often dependent on how the whole family cope with military life, you may have a partner or spouse who might like to be involved in a group or individual interview for spouses. Please inform anyone who you think may want to be included in my research. I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact me if you would like to know more. I would also like to hear from retired senior rates who chose not to apply for a commission. Researcher : Sue Redmond MA School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies University of Portsmouth Phone: Book Review - The Royal Navy (A photographic Record by Adrian Vicary) This is a very timely book as we approach the 100 th anniversary commemorations of the First World War. This is a very useul photograph record of all those RN ships that served during WW1. The photographs are very good and it was particularly interesting to see HMS CAROLINE in detail. The author has included the main events that each ship was involved in and the eventual disposal of the ship. I am sure there will be many other books coming out, but this will be a useful reference book for the next 4 years. 25 from Maritime Books and Friends of Carrier Newsletter 8 June 2014 This is truly a momentous year for the QEC project. In May of this year the assembly phase of the first of class was completed and in a few short weeks Her Majesty The Queen will name the Royal Navy s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony in Rosyth. The float-out of the ship, when she will be moved out of dry dock and into the basin at Rosyth, is planned to take place in the weeks following the naming ceremony. No firm date has been set for float-out as it is weather and tide dependent, but the operation is likely to begin in the hours of darkness and take around 30 hours to complete. Following float-out the ship will remain in Rosyth as she undergoes the testing, fitting and setting to work of the equipment necessary for her to take her place as the nation s flagship. As you can see from the picture below, taken in January, the first blocks of HMS Prince of Wales are already arriving at Rosyth ahead of the start of her assembly phase in August/September of this year. 14

15 Much work has needed to be completed in the first half of the year to ready Queen Elizabeth for the naming ceremony and float-out. In mid- February the final section of jig was removed from HMS Queen Elizabeth s ramp. This was a great step towards ramp completion and highlights the Carrier profile at the forward end of the Ship. The Pole Mast for HMS Queen Elizabeth was fully installed on the Aft Island in May 2014; standing at 20m tall it forms the highest point on the QE Class aircraft carrier. The lower section of the pole mast arrived at Rosyth on Tuesday 18 March 2014 following a journey from Cowes, and was lifted into position on top of the Aft Island by the Goliath crane on Tuesday 1 April, linked with its below decks hydraulic equipment it successfully operated on its hinge lowering the mast. This phase of work has successfully demonstrated that the mast is able to lower to a near horizontal position at the push of a button, allowing the ship to pass under the Firth of Forth bridge unobstructed. The final piece of the jigsaw for HMS Queen Elizabeth was lifted into place on Thursday 8 May. The installation of the Aft Aircraft Lift completed the assembly phase for the first of class allowing focus to continue on undocking activities. The assembly phase began in June 2011 and in just under 3 years we have successfully completed 15

16 three assembly phases, two dockings, one double docking, two major skiddings and 52 Goliath Crane lifts and the team have worked incredibly hard to deliver these milestones on time. The Forward Aircraft Lift had previously been successfully lifted into position on Friday 28 February. Shaft installation is well underway and due to complete this month. Here is a picture of Queen Elizabeth from a rarely seen perspective! Ahead of the naming ceremony and floatout the ACA is working flat-out to complete the painting of the ship from top to bottom. This picture from last month shows her in her battle colours for the very first time. I hope you will agree that the recent progress has been impressive and that you too can feel the excitement and sense of anticipation building ahead of the naming of this magnificent ship by HM The Queen on 4 July. The ceremony will be one of my final duties as QEC project leader. At the end of the following week I will retire from the Royal Navy after nearly 36 years. My replacement, who many of you will know, will be Rear Admiral Henry Parker and I wish him well as he takes the project forward. I have enjoyed my time as Director Ship Acquisition and wish to thank all those who have worked with me on the project in the team, the ACA, the RN and the wider MOD. I have also enjoyed sharing the progress of the project with you all here s to a safe and memorable naming ceremony which enhances the reputation of the QE Class, builds national support for the programme, celebrates the achievements of all those involved in delivering the ships and reinforces their contribution to supporting our armed forces. Steve Brunton 16

17 16. China Fleet Club The Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral David Steel has issued a RN Galaxy Note concerning the China Fleet Club in Saltash which may be of interest to Shipmates. From 2SL I am sure many of you will already be aware of the extensive recreational and leisure facilities of the China Fleet Country Club at Saltash. The Club is run by the China Fleet Trust, a charity which supports all non commissioned officers and ratings/other ranks in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and their families, who, as Beneficiaries of the Charity, are automatically members of the Club. I am delighted to announce that the Trust has approved an extension to the Beneficiaries to include all Non Commissioned RN and RM Reserve personnel, RN and RM officers, all former RN and RM personnel and of course their immediate families. This is excellent news, meaning that all RN/RM serving and retired personnel and the Maritime Reserves will now benefit from the first class facilities available at the Club. For those who have not visited yet, the China Fleet Country Club is located just 10 minutes from Plymouth s city centre in 180 acres of countryside along the stunning Tamar estuary. With accommodation, restaurants, fitness and leisure facilities, a pool, aqua spa and golf course, the Club provides the perfect opportunity for a break away from Service life. If you are a new beneficiary I strongly recommend attending the Open Day on Sunday 29 June to find out more about what the Club can offer you and your family. 17

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20 CONA Diary Please forward items for the Diary to Sep RNA HQ Open Day 27 Sep Royal Naval Division 100 th Anniversary Commemorative Dinner- Leeds 10 Oct RNA HQ Open Day 21 Oct Trafalgar Day 06Nov Field of Remberance Westminster Abbey 9 Nov Remembrance Sunday 11 Nov Armistice Day Associations Re-unions/AGMs (Run in date order) SETT 60 th Anniversary - 26 July 2014 All serving & ex serving SETT instructors / Officers / Doctors / Admin & Maintenance staff are invited to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of SETT at the Submarine Museum, Gosport on 26th July The evening will be held over light refreshments with the opportunity to visit both the SETT and Submarine museum. Numbers are limited to 150 and guests must pre-book by 1st June Please spread the word to any ex SETT staff you are in contact with. All enquiries and bookings should be made via Flo Ross on or by NAVYOPTRG- Further information available at RN Party 6789 (HMS Saker) th July 2014 RN Party 6789 (HMS Saker) Mixed Manning Demonstration USS Claude V Ricketts DDG5 (ex Biddle) 1964/65 are holding their 50th anniversary reunion of the Mixed Manning Demonstration commission to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Washington DC. USA on 25-29th July For further information in the first instance please contact Pat (Spider) Raines tel or t5448 Association of Wrens 08 August National reunion to be held at Warwick University August Friday evening informal fundraising fun; optional day coach trips to the National Memorial Arboretum & Warwick Castle Saturday with traditional Gala Dinner in the evening. Sales and displays with good socialising spaces in the reunion building. Campus centre has an indoor pool, mini-market, coffee shop, pub, ATM and bus stop to and from Coventry rail station. All ex Wrens, female Reserves, female serving and veteran RN personnel welcome including non AOW members. Contact HQ at HMS Orion - 5 September

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