Royal Naval Association could use young blood

This week's Journal club of the week is the Grantham branch of the Royal Naval Association.

This week's Journal club of the week is the Grantham branch of the Royal Naval Association.

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NAVY veterans with the Grantham branch of the RNA may have seen their numbers drop but their enthusiasm remains undiminished.

The group was set up in its current form in 1989 and while they are always looking for new members the club accepts that a drop in numbers has to be expected.

Doug Atter, secretary of the branch, said: “When I was in the navy in ’49 we had a quarter of a million - now there are only 60-70,000 so we don’t have the same number of people coming out.

“But when you see us all together you realise how old we all are!”

The modern-day branch was set up by Doug, Phil Green and Dave Watson in the 1980s. They put an ad in the paper to see if anyone else would be interested in joining and everything grew from there.

Doug said: “The Royal Naval Association was started up in 1948 and we used to have a branch here in Grantham but it closed after ten years and disbanded. I imagine it was a bit like us at the moment - trying to get new members and in the end they couldn’t get enough to keep it going.

“Then we started ours up in 1989.”

Members meet every fortnight at the Conservative Club in Grantham where they discuss current issues in the forces, as well reminisce about their time in the navy.

All of the members of the branch are treated as equals, which branch member Derek Thirtle believes is one of the club’s best points.

He said: “Everyone is a shipmate here - even the Admiral. There’s no rank at all.

“At other club’s they still hold their rank but here we are all the same and I think it’s important to us.

“We also have ex-Wrens here and lots of women who are associate members too.”

l If you are interested in joining the branch then call Dave Watson on 01476 404706 or Doug Atter on 01476 565921.