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Trowbridge celebrates links with Navy
1:37pm Friday 15th April 2011 in Down Memory Lane
The Trowbridge and District White Ensign Association was founded in April 1936 in The Old Crown pub in Hilperton, at a meeting of ex-Royal Navy ratings and Royal Marines.
The purpose of the association was to ‘foster the comradeship enjoyed afloat and to offer support and benevolence to former sailors marines, their families and widows’. It became a registered charity in 1980.
Trustee Graham Payne said: “The Sea Cadet unit at Trowbridge, TS Achilles, was established by Fleetmates of Trowbridge and District White Ensign Association in 1958.
“We are the oldest ex-Royal Navy Association in Wiltshire and fiercely defend our independence while working closely with national seafaring charities, including the RN Benevolent Trust, SSAFA, King Alfred’s Fund for Seafarers and the Missions to Seamen, to alleviate hardship amongst ex-members of the royal and merchant navies.
“Every year we dispense more than £1,000 to naval charities and provide welfare support to our fleetmates and members of the ex naval community in west Wiltshire.
The association now has 70 members and is open to men and women who have served in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and WRNS.
As there is no Merchant Navy Association in the area, it also has ex-Merchant Marine members, as well as associate member, relatives and others who share the charity’s aims and support its principles.
In 1989 the group had its own HQ on Bradley Road, behind the council offices, which was opened by the Princess Royal. This closed during the recession in the early 1990s, and they now meet at the Lovemead House Conservative Club, Trowbridge, although it is a strictly non-political group.
Picture caption: Officers and crew from HMS Avonvale visited the Association in 1943. In the foreground, Able Seaman May, with JHT Morgan, Association committee chairman, Petty Officer FC Lapthorne, A Batley JP, chairman of Trowbridge UDC and JM Chrystall JP, of the White Ensign Association’s Bradford committee.