We continue to meet alternate Wednesdays at the Community Café and thoroughly enjoy our lunchtime get togethers. Our numbers are too small to have speakers, and sometimes we don’t even have enough members attending to cover our rent, but it is not all doom and gloom for we have a new member Sylvia, who joined us a few months ago.
In June during Seafarers Awareness Week Margaret Gray and I once again helped with the Seafarers UK bucket collection in Glasgow. Funny rules you are not allowed to shake your bucket or approach people directly – so you stand there with a nice smile hoping that they will come to you!
On Merchant Navy Day, Margaret Gray represented our branch, and laid a wreath at the Cenotaph in George Square. It is very encouraging to see the awareness of Merchant Navy Day growing and for it now to have become an official event in the Glasgow city diary. That weekend on The Tall Ship, Glenlee, a Merchant Navy awareness event was held and we were delighted to help out.
November saw us attend the Scottish Annual Seafarers Service which is organised by the Sailors’ Society and held in South Leith Parish Church. After the service and following a buffet lunch there was a short wreath laying service down at the Merchant Navy Memorial on Leith Shore.
We continue with our support for Sir Gabriel Woods Mariners Home by donating Christmas gifts and we also contribute to Christmas parcels which are handed out to visiting seafarers via the port chaplains.
We had our Christmas Lunch in style by dining out and exchanging cards/gifts and were delighted to have our new member Sylvia join us. We hope that she will gain much fun and friendship from the Watch Ashore.
New year and new beginnings, as we continue with our support of the various maritime charities and in fact have forged closer links with the Nautical college and last month collaborated with Elsie Jackson, who is the senior lecturer in charge of Engineering, and Becky Haldane, a Sailor Society chaplain, at the college. Our branch hosted a “Bon Voyage” evening for the engineering cadets who have finished phase one and are about to join their first ship. Most of these cadets have never been to sea before and it was an evening to meet other seafarers and share their experiences. The feedback was that it was a very worthwhile event and one which hopefully will be repeated.
Glasgow Branch, which was the first branch in Scotland, started in February 1944. The founder chairman was a Mrs. McKinlay who along with Mrs J.S. Hughes and Mrs McLean established the Glasgow Branch.
In its’ heyday Glasgow Branch had around a 100 members and up until the late1990’s had a steady membership of 60 odd. Now we are fewer in number but our enthusiasm is just as strong and we enjoy our friendships very much. Glasgow Branch is very proud to have played hostess at the 2006 Triennial Meeting and over the years has had members serve, in various capacities, on the National Executive Committee.
The husbands, other relatives and friends of our members have worked for various shipping companies including Maersk, Clan Line, P&O, Denholms, Union Castle, Shell, C.S.M. Nedlloyd and the Scottish Fisheries Protection. Others have left the sea and work as Lecturers, Surveyors and Harbour Masters.
Glasgow Chairman's Badge
Glasgow Chairman's Badge which was made in 1956 and presented to the branch by Mrs. J.S. Hughes, a founder-member, is in the form of a Luckenbooth brooch. It incorporates the general badge in its design with the initials “W.A.” on a background half red, half green (to represent the port and starboard lights on a ship) and surrounded by a lifebelt.
The Queen Mary’s crown which surmounts the heart is very much like the crown which also appears on the Merchant Navy’s badge; and this is highly appropriate, since the membership of the Watch Ashore is made up of the wives, mothers, daughters and sisters and other relatives of Merchant Navy Officers.
First Syllabus - 1944-45
We continue to support Sir Gabriel Woods Mariners Home, Mission to Seafarers, the Sailors Society, Seafarers UK ,The Sailors Children Society and the Apostleship of the Sea. The branch also has a representative on both the Central and West of Scotland, and the North East Ports Welfare Committees.