We are very pleased to report that we have welcomed two new members and a third who although will be a Country member, hopes to join in with London when able. We are delighted to increase the numbers of our small branch.
We continue to meet each month and enjoy lunch on board HQS “Wellington” We have also attended two Flying Angel lunches which are always well attended and enjoyable.
August saw us at Buckingham Palace for the annual exhibition. This year the Ballroom was laid for a State Banquet and we were able to discover what goes on behind the scenes. Afterwards we had lunch on the terrace.
In September we visited the Audrey Hepburn exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery and had lunch in the crypt of St Martins-in-Fields.
October saw us at the Annual National Service for Seafarers in St Paul’s Cathedral and saw members of Hull and Plymouth branches. Afterwards we walked to HQS “Wellington” for a Hotpot Supper and very pleased to welcome both the National Chairman and Vice Chairman.
As Chairman of London Branch, I attended the MN Day Commemorative Service organised by the MN Association and laid a wreath on behalf of the Branch. First Sea Lord was present and the Royal Marine Band together with seafaring veterans and many standard bearers. I also laid a wreath at the annual Remembrance Day Service, both memorable occasions.
Our trip to Buckingham Palace this year was to see the Royal Childhood exhibition and the treasures of the Palace, although tiring, it was most enjoyable.
We continued to meet most months on board HQS Wellington for a Curry lunch and enjoy the riverside views from the quarter-deck beforehand. We supported both the Flying Angel Spring lunch and pre Christmas Fayre which are held in aid of Missions to Seafarers and attended a City lunch held by the Ward of Cheap in Guildhall. A presentation was made to June Barnes as the most senior serving member of the Watch Ashore at Trinity House during the AGM weekend in April.
In May the National Chairman, Chris Rankin, and June Ellett laid wreaths at the Merchant Navy Memorial in Tower Hill on the occasion of the Battle of Atlantic 70th anniversary. A number of London members also attended the reception which followed in 'All Hallows by the Tower' and were able to view the two names belonging to their husbands which are recorded in the Book of Remembrance.
We paid our annual visit to Buckingham Palace, this time to view the Coronation Dress worn by HM the Queen. We attended the Annual Service for Seafarers in St. Paul's Cathedral. We attended the reception held on HQS Wellington held by Royal Mail to launch the first day cover stamps commemorating the Battle of the Atlantic and to pay homage to the Merchant Navy. The Chairman laid a wreath at the Merchant Navy Memorial on Remembrance Sunday.
2012, we enjoyed a varied and interesting programme. As well as our usual Curry Lunches on board HQS Wellington we visited the ship for both the London Flying Angel Spring lunch and their Christmas Fayre and buffet lunch, and we had a great Diamond Jubilee Supper party on board where Capt. John Freestone, Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, told of his experience in command of the "Spirit of Chartwell" which bore Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family down river during the Diamond Jublilee River Pageant. We spent a day at Capel Manor Horticultural College and Gardens. We saw the musical "Top Hat" at a West End theatre. We took part in the Mission to Seafarers Annual Service, the Speaker was Terry Waite, and afterwards buffet lunch in Skinners Hall. We were represented at the Annual National Service for Seafarers in St. Paul's Cathedral and the National Merchant Navy Memorial on Tower Hill on Remembrance Sunday. In addition we have been to a Civic Lunch at the City of London's Guildhall. We are small in number but great on enthusiasm in supporting each other.