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SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION – GOSPORT BRANCH A brief history of the Submariners Association Presents.

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Presentation on theme: "SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION – GOSPORT BRANCH A brief history of the Submariners Association Presents."— Presentation transcript:

1 SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION – GOSPORT BRANCH A brief history of the Submariners Association Presents

2 THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION Submariners Association – Gosport Branch Who are the Submariners Association?

3 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch There may have been some local meetings of former submariners during the 1920s but there was no organised national movement. The idea of service and ex-service associations - so popular today - appears to have been an unusual arrangement between WW1 and WW2 and it should be noted that even the British Legion did not start until the mid- to late 1920’s. It was not until the 1930s that serious thought seems to have been given to formal meetings of former submariners and the formation of local associations. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

4 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch Three Branches of the Submarine Old Comrades Association were formed independently, in Portsmouth, Plymouth and London, between 1930 and 1932 (followed by a Branch in Sydney, Australia, in 1935). Links between these Branches were established at an early stage. A local Plymouth newspaper in 1932 declared that:- “An Association existing for social purposes only among 'old submergers', or members of the Submarine Service” - which is believed to be unique in British ports - was constituted as the ‘Submarine Old Comrades Association’ in Devonport, which met for the first time at the Keyham Social Club”. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

5 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch By 14 November 1933 things had moved on, as reported by the Morning Post: “The first reunion dinner of the newly-formed London Branch of the Submarine Old Comrades Association was held in the Strand and 82 members attended, including representatives of the Portsmouth and Plymouth Branches”. The Admiralty officially recognised the ‘London Submarine Old Comrades Association’ in 1933. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

6 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch As has already been indicated there were some ambitions expressed at this time that there should be a National Association - London thought there should be a National headquarters in London. Plymouth thought that the headquarters should be in Portsmouth - the traditional home of Royal Navy Submarines. Portsmouth presumably agreed with this latter approach. However, nothing seems to have become of these proposals. The three Branches held their own separate annual reunion dinners during the 1930’s and members of each Branch attended each others' events. At one dinner held in Portsmouth Mr Frederick Asker, the Secretary of the Portsmouth Branch, urged that the whole Submarine Association should be represented at one central dinner. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

7 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch The first overseas Branch of the Submarine Old Comrades Association was formed in Sydney in Australia in 1935 from Australian and British submariners who had served jointly in both Australian and Royal Navy submarines. This 'Sydney Chapter' asked permission from the London Branch to form an Association - apparently in the mistaken belief that the London Branch was the only other Submarine Old Comrades Association in existence at the time. Permission was granted. These branches existed as separate entities but with regular inter- branch contact until the start of WW2. All branches suspended activities during WW2. Many (younger) members were called up again to serve in submarines for a second time. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

8 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch Following the war the previous branches re-convened and carried on much as before. Several other Branches were formed in the following years and by the mid-1950s there were seven Branches around the country. Moves had started during this post war period for a National Association and in 1954 there was an informal meeting of representatives of all the Branches to discuss this (there were now Branches in the Medway Towns, East Anglia, the West Riding of Yorkshire and in the North East). During the September reunion weekend at HMS DOLPHIN On 18 September 1955 a meeting was held which ended in a vote of 10 for and 3 against, with 2 abstentions, in favour of the idea of joining a National Association. A sub-committee was set up to decide on the constitution and set of rules for the new Association in time for the reunion meeting the following year. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

9 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch On 10 November 1956, at a meeting in London, the majority of independent branches voted to amalgamate into the national ‘Submariners Old Comrades Association’ (known as SOCA). (By this meeting a further two Branches had been formed - in Dorset and in Norfolk). The national ‘Submarine Old Comrades Association’ was thus formed. The Portsmouth Branch was one that had voted against the proposal and decided not to join but continued as a separate, but affiliated, association. (They did later become full members of the association) THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

10 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch A CHANGE OF NAME The debate on the change of name went on for many years and became very complicated. 1969 - Essex Branch proposed a review of the title of the SOCA by the exclusion of the word 'Old’ 1973 - Birmingham Branch proposed an amendment be made so that the words 'Old Comrades‘ be removed from the title. 1975 - Portsmouth Branch proposed that, subject to approval by FOSM & MOD (Navy), the name of the Association be changed to ‘The Submarine Association'. None of these proposals were adopted and things stayed as they were for another 20 years until 1998 when matters began to come to a head. At a meeting in 1998 a majority voted in favour of a name change in principle and a proposal was made for this to be consideration at a meeting the following year. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

11 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch 1999 - The proposal was put to the Executive Council Conference in March 1999 and was approved by 30 votes for, and 9 against. SOCA was now the Submariners Association. It had been decided that the original proposal that the name should be the ‘Submarine Association’ was dropped in favour of Submariners Association because it was felt that the association was about the people rather than the submarines. (One of the unanticipated results of the name change was the withdrawal of the North Yorkshire Branch from the Association). THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

12 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch 2010 - The Association is in fairly good order with 58 Branches around the UK and in Australia, New Zealand and Spain. Branches vary in size from, perhaps, half a dozen in some and hundreds in others. There are currently around 2500 Association members world wide. We do still have some members who served in WW2 and many who served during the ‘Cold War’. There are, however, an increasing number of younger submariners joining the Association both those joining submarines for the first time and those coming to the end of their submarine careers. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION TODAY

13 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch The Branches There are branches of the Association all over the country and there are several abroad so there may well be one near where you live. There are also branches in or near Plymouth, Barrow-in-Furness and Faslane. A full list of branches can be found on the SA National Web Site The Dolphin Branch. For those who can’t find a branch near them there is the Dolphin Branch which is our ‘mail order’ branch. THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

14 Submariners Association – Gosport Branch There is a RASM’s serving members representative on the National Management Committee of the Association, WO1 Coxn John Hendron MBE, who is active in the naval bases providing a link between serving submariners and the association. He can provide information about the SA including help on how to join for those who wish to. More information about the Association including the procedure for joining is available on the SA National Website, or from any SA member. Or contact Colin Way who runs the Dolphin Branch from the Submarine Museum. His e-mail address is:- THE SUBMARINERS ASSOCIATION

15 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Submariners Association – Gosport Branch Acknowledgements and thanks for providing the facts in this presentation go to – The Submariners Association

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