The Flotilla’s Rules very sensibly require a Chairman to stand down after three years so this is my third and final Report.

It was sad to see the demise of the London Flotilla but I am glad to be able to report that the Exeter Flotilla continues to thrive but there is no room for complacency and we have put in a few modest measures to help maintain membership numbers or hopefully increase them. These include Area Representatives, the Flotilla card and more “advertising” where we can.

Because we so often find that when someone comes to a Lecture Evening or Event they become regular attendees, the Committee has also agreed that the Flotilla will pay for one lecture supper for any guest who is a potential member.

I believe we are also very good value for money – what other organisation or association has an annual membership fee of just £10. A recent Naval Club dinner (three courses and a RM Band) in London cost £110 and a Britannia Association Dinner (no band) will be costing £120. Our Annual three course dinner with a Royal Marine Band cost just £35…….

The Committee
I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years as Chairman and this has been very much due to the excellent Flotilla Committee. During the year there has been a seamless change of Secretary but I am pleased to say Gerald Newton will be staying on the Committee. We welcomed Dita Dixon as the Lecture Secretary and are grateful to David Massey for his continued support. Sadly Richard Stenlake had to stand down to look after his wife (and Flotilla member) Aileen. Nicko Franks has very kindly organised a visit to BRNC and Gerald Newton will take on the mantle of Visits Officer for the future.

The Lecture Programme
As usual we have had a wide range of lectures but hopefully all have been of some interest to members. On the modern Navy, we had Commodore Jake Moores updating us on the Submarine Service, the First Lieutenant of HMS Queen Elizabeth telling us about this most impressive Aircraft Carrier and our Patron, Commodore Jerry Kyd briefing us on the latest Cougar Deployment. Commodore Kyd has moved on to be the Commanding Officer of the Queen Elizabeth and our new Patron is Commodore MJ Connell.
On the historical front we had Antony Balfour talking about our founder members – the RN Volunteer Supplementary Reserve, Captain Steve Taylor speaking about HQS Wellington and Andy Quick giving us another aspect on World War I.
Additionally we have briefings on Coast Watch and absolutely nothing to do with the Sea our own David Marino, the Bailiff for the Duchy of Cornwall telling us about the Duchy and its influence on Dartmoor.
When unable to use the Mess at Lympstone, we have been royally looked after at Wyvern Barracks
HMS Defender
Lieutenant Matthew Harvey was our guest at last year’s Annual Lunch and briefed us on what the ship was up to. Shortly after that she deployed to the Gulf. Her Commanding Officer, Phil Nash has now handed over to Commander Steve Higham. He hopes to be present at the Trafalgar Service in October.
The Committee has agreed to award an annual prize of £100 to some deserving member of the Ship’s Company.

Other Events
Annual Lunch
Our other guests at the Annual Lunch were the founder of the Flotilla, Adrian Martin and, fresh from having just received his Arctic Star from the Lord Lieutenant, Angus Baber. It was good to have them both with us but sad that both died later in the year.

Visit to the Hydrographic Office
A fascinating visit to see both the current as well as historical work of the Hydrographic Office at Taunton followed by supper at the Hankridge Arms. Thank you to Richard Stenlake for organising us and to Dita Dixon for facilitating the visit.

Annual Golf Competition and Summer Dinner
A good number of us enjoyed an excellent evening on 17th July at the East Devon Golf Club organised by Robert Harland. I understand a few members played some golf! The standard of jokes is definitely improving. This year the event will take place on 16th July and if you want a fun relaxed evening this is it.

Trafalgar Day Service
This Service (now to be known as the Trafalgar Service as the Service is not always held on the anniversary of the battle) was the first to be organised by the new team of Trevor Waddington and Chris Seaton. In spite of a reduced Royal Marine Band due to lack of space because of the scaffold around the Organ, the Service was once again a magnificent occasion with, to reflect the 350th Anniversary of the Royal Marines, Major General Hook reading the First Lesson and Rear Admiral Key, the Second. The Address was given by former RN Chaplain and Flotilla member John Morris. The Collection raised over £400 for the RN and RM Charity.
We are reliably told that the Great West Road Race will not clash with the Service in 2015!
Exeter City

I represented the Flotilla at a Service to commemorate the beginning of the First World War at Exeter Cathedral and the Remembrance Sunday Service held by the Exeter City War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens where I laid a Wreath.

I also represented the Flotilla at the City’s Armed Forces Day which included a march past (stand fast Flotilla members) with HRH the Princess Royal taking the salute and a service in the Cathedral to dedicate the chapel for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines
Trevor Waddington attended a dinner held in the Guildhall to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the River Plate.

Several members of the Flotilla were present at County Hall for presentation of Yushakov medals.

Annual Dinner
The Principal Guest was Sir John Evans, former Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall who gave a witty speech following an excellent meal organised beautifully by Sally Barlow in the Dining Room and her husband Steve in the Galley. The music provided by the RM Quintet was outstanding.

Sea Cadets
Bob Symons is our liaison officer with the Exmouth and Exeter Units and Flotilla member Tony Griffin is Chairman of the Exmouth Unit which is in the process of establishing a new centre.

It has been another full and constructive year for the Flotilla. My thanks to all the members of the Committee who have made my role as Chairman such an easy and enjoyable one and thank you to all those supportive members who keep the Flotilla in such a healthy state.

Rory Jackson
April 2015

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