The Membership:

It is, regrettably, an ongoing theme that each year several of our more venerable members ‘Cross the Bar’ and this year was no exception and we will be remembering them at the start of our AGM.

We currently have 177 members and it is felt by the Committee that we should all encourage others to join, even from the commissioned ranks of the Army and Air Force, their Reserves and the Merchant Navy and possibly interested civilians of high repute.

As the Chairman said last year, we do offer excellent value for money. Liverpool’s equivalent – the Sea Urchins – annual membership fee is double ours and their lunches and formal dinners are considerably more expensive.


The Committee:

Without the work done behind the scenes by your Committee there would be no Flotilla. I am very appreciative of all the work done by Committee members for keeping their part of ship going and, also, for the contribution they make to the general running of the Flotilla

I very much regret that Gerald Newton, who has been on the Committee longer than I have been in the Flotilla, and given sterling service as Trafalgar Secretary, Secretary and without portfolio, is leaving the Committee after this meeting.  Gerald has been a stalwart, a fount of knowledge and helpful advice over the years. He will be greatly missed.

We are seeking new members for the Committee and would be pleased to see new faces volunteer.


The Lecture Programme:

The range of lectures this year, as usual, been very wide and, I hope, provided subjects of interest to many. All have been very well attended. Subjects included ‘The Hospital Ship UGANDA in the Falklands’ by Nicci Pugh; ‘Flags’ by Captain Chris Farrow of the Flag Institute; ‘The Titanic’ by Rear Admiral John Lang, who spent five years as the UK’s Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents; ‘The Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carriers’ by Captain Chris Alcock bringing us up to date on that project. Our Patron’s lecture, by Commodore Martin Connell, gave us an insight into the activities of the Amphibious Task Group over the past year. Our member Giles Chichester, ex MEP, did sterling work to clarify the workings of the EU. We have one more to go as I write this, which will be given by Commander Rob Dunn OBE the Commander of BRNC on Operation Ellamy, HMS Triumph during the Libya operations.

Andy Quick ably filled the missing lecture, when the Fleet Air Arm had to cancel at short notice, with a further episode of the First World War.

My grateful thanks go to Dita Dixon, our Lecturer Secretary for all her efforts in arranging the programme.

Regrettably CTCRM is not always in a position to determine in advance their dining numbers during the autumn season, and we have of necessity made use of the support offered by Wyvern Barracks in Exeter.  This is nobody's fault but please be aware of the possibility of last minute changes of venue after our summer recess.


HMS Defender:

Lieutenant Simon (SI) Hawthorn the Deputy Marine Engineer Officer has been appointed as our Liaison Officer. We have received a nomination from Defender for our first Operational Sea Training Award. The recipient is Petty Officer Dixon and his certificate may be viewed here.
For updates on the progress of Defender’s deployment I recommend the link on our web site.


Other Events:

Annual Lunch:

Our principal guest was Colonel Kevin Oliver, the Commandant of CTCRM. Member guests were Dennis Wade, who has now sadly crossed the bar, and George Drake, who has fled the southern climes for less temperate Yorkshire.


Visit to BRNC:

We were welcomed by Captain Duffy and entertained to an excellent lunch before commencing the tour of the establishment and museum guided by Dr Richard Porter and his assistant. Many thanks to Nicko Franks for organising this event.


Annual Golf Competition and Annual Summer Dinner:

This excellent event, organised by Robert Harland at East Devon Golf Club, was, as usual, well attended. Several members even competed in the golf match. Both the standard and quantity of the jokes are imporoving. An evening to be recommended for both players and non-player and spouses. This year’s event on the 21st.July.


Trafalgar Service:

Yet another well organised and well attended event. The Lessons were read by Rear Admiral John Clink and Colonel Kevin Oliver. It was attended by the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff and representatives from BRNC, HMS Raleigh, HMS Vivid and Exeter and Exmouth Sea Cadets among others. The address was given by the Venerable John Rawlings, Archdeacon Emeritus of Totnes and former RN Chaplain.


Exeter City:

I represented the Flotilla at the Guild Hall for Armed Forces Day, and, also, at the Remembrance Sunday Service in Northernhay Gardens, where I laid a Wreath.


Annual Dinner:

The principal guests were Admiral Sir Mark and Lady Stanhope. Following the usually excellent meal oranised by Sally Barlow in the dinning room and her husband, Steve, in the Galley, Sir Mark giving an interesting and informative speech on the Defence Review.

Many thanks to Angus Atherton for organising this event and the accompanying Royal Marine Drums and Bugles before the meal and the quintet during dinner.


Sea Cadets:

We continue to maintain our links with the Sea Cadets, particularly Exmouth Sea Cadets who are in the middle of an expensive rebuild due to the redevelopment of the area.



I can only repeat what my predecessor wrote that, once again, it has been a full and interesting year for the Flotilla. I thank all the members of the Committee who have aided and guided me through my first year as Chairman, and all the members who attended the lectures, help with projectors and furniture removal!


Christopher Seaton


April 2016.

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