Who is the Bristol Merchant Navy Association?
The Merchant Navy Association is a group of retired and serving men and women of the Merchant Navy.
Bristol and District Branch was formed following an inaugural meeting at Avonmouth in May 1996. Its initial and on-going purpose is to raise awareness of the role the Merchant Navy played, and continues to play, in our island nations’ story, especially in time of war with the maintenance of vital supplies of food, fuel, equipment etc.
It has been a long and continuing fight to obtain just recognition for this most dangerous of the civilian services but many things have been achieved including the establishment of a National Merchant Navy Day on the 3rd September every year.
What has the Bristol Merchant Navy done?
A number of projects have led to:
Our Memorial on the Welsh Back, by Bristol Bridge. Dedicated to all Merchant seafarers who sailed from Bristol. the Memorial was unveiled by HRH the Prnicess Royal and dedicated by the Dean of Bristol on 24th May 2001.
The Merchant Navy stained glass window in St. Stephens church, unveiled and dedicated on the 9th May 2004.
The ultimate accolade of the award of the Freedom of the City of Bristol, granted on 24th May 2005, allowing us to march through the City to the Council House.
We have a cottage with a small museum on the quayside at Cumberland Basin. No 1 Dock Cottages is open on the City Doors Open Day and at other times by arrangement. We welcome visitors from many parts of the world.
Bristol MNA also always has a presence at Bristol Harbour Festival and the South West Ship Show.
What the future hold for the Bristol Merchant Navy?
We will continue as the Bristol and District Merchant Navy Association to bring to public attention the work done by our Merchant Fleet and its crews, to be a reminding voice about the debt we owe to those who served before, to care for those now retired or in difficulty and, of course, to meet monthly for fellowship and lamp-swinging.
Bristol Merchant Navy Association also has a presence at Bristol Harbour Festival and the South West Ship Show.
Our current project is to provide a fitting memorial to ‘The Lost Boys’ – the ten boys from the locality aged 16 and under who lost their lives at sea between 1939 – 45.