33 thoughts on “Welcome to Bristol Merchant Navy Association! – Keep Stoking!

  1. Belonging to the Bristol branch of the MNA meant a great deal to my late Father Douglas Davidson MBE. My Father’s story of the sinking of the Empire Mica, that appears on the BBC people’s war site; He mentions Harry Hale from Falmouth who he relieved on the bridge minutes before the torpedo struck. I now live in Falmouth and 2 years back attended a church service and met a cousin of Harry Hale, Harry’s name has been added to a memorial in the church, St Gluvius, Penryn. This webpage looks very good by the way!

  2. Thank you for your message on our blog. The Empire Mica was mentioned in a book produced on our behalf by the Evening Post called ‘The Bristol Merchant Navy Memorial, Welshback, Bristol’. We would be happy to send you a copy of this should you so wish.


    (The Merchant Navy Association.)

    We could man a battleship, we could sail a scow,
    Association members have not forgotten how,
    We still remember Morse code and streaming of the log,
    How to sail the wide world and navigate in fog.

    We can wield a trusty sextant and box the compass round,
    Pull a heavy piston to a chain block’s rattle sound,
    We could feed all hands, with plenty left for suppers,
    Though the vessel’s pitching and rolling to the scuppers.

    We could anchor anywhere and count the shackles home,
    Cleaning up, outward bound, use the holy stone,
    Rig a stage or boson’s chair – throw a heaving line,
    Most things being nautical we can do just fine.

    We bade farewell to splicing and seamen’s` work by hand,
    The cranky coal fired engine and steam emitting gland,
    But one thing may be lacking in these modern days,
    Is how to work the Sat. Nav. or `push the button` ways.

    So we sit back in retirement and think of olden times,
    Like sweating in the tropics supping juice of limes,
    Perhaps a Russian convoy freezing half to death,
    As well as mighty hurricanes that take away one’s breath
    Still, we know it’s over as we contemplate a glass,
    Nothing like a full life to make regrets so sparse,
    We are baffled by technology and systems that are new,
    This ever-ready bunch of ours – this out of date old crew.

  4. Speaking to some members on Sunday a person by the name Roger Allen was mentioned. As far as I could understand Roger did a lot for the Bristol Branch over a period of time.
    The conversation went along the lines about Roger’s name being added to the memorial in plaque form. As Roger did not go to sea it was said he would not be eligible for a plaque.
    I wondered if it would be possible for Roger to receive a plaque as an associate member in recognition of all the work he did for the branch.
    Although l didn’t know Roger l would support him receiving a plaque.
    I wonder if any other members have a view on this.

  5. What has happened tothe old web site ‘particularly the Roll of Honour .I used to read it from time time to remember some of my old shipmates Charlie Dorrington ,Alec Veitc and Stan
    Colenso for a start.
    I have lived in Cornwall since I retired so I am out of touch these days I was a member of the Falmouth branch until we had to disband for lack of members but I still maintain my Natioal membership. I did come to your meeting once when you were in the Railway Club.
    I am not able to get that far now.
    I would like to wish all your membership my best wishes.Thanks by the way sor this new site.

    1. Hi John,

      Its a new site and we are inviting suggestions. Its a good idea to add the Roll of Honour – I will speak to Michael Fleming to get a copy.

      Keep an eye open for any events you can make, though (‘Whats On’ page), it would be good to see you again.

  6. What a great site. I served a few years as an alternative to National Service and I am always filled with admiration for the men and ships which continue to feed our island nation,Terry Jones

  7. Can anyone mention the meeting place and time for the Newport North Atlantic Remembrance service. I know its Saturday July 2nd but that’s all. Thanks for help

  8. Many thanks for your response regarding the Roll of Honour
    As for coming up to one of your events I only wish I could but I am in my late etghties now
    and I can’t leave my wife alone for that length of time.
    I saw that Stephen Davidson mentioned his father.I met him a few years go when he visited
    the Falmouth branch along with another of your branch.I think it was Ron Allen..I had heard of Doug years ago but hadn’t met him.
    I was sorry to lose my connections with the seafaring community in the area but I do hear about them from time to time.
    Anyway all the best for the future and I will call again .

    1. John Eames. I have only just picked up your post. I actually live in Falmouth and have done for the last 10 years. Around 3 years back my wife and I attended St.Gluvius church in Penryn. The occasion was the unveiling of a name on the churchyard memorial. It was to Harry Hale, a Falmouth seaman,and my late Father Dougie was the last person to speak to him. Dougie had just relieved his watch and the ship was torpedoed as Harry walked back to his cabin. We met an elderly cousin of Harry Hale. The event coincided with Royal British Legion day.

  9. It was great to see so many people honouring September the 3rd, merchant navy day. As an Asssociation we fought for many Years to have this date established and it is now a regular Calendar date. I would like to thank the Seafarer’s organisation for there tremendous help in making this happen.

  10. I have just spoken to a person at the ACTA centre to ask if they would like members to attend in MN outfit. The reply was positive saying they would be delighted if we would come in MN outfit

  11. I would like to add to Andy’s comment about the show Sailors Tales. I felt in the short space of time the actors had they put across very well the things which happened back in the 50’s and 60’s. Well done to all who took part and to those who supplied the stories the acta.

  12. Hi to all. I would like to wish all festive greetings and hope you all have a great time with your family and friends.

    I would also like to send special wishes to Hugh and Philip and their partners. Also to all who are experiencing ill health.

    Looking forward to seeing all of you at then next branch meeting. Until then bottoms up.

  13. Trip to Liverpool
    May 15th May 19th
    Those of you who are interested in going on the above trip please let it be known at the branch meeting on Wednesday .

  14. David Weeks crossed the bar on 10th January and his funeral is at 14.40 on Thursday 26th January at St Peter’s Church, Evercreech which is about 3 miles south east of Shepton Mallet.
    Ron Thomas attended the funeral with the Bristol Branch Standard. The presence of the MN was greatly received and there many “Thank You” before, during and after the service. The service was very well attended there was in the region of 70 persons.
    The Standard was walked in front of the coffin to the cemetery which was about a 10 minute walk. The Standard was lowered at the graveside and stayed down until all the family had said their final words to David.
    We then all retired to the Bell Inn for snacks and drinks.
    David’s widow Janet did approach Ron to express her thanks for the attendance of the Standard. Ron returned the compliment by saying it was a pleasure to have been invited.
    A reception was held in the Bell Inn.

  15. Like to ask the same question as Roderick Warden. What would be the best time to visit the museum? (I saw a plaque of my old ship, Apollo, there when it was on tv.)

  16. The lost boys service was well attended and Philip gave a splended service. Many thanks to all who attended, there will be a full report in our magazine.
    All the best
    Doug May

  17. Very interesting website. I have enjoyed attending some of your meetings with Elizabeth Prowse, my mum. Keep up the good work. Regards, Debbie Holly

  18. Not sure if any members knew the Bristol Sailors Home superintendent. His name was Ernie Cryer and with his Betty ran the Sailors home for many years.
    I was thinking that Ernie and Betty could be remembered by the MN.
    I must say now that not only did l know Ernie Cryer he was my father in law .
    They both looked after sailors for many years. From my knowledge they had to put up with a lot of high spirits both drunk and physical.
    But as far as I know there always came an apology the following day.
    Some of you might remember the big red mine which was on the city centre. It was Ernie’s task to go and clear the area where money was donated.
    It was the Bristol Sailors Home where we the crew were taken after the sinking of the Cato.
    Any thoughts on my thought

    1. Bristol Sailors home. My Dads brother George Davidson ended his days there. Had spent some 50 years in the M.N. and never married. He spent a lot of time with the Bristol City line back and forth to the States, but towards the end of his sea days was with BSN. I remember as a lad visiting him at Bristol dock when he was engineer on the Dido or Hero. It was a long time ago and I’m unsure which.

  19. Sadly a very boring website and the MNA deserves better. “Latest news” is more like history and the “Whats on” should be updated to remove those events etc that have passed. It would be good to see a gallery page with photos that users can submit and are included after being moderated. Just one last comment, the item dated March 9th 2016? by Gill Auden mentioned the Red Book which was written by me and due to the efforts of Ted Williams was published free by the newspaper, just to get the factS right.

    Unfortunately the dates of death are wrong when compared to the data supplied by the CWGC.
    List with correct dates which need replacing:
    W Cornelius 03.03.1940
    R D G Edwards 29.06.1942
    M R Haydon 13.09.1942
    S Keogan 19.10.1940
    C M Larsen 24.10.1940
    C J Lee 21.08.1943
    A W Wheratt 19.10.1940

    1. Two of the plaques are being remade with correct dates and these will be installed as soon as they have been received. With regard to the other plaques, the dates were given to the MNA by family members and will, therefore, stay as they are.

  21. Ref: Bristol Sailors Home
    When the home was in the process of closing the front door was left open and a superb ship model in a glass case was stolen by someone!. I managed to get any records etc to be removed by the Bristol Public Records Office before they ended up in a skip and they are now in the Smeaton Rd building for safekeeping.

  22. Are there any members who would like to visit Liverpool February 2020? An invitation has been offered to attend the LRMS Christmas dinner. There are reasons for the date. It will be held Sunday February 9th in the AdelphI hotel. Anyone interested in taking the plunge please speak with Hugh who will pass on your name.

  23. Xmas dinner in February? and in Liverpool. Seems a heck of a long way to go for that. Perhaps you can explain “the reasons for the date” which may help your members decide. For those who do not know what LRMS means its Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers. It might be a good idea also to quote the price per person as I assume that an overnight stay will be required. LRMS are not in the MNA not that it matters.

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