Chairman’s Update

Chairman’s Update

The committee and I are very conscious that a lot of members have been wondering what has been occurring since the unfortunate postponement of the MWA Reunion and AGM planned for earlier in the year, in London. 

The venue we were hoping to use was a member of The Livery Company and as such they did offer us alternative venues, in the Centre of London. However, the committee deemed them as unsuitable for the type of function our association wanted to organise, and expensive! The committee then suggested the possibility of coupling the Mine Warfare Branch Awards Night and Annual Dinner which will take place on Thursday 23rd November 2023 at the Royal Maritime Club, Portsmouth, with the MWA annual reunion and AGM.

The branch dinner is intended to generate maximum attendance of all Mine Warfare Officers (MWO), Warrant Officers (WO), MW Senior Rates and Ratings, serving and retired, at this event. The 2022 MW Branch dinner, which a few MWA members attended, was a superb event and it was great to see the branch thriving and to be able to meet current members in order that we continue our unique social heresy. The event is for the whole UK Mine Warfare Fraternity, of which the MWA forms an important part. Please note, that this event is limited to 125 attendees and MWA members will be accepted on a first come first serve basis and only if RN Branch members have not taken all the available places.

Therefore, the committee and I would like to propose a MWA ELWE (Extended Long Weekend) Reunion and AGM, in Portsmouth. Our initial thoughts are: –

Thursday 23rd November – 

MWA members attend the MW Awards and black-tie Dinner, at the Maritime Club on Queens Street in Portsmouth. Details of which can be found in Ozzy Osbourne’s fb post – dated 9thOctober at –

Friday 24th November –

MWA visit to HMNB with possible visit to Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS) and Update on Project Wilton, or possible visit to the Mine Warfare School in HMS Collingwood, tbc

Evening Dit Session at the Maritime Club.

Saturday 25th November –

Late Morning – MWA AGM at the Maritime Club or HMS Nelson, tbc

Afternoon – Make & Mend to visit Pompey and/or any local sports matches/DTS

Evening – Curry Night Dit Session, Annual Reunion and Raffle, Venue tbc.

You will see that we hope to hold most of the weekend’s events in and around the Hard/Queens Street area and as most of you are aware there is plenty of accommodation available in this area. The weekend is designed to be an ‘attend what you can, event,’ meaning if you can only make the AGM, so be it.

However, we must have an idea of numbers, especially for the AGM as ‘rules dictate’ as a general guide, the number of AGM attendees should be twice the number of committee members or more.

Our current Committee is made up of: –

Chairperson        Jim Hawkins                                       Vice – Chairperson           Bunny Warren

Treasurer             Bunny Warren                                   Members Sec                     Jay Buckley

Webmaster        Ronnie Barker                                    Media Rep                          Shaun Keen

Project Rep         Steve Cox                                             Sweepstoresy                    Taff Bow

This will mean that we need at least 16 Non-Committee MWA members to attend the AGM, along with at least six members of the committee, which must include the Chair, the Vice-Chair, and the Treasurer. 

So, can I please ask ALL MEMBERS to complete this hyperlinked google formbefore the end of this month, in order that the committee can assess the viability of the above proposal. I do hope that as many of you as possible will be able to make it down to Pompey, as it will be great to meet up again after the pandemic and postponed events!

Now for the news I was hoping I would not have to give you all! Unfortunately, the Royal British Legion (RBL) have not afforded the MWA the honour of attending and marching at the Cenotaph Remembrance Prade this year. I could try and explain the numerous chats and correspondence I have had, but I think it best for you to see the email chain and form your own opinion! If any members can think of how we may be able to appeal to the RBL’s ruling, then I would welcome all suggestions. It is my intention to lodge an official ‘drip’ to the RBL President (Vice Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone KBE CB) and the RBL Chair (Jason Coward), if we cannot resolve this before the 12th of November!

My sincerest apologies regarding this situation, I have been ‘into battle’, with the RBL’s Cenotaph Events Team, but the door has been slammed shut, harder each time, as I think you will see from this HERE. Please note that the RBL have offered individuals, not associated with an association (which the MWA is not, according to the RBL!) the chance to march, on a first come first serve basis if you so wish! Details are in their email dated 6th September 2023. I am hoping to find a way of laying a MWA wreath at the Cenotaph, on your behalf, but it is getting exceedingly difficult!

Back to more positive news. There have been various events starting up again for members, with the monthly Dit Sessions in the Portsmouth and Gosport areas, A fantastic opportunity to meet up with shipmates and oppo’s to reminisce and catch up. Also, the association has been represented at events such as Armed Forces Day, and our colours have been paraded, at various events. I am very keen to try and expand such events, from a few members meeting in a pub for a chat, to regional get-togethers, like the Black Tot Day, in Portland or Pickle Night in Harwich. There is nothing stopping members from forming groups within their local vicinity, after all its good to talk!

Your association has also supported members, such as Reg ‘Paul’ Renouf’s ‘Real Arm’ Appeal. By backing his appeal and encouraging MWA members to donate to his worthy cause and your association has gathered advice, for Reg, from associated charitable organisations, such as the RBL and BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association), which was passed on accordingly. On a smaller scale, MWA members attended Bashers, Night at the Tower Charity Raffle, supporting many of The Yeomen Warders charities, and members also attended Rays’ Black Tot Day which raised funds for Portland Sea Cadets. Also let us not forget the Sea Defences Team, in Cornwall!

I am hoping that the AGM and Reunion will kick start us all back into supporting one another again and enable us to meet up, chat and help each other when needed.

I also hope that the AGM will update us all on the National Arboretum project and the way forward for the association. Remember all, I am only a phone call, fb post, or email away, if you need to talk something MWA over, give me a shout. 

If I have omitted any association event or function, it is probably because I was not informed of it in the first place. We can only promote events, on the website and/or Facebook, if we are made aware of them. Stay connected all!

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