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Ahoy new members

Emma Pritchard|

If you are a former or serving member of the Royal Australian Navy, have an association with the Australian Merchant Marine or a profound interest in naval history, sailing and enjoy sharing your stories with others and forming new friendships, you may like to join the Clarence Valley Naval and Mariners Association.

Formed five years ago, the local group currently boasts 24 members and is always looking forward to welcoming new people on board.

President John Bloom said many members are ex-returned servicemen who enjoy catching up with one another for mutual camaraderie.

“We are only a small group, with many veterans, but we always enjoy the opportunity to catch up with one another and a lot of our members have formed strong mateships with one another,” he said.

“We also have social outings where we meet up with members from other naval and mariners associations in Nambucca and Ballina.

“We all share similar experiences and served at sea, which is completely different to serving in the army on the land.

“Some of our members have witnessed terrible tragedies during their service and for them, it is reassuring to speak with and interact with others who have had similar experiences.”

Mr Bloom said the association also recognises Merchant Navy Day on September 3, and commemorates events including the collision of the HMAS Voyager and HMAS Melbourne and the tragic sinking of the HMAS Sydney.

“They are important events that must always be remembered,” he said.

Members of the Clarence Valley Naval and Mariners Association meet bimonthly at the RSL Hall in River Street, Maclean.

Anyone interested in joining the association is invited to contact Mr Bloom on 0477 133 926.