Navy veterans in ‘desperate’ search for new home
PUBLISHED: 11:15 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:26 01 March 2020
For decades their home was at sea, aboard the destroyers, frigates and submarines of Her Majesty’s Naval Service.
But now the members of the Cromer and district branch of the Royal Naval Association are searching for a new home, after the pub where they used to meet closed down.
Branch member and forces bishop Dr John Mills said: "We're desperate to find a place to meet.
"We're all Royal Navy veterans and our members have served in every conflict from the Second World War onwards.
"We served our Queen and country and now we are hoping for someone to serve us a bit."
The branch met at the Cottage pub in Louden Road for around five years before it closed last June.
Dr Mills said the branch was hoping to find a place for up to 20 of its members to meet once a fortnight for an hour on Friday, and for a two-hour annual general meeting.
He said: "We do have a small amount of money that we can pay towards the hire of a room, but being pensioners and veterans we're not exactly rich."
Martin Wood, 48, a member from North Walsham, said the branch was a valuable support network.
He said: "One thing you do miss when you come out [of the navy] is the camaraderie.
"When you are on board a ship you are part of a big family."
Mr Wood served on vessels including the Manchester, the Marlborough, the Alacrity and the Ark Royal, and his last assignment was helping to train the Iraqi navy and marines.
He said: "When you come out you lose that family life and you can end up very isolated and insular. And there are things that you just can't say to people when you're on civvy street.
"[The branch] a way of not just staying in touch with old comrades, but also supporting each other."
The branch was instrumental in setting up the Wells-next-the-Sea Sea Cadets and runs an armed forces breakfast club at Cromer's Breakers cafe on the second Sunday of each month from 10am.
Anyone who can help can get in touch with Mr Mills by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07824 987174.