Navy ‘fam­ily’ con­tin­ues for a life­time

North Taranaki Midweek - - WAITARA FOCUS - GOR­DON BROWN

New Zealand is sur­rounded by wa­ter, lots of it, so it’s hardly sur­pris­ing that we are said to be a na­tion of sailors.

Whether it’s our world cham­pion row­ers, kayak­ers or yachts­men and women, our’s is a long-stand­ing love af­fair with the sea.

For many sailors, the seas and the oceans of our world were more of a work­place than a recre­ational pur­suit. The men and women of the New Zealand Navy are the most ob­vi­ous ex­am­ples. Many gave their lives in com­bat, but in re­cent decades they have braved all sorts of con­di­tions to be our first line of de­fence and keep our coast­line se­cure.

Nat­u­rally th­ese brave men and women form a spe­cial bond from their months and even years to­gether on the high seas in such closed quar­ters. That ca­ma­raderie tends to last for­ever and today many of them keep in touch through the New Zealand Navy As­so­ci­a­tion.

The Taranaki branch of the As­so­ci­a­tion re­mains very ac­tive and spokesman Trevor Wylde said they would wel­come new mem­bers. The Naval As­so­ci­a­tion is open for full mem­ber­ship to all re­tired and serv­ing naval per­son­nel of the Royal New Zealand Navy or any of the Com­mon­wealth Royal Navys, who served a min­i­mum pe­riod of six months con­tin­u­ous ser­vice.

‘‘We’re a fam­ily,’’ Wylde said. ’’The navy looks af­ter its own and you’re in it for life. Any ex-naval per­son­nel, both men and women, are wel­come to join our fam­ily. Our val­ues of loy­alty and com­rade­ship never change. We’re fam­ily-ori­ented, we have so­cial func­tions, bus trips, and we’re look­ing to or­gan­ise in­door ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing bowls and pool, for ex­am­ple.

‘‘We meet monthly and have a monthly lun­cheon. The cost is low, with $15 per per­son or $25 for cou­ples. Ex-navy per­son­nel from through­out Taranaki were wel­come to join, said Wylde. ’’Al­though we meet in New Ply­mouth, we are the Taranaki branch and ob­vi­ously any­one from Taranaki who meets the cri­te­ria would be wel­come. The Navy may have stopped the rum, but it hasn’t stopped here.’’

The Taranaki branch of the Royal New Zealand Royal Navy As­so­ci­a­tion will hold its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 1 at 11am at the Blue Room, on the sec­ond floor of the New Ply­mouth Club.

ROBERT CHARLES/FAIR­FAX NZ

Trevor Wylde, served with the NZ Navy in the 50s and 60s and was de­ployed in Egypt for the Suez Canal op­er­a­tion.

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