Ely branch of the Royal Naval Association are looking for new members to keep it afloat

HMS Walpole

HMS Walpole - Credit: Archant

Ely maybe land locked but the city still has close links to the nation’s naval service dating back to the second world war when its citizens adopted a warship.

The city heeded the government’s call to support the war effort during the National Warship week launched in 1942 and raised funds to adopt HMS Walpole - a W Class destroyer.

A year later a delegation of Ely citizens led by Ely Urban District Council, Ely Rural District Council and the Dean of Ely Cathedral visited the ship in Harwich to meet the crew.

The ship was built in 1917 and served the country well including taking part in the D Day landings but was severely damaged by a mine in 1945, when she was scrapped.

Now the Ely Royal Naval Association, which is made up of former members of the both the royal and merchant navies, the Fleet Air Arm, Submarine Service, and wrens, is hoping the city’s long links with the service will encourage new members.

The association’s Peter Holden explained people do not have to have served to join, anyone with friends or relatives in the navy or who simply has an interest in maritime matters and the nation’s great naval tradition are welcome too.

The branch leads the Remembrance Day parade in Ely as representatives of the Senior Service (as the navy is known).

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It also meets on the last Thursday of the month at the Lamb Hotel in Ely at 7.30pm to ‘swing the lamp’ and honour naval traditions such as sitting for the Loyal Toast, or taking a daily tot of rum.

This latter tradition was discontinued in the Royal Navy in July 1970, but kept “afloat” in Ely. There are also day trips, games nights, barbecues and a Trafalgar Dinner.

For more information about HMS Walpole or Ely RNA visit www.kgva.org/elyrna, or Ely museum. The branch secretary can be contacted at elyrna@live.co.uk