Specs appeal – Seamen urged to join new association

Topic: People Storyline: Community

If you’re a seamen specialist, then there’s a new home for you – your first bespoke association.

Formally launched on February 1, the RN Seaman Specialist Association welcomes serving personnel and veterans to share dits, track down old shipmates, attend functions and reunions, provide moral support and show off sporting prowess.

The association was born out of conversations between seamen specialists of all generations following last year’s Remembrance parade past the Cenotaph.

They felt their community was worthy of an association like many other branches… and three months later, they have one.

Already 80 ‘seamen specs’, as they’re more commonly known, have signed up – but there are hundreds more out there who’ve either served in its current incarnation (the branch was formally reintroduced in the mid-Noughties) or in its previous formats.

Today, the role embraces a wide range of duties aboard, including tactical communications with other ships, steering, acting as a lookout, mooring, securing and guarding a vessel in port, ensuring replenishments at sea run smoothly and safely, operating small arms such as general-purpose machine-guns and crewing/driving the Royal Navy’s fast RIB sea boats such as the Pacific 24 in all conditions.

“The RNSSA is a new association and will grow into an organisation which will support and benefit its members for many years to come. It’ll give personnel a sense of belonging - even when they are no longer serving in the Royal Navy,” said Chief Petty Officer Kirk McCaffer, an instructor at the School of Seamanship based at HMS Raleigh.

“We have an ever-growing social calendar: a quiz and barbecue event at HMS Raleigh, a golf open day at the China Fleet Country Club, a reunion weekend in Portsmouth at the Royal Maritime Club and have now been granted places by the Royal British Legion for our veteran community to march past the Cenotaph flying our own standard.”

Association members will enjoy access to the Seaman Specialist network, receive invites to regional and national reunions and access the members’ database to find old oppos.

To find out more – and join, as long as you are or have been a member of the Seaman Specialist branch – visit www.rnssa.co.uk