CONAConfederation Of Naval Associations


Terry Knowell attended the CONA Conference on behalf of the association. We are grateful for his participation and the report that follows.

Here is the latest CONA's newsletter.

We sincerely hope that CONA grows from strength to strength.


Royal Navy emblem

Resolution Joins CONA

(Conference Of Naval Associations)

Merchant Navy emblem


Background: This fairly recent organisation has been formed with the objective of assisting naval associations to prosper and to provide direction to ex servicemen and those leaving to find the associations that can help them in civilian life.

They hold a working group meeting twice per year. (Also the conference meets twice per year where all associations are welcome to attend.) At a recent meeting that we attended there were 27 naval associations including HMS Resolution Association.

CONA is very well connected within the naval association community and ‘cross fertilised’ with the RNA (Royal Naval Association). They are exploring a wide variety of ways that can assist associations to prosper individually and there is no attempt to encourage mergers or affiliations. They are also likely to be a very good source of news about the activities of the community, and encourage organisations to use their resources and to suggest where they can help – naturally with more influence since they have a broad representation, and they negotiate with organisations to provide discounts and assistance for associations running their affairs.

CONA is currently investigating 6 small associations who state that the next reunion will be their last because members are dying out and so they want to try and assist in helping them continue. They can assist in setting up newsletters, providing guidance for electronic communication training etc.

The Federation of Naval Associations (FNA) is a registered charity set just set up to act as a single point of contact for the MOD and the associations. It has no staff and no subscriptions, but is currently being ‘fostered by’ the RNA (Royal Navy Association). CONA is an active organisation with staff carrying out work to assist the organisations with a variety of skills, and so naturally feeds through this.

There is a maritime charity funding group that can sometimes provide help.

There is encouragement from currently serving Admirals for naval associations to meet and parade together at various events. There is the Gallipoli parade at the Cenotaph on 25th April 2015. There will be a Naval Associations Parade in Whitehall on 6th September 2015. These are well supported by the serving admiralty staff.

There is a fairly common problem where for example the ship is no longer in commission and the membership is dying out without new members. Difficulties arise from the resources needed to run the Association. Some ideas like the Type 42 Association is considering adding the Type 45’s since they are continuing in service. HMS Ardent Association is understandably small, but someone runs a Type 21 Club which organises a reunion once per year and all ships can then meet their pals. There is another organisation that can produce memorabilia e.g. badges, ties, and the Association does not have to stock them.

The Submariners Association is also a member of CONA, and while we may be considered as a sort of ‘satellite’ of the submariners community we are still encouraged to represent HMS Resolution ourselves independently along with other organisations such as the diesel boats etc.

CONA Has negotiated a discount with the RAC for members giving extensive roadside cover for £65 - £70 including Home start end European cover that is equivalent to a package that is normally £247. This is available to us as members.

CONA Use The UK Holiday Group who give discount for holidays but are well used to organising reunions for associations and recently ran the Wrens and the RNA events. They can include excursions and arrange travel packages. They also offer discounts to CONA members booking individual holidays. They understand the needs of ex naval personnel.

Coleman/Ansver is an insurance group working for associations and charities not for profit, for some time and can arrange cover for an association which may need public liability insurance – for example when booking halls etc. as well as insurance for their assets and naturally will give discounts of 15% to members for home insurance etc. which they claim is competitive.

Sarah Clewes runs an organisation called All About Admin which offers admin support to cover gaps, organise events, membership databases; setting up facebook accounts etc. She served in the RN for 20 years, and claims that she knows the difference between a Killick and a Commander. Payment is on an as used basis.

Where discounts are negotiated by CONA 1% of the resulting trade is rebated to CONA to be distributed back for the benefit of the member associations as used.

There is a Shipmates Project helping people already retired or leaving the Navy into civilian life. The idea is to ‘put an arm around the shoulder’ and point them in directions where they can have support. The idea is that organisations that sign up for it around the country will be pointed to branches of associations by the retiring person as a place to go for assistance etc. HMS Resolution runs a welfare department which can be accessed through our website.

The Royal Marine Concert group is a band made up of retired RM bandsmen and they provide reunion entertainment – for a price. There is also a Manchester based singer called Sarah Dennis known as the ‘Veterans Sweetheart’ who will perform at reunions. In addition she has produced a CD including a nostalgic remembrance anthem ‘I Will Remember You’ with the aim of raising £1,000,000 for the Royal British Legion this year.


    Terry Knowell


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