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History of The Merchant Navy Association

The Merchant Navy Association was launched in 1989 and has been guided to seek more recognition and respect for our seafaring veterans, life at sea and our maritime history. This was in the minds of many seafarers who, at that time, felt that after nearly fifty years, since the end of WWII, little or nothing was understood of the Merchant Navy and the suffering and sacrifice of thousands of wartime merchant seafarers.

The forming of the MNA was inspired by the initiative and untiring efforts of two ex-wartime merchant seafarers, Fred Harrell and Barry Osborne. The response to their advert in the local press enabled the Midlands Branch to be established in 1989. The Exeter Branch was second off the stocks that year and then a few months after that the Plymouth Branch. Many branches have subsequently been established throughout the UK and abroad alongside others that have been launched but remain independent. The MNA has grown into a formidable and respected organisation designed by seafarers to represent their interests and promote skills and opportunities in the years ahead.

At the core of our objectives is the greater recognition of the Merchant Navy.  This includes importantly, its veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict.  It also includes its on-going commercial importance to the United Kingdom. We must continue to acknowledge seafarers, encourage pride in our national maritime heritage and continue to present opportunities for future generations to heed the “call of the sea” and develop public awareness in future events.

The Association was first registered with the Charity Commission, as no. 1135661, in June 2009.

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