Below you will find some interesting outline sketches of prominent branch members. Currently listed:
Profile of our President
Profile of our Standard Bearer
Profile of a President
William George Mellow (1919 - 2015) was made President of RNA Uxbridge in March 2014. There can’t be many members who do not know “Perky” Mellow and, I am sure, would like to add their congratulations on his appointment.
Ex C.P.O. Mellow served his country in the Royal Navy for over a quarter of a century. “Perky” was born in Paddington on 1st December 1919 and volunteered into the Navy in June 1936. He carried out his part 1 training on HMS Ganges, near Ipswich during 1936 / 37. Ganges would play an important part in “Perky’s naval career returning three times as an instructor during his twenty seven year engagement.
July 1937 saw him drafted to HMS Warspite, the most famous British battleship of the 20th Century. Warspite had just completed an extensive refit and was virtually a new ship even though she was originally launched in time for the First World War Battle of Jutland. A large proportion of the crew were young and inexperienced and coincidental with “Perky” joining the ship trouble broke out amongst a proportion of the crew when, in an effort to finish the ships preparations for sea, it was announced that the weekend leave period was to be shortened from Friday - Monday to Saturday – Monday.
“The mutiny was caused over leave ...but when the Marines were called out to quell it they sided with the sailors...”
Captain Crutchley reported the incident to the C.I.C Portsmouth. Unfortunately the story was leaked to the press. A Court of Enquiry relieved the Commander, First Lieutenant and Captain of Marines of their appointments. Three ratings were discharged S.N.L.R and ten others posted to different ships.
“Perky” served on Warspite until 1939, by which time he was rated Able Seaman. But, most of his war time service was spent with Combined Operations. The Combined Operations Command was set up by Churchill in the spring of 1940. Combined Ops. made a huge contribution to the successful outcome of the Second World War by planning, equipping and training for offensive amphibious operations. Throughout the ensuing years there were many raids and landings mostly against the Axis forces from Norway in the north to Madagascar in the south and from the Mediterranean in the west to the Far East, culminating in the D-Day Invasion on the beaches of Normandy on the 6th of June 1944.
As an example, one of the ships ”Perky” served on was HMS Glengyle. She was a cargo ship converted into an Infantry Landing Ship capable of transporting an embarked force of up to 700 men, as well as 12 landing craft and in April 1941 was part of the Bardia raid, a successful amphibious landing in North Africa by British Commandos. Later the same month she was involved in the evacuation Greece, and in May the evacuation of Crete. By January 1942, she was part of the Malta Convoys, carrying supplies from Alexandria, before returning to Britain in April for preparations for the Dieppe Raid. To keep secret the presence of an Infantry Landing Ship, Glengyle was disguised as a tanker, and was present at the operation on 19 August, 1942 transporting the Essex Scottish Regiment to White Beach for the main frontal assault of what turned out to be a disastrous operation. Recent TOP SECRET documents now released from the National Archive at Kew have revealed that the operation was to a large part planned by Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, and was an attempt to snatch valuable Enigma coding information for use at Bletchley Park.
By the time “Perky” was drafted, in December 1942, he was rated Petty Officer (acting). His next draft was to HMS Quebec, part of No 1 Combined Training Centre (CTC) at Inveraray. Its key role was to train service personnel in the latest techniques of small landing craft amphibious warfare. . HMS Quebec’s primary role was to provide and maintain craft for training operations and to accommodate personnel drafted in for the training of units at the CTC. Being a remote posting it was not to everybody’s liking. (Inveraray had a population of 500 inhabitants and the CTC often had 15,000!)
This bloody place is a bloody cuss
No bloody tram, no bloody bus
And do they care for bloody us?
In bloody Inveraray
Everything's so bloody dear
A bloody bob for a bloody beer
And is it good? No bloody fear
In bloody Inveraray
All bloody work no bloody games
No bloody fun with bloody dames
Wouldn't even tell their names
In bloody Inveraray
The end of World War II saw the usual run down of the armed forces, including the Navy. In 1951 “Perky”, now P.O Q.M.I. Returned to HMS Ganges for the first of three periods as instructor. “Perky” and his Ganges Boys were dramatically involved in rescue operations after the great North Sea Flood of 1953. It was one of the most devastating natural disasters ever recorded in the United Kingdom. 38 died at Felixstowe in Suffolk when wooden prefabricated homes in the West End area of the town were flooded. Royal Navy Ganges boys came to the rescue with some small boats, to rescue people out of their flooded homes.
In 1953 he was rated Chief Petty Officer, CPO, and finally ended a superb career in retirement in May 1963. His certificate of service records he was awarded 1939 - 45 Atlantic and Africa stars, Africa, France and Germany clasps, Defence and War medals. Other meritorious service awards included 4 War Service Chevrons, and a payment in 1949, more appropriate to Nelsonian times, of 6 guineas Naval Prize Money.
A remarkable career of a remarkable man – our President, at RNA Uxbridge, S/M William George “Perky” Mellow
RNA UXBRIDGE Standard Bearer
Patrick (Paddy) Minns has been serving RNA Uxbridge as Standard Bearer for over 5 years. The Standard Bearer has an important significant and symbolic role to perform for the Branch.
When handed the role of Standard Bearer, Paddy pledged to "carry the standard on all occasions when called to do so with pride, and in a manner due to such a sacred trust. It is his honour and responsibility to protect this dedicated memorial to the shipmates who have crossed the bar."
As well as the Branch Parade at monthly meetings Paddy attends other external parades on average once a month. In July each year Paddy travels as far a Falmouth, Cornwall to take part in the "Sea Sunday" parade; and of course, has the sad duty to present branch colours at funerals of members who have crossed the bar.
Training for the role is via a DVD provided by the RNA. But, no matter how good the training and how dedicated Paddy is, accidents can happen. Like the time Paddy got the Standard caught in the trees while carring out his duties at Uxbridge on a Rememberence Day Parade. Or, leaving his gauntlets behind in the club when attending the local Breakspears crematorium.
As well as presenting the Standard Paddy is tasked with keeping it safe and he works assiduously to keep the standard, the assorted bright-work and the leather holster and gauntlets in tip top condition. We are privilaged in having such a dedicated Standard Bearer to represent the Branch.