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Supporting Merchant Mariners and Fishermen since 1839. The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society (to give it its full title) may not be well known to the wider ‘Veteran’ community, but many of its beneficiaries come from the wartime generation including those who served in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleet during WWII and the Falklands conflict.


Established in 1839 following the loss of nine fishing boats and twenty-two men during a sudden storm in the Bristol Channel, the object of the Society was to assist the survivors of shipwreck and to support the widows and orphans of those tragically lost at sea. Although shipwrecks are now dramatically less than they were, sadly assistance is still required and following a tragic loss, an immediate grant is paid to the widow of a working fisherman or serving seafarer, whether death occurs at sea or ashore.

The Society’s main function today is benevolence and the payment of discretionary grants to ex- merchant seafarers and ex-fishermen. Regular grants are paid to retired or permanently disabled seafarers and widows. Special grants are made to meet crisis and specific needs from essential household electrical goods and clothes to mobility aids.

With a volunteer network of over 200 Honorary Agents throughout the British Isles the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society has over 2,000 regular beneficiaries – almost 18% of these being of an age to have seen Service plus many more widows of ex-Service personnel. Last year a total of over £1.6 million was paid out in charitable grants in over 2,800 cases of need and the Society received over 600 new applications for assistance.

For further information
call 01243 789329,
or visit

Minister for Veterans Launched Awareness Campaign from HMS Portland

minister speech

The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr David James, and seven veterans from St Austell, Plymouth, Ashcombe and Torquay were presented with their HM Armed Forces Veterans Badges by the Minister for Veterans, Derek Twigg MP.

The presentation onboard the Frigate HMS Portland at Devonport Naval Base was assisted by the Deputy Lieutenant of Devon, Lt Col Tim Courtenay OBE DL, over 30 representatives from local ex-Service organisations attended.


Over half a million Veterans Badges have now been issued, with applications still being received daily.
The event launched a two-week campaign in the South West to raise awareness of the support services provided by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.

Mr Twigg spoke about the importance of making veterans aware of the help available to them. He said:

“There are thousands of veterans in the Devon and Cornwall area and this campaign is about ensuring they are better informed about the services and support we provide for them”.

The campaign included feature newspaper advertisements, distribution of postcards and leaflets to over 1,100 locations and a mobile advice unit at locations across the South West. Significant media interest was generated, including coverage on ITV’s Westcountry News.

For information on the Veterans Badge, and advice about the support provided for veterans, call the Veterans-UK helpline on 0800 169 2277.



Veterans Honoured at Olympia
military history

In line with a pledge by Derek Twigg, Minister for Veterans to raise the profile and recognition for Veterans in UK society, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) took a stand at the ‘Who Do You Think You Are? Live!’ exhibition.


The event was held on 2 – 4 May at Olympia, London. Around 20,000 people attended with the Military History zone the star attraction.
SPVA occupied a stand promoting the Agency’s support for veterans and the role of the MOD Medals Office. The display proved to be hugely popular. To further raise the profile of the services SPVA provides, the Agency hosted a Medal and Veterans Badge presentation ceremony on the centre stage. The presentations were made by Brigadier Robin Bacon and provided an ideal opportunity to highlight the valued contribution the MOD Medal Office make in publicly recognising our veterans and current Service Personnel. In addition, Brigadier Bacon used the platform to promote this year’s Veterans Day Celebrations and in particular, the National Flagship event at Blackpool.

For further information on the help and support available to veterans and to see pictures of the exhibition please visit and click on the relevant link.


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