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  • Writer's pictureSi Biggs

75 years of the RMA-The Royal Marines Charity

RMA-The Royal Marines Charity celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021, marking the foundation of one of its predecessor organisations, the Royal Marines Association (RMA), in 1946.

After the Second World War, there was a Royal Marines Old Comrades Association (RMOCA) which flourished in branches normally in port cities, providing comradeship and mutual support, the demobilisation of some 80% of the then 77,000 Royal Marines posed a challenge to find employment on a huge scale. On the initiative of Lt Col Nicol Gray and Col Paine, RMA was established in early 1946 after an initial meeting on 27 November 1945.

RMA was initially based in an office in Queen Anne’s Mansions in Petty France, Westminster alongside the then Royal Marines HQ, with HM King George VI as Royal Patron and Lt Gen Sir Robert Sturges as President, and a monthly Executive Committee meeting with branch and regional representatives. The original aims were to help those going outside to find jobs, resettle and maintain contact with each other and the Corps, and to assist those in financial need, principally through assistance from the Royal Naval Benevolent Trust. There was a target for 50,000 members by the end of the first financial year 30 April 1947.

A new bespoke HQ was opened by Earl Mountbatten of Burma at 5 Talbot Square, London in 1948, by which time there were 155 branches and 30,000 members, and by the start of 1950 jobs had been found for 9,300 members. 1952 saw a step up in the employment and welfare sections, and the appointment of the first General Secretary followed a year later, and in 1954 the first annual reunion took place in Wigan.

in more recent times the Corps saw significant action in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-14, and though Royal Marines make up only 4-5% of British armed forces, their elite skills (meaning they provide 45-50% of UK Special Forces) meant that they were disproportionately exposed to threat. As a consequence, though they won 25% of awards for bravery in Afghanistan, they sustained 13% of deaths and 16% of the serious injuries. There was a surge of support from the Royal Marines Corps Family to support the injured and families of the bereaved. This manifested itself in a number of initiatives and organisations being established to support the Corps Family.

Now called the ‘RMA-The Royal Marines Charity’ and operating from a HQ at CTCRM, but with satellite offices at Whale Island, Stonehouse Barracks Plymouth and Piccadilly in London, we offer preventative and reactive benevolence support to individuals and families in need, employment support to RM who are compulsorily discharged or who find themselves in need as veterans, membership services to the now over 16,000 members in 89 worldwide geographical and virtual branches (including sports, military specialisms and the arts), undergirded by an effective fundraising and communications function.

Read the full story here; History of the RM Charity

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