Maldon U3A

Maritime Group

Group co-ordinator: Malcolm Case
Time: 1st Monday each month at 10am - 12 noon autumn to spring. In the summer, we usually go on outings.
Place: The Blackwater Sailing Club, Basin Road, Heybridge CM9 4SD.

During autumn to spring we generally have illustrated talks at The Blackwater Sailing Club on subjects with a Maritime interest, such as sailing around the world by yacht, the role of the Merchant Navy in times of peace and conflict, information on specific ships, both Merchant and Royal, amongst many other interesting nautical topics. During the summer months the group generally visits places of Maritime interest.

All members of the U3A are very welcome at the meetings.


Monday 1st January – no meeting – bank holiday.

Monday 5th February – A talk by Gordon Davies on "Yachting in the 19th Century" The enormous social changes that took place in England during the 19th century had a massive impact on yachting. At the beginning of the century yachting was primarily the preserve of the very rich. From about 1850 the rising middle class took to low cost boating, and yachting as we know it today began to take shape.

Monday 5th March – A talk by Dr Aaaron Jaffer. “At Sea with the Tudors and Stuarts”. Dr Jaffer is a researcher at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and is an associate of Dr James Davey. The talk will show how England, and later Britain, emerged as a Maritime Nation. Hear about global exploration, the growth of English trade and Naval power, the ferocity of early-modern warfare, navigational advances and the rise of piracy. Encounter famous figures like Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake as well as lesser-known individuals, such as black Tudor sailors and widows of the Anglo-Dutch Wars. The National Maritime Museum is opening an exciting new gallery in September 2018 “Tudor and Stuart Seafarers”.

Monday 2nd April – no meeting – bank holiday

Monday 7th May – no meeting – bank holiday

Monday 4th June – Talk by Pam Bathurst on the “Medway Queen”, its history up to present day. Paddle Steamer Medway Queen was built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company of Troon Scotland in 1924, for the New Medway Steam Packet Company of Rochester. The Medway Queen is the last of the estuary paddle steamers that were built to take passengers on day trips on the Thames and Medway Estuaries. Based in the Medway Towns, for many years she gave pleasure to thousands of passengers, who enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing day out and a precious break from long working hours.

At the outbreak of the Second World War she was commissioned into the Royal Navy and became a minesweeper, joining the 10th minesweeping flotilla. As H.M.S. Medway Queen she was now armed with a twelve-pound gun and two Lewis guns. On the 27th of May 1940 she was ordered to the beaches of Dunkirk “to embark some troops that would be waiting there”. During the next few days the Medway Queen rescued more than 7000 men, completing seven trips, a record for a ship below the size of a destroyer. At the start of her final return to England, with almost 500 French troops on board, she sustained significant damage in a collision.

After the war she was refitted and then returned to her peacetime role and took place in the Naval Coronation Review of 1953. After the summer of 1963 she was withdrawn due to diminishing business and was sold to a shipbreaker. Over the next years she encountered many problems but in the summer of 1985 the Medway Queen Preservation Society was formed and the campaign to save this little ship started in earnest.

Monday 2nd July – Michael Taverner, Station Manager, National Coast Watch Southend. The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is an entirely voluntary organisation keeping a visual watch along UK shores. Each station assists in the protection and preservation of life at sea and around the UK coastline. Currently 50 NCI stations are operational and manned by over 2000 volunteers keeping watch around the British Isles from Rossall Point in the North West, through Wales, to Wearside in the North East.

Whilst high technology and sophisticated systems are aids to improved safety, a computer cannot spot a distress flare, an overturned boat or a yachtsman or fisherman in trouble. Other vulnerable activities like diving, wind surfing and canoeing are made safer with visual surveillance. NCI watchkeepers provide the eyes and ears along the coast, monitoring radio channels and providing a listening watch in poor visibility. They are trained to deal with emergencies, offering a variety of skills and experience, and full training by the NCI ensures that high standards are met. Over 246,000 hours of organised coastal surveillance were completed in 2016 alone, all at no cost to the public. Funding is managed by a Board of Trustees with a constitution agreed by the Charity Commission and relies heavily on local support.

Monday 6th August – Trip to Chatham and the “Medway Queen” at Gillingham. The coach will leave Tesco’s Maldon at 8:00am. On arrival at Chatham, tea/coffee/biscuits will be available (included in price), guided tour of the Dockyard by coach with the opportunity for guided tour of the ropery and/or the submarine. Free time to visit displays/ships etc in the Dockyard. Lunch can be taken at restaurants in the Dockyard. Depart the Dockyard at about 3:00pm for short drive to Gillingham for a guided tour of the “Medway Queen” and the visitors centre. Depart for Maldon at 5:00pm. Cost per person is £36.00 which includes the coach, driver’s gratuity, coach parking, entrance to the Dockyard, tea/coffee/biscuits on arrival and the visit to the “Medway Queen”. Please contact Malcolm Case for further details.

Monday 3rd September – Four-day holiday to North Norfolk which includes a stop at Ickworth House with a guided tour of the house (NT property – if you are a member please bring your membership card), guided tour of St Georges Distillery (tea/coffee on arrival), Langham Glass, this visit to include a glass blowing demonstration, a Town Guide guided tour of Maritime Kings Lynn followed by a visit to Sandringham House and Estate; a trip on the Bure Valley Railway, visit to Hoveton Hall, a Broads Boat tour, a guided tour by coach of Norwich. A visit to the Norfolk Wherry “Maud” (Tea/coffee/biscuits included), a guided tour of the Nelson Museum and either a visit to Great Yarmouth Port or a visit to the Time and Tide Museum. Cost per person, based on 41 going is £418.00. For booking forms and further details please contact Malcolm Case.

Monday 1st October – John Johnson Allen, "Too Shallow for the Navy: Maritime Mesopotamia 1914-17". It is the story of the RN's support for the military campaign. On the Tigris & Euphrates, the RN were awarded over 160 medals for gallantry, including 3 VC's, in what were often close quarters encounters.

Monday 5th November – John Rogers (Maldon Little Ship Club)- restoration and sailing of the “Essex Melody”.

Monday 3rd December – Annual Buffet

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Last updated 7th December 2017