The Royal Naval Reserve Officers’ Club Liverpool is also affectionately known as “The Sea Urchins” and was formed in 1921.
A couple of years ago, the thought crossed our minds that we ought to do something special for our Centenary Year. The idea of a book about the Club seemed the obvious choice but that would hardly have made it to book form – perhaps a few pages stapled together! Then we thought about the people who have made the Club what it is over the last 100 years – the members and in particular, the Presidents.
A first stab at research showed us that there were a lot of missing links as regards the Club itself and after a few weeks we knew that we were going to have problems as early archives were missing. Had we made the wrong decision?
A call to the Liverpool Records Office on the advice of Canon Bob Evans MBE MNM RNR, former Chaplain in HMS EAGLET, confirmed that there were thirteen boxes of material that he had used in compiling his book about HMS EAGLET. It was a promising start but still much was missing. More research was needed so we moved on to the Presidents to see if we could fare better.
We made the decision to try and locate descendants of the Presidents as well as gain information online. We got lucky! Contact was made and we were moving forward. The book was taking shape at this point and then we decided to cost the project. The Club does not have large reserves and we could not afford to produce a publication worthy of the Centenary, so an application was made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support this worthy Maritime History project and in January 2020 we learnt that we had been successful in gaining funding. Many, many thanks to them.
The book, quite naturally, has many dates but history is not just about that and once we had included the information about the Presidents, and in particular that received from their descendants in the form of books, papers, photos and anecdotes, it became a personal story. This book could not have been written without their help and for that we are extremely grateful.
It was about people who had lived through wars, people who had served their country and had sea going careers at other times. It was about adventures in foreign parts, books written, stories told and as anyone who has done any research knows, there are links that arise that take you into other realms and where particularly relevant, these have been included.
It is also timely to remember those Members who did not return from the various conflicts and regrettably, whose names we shall never know and those who perhaps never got the opportunity to become Club Members.
All our research material has been saved and if anyone wishes to see how much information we have had to precis on any particular President, then please use the Contact details on the website and we will send it to you.
It has been a privilege to make contact with descendants; to research the President’s lives and we hope that we have produced a book worthy of them and you the reader. We hope that learning about our heritage might inspire you to delve deeper into the maritime history of the Club members.
Please look at the Centenary Book tab to read the book and the Addendum which was produced a year later and gives the history as we have researched it.