Maritime Charity Amassing Stories for History Book

Posted by Michelle Howard
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A national maritime charity is set to publish a commemorative book in celebration of its 150th anniversary and is calling for people to come forward with their stories and memories.

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, based in Banstead in Surrey, is currently in the planning stages of producing a special book, which will be published in time to celebrate the landmark birthday in May 2015.

Members of the public with family and friends who have received help from or are connected in some way with the Society, both past and present, are encouraged to share their memories and anecdotes, which could be included in the book.

The book ‘Home from Sea’, whose title is taken from the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson and engraved as the epitaph on his gravestone, is being written by John Allan, a retired solicitor, who has a strong interest in British history, particularly in the maritime sector, and holds an MA in Maritime History from the University of Greenwich.

The illustrated story aims to give an insight into the Society’s 150 year history, including changes within the Home, Britain’s rich maritime heritage, how the Home was affected by both world wars and the growing support available to seafarers over the years.

This isn’t the first time the charity has stepped into the literary world.  ‘The Royal Alfred Story’, by A. Stewart McMillan, was published in 1965 to mark the first 100 years of the Society.

Chief Executive of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, said, “As the Society prepares to celebrate its landmark birthday next year, it is an excellent opportunity to share with the public the Society’s rich and detailed history whilst looking after former seafarers during an unbroken 150 years.  We have already discovered gems of information and some fantastic images from our archives and held some vivid interviews - we look forward to being able to share all this next year.”

Anyone who has anecdotes or memories of the Society is invited to contact them directly on 01737 353763.


The charity, which was set up in 1865, provides housing, residential and nursing care to seafarers and their dependents.

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