This page contains the current version of the Officers' Association Membership Rules & Constitution.

It's worth checking out the small print here, whether you've been a member for years or you're just thinking of joining.

September 2018

Introduction Eligibility Types of Membership
Applications Constitution The OA Committee
The Composition of the OA committee Definitions Duties
Finance Annual General Meeting Disbandment
Limitations as to membership Mess Functions



1.    The HMS COLLINGWOOD OFFICERS' ASSOCIATION (OA) affords its members certain privileges normally reserved for Officers in the Establishment and other benefits as defined in these Rules. The Association recognizes the contribution members have made to the Senior Service and anticipates that continued relationship with the Establishment will confer mutual benefit to both its members and the present serving Officers of HMS COLLINGWOOD. Members of the Officers' Association, together with their personal guests, are encouraged to use the Mess and its facilities.


2.    Membership is open to serving or retired regular or reserve military Officers who have:

a.    Served a full appointment on the staff of HMS COLLINGWOOD, HMS MERCURY, SCU LEYDENE, HMS CAMBRIDGE, HMS DRYAD, HMS VERNON or MWC .

b.    Served as Engineer Officers of the WE specialisation.

c.    Previously been Life Members of the any of the above Wardroom Messes.

d.    Other Officers at the OA Chairman's discretion, consulting the Mess President if appropriate.

Widows and Widowers of Officers in any of the above catagories may also apply for membership.

Types Of Membership

3.    There are four types of membership available:

a.    Full Mess Membership
Officers on the retired list that work in a defence related business are eligible for Full Mess Membership. Benefits include a vote on mess business, a credit facility (Mess Number) and attendance at all mess functions at a zero profit rate. Amenity/ID card and vehicle passes will be issued on request to facilitate access to the establishment.

b.    Associate Mess Membership
Officers on the retired list who do not work in a defence related business are eligible for Associate Mess Membership. Benefits include a credit facility (Mess Number) and attendance at all mess functions at a zero profit rate. There is no vote on mess business but the views of Associate Mess Members will be represented at the Mess Committee. Amenity/ID card and vehicle passes will be issued on request to facilitate access to the establishment.

c.    Active OA Membership
Officers on the retired list, who do not wish to make full use of the Wardroom on a regular basis, may wish to apply for Active OA Membership. Although the cost of mess functions will be at the guest rate, it is envisaged that, subject to OA funds and agreement by the OA Committee, the majority will attract a subsidy. A credit facility is not available and therefore all transactions within the wardroom will be on a cash basis. Amenity/ID card and vehicle passes will be issued on request to facilitate access to the establishment.

d.    Country OA Membership
Officers on the retired list, who only visit the establishment very occasionally, may wish to apply for Country OA Membership. The cost of mess functions will be at the guest rate however, the OA Committee may decide to subsidise certain events. All transactions within the wardroom will be on a cash basis. Due to the nature of Country Membership, an Amenity/ID card and vehicle pass will not be issued but access to the establishment can generally be arranged at reasonable notice via the OA Sec.


4.    An Officer wishing to become a member should contact the Social and Membership Secretary, whose contact details are shown on the Committee Page of the OA website. The OA Social and Membership Secretary is a retired officer who lives locally. He/she has In and Out mail-box facilities in the Wardroom Mess and makes frequent visits in order to collect and process mail for/from OA Members. A membership subscription is required to be paid annually, ideally by direct debit, by the last working day of February. Subscriptions will be reviewed annually by the OA Committee in conjunction with the Wardroom Mess Committee. Membership lapses for those who do not maintain their annual subscription.


5.    The OA Committee

a.    The OA Committee operates with the approval of, and as a sub-committee of, the Wardroom Mess Committee under the aegis of the President of the Wardroom Mess. The OA Committee Chairman is accountable to the Mess President.

b.   The purpose of the Committee is to represent the views of the OA membership to the President of the Wardroom Mess and to disburse constructively the funds allocated to the OA Committee, in accordance with BR18.

c.    One member of the OA Committee is appointed a voting member of the Wardroom Mess Committee and represents OA matters to the Mess Committee as appropriate.

6.    The Composition of the OA Committee

a.   The OA Committee shall consist of not more than seven members, comprising:

  Vice Chairman
 Assistant Secretary
 Social Secretary
 Two elected members (one of whom is a full, voting, member of the Wardroom Mess Committee) 

b.   Voting at the OA Committee meetings is limited to committee members, excluding the Chairman, who will, if required, have a casting vote.

c.   Elections and ratification of the OA Committee posts will be made at the Annual General Meeting.

d.   The President of the Wardroom Mess may co-opt members to fill any short notice vacancies as necessary.

7.    Definitions

a.   Members of the OA, as well as Associate Members of the Mess who are members of the OA, are eligible to be members of the OA Committee.

b.   The Wardroom Mess Treasurer is an ex-officio member of the OA Committee.

c.   An OA Committee member will attend the Wardroom Mess Committee as a voting member and act as the direct link between the Committee’s of the OA and the Wardroom Mess. He/she will represent the views of the Association to the Wardroom Mess Committee and debrief the OA Committee on relevant Mess Committee matters.

d.  The OA Committee shall have the power to co-opt other members for specific purposes.

8.    Duties of the OA Committee

a.   The OA Committee shall represent the views of OA members to the Wardroom Mess Committee via the OA Committee Member appointed to attend Mess Committee Meetings.

b.   The OA Committee shall meet from time to time as required, but not less than three times per annum.

c.    A quorum will consist of a minimum of 4 members.

d.    The OA Committee is empowered to form such sub-committees as may be expedient for the running of the Association.

e.    The OA Committee shall annually review its Membership rules and Constitution.

f.    In recognition of the generosity of members who kindly donate their personal sword to the Association for the purpose of presentation at an Annual OA Sword Award Ceremony, the OA Committee may confer Honorary Membership to that member, or to other members who, in the opinion of the Committee, have made an outstanding contribution to the Officers’ Association.

9.    Finance

a. Taking into account any minimum running cost fee required by the Wardroom Mess, the OA Committee will review and decide the annual subscriptions for the various types of OA membership.

b. After taking advice from the Wardroom Mess Treasurer, the OA Committee shall decide what subsidies (individual or collective) may be made to OA members and consider any special ex-gratia request for funds, conforming at all times with BR18.

10.    Annual General Meeting

a.    An Annual General Meeting will be held, normally in the Summer Term, at which the OA Committee will report on the business and running of the Association during the past year. Details will be promulgated with the Spring/Summer OA Newsletter, and all OA members are entitled to attend and to vote on any relevant matters.

b.    Extraordinary meetings may be called by the OA Committee whenever necessary, or when called upon by a requisition signed by at least ten OA members. Notices calling such a meeting will state the purpose and be promulgated at least 28 days before the meeting.


11.    In the event of disbandment of the Association, the OA Committee shall call a Special General Meeting (giving 28 days notice), to decide on the winding up of the Association and the disbursement of the funds.

Limitations as to Membership

12.    OA Members are expected to adhere at all times to HMS COLLINGWOOD Wardroom Mess Rules.

13.    Commercial Practices. OA Members are reminded that private business and private commercial practice is not permitted within HMS COLLINGWOOD, including the Wardroom, via e-mail &/or the Internet, without written permission from the Mess President.

14.    OA Members who serve in HMS COLLINGWOOD are to be either Full or Associate Members of the Mess; however during the period of their appointment they will be exempt from the annual OA subscription.

15.    OA Members who are not serving in HMS COLLINGWOOD are welcome to use the Mess and other facilities as mentioned at paragraph 1 above, but may not:

a.    Take part in the management of the Mess, other than having their views expressed by the OA Mess Committee Representative at Mess Committee meetings.

b.    Represent the Mess in answer to invitations to the Mess.

c.    Attend Wardroom Mess Meetings unless invited.

Mess Functions

16.    OA Members are welcome to attend Mess functions, as promulgated in each term Wardroom Social Programme, in OA Newsletters and on the OA website. Members who are unfamiliar with the normal arrangements for applying to attend these functions are welcome to contact the OA Secretary for advice.

17.    Full and Associate Members generally have attendance priority at Mess functions.