The following article is a report by Alfred Jackson Brigham of his time as Secretary of the Dover Branch of the Royal Fleet Reserve, from 28th July 1919 to October 1922. This covered the time immediately following World War 1 when many men found themselves looking for work.
The first meeting held in Dover of R.F.R. men was arranged by Mr Stickells & Mr C Davis on July 28th with a view to supporting a few R.F.R. men in Portsmouth who, unable to gain recognition from any other body to consider their first claims, decided to seek mutual interest and protection generally for all R.F.R. men. This meeting, not being well attended, it was decided to advertise another meeting more extensively; at the same time a voluntary collection was made to support the work.
The second meeting on Aug 4th 1919 gave a better attendance; and it was decided to adopt the programme of requests for better conditions in the R.F.R. than those there prevailing. Mr James of Portsmouth, the actual pioneer of the movement, invited Dover to appoint one of their number as a representative on the then “Joint Representatives Committee”. Mr Brigham was proposed and seconded and accepted office, also as Secretary to the Dover Branch. At this period, although the Admiralty had been approached through the Dockyard Parliamentary Committee; they would not recognise R.F.R. men as a body, and it was therefore decided to gain recognition through various MPs up and down the country. Mr Brigham undertook to interview Sir W Crundall, the Parliamentary Secretary to Lord Duncannon, and placed the whole cause of R.F.R. men before them on behalf of the Dover Branch, after much correspondence it was a pleasing fact to recall that “Lord Duncannon” together with other MPs met the Board of Admiralty, who eventually agreed to accept a deputation of R.F.R. men, it will thereby be seen that recognition of R.F.R. men by the Admiralty, was brought about by the Joint Representatives Committee who had worked so diligently in conjunction with Mr James of Portsmouth. At this period steady recruiting had been going on throughout the country, and where no Branch had been formed; representatives were busy recruiting; Representatives having been appointed to the Joint Representatives Committee; which met together on Nov 1st 1919 at the Fratton Hotel Portsmouth; and set up the R.F.R. Mutual Benefit and Protection Association, declaring the Association to be as formed from Nov 11th 1919, to commemorate the day of the loss of HMS Good Hope & Monmouth, in which a large number of R.F.R. men lost their lives. The members who met on the Joint Representatives Committee, appointed Mr C Harris of London as the President of the Association, Mr A E James of Portsmouth was appointed as General Secretary; the remaining representatives were appointed by the President to the Executive Council, all offices provisionally for 12 months, thus the formation of the present association.» Next Page