1930s

  • Time for expansion, consolidation and innovation for the Fund

    This included setting up an information service for charities dealing with naval officers and their dependants, to help individuals identify the best sources of help.

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    The Fund also made real progress building relationships with those it supported, leading to the first conference of maritime charities and the setup of a Representative Council of Sailors' Missions and Homes.

  • The Great Depression of 1929-1932 saw a decline in shipping, leaving ships rusting in harbours and thousands of merchant seamen and fishermen out of work.

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  • 1935

    Over £50,000 awarded in grants by the Fund

    By the end of 1935, a total of £50,555 is awarded in grants by the Fund.

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    In that same year, it also introduced a standardised system of accounts for charities. Largely well received, this system improved account keeping, helped the Fund's Distribution Committee better assess the needs of grant recipients, and prevented duplicate entries for beneficiaries.

  • Economic conditions continue to be tough with many merchant and fishing ships being laid up again in 1938 due to financial difficulties.

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  • 20 January 1936

    HM King George V passes away aged 70

    HM King George V, the charity's namesake and long-time supporter, passes away at Sandringham House. He is succeeded as charity Patron later that year by the charity's President, King George VI.

  • Britain's merchant fleet is the largest in the world, accounting for more than one third of global tonnage.

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  • 1938

    Lieutenant-General Gerald Hickson joins the Fund as Chief Executive

    He is remembered as a man of strong character and clear vision who led the charity through the critical war years that followed.

  • The value of wet fish landed in the UK in 1938 totals more than £12.3 million.

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  • 03 September 1939

    The Second World War breaks out

    The Second World War breaks out, with immediate action at sea. At this time, the Royal Navy was the largest Navy in the world.

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    Only two days into the conflict, the transatlantic passenger liner SS Athenia became the first British ship to be torpedoed and sunk with 117 lives lost. The German U-boat, sadly, would come to characterise the violence of the Second World War at sea in the coming months and years.

  • The first prototype shipborne radar system is installed on the USS Leary, revolutionising ship navigation.

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