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The H.M.S. Courageous Association has over 200 members and that number is steadily increasing despite time marching on. It is a tribute to the friendship among the crew that, even after as long as fifty years, many of those men are eager to seek out and meet up with old friends and crew mates. At the Association General Meeting held on the 12th November 2005 in Torquay, the rules of membership were decided. They are as follows:


Available to any man who served on the ship or submarine as crew (no minimum period of service requirement), to include any person who was attached to the boat in an ancillary role such as ship’s manager. An annual subscription of £5-00 is payable



Available to the wife, partner, sibling or child of any person who served in the ship or submarine. Any person who has a strong association with the ship or submarine, for example, patron, builder. An annual subscription of £5-00 payable


Awarded by The Association to any person who it is felt has performed outstanding service to the ship or submarine, its crew, the Courageous Exhibit at Devonport or the members of the Association. No fee is payable for Honorary Membership


Awarded by The Association to widows or next of kin of those who served in the ship or submarine and who are now deceased. No membership fee is payable.

Members at a previous reunion
Members at a previous reunion
Members at a previous reunion
Members at a previous reunion

If you are eligible for membership under any of the categories shown and would like to apply to join The Association please follow the link below to our membership application. There are two ways to apply for and pay for membership. You can print and complete the membership form and send it, with the correct remittance, to our membership secretary, Steve Crowley, or you can pay online through Paypal, a secure server which allows payment by credit or debit card. Payments through this method are secure and use encryption technology to safeguard your card details. Alternatively, payment by direct debit saves The Association money as the administration costs are reduced and we would request that you consider this option by using the link below to open and complete a standing order mandate. The easiest method of payment is the annually recurring automatic payment available within our Plans and Pricing page in the main menu or the link below.

We are pleased to say that our subscription has been set at £5 since the Association was founded in 2000. We currently have no plans to increase the membership payment and we are only aiming to cover administration costs etc.

NB: If a prospective member is disabled, or receives benefits, and the payment of a membership fee is likely to cause hardship we are happy to consider waiver of the membership fee. This will be a confidential waiver and decided solely by the membership secretary. If you feel that you may be entitled to free membership where a membership fee would normally be paid, please give us chance to consider the waiver. On your membership application simply attach a brief covering note detailing the reasons for the waiver.



John Cannon, oldest member of the Association and World War 2 sinking survivor.

Allow us to introduce you to John Cannon. John was serving in the aircraft carrier, HMS Courageous on 17th September 1939 as it conducted submarine patrols in the North Atlantic, south of Ireland. The ship was attacked by U29, commanded by Otto Schuhardt, and sunk by torpedo. John, a 16 year old boy seaman, serving as Captain’s Messenger spent several hours in the cold waters of The Atlantic before being picked up and returned to Plymouth. 519 men from the carrier were lost in the sinking.

John subsequently served in HMS Dorsetshire which was involved in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck on 27th May 1941. He was also involved in the rescue of German sailors from the sunken battleship and, for his part in their rescue, he was made an honorary member of the Bismarck Association. HMS Dorsetshire was subsequently sunk, in the Indian Ocean, by Japanese dive bomber aircraft on the 5th April 1942 with the loss of 234 men. Once again John was fortunate to be rescued from the water where accounts of their experience told of sharks circling and claiming some of his shipmates.

John has been a valued, much liked, respected and admired member of the HMS Courageous Association for many years, joining us, as our guest, at several reunions, accompanied by his son Alan. During his attendances he has been presented with photographs of his HMS Courageous and our HMS Courageous along with a ship’s crest and several branded items of clothing. Alan told us that, when John walks out wearing his HMS Courageous jacket he appears to walk a little taller and a lot prouder.

John lost his beloved wife several years ago but continued to live, independently, in his own home in Devon, only accepting support from a part time cleaner when he was in his very late 90s.

John is, in true Royal Naval style, a mischievous ladies’ man and always has a twinkle in his eye and a compliment for Katrina and Caroline, Steve Crowley’s and Chas Cooke’s wives when they visit.

The Association helped John to publish his very well written autobiographical book “Taking the King’s Shilling” which is available in the Amazon store as either a digital book or paperback. You will find a link to his book in our online shop page.

John celebrated his 101st birthday in early 2024 and, even today, continues to live independently.

Members at a previous reunion
Members at a previous reunion
Members at a previous reunion
Members at a previous reunion
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