Originally established as the Grand Fleet Fund by Admiral Jellicoe, The RNBT has grown into the major naval benevolence charity which now spends over £5 million each year to help past and present sailors, Royal Marines and their dependants.


6 November 1915

history of rnbt

Admiral Jellicoe proposes the formation of the Grand Fleet Fund to alleviate ‘distress amongst men who are wholly or partially disabled, or amongst dependants of those killed.’


1 February 1916

history letter

Inaugural meeting of the Grand Fleet Fund onboard HMS IRON DUKE ‘on behalf of Petty Officers and Men wounded and incapacitated during the War.’ Funds received: £861 12s 3d, including a donation of £50 from Admiral Jellicoe.


29 November 1918

history note

Funds had risen to £33,000. First proposal to centralise benevolence by the formation of ‘The Royal Navy Trust’, suggesting that part of the committee ‘always to consist of ratings serving in the Fleet.’


2 May 1922

history letter

As there were ‘funds accumulated in various ways during the late War’, the Admiralty decided to create a single benevolence charity for all ‘Non-Commissioned Officers or other ratings in Our Naval Forces’. Formation of ‘The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust (Grand Fleet and Kindred Funds)’ by Royal Charter.


17 September 1942

noel cowards poster

Proceeds of premiere of ‘In Which We Serve’ donated to RNBT. Second World War casualties estimated as 45,775 ratings killed, some 130,000 injured.


1 August 1952

history image of rnbt

Pembroke House, formerly a naval children’s home, opened as a Care Home for elderly beneficiaries, initially for 30 residents in 4 or 5-berth rooms.


1 June 1991

rnbt shop window

Castaway House opened by Admiral Sir Jock Slater. Formerly the RN Motoring School, this building was originally used by the Portsmouth Committee, but in 1995 the headquarters of RNBT moved from Gillingham to Castaway House in Portsmouth. The building is now shared with other Naval charities.


14 June 2000

rnbt charity work

Pembroke House officially re-opened by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, following modernisation, with full en-suite rooms offering facilities for both male and female beneficiaries, and widening the provision to include Nursing.


1 February 2008


RNBT assumed responsibility for the John Cornwell VC Memorial Almshouse in Hornchurch, Essex, in memory of the posthumous award to the Boy Seaman who dies of his wounds after the Battle of Jutland in 1916 thus returning to RNBT’s origins as the Grand Fleet Fund.


31 May 2012

awards ceremony

Major extension to Pembroke House completed and opened by HRHs the Earl and Countess of Wessex. The Home now offers Care and Nursing facilities for 55 residents to the highest modern standards.


14 June 2022

Thumbnail of Admiral Jellicoe House from outside view

Our centenary care home project in Portsmouth, opened to our very first residents. Admiral Jellicoe House comprises 66 luxury en-suite bedrooms, resident-centred care and dedicated dementia support to veterans of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines, and their dependants.