Devonport Services. a strange name you might think. Services? What sort of Services? Bus services?, waiter service? No the military service.
Devonport Services is a rugby club for members of the British armed forces, at one time it would include the Army and the Royal Airforce, these days it is mainly the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines. We do still have Army personnel on our playing books from time to time, the men of 29 Commando, the gunners of the Royal Marines who although attached to the Marines are in fact members of the Army.
Once in a while we get a member of the Royal Airforce. Normally someone who played for our youth and colts then joined the Airforce after leaving school. Sometimes they come home for a holiday and turn up and play for us.
Any member of the armed forces is potential member, at one time many years ago if one of our players was drafted somewhere else and we needed him for an important game the military would give him a pass to come back for the weekend to play. This does not happen any more.
Some years ago the club took on youth and became partially open. It involved a big decision higher up the chain, because we were a military club we could not mix civilian money with Government money, so the youth, while part of the club, have always been separate in financial terms.
We still have to maintain greater than 50% of military people as senior players.
The youth have always been seen as a valuable asset to the club with players eventually coming through the system to play for the senior club.
From a military point of view it has no doubt aided recruitment to a small extent with youngsters meeting members in the Services. Over the years quite a number have joined up as a result of playing for the club's youth and colts.
The club badge is made up of the Lion of the Army, a Naval crown and the Airforce albatross with the clubs name on a ribbon underneath.
We run all the youth age groups from under 7s to under 16s, in addition we have girls rugby at under 13 and under 15.
The seniors consist of a 1st and 2nd team, Ladie, colts and girls under 18s, we also field the occasional veterans side.