The History of China Fleet Country Club | Saltash, Cornwall
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Our History

Through the years

From where we started to where we are now

From the mudflats of Victoria Harbour follow the journey of China Fleet.

The mudflats of Victoria Harbour were bought for $2.50 per square foot by a Hong Kong businessman who began charging for tipping rubble from the growing colony. The land began selling for $25.00 per square foot. Short of buyers for the land, the businessman joined with the personnel of the Royal Navy's China Fleet to raise funds for a Royal Naval Canteen.
The Canteen proved to be extremely successful and was soon demolished to make way for a new building. Using the Club funds and with a generous loan from the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Admiral Kelly Commander in Chief China Station, laid the foundation stone for the seven story China Fleet Club building. For the men who served on the China station 'The Old Blue' as it was known provided a place for refreshment and decent accommodation away from the crowded ships.
During the battle for Hong Kong, the Japanese occupied the Club using it as the naval HQ. The Club was extensively refurbished and returned to its former use after the Royal Marines and Royal Navy liberated the Colony. During the Korean war, the Club became a major rest and recreation centre for British and allied sailors. During the Vietnam War, allied and American sailors used the Club extensively between tours of duty boosting Club profits.
Land values escalated and the trustees sold the air space over the Club. A developer paid for temporary facilities while building a new luxury Club on the first 9 floors, with 14 more floors of office space above. Fleet House opened and because of the agreement to hand back Hong Kong to the Chinese in 1997, the search began for a suitable successor to the China Fleet Club in the UK.
A proposal to build the China Fleet Country Club in Saltash, Cornwall was put to the Hong Kong sailor's committee and Trustees. The feasibility study was approved by the Hong Kong sailor's committee, the land was purchased and the design of the complex began. Building work started on the 180-acre Saltash site. The new China Fleet Country Club was officially opened on June 1st 1991 and was formally opened by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales on 5th December 1991, along with a prestigious golf course, designed by Dr. Martin Grant Hawtree. On 30th November 1992, the Hong Kong China Fleet Club closed its doors for the last time ready for the Chinese to take over Hong Kong.
China Fleet Country Club extended membership to the local community, ensuring that the Club remains financially viable, as well as offering a non-military, contemporary and family-friendly environment. 
The Trustees, Committee and Company remain cognisant of the Club's rich history and remain determined to stay true to its founding principles, to provide rest and recreation facilities for members of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines Non-Commissioned personnel and their immediate families.  In June 2014, this support was extended to include the Royal Navy & the Royal Marines Veterans, the Maritime Reserve, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and serving members of the Royal Navy & the Royal Marines Commissioned ranks and their immediate families. 
China Fleet Country Club celebrates its 25th anniversary by receiving a visit from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.The Club was rededicated to commemorate this event.
China Fleet Country Club temporarily closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the closure, the Club was used as a vaccination centre by the NHS, supported by Royal Navy volunteers.
China Fleet Country Club celebrated its 30th anniversary. After an uncertain period during the COVID-19 pandemic, China Fleet Country Club fully opened its doors again, welcoming beneficiaries, members and guests.
On 14th June 2021 the Royal Navy strengthens its ties with the China Fleet Trust, with a formal affiliation with the New Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Ship HMS TAMAR. Lieutenant Commander Michael Hutchinson RN, the Commanding Officer of HMS TAMAR opened the Club's new heritage area and acknowledged the affiliation with his ship. 
On 7th November 2022 the Royal Navy’s Fleet Commander (Vice Admiral A Burns CB OBE) approved an affiliation between the China Fleet Trust and 47 Commando (Raiding Group) Royal Marines. This important affiliation enables the Trust and Club to share an affiliation with both dark blue and green elements of the Royal Navy. A new addition to the heritage area was opened on 12th December 2022 by the Trust Chair and the Commanding Officer of 47 Commando (Colonel R J Maltby RM)