By this time the Navy had taken more of the premises but were working amicably with the Club, and in March 1943 Capt. Dane the Commanding Officer, was co-opted to the general committee (and the Naval Officers were Hon. Members of the Club). A program of painting the non-requisitioned buildings was going forward, and in August it was decided to fit a roof to the Gloster Lounge, until then it had had the temporary canvas awning which had been fitted in 1935.
In September 1943 the whole of the clubhouse was requisitioned, and Capt. Dane gave the explanation that this was because the Customs refused to have civilians on premises where rum and tobacco were issued from bond.
On November 8 the Naval establishment at Burnham was commissioned as HMS St. Mathew, a mine Depot, still under Capt. Danes command. Although it was described in the Navy List as a mine depot, it is clear that it was a training centre for landing craft, of which there were two flotillas. Each flotilla had five R.N.V.R. officers and about 40 ratings, their duties being to train Royal Marines and Army units in landing techniques.
The early friendship with Capt. Dane and the Navy continued and the tables were turned when members were invited to consider themselves Hon. Members of the naval mess in their own Clubhouse. Our members were also given Hon. membership of the Burnham Constitutional Club, the Burnham Sailing Club and the West Mersea Yacht Club.
This was the year when the allied armies were fighting their way through North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
During 1944 only three committee meetings were held. These were mainly concerned with wrangling over the rules and the election of officers, described later. Meanwhile the Allies had landed in Normandy and buzz-bombs were falling on southern England.
Early in 1945 the possibility of de-requisitioning was being considered. In February a joint Sailing Committee for the clubs in Burnham came to life. At the end of June there were discussions with the Corinthian about giving races for their classes if we were ready first. At the end of October HMS St. Mathew was paid off and the men’s side of the Club was reopened, ladies being allowed to use the men’s dining room in addition to the Gloster Lounge. On the opening day, October 27, they were even allowed to use the bar and smoking room. In November, the piece of land adjoining the car park was bought for 125. War in Europe had ended on May 8: the first atom bomb was dropped on August 6, and the Japanese capitulated on September 2.
During their tenure of the Clubhouse, the Admiralty had made some alterations. The ballroom was divided into cabins or cubicles, and the ladies dining room (or Officers Mess) was enlarged by taking in the cabins nearest the front. On the car park by the High Street, Nissen huts were erected for use as a sick bay. All these alterations were used satisfactorily for many years.