NAAFI origins

Navy, Army & Air Force Institutes. Serving the Services

Navy, Army & Air Force Institutes. Serving the Services

You may like to know that the origins and aims of the NAAFI go back well before 1921. Originally regiments would have managed their own canteen locally until in the late 1800s when the Canteen and Mess Co-operative Society was set up to bulk purchase supplies and sell on to local canteens at a lower cost.

During the First World War the Expeditionary Force Canteens was set up for forces abroad, also taking on the responsibilities of the above noted Co-operative.

In 1917 the Army Canteen Committee was formed to run all the individual canteens at ‘home’ and, on absorbing Navy canteens, changed its name to the Navy and Army Canteen Board. Finally in 1919 the NACB took responsibility for the Expeditionary Force Canteens and absorbed the RAF canteens, becoming the main core of the Navy Army and Air Force Institute in 1921. Rodney Marshall, Luton, Bedfordshire.