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What is the NAAFI?

The NAAFI (Navy and Army, Air Force Institute) formed on 1 January 1921 to look after the welfare of Britain's fighting men.

Before the NAAFI existed Armed Forces personnel relied on the donations of a few considerate officers and only occasional government contributions. After World War One the government decided to set up an inter-departmental committee to improve the welfare conditions of all British servicemen.

The committee decided to amalgamate the Expeditionary Force Canteens with the Navy and Army Canteen Board to create one organisation.

After paying off its original government loan the NAAFI has remained financially self-supporting. It is a 'not for profit' organisation conducted on the principles of a co-operative.

The NAAFI still plays an important role in today's fleet and has come a long way from just supplying tea and buns from a scruffy barrack canteen.


Article highlights

  • What is the NAAFI?

  • The early years

  • World War Two

  • Post war years