Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
RHQ/RRF/1363 15th July 2010
Since last month's edition of the Newsletter Cpl Christopher Unwin, 5 RRF was wounded in action during a RPG and Grenade attack in Helmand Province. He was flown back from theatre for treatment and has now been discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and is on medical leave at home in Doncaster.
Rfn Michael Hobson, 5 RRF was also slightly injured whilst on patrol and returned to the UK. He will be working at RTMC until given the all clear.
Both soldiers should make a full recovery and the The Colonel of the Regiment, on behalf of all Fusiliers, wishes them a speedy return to fitness and acknowledges the great contribution they have both made on operations in Afghanistan.
As you are all aware from media reporting Defence Spending will be reduced significantly over the period of this Parliament. A Strategic Defence Review is taking place accompanied by a significant amount of staff work looking at the future shape of the Armed Forces and how it conducts its business. From a Regimental perspective HQ Land have instigated another RHQ and AHQ study examining mission tasks and the overall contribution made to the Armed Forces. Regimental museums are also under the microscope with the continuation of MOD funding under scrutiny. No decisions have yet been taken but there is undoubted pressure to find potential savings in these areas. As a Regiment it is essential that we maintain the standards for which the Fusiliers have a deserved reputation and that we continue to advertise the importance of the Regimental system to the maintenance of fighting power. Additionally, we must also ensure that the role of RHQ/AHQ is fully understood both within the Army Chain of Command and the public in general. The same is true of our museums.
Honours and Awards.
The Colonel of the Regiment on behalf of all Fusiliers congratulates the following officers for receiving honours on the Queen's Birthday List:
Col G Straughan TD, awarded an OBE
The Colonel also congratulates the following members of 2 RRF for receiving awards for Op HERRICK 10:
Capt J N Fern - now an Instructor at RMA Sandhurst
Cpl L P Throssell A Coy
Officer Promotion and Postings
Brigadier D J Paterson OBE posted to HQ ARRC on completion
of current Afghanistan tour.
Selected for promotion to Lt Col:
June was yet another busy month for the First Battalion in the Land Warfare Centre. It began with Y Company facing old neighbours from Germany, 4 SCOTS on Ex WESSEX WARRIOR. The exercise provided an opportunity for the Battalion to test itself in a varied and challenging environment and Y Company provided a civilian population and insurgent element for them to operate against.
Between commitments Z Company managed to head north to Newcastle for Exercise ZULU MARCH in order to conduct a weeks worth of CT1 and CT2 training. The Company spent a night at St George's Barracks, before travelling to Alnwick Castle and a visit to the Fusiliers Museum before starting the exercise. In addition to low level training, the exercise also included lessons in combat survival with instruction provided by CSM Ed Rutherford and Sgt Steve Forrest. The training covered various aspects of survival, from the construction of shelters and traps to finding food and water. After a gruelling NAVEX the exercise came to an end with a company BBQ put on by CSgt Adi Gallagher and a night out in Newcastle (which required survival skills of a different kind!). Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the exercise and learnt a multitude of new skills as well as being taken out of their comfort zone in more than one area.
After almost a year in the making OC Y Company, Major Bunney managed to get the Company back to his light role roots with a deployment to Brecon. During the week the company conducted some excellent training and worked on dispelling the 'Brecon myth'. The week culminated in an inter-Platoon race over the infamous 'Fan-dance' route in the Black Mountains, which was eventually won by 9 Platoon.
The Recce Platoon recently participated in the British Army Sniper Competition. After running a short selection phase, the chosen snipers started their preparation with a four week training cadre with the new .338 sniper rifle. The selected team of; Cpl Chris Perryman, LCpls Lee Griffiths, Mathew Webb, Gary Sandilands and Cpl Phil Harris (team Captain) deployed to Sennybridge training area ready and eager to participate. The competition comprised of a five day package which was very demanding and excellently delivered by the Support Weapons School. During the competition the snipers completed stalking in both the rural and urban environment. The competitor's hard work paid off with Cpl Griffiths and LCpl Webb finishing in 1st position, whilst Cpl Perryman and LCpl Sandilands finished a very respectful 9th out of 14 competing teams from across the UK's Armed Forces, including SFSG and Commando teams. LCpl Webb also received the best marksman award which was just reward for his performance.
The elite RRF Triathlon Team recently attended the Army Sprint Distance Triathlon at the Cotswold Water Park. The team of; Capt Atkinson, Capt Dixon, Capt Carter, Capt Gifford and 2Lt Walters put in a strong performance finishing above all of the other Infantry teams in attendance. Unfortunately, the RLC in their spray on lycra suits came top having just returned from a six month training camp in Cyprus. If only the Infantry and the Battalion had the time and resources to do this. Capt Clarke also attended but did not start due to an injury received whilst warming up (Ed: Gawd help us!). The team is now focused on the next event in September this year.
Last month the Battalion saying goodbye to Y Company OC, Major Toby Bunney. Since taking command of Y Company in January 09, Major Bunney has overseen the running of the Brigade shooting competition, the Company's move to Tidworth and the often hectic pace of life as the Land Warfare Centre Battle group. Throughout his time with the Fusiliers, Major Bunney has remained staunchly Scottish, perhaps best displayed by his insistence on wearing a kilt every St George's day! He will now deploy to Pakistan as the OC of a UK mentoring team. All members of 1 RRF, especially Y Company wish him the best of luck and a safe tour.
There were a number of events across the Battalion in Jun, focusing on building capability. Battalion Headquarters completed an 'in house' period of Command and Staff Training (CAST) from the 8 - 10 June. B and C Companies, with the Fire Support Groups (FSGs) that will be deploying with them to Canada on exercise PRAIRIE THUNDER, conducted uplift training so both the command elements and the soldiers are now confident on the new BOWMAN radio systems. B and C Company have also spent a great deal of time at Sennybridge in preparation for the exercise and rehearsing combat drills. Meanwhile, A Company have been conducting low level field training and live firing on Stanford Training Area as their part in the build up to Exercise DRUID'S DANCE/WESSEX WARRIOR in Oct. Mortars, Recce, the Snipers and the newly formed Fire Support Groups have been conducting cadres to enable the Battalion to get up to the required training standard for the test exercise that will see the Second Fusiliers taking over as the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group (SSC BG) from 15 Nov.
Slightly belated congratulations go to Capt Jay Shaw, who on 1 May, having just returned from his wedding in the Caribbean after been delayed by volcanic ash in Florida for an extra eight days (some people have all the luck) had his marriage to his wife Belinda, blessed at the chapel in Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow. The event was a major LE reunion with Major Denis Currie, Major Will Blinco and Captains Harry Hinnell and Paul Bland attending; fortunately CSgt Steve Flett was on hand to look after the old timers. (Ed: his words Denis, not mine)
Fire Support Company Cadres
As part of the preparation for SSC BG the Second Battalion's Fire Support Company was required to integrate some new manpower and get back up to speed with all its equipment. Further to this, the Javelin and Machine Gun Platoons had to re-role to form Fire Support Groups (FSGs). Some of these Cadres are still occurring and there will be a fuller report in next months News.
QDC Sniper Part 2 Cadre
On 19 May 10 the Queens Division Course Part 2 Sniper Cadre formed up at Calvary Barracks. The Cadre was to be a predominantly Second Fusiliers affair with Capt Chris Williams, Sgt Foster, LCpl Steyn, LCpl McKinlay and Fus Collins forming the directing staff (DS). This did not, however, stop the cadre welcoming six students from across the Division alongside 14 Fusiliers.
The aim was to prepare, train and test students in sniper skills and field craft. Emphasis was placed on their physical and mental robustness, navigation and advanced soldiering skills with an end state to produce a badged sniper. The location was Sennybridge training area in South Wales, an area known to have tested generations of soldiers in both physical and mental robustness. Its farms and bivvie sites provided the cadre its accommodation for the duration.
The opening week of the cadre saw the teaching of navigation
and a steady progression of fitness over the terrain around the Usk reservoir
and the Elan valley, skills which would later be tested during night navigation
exercises over Sennybridge training area. This was followed by introductory
lessons on the key sniper principals both theoretical and practical. The
course progressed to training in camouflage and concealment, stalking,
observation, judging distance and static navigation. Highlights of the
course included Exercise HARD GRAFT, which was a 48 hour OP exercise.
Finally, Exercise SNIPER ENDURANCE, a team navigation exercise covering
50Km over the Black Mountains at night, rounded up the teaching phase.
81mm Mortar Basic Numbers Cadre
It had been two years since a Numbers Cadre had been run within the Battalion and after recovery from Op Herrick 10 and with Public Duties in full swing, the Cadre started at short notice prior to the unit move to Celle. The Mortar Cadre was run over four phases and spun out slightly longer than most to ensure the highest quality of training for the existing Platoon and those new Fusiliers wishing to join it.
In Phase One the platoon deployed to Longmoor Camp where a concentrated period of lessons focussed on; introduction to the 81mm Mortar, the deployment and capabilities of the Platoon and weapon handling drills. The week culminated in all members of the cadre passing their weapon handling tests before collapsing back to Cavalry barracks and awaiting Phase 2.
Phase 2 was largely an administrative period involving
sending sea freight to Germany and completing European Driver Matrix tests
in preparation for the overseas exercise that would take place the following
week. More drills periods with the weapon system ensured that all were
ready to deploy on Exercise GREEN DRAGON 2 confident in their ability
on the Mortar.
Phase 3 was conducted in Sennelager, Germany in conjunction with 5 RRF Mortar Platoon who were also completing a Numbers Cadre. Some quality live firing took place and all members of the platoon fired the Mortar with each student filling all the different appointments. Time was also spent giving potential MFCs an introduction to target adjustment; this was also a great opportunity for all students to see the effect on the 'receiving end', something those on the Mortar Line rarely see. A night shoot tested the Mortar line in firing Illumination missions and further day shoots sharpened the speed of the new No1s while switching between multiple targets.
Phase 4 was arguably the most challenging, as the platoon completed a dry FTX. The first day in particular was pretty gruelling as the Sections operated without any vehicle support and had to man-pack the mortar kit over most of Sennelager training area. This proved to be a real test of character for the new platoon members (each man carrying in excess of 80lbs of equipment). The Sections were led by Cpl Manton and Sgt Metcalfe. This phase of the cadre also concentrated on teaching those in the mortar sections about the wider tactics and how mortars form an integral part of the Battle Group capability. As the cadre drew to a close, the Platoon was able to enjoy some delightful German weather while fitting in a Platoon BBQ, a recce to Celle, and a Platoon day out water skiing. Poor wake boarding performances were largely blamed on the local sunbathers, who proved to be too much of a distraction!
In all the cadre was highly successful, LCpl Farrell finished as 'Top Student', Fus Hanson was awarded the title of 'The Most Improved'. A special prize was awarded to Fus Vuira, who was believed to have 'Contributed most to the Cadre'; a real reflection of his professional approach to all aspects of the cadre, his thorough knowledge of the weapon system, strong physical fitness, hard work, and endless enthusiasm. Thanks go to Maj Ian Hallam, Trg Maj 5RRF and to Lt Col Hopper and his Battalion for being such generous hosts and integrating 2 RRF into their exercise in Germany.
In June the Javelin and Machine Gun Platoons, were reorganised into three Fire Support Groups (FSGs A, B and C) capable of delivering overwhelming fire power in support of the Rifle Companies. Each Fusilier has to be capable of operating a variety of weapon systems including the pistol, rifle, GPMG (Light and Sustained Fire), Heavy Machine Gun (HMG), Grenade Machine Gun (GMG) and the Javelin. After the unit move to Celle, the FSGs will continue to grow and develop with continuation training incorporating vehicles and further integration with the Rifle Companies.
Having managed to secure an impressive training complex on Warcop Training Area the Battalion's first FSG cadre began. FSG C (the snipers) were still undertaking their Part 2 training so it was left to Javelin and Machine Gun platoons to form the first FSGs. With the "old school" still referring to their platoons as Guns and Javelin (anti-tanks for the even older) the first week was full of banter and rivalry as each platoon started to learn how to effectively operate each others weapon systems.
By the end of the second week almost all of FSG A and B had moved over to the dark side and FSG was the order of the day with Guns mastering Javelin and vice versa. Fresh from a four week demanding exercise in Brecon the newly qualified Snipers arrived and were integrated in to the FSG training. At the time of writing FSG C are just starting to come around to the FSG family having mastered GPMG (Lt) and Javelin.
With just over two weeks to go the next effort is to move onto the GPMG Sustained Fire element of the course, the third weapon system in as many weeks. The cadre has now settled into its stride with the Cadre Officers descending from 10,000 feet now all ranges and equipment have been confirmed. Little do the potential FSG Gunners (students) know that a Cambrian Patrol style test exercise awaits them at the end of week four. Only following successful completion of this will the Fusiliers become FSG Gunners. They will then undertake Phase two of the FSG training, mastering the HMG, GMG and 60mm Mortar (handheld) in Germany
As part of the build up training towards the role of
Small Scale Contingency Battle Group (SSC BG) Battalion Headquarters conducted
revision and training in military decision making and planning more commonly
known as the 7 Questions. Since the return from Afghanistan last year
most of Battalion Headquarters has moved on and new officers and soldiers
are now in post. Two members of the CAST(N) training team came down to
Cavalry Barracks and set the Battalion a mission on which to rehearse
the planning process.
The 2 days were very much a "walk through, talk through" led by the Battalion Second in Command, Maj Matt Thorp against, as always, a well trained and equipped enemy. Planning timelines were on occasion tight but by the end of the two day period the Headquarters as a whole were much better aware of the planning process at this level (some of the planning team had previously used the process at platoon level only).
The Battalion is looking forward to next months impending unit move to Celle, Germany. The pre-advance party has already left Hounslow and the remainder will follow shortly. As a precursor to the move the Oberbürgermeister, or Mayor, of Celle visited the battalion on 23 Jun. This gave the Battalion the ideal opportunity to introduce itself and to talk to Oberbürgermeister Herr Dirk-Ulrich Mende about the men and the Battalion. The Oberbürgermeister took the opportunity to witness a guard mount as well as receiving a brief introduction to some of the more exciting kit and equipment. It was a successful visit that provided a sound foundation for future relations between 2 RRF and the people of Celle.
Germany will present new challenges and the Battalion is looking forward to meeting them with style. 2 RRF had an interesting and varied time in Hounslow over the past two years, covering military tasks across the spectrum from Public Duties to War Fighting. The local community in Hounslow has, throughout the second Battalion's time, been welcoming and supportive, even granting the Battalion the Freedom of the Borough. The Battalion will, without question, miss the community spirit created Hounslow.
This month's Fusilier News from the Fifth Battalion is devoted mainly to Annual Camp which took place in Germany at Sennelager Training Centre (STC) from 12 - 27 Jun. The aim of camp this year was to improve the individual skills of all members of the Battalion in preparation for any short or long term Operational commitments. The implementation of the Graduated Commitment Model (GCM) to Regional Forces now directs that TA Battalions will provide a specific number of individual augmentees aligned with the Operational Commitments Plot (OCP). The commitment is rank and skill ranged from Fus to Major and the numbers provided are specific to each operation, dependent on current strength of the Regular units being provided, and more importantly the projected number of Battle Casualty Replacements (BCR) required. The GCM provides training guidelines and a timeframe within which to prepare and mobilise reservists. This timeline is supposed to be no shorter than 18 months, which gives the reservist the opportunity to complete the Directed Infantry Employment (DIE) modules that have been identified as the training gap required between Regular and Reservist. All training is to be delivered within the Contemporary Environment (CE) in order to make the delivery of training focused on current operations.
With this in mind Camp focused on the key skills for the majority, and specific trade skills that have been identified as in demand for augmentation. Cadres, therefore, concentrated on the following:
" Skill At Arms (SA 80/LSW/Pistol/GPMG).
The Regimental Band attended Battalion Camp for the first time in 8 years. This proved tremendously worthwhile as the Band won favour around the Garrison and amongst the local population. It was also fantastic to have the Band play at both the Officer's and Sgt's Mess dinners, and for the Colonel of the Regiment.
Sennelager is one of the best locations for a TA Bn to conduct its annual training event. Not only are the training facilities excellent, but the infrastructure at Sennelager allows both messes to develop a mess life and ethos, the R&R is exciting and different and even if it is only popping over the North Sea, the difficulties presented to the staff are more complex, inculcating a spirit of expeditionary operations. The Battalion had several visitors most notably the Colonel of the regiment:
On the last day of camp, it was confirmed that the 5th Battalion was indeed now on the OCP providing at least 50 troops of mixed skill and rank for HERRICK 15, 18 and 21. The GCM, like all other operational readiness mechanisms, is in its infancy and still bedding in. The Battalion is now 7 months inside the 18 months minimum warning for Ops that GCM guarantees, and so it is unlikely that DIE can be delivered in entirety, but the training carried out at STC this year is a start and has the Battalion well on the way.
Skill at Arms Cadre - Maj Paul Blaney (OC HQ Coy)
During the first week of annual camp the Battalion conducted a live firing package with the aim of improving the marksmanship skills and the first time pass rate on the ACMT. The package covered Pistol, Rifle and LSW, starting on a gallery range for the rifle and LSW and culminating on the ETR ACMT Range. This was conducted properly by using the Battalion shooting team to coach the core shooting skills in slow time instead of the usual rushing to get everyone through the ACMT over a weekend. This resulted in much improved scores and valuable and rewarding comments from many soldiers such as Cpl Robinson: "We have never been taught to shoot like this before, this is a much better approach and we should be taught like this all the time."
The method was shown to work with a marked improvement in the pass rate in the ACMT and of the 16 Pistol shots, 6 achieved a marksmanship pass (taught by Sgt Fenwick, Queens Medallist), and all but one passed the LSW ACMT at the first attempt.
Counter IED (C-IED)Training
The Battalion organised bespoke C-IED training delivered by the Engineer Training Team based at Sennelager Training Centre. This ran alongside the other cadres and courses and it was deemed essential that every member of the Battalion attended at least one day of this training so they had an understating of the way that C-IED tactics, techniques, and procedures affect all other aspects of soldiering on operations. All of the soldiers gained a great deal from this training and really benefited from the experience of the Engineer instructors and from using operational equipment such as Vallon.
Dry Trg Exercise and LFTT - Maj Marc Gill (OC D Coy)
The first of the ranges started on Monday with individual
CQB on rifle and pistol, and with plenty of range time and ammunition
the most was made of the day. It was evident by the good shooting and
use of ground that the dry training exercise had sharpened everyone's
focus. On the Tuesday firers progressed to pairs CQB and during the evening
six sections were put through the Section in Defence shoot with GPMG flanking
fire and handheld illum. As concurrent activity, and while waiting for
dusk, the 5 RIFLES sniper platoon came down to the ranges and ran three
stands focusing on sniper capability including the .338 sniper rifle,
observation skills, and the opportunity to fire the L96.
Further progress was made on Wednesday with completion of fire team and section attack shoots. There was even time to watch the England World Cup match courtesy of the CIS platoon and BFBS. After a few days on ORP all were glad to receive barbequed food which made up for the rather average display of football!
Progression continued with live firing platoon attacks. For many of the troops this was the first time they had ever progressed this far with LFTT and to a man they thoroughly enjoyed it. Having focussed on dry training on the last two annual training exercises it was good to do a progressive LFTT package which adds the realism that cannot be replicated on dry training.
81mm Mortar Cadre - Capt Steve Holgate (OC Mortar Platoon)
During the first week of annual camp the Mortar Platoon conducted the remainder of the Mortar Numbers Cadre. The majority of the Platoon had done this before, but there were a number of new members for whom this was their first cadre. The Mortars were fortunate to be joined by 27 members of the 2 RRF Mortar Platoon (see 2 RRF article). Enormous benefited was gained from working alongside Regular counterparts particularly given the recent operational experience that many of the 2 RRF soldiers had.
The day and night shoots went very well and both Platoons qualified all numbers for the annual live firing requirement and gained some good quality training. Following mortar live firing serials all of the 5 RRF mortar men joined a rifle platoon in order to participate on the LFTT in the second week.
RRF Band - Capt Kevin Crook (Director of Music)
Following several years of camps separate to the Battalion, this year saw the Regimental Band joining 5 RRF for their annual training in Sennelager, Germany. This was the third time in 4 years that the Band had held its annual training in Germany so most of the members were already well versed in local customs and the language barrier had long since been broken!
The objective of this year's camp was to spend some quality rehearsal time in barracks with only a few public engagements to break up the fortnight. The first of these public performances was, however, on the very first evening and because of this the band were afforded the first coach away from the ferry terminal in Calais and everything was in place in Sennelager awaiting their arrival. As is always the nature of these things, one coach after another turned up on the square of Polish Barracks and none of them contained the band. They eventually got off the very last coach (40 minutes after the first) and less than an hour later were to don full ceremonial kit and dash across Paderborn to perform at the Officers' Mess Summer Ball of 1 PWRR. Nevertheless a well received show and the band still managed to get back to STC in time for the second half of England v USA!
Due to the glorious weather each day, instead of a dingy barrack room the band set up outside the accommodation and provided al fresco music to the Battalion and anyone else who happened by. One morning during a session of marching band 50 nursery children and their teacher turned up and asked to join in. General chaos ensued with children barely two feet tall being trampled into the ground by tuba players! Eventually It a return match was agreed on their playground later in the week. This, of course, escalated and the band ended up performing on three more separate occasions for the local British schools.
Their was also two engagements for the German population. The first of these in the small town of Hovelhof. Earlier in the week the Director of Music had recce'd the area and was amazed at how quiet the town was on a Saturday evening. Cometh the designated hour, however, a huge crowd gathered in the rain to hear the band perform.
On the second engagement of the weekend the band performed at the conclusion of a 24 hour marathon in the Kurpark of Bad Lippspringe. This was an event where each competitor paid a fixed sum for each lap that he or she completed during the 24 hour period, with some running over a 100km. In true German style the event was sponsored by a brewery and a bratwurst seller, both of whom the band felt obliged to introduce themselves to!
The Band has returned to the UK with a hectic schedule in July that will see it performing in the Sage, St Nicholas Cathedral, Seaham Carnival and the Sunderland Airshow.
" 31 July - Flag day for Change of Command to
Lt Col Ian Banks RRF
The Bn currently has the following personnel deployed on Operations:
Op HERRICK 12 - 1 LANCS BG
CSgt Richard Redpath
Op HERRICK 13 (to deploy around Oct 10)
5 RRF has five soldiers currently mobilised undergoing pre-deployment training with 3 PARA. They have been fully integrated into the Unit and are reporting back that they are enjoying the training and are looking forward to deploying with them later this year. They are about to take part in the 16 Bde Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX) at Otterburn Training Area.
Fus Gary Yeoman
Op HERRICK 15
5 RRF has been tasked to provide 50 soldiers for Op HERRICK 15 to deploy in October 2011 with 20 Bde. This is a new commitment. This deployment will differ slightly compared to previous large cohort deployments in that all of the soldiers and officers will backfill various Infantry Battalions within the Bde.
Due to reductions in funding this year, no units in 15 NE Bde were permitted to send a team to compete at TA SAAM 2010 and claim a duty. Some very keen and committed individuals, however, attended without pay, these were:
" Sgt Fenwick
Sgt Fenwick finished second overall in the Queens's Medal, LCpl McKimm finished eighth overall and Fus Arthur finished way down the field due to weapon problems. This was achieved with no prior training and with stiff competition from over 170 competitors. Well done to the individuals for keeping up the tradition of high standards of shooting skills within the Battalion.
A (Fusilier) Coy 4 MERCIAN
Last month the 143 (West Midlands) Brigade SAAM (Skill At Arms Meet) was held which traditionally receives a strong input from A (Fusilier) Company. The Company supported much of the training in advance of the shoot and helped run several of the ranges on the day. In previous years the Coy has had several members in the team but this year it was only Fusilier Jack Jones (who was therefore on his Jack Jones, a pun there for our Cockney cousins in C "City of London" Company). He timed his performance perfectly; only just scraping into the team, but went on to win the Henry Whitehead Trophy, best overall shot and Best Young Shot, so many congratulations. Thanks should be given to Warwickshire ACF where Fusilier Jones built the foundation of his shooting ability. In all, the 4 MERCIAN team won 9 of the 10 trophies (and the team are still unhappy about the targetry on the 10th).
The principle training event of the month was an urban operations exercise based on operating from patrol bases and as ever we had a strong turn out including the erstwhile Fusilier Durnian, who has joined the regular army as a dog handler but gave up his weekend off to join in the training as an infantry soldier. This was principally a teaching weekend, with a follow up test weekend in July. The weekend consisted of a day of battle exercises with the platoons moving onto an exercise phase which ran over Saturday night and Sunday morning. Sgt Henry ran the A (Fusilier) Company Battle Exercise which was casualty evacuation. As with all our training it had an Afghanistan flavour preparing the Fusiliers who are deploying to Afghanistan at the end of the year. In conjunction with this the Officers, Warrant Officers and Senior Non-commissioned Officers who were not directly involved in the exercise had a G4 study day under the auspices of the Quartermaster. It was a very useful day and all those involved gained a great deal from it.
Thursday night circuit training is up and running to
Finally congratulations to Private Kelly who has passed his basic training and is working to become an RLC chef, the Coy waits with eager anticipation for its first egg banjos.
AREA HQ NORTHUMBERLAND
June saw the Hackle on parade in numerous locations around the North East as various towns and the city of Newcastle celebrated Armed Forces Day. The Fusiliers Association continued its excellent support of the Elizabeth Cross presentations as far away as Doncaster and Yarm to the relatives of those RNF who gave their lives in the service of their country.
5RRF deployed to BAOR and the delights of Sennelager for their Summer Camp. Whilst they were away the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Brenda Hindmarsh, wrote to the Commanding Officer inviting the Battalion to exercise the Regiment's privilege of marching through the city on Saturday 23rd April 2011. The Lord Mayor is very aware of the significance of that day both as St George's Day and, the 60th anniversary of the battle of Imjin in Korea where so many Fusiliers were killed in action.
The Regimental recruiting team are working at full speed at the moment with a week at the NE Schools Exhibition at Catterick, two Look at Life exercises on Otterburn training area and various summer shows North of Hadrian's Wall. C/Sgt Reeves and his team are to be congratulated on their hard work and sense of humour.
The Regiment now has its own seating area at Newcastle Station as a result of the Dedication of a Memorial Bench on Sunday 4 July. The bench was donated by Mr Ron Cowen from York and the short service was conducted by Canon Tony Meakin with Lt Colonel Guy Moncur and CO 5RRF present. RSM Frost of 5RRF and a number of Association branch officers were also present for the event and a small reception was held afterwards in the Assembly Rooms where Mr Cowen was presented with a Regimental ice bucket and plaque.
The Area Headquarters organised the 3rd Annual Charity Golf Day for BLESMA at Burgham Park Golf Club on Thursday 17 June in superb conditions where 12 teams competed for an excellent range of prizes including a number of flights to Spain for golfing holidays which was donated by Jet2.com. After golf and catering costs, £2200 was raised for BLESMA and a cheque was duly presented to Colonel Jerome Church at the Regimental Cocktail party at RHQ on Thursday 24 June. The date for the 2011 event has been confirmed as Friday 27 May and any Fusilier golfers who wish to enter are more than welcome.
Thursday 29 July will see the presentation of Elizabeth Crosses to the relatives of both the RNF and RRF at Alnwick Castle by Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland. The son of WO2 (CSM) Peter Hoare will accept the award in memory of his late father and, it is hoped that the best man at his wedding, Lt Colonel Ken Dalby, and, his CQMS, Mr Norman Ward, will both be present for the occasion.
It has now been confirmed that 1 RRF's Football team will play Whitley Bay FC as part of their pre-season tour of the North on the evening of Friday 30 July at the 'Bay's' ground at 7.00pm. All Fusiliers are welcome and a collection for the 'Fusiliers Fund' and BLESMA will take place at the gate. The bar will be open well before the start of the game and hot food will be available.
June began with the tragic deaths of Mary Sprason and Roy Woods. Mary Sprason was the wife of Tony Sprason the former Custodian of the museum at Wellington Barracks and the current Research Officer for the Fusilier Museum. Over many years Mary provided solid support to Tony in all his efforts to preserve the collection and keep the museum going. Between them they ran many first class dinners and lunches at Wellington Barracks initially on behalf of the Headquarters and latterly on behalf of the Museum Project. Their efforts were greatly appreciated by staff and visitors alike. Roy Woods, following service in the Lancashire Fusiliers in both the Regular and Territorial Army, became the museum archivist and without his able assistance and hard work the move of the archive and collection to Moss Street would have been impossible. A true son of the regiment, his father served in the Lancashire Fusiliers during the Boer War, Roy was the only former Lancashire Fusilier to volunteer his services to the museum. As these notes are being prepared news has just arrived of the Death of Terry Morgan a former reporter for the Bury Times and a long time friend of the Fusiliers.
The month ended with the return to work of Linsay
Walsh the Headquarters Administrative Officer following maternity leave
and the birth of her son, Sidney.
Fusilier Danny Smith GM departed from the Headquarters
to return to duty with the 2nd Battalion. His hard work, enthusiasm and
sense of humour have been appreciated by all and we are sorry to see him
go. The staff at Moss Street wish him success for the future and all the
best for his family.
Heritage speaks with a universal language and the Bury team recently travelled over to St Georges Barracks in Newcastle for a meeting with the Area Secretary Northumberland Tony Adamson and Mick Straker the PSAO of X Company in order to discuss how the Fusilier Museum could assist with regimental displays and decoration.
The following week Area Secretary Warwickshire John Turquand and his museum team came up to Moss Street of to discuss something similar. Finally, the staff were also pleased to see Dale Copley who has recently been appointed to the Royal Fusilier Museum in HM Tower of London. Area Secretary Warwick came up bearing gifts including a Lancashire Fusilier "seal skin" which he had purchased at auction on behalf of the Lancashire Fusilier Collection Trust and a photograph of Field Marshal Montgomery with the 18th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. 'Monty' has an interesting association with the regiment; commissioned into the Warwicks, Brigade Major to a Lancashire Fusilier Brigade and commanded a Royal Fusilier Battalion.
Bury Carnival Parade.
It is that time of year when fairs and carnivals abound and Bury is no exception. This year's Bury Carnival was a real combined effort. The parade was led by a Panther obtained from the 1st Battalion by Bury Army Careers Office. The Lancashire Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers added some style to the occasion and the museum staff provided entertainment and workshops for the children. The only person who wasn't impressed was the PSAO of the Castle Armoury TA centre who found his car park invaded by an abandoned low loader which had been used to transport the Panther. Evidently the driver had decided to leave it there because it would have cost him too much to move it to the agreed location. Nevertheless, the driver did move the low loader once the PSAO illustrated what he could do with a broom handle.
Armed Forces Day.
The Fusilier Museum celebrated its first anniversary
by offering free entry to the public and celebrating armed forces day.
To assist the museum the Careers Office produced a stand as did the ACF,
SSAFA, the Regimental Association and the Friends of the Museum. The day
attracted over 300 visitors.
The Bury Careers Office continues to perform well. Currently one of the top two offices in the North West. Since opening last year some 500 young people in Bury have made enquiries. Some 40 are now serving and another 30 undergoing selection. Of the numbers going through roughly 50% are heading for the Fusiliers.
" Minden day. Sunday 1 August. Minden Day celebration with a short drum head service in Gallipoli Garden. Parade at 1130hrs. Also presentation of the Elizabeth Cross to the families of eight Fusiliers killed in action.
" North of England Military Curator's Meeting. Thursday 19 August. The Fusilier Museum is hosting the annual meeting of the North of England Military Curators.
" Minden Club Dinner. Thursday 2 September. The
annual Minden Club Dinner to be held at the Army and Navy Club. The Annual
general Meeting commences at 1900hrs in the St James's Room
The Museum project continues apace and the Development Officer, Dale Copley, is heavily engaged with the various offices within Historic Royal Palaces and Royal Armouries. A considerable amount of the conservation work for the project will be carried out by these two agencies and much planning is in hand. Additionally, plans are being formulated for an outreach programme, educational seminars and live interpretation. One of the new galleries will be dedicated to RRF post 1968 and AHQ is actively seeking items of memorabilia from those conflicts that the Fusiliers were involved, particularly Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. If any member of the regiment has items that they would like to donate they will be very welcome. Most will know that the Royal Fusiliers were unique in the First World War in that it raised five Jewish Battalions of which three deployed to Palestine. AHQ has now made contact with the Jewish Military Museum in Hendon and hopes to engage them in joint ventures. A most successful Museum Appeal Fund Raising Dinner was held in the Tower on 8 July which included a private viewing of the Jewel House.
On the Cadet front, 103 Detachment Corps of Drums once again performed at the Ceremony of the Dues in the Tower on 19 June. They followed this up by participating in the Cadet 150 Parade at Horse Guards and their Drum Major was chosen to lead the parade down the Mall to attend a garden party in Buckingham Palace.
Finally, Major Colin Bowes-Crick retired from the Management Board of the Army Rugby Union on 8 July and was elected as Honorary Life Vice President of the Union at the AGM later that day.
Fusilier Willis (Col Nanson's driver at 1 (UK) Armd
Div) is organising a charity open golf day at Alnmouth village golf club
in Alnmouth, Northumberland on 7 Aug 10.
I R Liles OBE