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 11th June 2010
COMMANDER BRITISH FORCES COMMENDATIONS
The Colonel of the Regiment, on behalf of all Fusiliers congratulates the following members of 2 RRF on being awarded Commander British Forces Commendations for Op Herrick 10, Afghanistan:
Capt James Fern
May was a varied and challenging month for the First Battalion. Over 200 men spent a fantastic week climbing, mountain biking and hill walking in Capel Curig, North Wales, during the Battalion's Adventurous Training camp. Regardless of the usual spectrum of Welsh weather - from a few inches of snow to red-hot sunshine - it was a welcome and well-earned break for all. Climbing proved to be a challenge for those without a head for heights and, working on the principle of "what goes up must come down," the abseiling certainly put a few people out of their comfort zone! Thankfully Lt Matt Selby's knots all held firm, and he now has a number of volunteers for his trip to climb in the Dolomites, Italy, later this summer. During an organised party evening LCpl Frank Dodds' karaoke version of Tom Jones' "Delilah" was an equally uncomfortable experience, but he clearly convinced the judges and walked away with first prize!
Capt Steve Carter and a team of keen bikers, including Fus Josh O'Donoghue (only a week after leaving training), qualified as mountain bike instructors prior to the camp and led teams around a tricky trail. They did not identify any future Lance Armstrong's, however there is a good deal of video footage of various members of the Battalion crashing and flying over handlebars on the more difficult sections of the day! (Note: Drum Major - report to the Training Wing for remedial cycling training). Finally, the hill walking proved more difficult than some may have expected - the narrow Crib Goch ridge on Snowdon saw many eyeing-up the 2,000 ft drops nervously, and many of the routes involved "cheeky" sections of scrambling. Thanks must go to Maj Mike Cooke, OC X Coy, for planning and executing the trip, and the 20 instructors (all from within the Bn) without whom the camp would have been impossible.
The Battalion have also deployed twice on Ex WESSEX WARRIOR - a pre-deployment/training exercise - for 4 SCOTS and 1 RIFLES. Fusiliers spent 2 weeks acting as; civilian population, insurgents, displaced persons or British Nationals caught up in the conflict. The "civilians," for example, occupied a number of buildings in Copehill Down village to create an authentic pattern of life as the exercising troops operated in the area. Each man is given a new name and occupation to live by and activities included praying five times and day, occupation of the local market and mixing with the insurgents. Seeing 50 Fusiliers kneeling in prayer, led by an Islamic civilian to the accompaniment of the call to prayer is a rather startling sight! These exercises continue to provide a unique perspective from which to view the exercise serials and lessons are always learnt from the way that the exercising Battlegroup deals with the various scenarios as they develop.
The Battalion were also pleased and honoured to receive
a visit from the Colonel-in-Chief, HRH the Duke of Kent. The Duke presented
Sgt Maj Ian O'Dea his Long Service and Good Conduct medal before enjoying
lunch with the Officers, WOs and SNCOs. He was then introduced to various
support weapons systems by an immaculately-camouflaged Sgt Justin "the
walking bush" O'Hare, and had the opportunity to chat to members
of Y Company after a compound assault demonstration.
Finally, the "elite" 1 RRF triathlon team recently attended the Army Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships which were held at the Cotswold Water Park. The team battled through the field of fellow pro athletes to complete the 750m open water swim, 20km cycle and 5km run to finish in a respectable position. A team of the nation's best scientists and engineers are still struggling to work out how Capt Tom Atkinson managed to squeeze into such a small wet-suit.
During June and July 1RRF will be on exercise for 5 consecutive weeks as 16 Brigade conduct their pre-deployment training. Thirty two members of the Battalion will return to Fromelles, Northern France, for the official opening of the new First World War cemetery. The Hart's Medals inter-Company boxing competition also takes place on 9 Jun.
This last month has seen a number of events in the 2RRF calendar, covering both work and extra curricular activities. Further to this it has been confirmed that the Second Battalion will be assuming the role of the Small Scale Contingency Battle Group (SSC BG) from November 2010 for 6 months (Ed: this means standby for contingency deployment to Afghanistan .
The Battalion finished its period of split leave with C and Fire Support Company, along with the last few from HQ Company, returning to work on the 17 May. The whole battalion is now back until the unit move in July/August. On arrival in Germany the Battalion will be uplifting to the latest version of the BOWMAN radio system, and B and C Company will deploy to BATUS to be the light role companies in 5 RIFLES and QRH Battle Groups respectively. This has resulted in a great deal of field and signals training being conducted prior to the move. The Battalion successfully completed a Proving and Confirmation Exercise (PACEX) for the Battalion's communication systems prior to the start of the Command and Information Systems (CIS) Platoons cadre period, and is currently running back to back Infantry Signals Cadres (ISC) to prepare for BOWMAN conversion. All the rifle companies have been conducting low level training. In the case of B and C Companies, it is preparation for deployment to BATUS, and for A Company, to be ready for the battalion level exercises that will be run on arrival in Germany to ensure we are fit for role as SSC BG.. Fire Support Company has been busy getting new soldiers integrated into platoons and running training cadres in their specialist roles, these are ongoing so more about that next month.
The Battalion is still finding time to march around the Palaces in London with the main public duties event last month being the State Opening of Parliament. Beyond this (and mostly focused around football, any one would think the world cup is coming up) the Battalion entered two teams in the London District 6-a-side football competition where both teams reached the final and subsequently qualified for the Army Football Association 6-a-side competition. The battalion football team also competed in a charity football match at the Ricoh Arena, home of Coventry City FC, against a team from EON the energy suppliers, in memory of the seven soldiers killed on Op HERRICK 10. John Meredith, a family friend of the Annis family who's son, Simon Annis was killed whilst deployed on Op HERRICK 10 completed a 190 mile bike ride from Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow to Cadishead, Manchester in memory of Simon and raised over £1000 for the Fusilier Aid Society in the process, well done and thank you very much. Just to finish the month on a high the Fusiliers even managed to get their hands on the FA cup.
On 7 May the Second Battalion played a charity football match at the Ricoh arena in memory of the seven soldiers killed serving with the Battalion during Op HERRICK 10, Afghanistan 2009. Sgt Simon Valentine, Cpl Joseph Etchells, LCpl James Fullarton, Fus Petero Suesue, Fus Shaun Bush, Fus Louis Carter and Fus Simon Annis. The game was organised by Paddy Healy, a former fusilier who now works for Central Networks (the company that owns EON the energy provider). The funds raised went to; Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion, The Fusilier Aid Society and the Forces Children's Trust. LCpl Ryan "Buff" Marshall captained the Fusilier team with support from Sgt Mark Hyman. Maj Will Blinco, a die hard Coventry City fan, managed ans coached the team. The 17 strong squad comprised of 15 Fusiliers and Zac Valentine and Sam Carter, two family members of soldiers killed on the tour.
LCpl Marshall commented, "to have the opportunity to play and captain the Fusilier team at the Ricoh arena is the best experience I have had in 16 years of competitive football." The staff at the Ricoh arena were superb. The Battalion and guests were made to feel very welcome and the facilities were superb. The game saw a very high standard of football from both sides with the final score 4 - 2 to the Fusiliers. Congratulations to the whole team, especially the goal scorers, LCpl Burk who scored two and LCpl Harding-Prior and Fus Sween scoring one a piece. According to LCpl Marshall the score line could have been 10 - 2 if CQMS A Company had managed to score some of his opportunities as "he missed a bag full" (Ed: of note was the goal scored by LCpl Marshall, in the wrong end so that would make it 10 - 1, LCpl Marshall)! In total over £10,000 was raised for charity. As ever Carol Valentine played a leading role in the organisation and the fund raising.
On 18 May the Battalion entered 2 teams into a London district six-a-side football competition. There were 12 teams in total from around London. The winners and runners up would both progress to take part in the Army 6 a-side Competition in Aldershot. At the end of the day the two Fusilier teams played each other in the final with the A team just winning 3-2. With both teams through to the Army Championship the Fusiliers had high expectations of success. The A Team fulfilled these expectations by beating 7 Bn REME 4-2. 2 RRF are now the proud holders of the title 'Army 6-a-Side Champions'.
This is without doubt an outstanding achievement from a group of players that have had little or no time to train, yet through grit; determination and Fusilier spirit, defied the odds and beat past champions from across the Army, the Battalion team were undefeated in all ten games. Congratulations to both teams for a remarkable display of skill and determination. Not to be forgotten are Maj Will Blinco (QM), the Battalion Football Officer and Sgt Mark Hyman the Battalion's Coach.
State Opening of Parliament.
As state occasions go there are few bigger than the State Opening of Parliament. Each year members of the three services provide honour guards and street lining guards from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament to provide protection for Her Majesty the Queen. For the second and final time during the Second Battalion's time as Public Duties Battalion it was to make up the bulk of Sector Two from Horse Guards to Parliament Square.
The Sector was commanded by the Commanding Officer, who along with the Ceremonial Adjutant, Capt Matt O'Hare, would be on horse back. It is not often that Fusilier officers are required to be mounted but with some serious training at Hyde Park Barracks you would never have known. As with all things military rehearsals were the order of the day to perfect the event. But how do you rehearse marching down a busy city centre street without causing major traffic disruption? The answer, march down the busy city centre street at 0400hrs!
After a number of rehearsals the Battalion formed up in blazing sunshine and were ready to move off. It was quite a sight to behold for the general public with the bear skins of the Guards, pith helmets of the Marines and of course the Hackles of the Fusiliers making for a real display. Once in position with bayonets fixed, swords drawn and Colours Flying the Battalion waited ..and . waited and waited. Then with a flourish the Queen's escort appeared from Horse Guards arch. The Household Cavalry thundered past the Fusiliers who held their nerve with the horses mere centimetres from their noses. The Queen passed the Fusiliers who were gripped with an immense sense of pride, everyone had their chests pushed out and weapons held out straight in the Royal Salute. Once Her Majesty had passed it was time to play the waiting game again. The temperature began to soar but the Fusiliers stood firm as some of the Navy began to falter and flake.
FA Cup Final.
The 2010 FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Chelsea was one of the major events of the 2009 - 2010 football season. The Fusiliers were selected to support this event and lots of the soldiers jumped at the chance. The Fusiliers carried out a number of ceremonial roles at the event with WO2 Richard Halloran carrying the FA Cup on to the pitch at the start of the game alongside LCpl Brett Mason carrying the base, Fus Wayne White carried the winners medals and Fus Eric Johnson carried the runners up medals. After the initial parade of the cup Sgt Ruben Norris transferred the cup from the pitch to the Royal box awaiting the award ceremony.
The response from the supporters was fantastic and all the soldiers commented that they felt really proud that the crowd were so generous in their applause. All Fusiliers attending the event were given free tickets to watch the game from the Portsmouth supporters' end with a good view of the pitch. According to those attending, the game itself was not the best, Chelsea winning 1 - 0, but the event was a 'never to be forgotten experience' that gave all those attending a real feeling of public support for what the Army achieves.
Longest Relay Race in the UK.
CSgt McCowliff saw a race advertised in a sadistic running magazine. The race seemed simple enough, a twelve man relay, it was the rest of the details that made this event something different. The route was from Gunnersby Park in east London to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, a total of 150 miles, the start time was 1300hrs and the teams had to run through the night. This sort of event is what CSgt John McCowliff lives for and decided that he wanted to enter a team, and set the record for the event. Over the next few weeks he set about scanning the Battalions fitness test results to identify the fastest runners the Battalion had to offer. The final team consisted of CSgt John McCowliff, Sgt Steven McCowliff, Lt Chris Shaw, Cpl Scott Ferguson, Cpl Anthony Garrett, Cpl Andrew Yale, LCpl Sammy McKeown, LCpl Sean McKinlay, LCpl Dave Ramage, LCpl Dave Bates, LCpl Kristopher Russell and Fus Jason Curtis.
Despite being well advertised there were only a few teams taking place (I wonder why?) at the start line the Fusiliers were the only team warming up as the civies were sitting in their vehicles with the heating on due to the weather. The teams all had to run the first, middle and final leg as a group and then each individual had to complete two legs of between six and eight miles. The route was scenic, undulating and demanding. In places the route was marked, but for much of the route it was a case of map reading on the way. The start was close with the teams jostling for position. During the night and after some remedial map reading the Fusiliers confidence was building as they closed in on and overtook the leaders. As first light started to break, fatigue was setting in, the villages were like ghost towns but the Fusiliers kept focus and extended their lead. Entering Cardiff the whole team was again running together, in front but not sure by how much, the Fusiliers crossed the finish line at 1258hrs on the 30 May beating the team in second place by over 4 hours and setting a new record for the event. Congratulations to CSgt John McCowliff and his team; an amazing result.
Looking forward to next month the Battalion is conducting a Recce Platoon cadre, a Mortar Numbers cadre and forming Fire Support Groups with the remainder of Fsp Company, complying with the new direction from Warminster. The rifle companies are training hard to reach collective training level 2 prior to the move, and Battalion Headquarters will be conducting a mini CAST exercise in preparation for a full CAST once they arrive in Germany. Post the unit move the Battalion will be conducting the remainder of the BOWMAN uplift conversion before heading back to the UK for Exercises Druids Dance and Wessex Warrior, a Battle Group level exercise and assessment in preparation for taking on the task of SSC BG..
The Battalion is still waiting for the Annual Financial Control Total which will drive the amount of training that can be afforded over the remainder of the year. They have, as mentioned in last month's news, been granted permission to press on with the Annual Training Camp in Sennelager, Germany from the 12 - 26 Jun 10. The majority of effort is now geared towards making this as successful as possible. The latest training weekends continued the theme of the last few months, focusing on the individual, and in particular shooting and marksmanship skills. The last weekend at Warcop was reasonably well attended bearing in mind it is in the month before Annual Camp where attendance is traditionally low. The last drill night saw the visit of the Battalion's new Honorary Colonel, Lord James Percy, who replaced his brother the Duke of Northumberland in this role on St Georges Day. He was briefed by the CO, Adjutant, and RSM on all aspects of the Battalion and they look forward to him visiting regularly in the future.
The Battalion has the following numbers of personnel
The Bn currently has the following personnel deployed on Operations:
Op HERRICK 12 - 1 LANCS BG.
Cpl Christopher Unwin Burma Coy
CSgt Richard Redpath
Op HERRICK 13. (to deploy around Oct 10)
5RRF has the following eight soldiers due to attend mobilisation training at RTMC on Sat 05 Jun 10 as part of a 4 PARA cohort due to backfill 16X on Op HERRICK 13:
Fus Gary Yeoman
Assuming they all pass the mandatory tests at RTMC they will conduct an intense period of pre-deployment training before joining their Unit (still TBC - but thought to be 1 Royal Irish) in early July. The training serials include OPTAG training, a Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX), and a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX). The Fusiliers and Riflemen are joining the 4 PARA cohort as they approach the end of a 6 month cycle of training and will be very much playing catch up over the coming weeks. They have the confidence of the Chain of Command that they will give of their best, close the training gap and join their Unit in good order and fully prepared for further continuation training.
Capt Ben Clare (D Coy) has been deployed on a Short Term Training Team task in Qatar since April helping to train elements of the Qatari Infantry. Below is a report from Capt Clare on his experiences so far.
"We are now half way through our deployment here and almost into week 4 of the course so I thought I should send an update. Only three of us made it out here as the Qatari's decided against the fourth member of the team (a WO2) while we were at RTMC. Although we've each had more work to do, we have managed to get an Infantry Platoon Commanders Course up and running in only 4 weeks.
Some of the students have been finding the English a little difficult and they are certainly not used to the high standards of the British Army, but they appear to be quite keen and having just completed our first exercise, they seem to be picking it up as they go along.
The military here seem to view training establishments as a bit of a punishment, particularly for the training staff, so it has been quite difficult getting even the most basic of supplies. Combined with the overall lack of resources, they also have a completely different command structure, where senior officers are the only people who have any decision making powers. Having requested 100,000 rounds of blank ammo, we were initially told we could only have 2000 for the whole course. Last week, Sgt Leadingham (4 YORKS) had to have a Brigadier sign off the sandbags he wanted to use for the exercises!
Nonetheless, we appear to be making a good impression on our counterparts who have already asked us if we would be willing to come back again for the next course early next year. We have also been invited to numerous private events, like weddings and family gatherings, which have been a real insight into the local culture.
Word has also spread about how the course is being run and we have learned today that the Brigadier responsible for education has requested a visit/demonstration next week to see just what we are up to.
The team is due to return at the beginning of July, and after a short holiday I should be back trg with the Bn around the end of July, just in time for summer leave".
Forecast of Events.
5 June: Commanding Officer's Dining Out
A (FUSILIER) COY 4 MERCIAN
May was a busy month for A Company. With the departure of the previous SPSI WO2 Smith, the new SPSI WO2 Karl Spencer from 1RRF was welcomed by the Company. Mr Spencer is originally from the Coventry area and has settled in quickly. He has just returned from 2 weeks mentoring 4 MERCIAN soldiers on their CIC (TA) Course at ITC which has been an early insight to the challenge of training the TA infantry soldier.
The main training event of the month was live firing at Warcop. Another strong turnout from the Company resulted in them being fastest on the march and shoot competition. In addition, the company has a number of soldiers in the Battalion team for the brigade skill at arms meeting which occurs in June.
The Company hosted a visit from Commander 143 West Midlands Brigade. Brigadier Banham MBE was briefed on the work of the Company covering; training priorities including WTS, operational commitments and community engagement amongst other things. He then went visited soldiers' training and the recruiting team before informally meeting the Company for an opportunity to discuss recruiting, training and operations with all ranks, ably hosted by the CSM.
As mentioned above, WTS (Workplace Training Statement) is the focus for the training this year. To explain to those unaware of WTS, it is recognised within Headquarters Infantry that there is a gap between a Regular and TA soldier at the end of CIC and pre-mobilisation. WTS lists all these elements and training is geared towards specifically covering these in preparation for Afghanistan tours. By regularising the requirement to close the training gap, the TA infantryman can now be formally qualified to Regular CIC standards, thus improving options to serve with the regular infantry whether on mobilised service, FTRS or on transfer. The next operational commitment is to support 3 MERCIAN on OP HERRICK 14. With more volunteers than required selection is already underway.
During the month, soldiers from the company have supported 2 fund-raising events in aid of soldiers' charities. Several members of the company supported Nigel Potter's Magnificent 7 Land's End to John O'Groats sponsored walk as it came through Birmingham, they were Cpl Joe Knight , Fus Keith Buchanan , Fus Steve Collins , Fus Sean Clinch , Cpl Mark Brayson and the ever present Mrs Sue Brayson , Sgt Hutchinson and Fus Lees. A team of walkers from A Company took part in the BRMB Walkathon and raised circa £1000 for Home for Heroes. The team were - Cpl Joe Knight, Fus Keith Buchanan, Fus Steve Collins, Fus Lee Charles, Fus Lee Osbourne, Cpl "Mattie" Matthews, Fus Mike Burrows. They in turn were supported by Nigel Potter who joined them to complete the walk!
Finally, congratulations to QPSI Colour Sergeant Sean McGarr who has won a trip to South Africa to see one of England's group games in the World Cup.
RHQ LADIES PINK RIBBON CHARITY WALK
Liz Minter, Carol Liles, Doreen Bowes-Crick, Lexi Minter, Rebecca Mills, Georgina Mills and Lisa Lazarus (a friend of Ed Minters) took part in a 10 mile Pink Ribbon Walk for breast cancer at Blenheim Palace. On a sweltering hot day the ladies completed the course in a most impressive time whilst the husbands and fathers were stoic in ensuring the wine remained chilled at the finish. They entered the event in support of Jenny Mills who looked, as always, cool and sophisticated while others melted in the heat around her. Richard Mills provided an impressive picnic and suitable refreshments after the event.
AREA HQ NORTHUMBERLAND
The month of May was a very busy time for the AHQ and members of the Association with various battlefield tours undertaken and, a number of Elizabeth Cross presentations for the relatives of members of the RNF who had been killed in action.
The Regiment was represented on Wednesday 12 May when the out-going Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Mike Cookson, held a farewell reception in the Civic Centre. Mike and his wife Dorrie have been very strong supporters of the Regiment and shown outstanding hospitality at several events including the St George's weekend and the 2RRF Welcome Home Parade in the City last year. The new Lord Mayor is Cllr Brenda Hindmarsh who is also very supportive of the Fusiliers. Her inauguration Church Service and reception took place on Wednesday 26 May in the Civic Banqueting Hall.
The success of the recent Freedom of Northumberland event was very much down to the efforts of the Chairman of Northumberland County Council, Cllr David Woodard, and his Deputy, Cllr Marcia Bircham. Their support and work in getting all 67 members of the council to approve the invitation to the Regiment was no mean feat. David Woodard has now handed over to Marcia Bircham and the excellent relationship with the Regiment is continuing.
Many of the Regiment will be aware that Whitley Bay FC was again successful at Wembley when they won the FA Vase for the second year running beating Wroxham 6-1. Contacts made at the final between the club management and some members of 1RRF's coaching staff will hopefully result in the 'Bay' players attending a 'boot camp' in Tidworth and, the Battalion team playing here on the Tyne during a pre-season tour in July/August 10.
The 39th 'Fighting Fifth' Golf competition was held at Morpeth Golf Club on Saturday 29 May where the conditions deteriorated during the afternoon and steady play was at a premium as a result of the rain. Geoff Proudlock won the Wilhelmstahl Trophy for the second time and, the hip flask for the longest drive was presented to Mrs Wyn Scott in memory of her late husband, Lt Colonel Bob Scott, former CO of 6 RRF who was responsible for starting up the competition in 1971. It is intended that the competition be opened up to a small number of regimental golfers for the 2011 event.
Thursday 17 June will see the Area HQ hold the 3rd annual BLESMA Charity Golf Day at Burgham Park where it is expected that the number of teams taking part will be well into double figures.
The Recruiting Team are now deeply involved in the Summer Show season and the recent County Show at Corbridge had 30,000 people attend on one day. The team is led by C/Sgt Reeves who was married recently and regards go to him and his wife (not that she will see him at weekends for some considerable time). The Regimental recruiting figures for the north east are very encouraging despite the Northeast having the smallest target population of all of the four Areas.
AREA HQ WARWICKSHIRE
Presentation of Elizabeth Cross (EC).
The Regimental Area Secretary attended the first presentation of ECs in Derbyshire which took place on 11 May at Matlock Town Hall. Gathered in the Council Chambers were eight families of servicemen killed on operations since 1 January 1946 which included the brother and sister of Private Frederick John Downing who was serving with the 1st Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Cyprus. Pte Downing was killed in action during an EOKA organised terrorist riot on 3 April 1956. In recognition of this sacrifice in carrying out his duty the award of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll was made to Mrs M H Curtis, sister of Private John Downing and an additional Memorial Scroll to Mr C K Downing , brother of Private Downing. The presentations were made by HM Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire and Commander 49 (East) Brigade Brigadier A P Williams MBE.
Regimental Association Shoot.
Once again the Branches in Warwickshire and the West Midlands enjoyed an excellent shoot at Swynnerton Camp on 23 May. As always thanks go to WO2 (CSM) Eamonn Gannon BEM who has been organising this event for some 10 years and as a mark of appreciation by the Association, Eamonn was presented with a limited edition painting by Vernon Lyndon. Once again Sheldon Branch was the winning team with 93 points, closely followed by Leamington Spa Branch with 92 points. The event attracted 147 members, friends and family all of whom enjoyed a good BBQ kindly laid on by Sgt Jo Wilkins
On Friday 28 May, AHQ celebrated the Battle Honour "Wormhoudt" at St John's House. The guest of honour was Private Bert Evans. On that day 70 years ago, thousands of soldiers were evacuated from Dunkirk. The RWR were tasked with defending the evacuation. Members of the Battalion who were later captured were herded into a barn and massacred by the SS. Private Bert Evans escaped from the barn with Captain Lynn-Allen only to be shot by a member of the SS and left for dead. Bert survived, however, and was recaptured and treated in a German Field Hospital before being transported to a POW Camp in Germany. Bert is the sole remaining survivor the Wormhoudt Massacre. He now lives in sheltered accommodation in Redditch. Among the many guests were the Mayor of Warwick and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kinson OBE, who was Quartermaster of 5 RRF during the early 80's. Bert was on fine form and getting used to the publicity in the Sunday Telegraph and regional TV. He has every intention of attending the Fusilier Gathering this year in Sep.
Commemoration Service- National Memorial Arboretum 5th June 2010.
Hundreds of relatives laid floral tributes at the Memorial Wall on Sunday 5 June to remember their loved ones who died whilst serving their country in 2009. After a moving dedication service, attended by the Earl of Wessex, more than 500 family members walked solemnly past the names of 119 service personnel newly engraved on to the wall at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The families of those members of the Regiment killed in action in Afghanistan last year met the Earl of Wessex during the reception along with Lieutenant Colonel Calder, WO1 (RSM) Greaves and Major John Turquand. The service began just after midday and in sweltering heat, prayers and hymns were led by Bishop John Kirkham. Senior military figures read out the list of 119 names as the RAF Central Band played the last Post.
Normandy Day Memorial Service 6 June - Nuneaton.
On Sunday 6 June, marking the 66th anniversary of the D - Day Landings in which the 2nd Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment were an Assault Battalion; the Nuneaton Branch organised the Annual Memorial Service at Riversley Park which was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Nuneaton. A strong contingent of Association members from the Nuneaton, Sheldon, Coventry and Central Branches marched to the Memorial Park led by the Air Cadet Band and Branch Standards.
After the wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial, the service moved to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment Memorial where Major Richard Mills gave a brief on the 2nd Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the important part they contributed to landings on Sword Beach and subsequent operations. The Padre then read out all the names of those personnel who lost their lives on 6 and 7 June 1944. The Padre also remembered those seven members of the 2nd Battalion who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan in 2009. After the service, all members including Carol Valentine and Denise Carter gathered at the Parade Club for a light lunch and refreshments. Warwick Branch held a Normandy Day lunch on 6 June at the Montgomery Arms which was well attended by members and friends.
Fusilier Aid Society.
Fund raising continues to be a priority in Warwickshire & the West Midlands with Central Branch collecting under the "Operation Profile Hackle" at local Sainsbury's Stores and pushing forward with the Fallen Fusilier merchandising and website. Major Lee Bott is raising funds for FAS and H4H by taking part in a sponsored cycle ride from Brussels to Arnhem over the period 13-19 September, details of the "Just Giving Site" will be published shortly.
Future Events in Warwickshire & the West Midlands.
Nuneaton Branch Normandy Day Dinner- Anker Inn Nuneaton
AREA HQ LONDON
Albuhera Day was commemorated on 14 May in Regimental Headquarters preceded by a moving presentation of Elizabeth Crosses to eight of the families of our fallen Fusiliers. Sir David Brewer, Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, kindly presented the crosses on behalf of the Queen. The Colonel of the Regiment was present at the ceremony.
The planned Museum refurbishment is moving ahead
smoothly and detailed planning is now in progress. The start date is
still programmed for 1 Oct 09 with a completion date of Mar 11. Fund
raising is moving apace and anyone who feels an urgent need to contribute
will be most welcome. Part of the project is the employment of a dedicated
museum development officer who will help to guide the refurbishment
through to fruition. The successful candidate is Dale Copley and she
started work on 1 June. She will also develop programmes for education,
outreach and live interpretation.
The Association Corps of Drums has been very busy. On St George's Day four of the buglers together with Colin Ashton assembled in Whitehall for the Society of St George's Annual Parade. In addition to the 500+ cadets on parade were the Lord Mayor of London and the Mayor of Westminster. The buglers were so impressive that they were invited to escort the Queen's Standard into Westminster Abbey. On 9 May the Association Corps of Drums paraded at Shepperton Boat Yard for a dedication ceremony for the Dunkirk small boats. HRH Prince Michael of Kent was in attendance and took time to speak to the buglers who he referred to "as from my brothers Regiment".
Six adults and cadets from 134 Detachment RRF took part in a two week exchange trip to Hong Kong in April which was part funded by a grant from the Harben Armoury Trust. They enjoyed a longer exchange than anticipated as they were stranded for an extra week due to the volcanic ash cloud!
Earlier in the Month Sgt Falconer arranged for a party from the WW1 enactment society to visit RHQ together with the RST to demonstrate WW1 and current weapons to a party of 40 cadets from NE Sector ACF. This was a most instructive and informative session much enjoyed by the cadets.
Finally, as an early precursor to the future museum refurbishment, the main 1685 wall covering in the museum entrance has been removed to the first floor landing. This has revealed the most outstanding window which has enhanced the visitor's experience.
Haberdashers' Aske's Federation CCF
After two previous cancellations due to adverse weather conditions and swine flu, the CCF Contingent finally travelled to the south coast for a weekend exercise at St Martin's Plain Camp. The schedule was packed with activities that ensured the cadets came back exhausted but content. Friday evening was spent taking over the accommodation and settling in. After the briefing the cadets were allowed some time in the NAAFI before getting their heads down in their barracks, ready for the next day.
Up at 0630hrs for breakfast and ready for the day. Saturday was hot and sunny. rotation Skill at Arms stands made sure all cadets were fully trained on the new allocation of L98A2 GP rifles and prepared for the Annual Camp. Throughout the day the Cadets had some time out in the Army swimming pool which cooled everyone off! Plenty of good Army food was available throughout the weekend and big appetites were fully satisfied.
On Sunday the cadets were moved between three stands; the Obstacle course, the DCCT and more Skill at Arms training. All cadets completed the obstacle course which involved climbing over high walls, scrambling under barbed wire and negotiating the Trinasium. Next stop: Annual Camp at Crowborough.
AREA HQ LANCASHIRE
The Lancashire Fusiliers Memorial.
The Area Secretary on discovering that the Lancashire Fusiliers memorial stone at the National Arboretum had been incorrectly inscribed as the 'Royal Lancashire Fusiliers' has taken measures to order a new stone, This will be correctly inscribed and will replace the new stone in due course. It is planned to hold a short, local service when the stone is replaced. The mistake was evidently made by the stone mason who was doing the Fusilier Plot, he automatically added the Royal as it fitted in with the other Fusilier Regiments represented. All's well that ends well!
Lt Col Sir Gilbert Mackareth KCMG MC. Life is never simple and while the Area Sec was at the National Arboretum he was contacted by the BBC who wanted to do an interview to camera the following day on the late distinguished soldier Lt Col Sir Gilbert Mackareth KCMG MC this. It was clear that as the following day was election-day and the BBC had found themselves with a news gap and had picked up on Sir Gilbert. The story was widely reported in the papers, in summary Sir Gilbert began his career as a private soldier in the Royal Fusiliers, commissioned into the Lancashire Fusiliers and joined the 17th Battalion as a Second Lieutenant in September 1916. He was awarded the Military Cross in April 1917 and by August 1918 he was commanding the Battalion. Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel in two years with a Military Cross thrown in is a testament to his ability. Following the war he joined the diplomatic service, retired to San Sebastian in Spain and died in 1962.
The story really began with Terry Dean who is editor of the Western Front Association Newsletter for the North West who had come across Sir Gilbert while researching the Commanding Officers of the Lancashire Fusilier Pals Battalions and had made an effort to visit his grave in San Sebastian. At this point Terry became embroiled with the local authorities in Spain as it appeared that Sir Gilbert had been served with an eviction notice! It is apparently common on the continent for a maintenance fee to be levied for the up keep of a grave and if this is not forthcoming then the occupant of the grave can be moved out and the grave reused. What followed the BBC interview was 24 hour media frenzy while waiting for the election results. Appeals during the interview for members of the family proved successful and a cousin was located in the Midlands and the Sun newspaper agreed to pay any outstanding fees on the plot. There the story rests as does Sir Gilbert in Spain. However the new found family have quite a few photographs which would be useful for the Archive, but that is a different story.
Lancashire Fusilier Silver.
This month has seen six large boxes of Lancashire Fusilier silver arrive at the Fusilier Museum from RHQ. This silver is what remains of the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers silver that has not seen the light of day for many years. On amalgamation the 1st Battalion became the 4th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for 18 months before it was disbanded. The battalion silver went into store, first at Regimental Headquarters at Sutton Coalfield and later in the Tower. The Museum Project has now provided an opportunity to concentrate all the remaining Lancashire Fusilier silver in Bury and make much better use of this important part of the regiment's heritage.
Hails and Farewells.
Mike Booth the first General Manager of the Fusilier Museum recently left to take up an appointment as general manager of the Shire Hall in Monmouth. AHQ are most grateful for the energy and enthusiasm that he put into commissioning the building and putting the Fusilier Museum on its feet. To say farewell the museum staff organised a party in the museum café and the Directors of the Museum Company dined him out. His replacement is Helen Smith who comes to the Fusilier Museum from the Magna Science Centre Rotherham. For your interest the Museum office is now manned by Helen Smith as General Manager, Helen Castle as Museum Access and Collection Officer and Helen Davenport as the Administrative Officer. If you ring up and ask for Helen you cannot go wrong.
Christening Kaiden Daniel Smith.
Another highlight of the month was the christening of Kaiden Daniel Smith, son of Fusilier Daniel Smith GM. The happy event took place at St James Church Bury and was followed by lunch at the Grants Arms in Ramsbottom. This was a great regimental and family day and featured the HMS Euryalus Bell. As is the tradition the upturned bell was used to hold the christening water and in due course Kaiden's name will be engraved upon it.
The Headquarters and Museum continue to attract high profile visitors. Councillor Bob Bibby Leader of Bury Council held a meeting in the Gallipoli Room for Leaders of all the Conservative Groups in Greater Manchester. He was followed a few days later by the Regimental Secretary of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Colonel Martin Amlot, who was particularly interested in the proactive way the Regiment is using regimental heritage in support of today's regiment and in particular the sound working relationship between Careers Office, Museum and Headquarters.
Establishing Links with Manchester & Salford Universities Officer Training Corps (MSUOTC).
A party of cadets from MSUOTC paid a visit to what is effectively their Regimental museum. During the First World War students from this OTC formed the 3rd Public Schools Battalion, later the 20th Battalion the Royal Fusiliers. The Colour of this battalion, presented in 1919, was laid up in St Anne's Church in the centre of |Manchester. For some unknown reason in the 1980's the Colour was sent to the Royal Fusilier Museum in the Tower of London, where it now rests. There is an opportunity here to establish a permanent link between MSUOTC and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Thus, while work is going on to refurbish the Royal Fusilier Museum the 20th Battalion Colour will have to come down from its current location and could be offered back to the OTC.
Researching the Indian Army.
The Headquarters and Museum is taking part in a Lottery
funded project to film the progress of a group of Asian students from
Blackburn schools in their attempts to research their military ancestors.
The students were filmed touring the displays and listening to a presentation
on the Lancashire Fusiliers in India. This is an important project as
many Asian children have no idea about the commitment and sacrifice
of the 2, 500,000 members of the Indian Armed Forces who fought for
the British Empire in the Second World War.
Wellington Barracks. In April 1873 the Depot Companies of the East Devonshire Regiment (later the Lancashire Fusiliers) marched into Wellington Barracks, Bury. On Wednesday 26 May 2010 that link ended when the Barracks was handed over to Defence Estates. AHQ would like to thank all those who helped to prepare the barracks for handover. Of note is the work of the Committee and Staff from the Fusilier Club who, in the knowledge that they were to lose their club, did everything they could in true Fusilier fashion to facilitate a fast and efficient handover. The site will now be sold off but it is hoped that a permanent memorial to Wellington Barracks and the Regiment will remain on Bolton Road.
THE REGIMENTAL OFFICERS' SUMMER BALL SATURDAY 3 JULY
This is the last call for officers of the Regiment, serving and retired, Regular, TA and cadets, to apply for tickets to attend this splendid function to be held in the grounds of Tedworth House, Tidworth, Hampshire. 300 to 400 people will be seated in a purpose-built luxury marquee.
The Ball will start at 1930 hours (7.30pm) on Saturday 3 July 2010. The dress for gentlemen is black tie, no miniature medals. The ladies are requested to greatly outshine the gentlemen!
For the meal guests will be seated at round tables of 10. Requests for mutual seating arrangements should be sent to Captain Davis.
Format for the evening is a champagne reception followed by a four course meal. Wine and sparkling water will be provided at the table. For other drinks a cash bar will operate. Magicians have been engaged to entertain and baffle during dinner. The first course will be laid out on the tables and dining will commence at 8pm.
Musical support will be provided by the Minden Band of the Queen's Division who will play reception music and a selection of tuneful melodies throughout the meal. Afterwards they will entertain firstly in "Big Band" style and later, on into the small hours, with contemporary music. The Corps of Drums will put on a display of "duelling drums" such as never seen before.
Various sideshows will operate in the grounds:
A fleet of carriages (aka mini-buses) will operate a shuttle service from and back to the Holiday Inn Hotel, Amesbury, Stonehenge. The first pick up from the hotel will be at 7pm, and the first journey back will be at Midnight.
A "survivors" breakfast will be served from 3am.
The cost for a double ticket is £110.00 which includes a £10.00 voluntary donation to the Fusiliers Aid Society. Applications for tickets from officers serving away from Regimental Duty, and from retired, TA and Cadet officers should be sent to Captain John Davis at Regimental Headquarters. A SPLENDID TIME IS GUARANTEED
I R Liles OBE