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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 19th September 2011
OFFICERS ANNUAL REGTL DINNER
The Officers Annual Regimental Dinner will be held at HM The Tower of London at 1930 hours 21 Oct 2011. The dress is black tie. Ticket prices remain unchanged from 2009 (inflation busting) and are available through Capt Andy Harris at RHQ, Tel: 0203 166 6906. All serving and retired Fusilier Officers are encouraged to attend what promises to be another splendid evening.
NEW MEMORIAL AT THE ARBORETUM
As most of you are now aware the Regiment will be replacing the Fusilier Memorial at the National Arboretum in 2013. As with all projects of this type it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time. There will be those who do not like the design of the memorial, the size the shape and so on. Where I am sure there is common ground is that our Fusiliers who have lost their lives deserve a lasting and fitting memorial at the Arboretum and the small stone that is there currently does need replacing. An experienced war memorial stonemason has been appointed; he has previously produced work at the National Arboretum and at the Somme and is highly respected for the quality of his work. Meetings have been held with the Arboretum Authorities who have agreed the general size, shape and design of the new memorial. We are still in negotiation with them over whether it can be put into the same location as the current memorial, but early indications are that this is achievable.
An artist's impression of the new Memorial is shown below. It is made from a single piece of dark grey curved granite which ill be polished. The dimensions will be approx 8 ft wide and 6 ft high. It will sit on a plinth of solid granite approx 11 ft by 5 ft engraved with a suitable inscription on the front such as; 'We Will Remember Them' (not shown in photo) and be surrounded by 4 granite benches. After considerable deliberation the design on the memorial was agreed as it is the Colours which all Fusiliers follow and are the embodiment of the Regts achievements and sacrifices. The antecedent Regts badges have been included on the Memorial as they are the family from which the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was formed. With modern paints all the colours on the monument will last for 25 years and the overall cost will include a lifetime maintenance contract. The cost of the Monument is £25k and it is estimated that a further £10k will be needed for the unveiling ceremony in 2013 to which all Fusiliers and the families of our Fusiliers killed in action will be invited. The Colonel in Chief will be invited to lead the ceremony.
A good start has been made in raising the necessary
funds for the memorial but there is still much to do. Donations should
be sent to the Assistant Regimental Secretary at RHQ with cheques made
out to the RRF Memorial Fund.
Change of Role. The First Battalion took over the Land Warfare Centre Battle Group role in August 2009. Since then it has definitely been two years of hard work as men have deployed on numerous exercises in support of courses, Brigades about to deploy on operations, and equipment trials. A recurring theme throughout this time has been support to the PASHTUN series of exercises for brigades about to deploy to Afghanistan. During these exercises, the Battalion played the parts of insurgents and local nationals, wearing Afghan clothing while conducting pre-planned serials to test the exercising troops. By providing a pattern of life and serials for the exercising troops, the Fusiliers, be they farmers, builders, mullahs or washing machine salesmen, gave the troops about to deploy to Afghanistan the best possible environment in which to train. It also gave the Fusiliers an opportunity to think and act as an insurgent. All of these opportunities will be very helpful when the Battalion starts its own Pre-Deployment Training for Afghanistan.
When not on these large exercises the Battalion took part in a huge number of smaller exercises, both as enemy and friendly forces. The Battalion regularly deployed whole companies of Warrior AFVs onto Salisbury Plain. By the end of the 2 years, however, the Fusiliers knew the Plain inside out, and it was always brilliant to see new Company Commanders stressed on their course asking junior Fusiliers how to attack a position. The handover to 2 Royal Welsh on 29 July marked the end of this time. Everyone is looking forward to a change as the Battalion joins 1 Brigade and starts to prepare for deploying on Operations in the near future.
Minden Day. Despite the persistently soggy weather (made all the more miserable by the swelteringly hot previous few days) Thursday 4th August was a memorable day for 38 soldiers from X Company for several reasons. Not only was it Battalion Minden Day, which is always a good day, but more importantly as part of the Minden Day celebrations, the 38 soldiers who served in Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 13 as part of the Battle Casualty Replacement Cohort were awarded their Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan.
The Commanding Officer, Lt Col Jon Swift, presented each of the men with their medal. The many hours of practice supervised by the Regimental Sergeant Major and the men clearly showed in the precision of the drill, despite the wet conditions. The Minden Band and 1RRF Corps of Drums provided a fine selection of music, and many of the Fusiliers' families and friends were present to watch the parade. For many of the cohort they were receiving their first operational medal. The CO also promoted several NCOs and had the pleasure of awarding 2 Long Service and Good Conduct Medals to Cpl Martin Pike and Sgt 'Sandy' Sanderson.
Despite an extremely wet start to the day, the gods must have been on the side of the Unit Welfare Officer Capt 'Goldie' Goldsmith as it stopped raining and the sun even came out for the 1 RRF families day on the rugby pitches. Each company dressed their respective areas in their given theme and turned out in fancy dress for the afternoon which was a great success. They were joined by many of the families for a range of activities that included: chariot racing, it's a knock out, a paintball range and a live broadcast from BFBS radio. The wives club had obviously invested a significant amount of time in their chariot for the race and despite starting from pole position on the grid, they could not hold off Y Company who were the eventual winners.
The CO and Goldie Flintstone discussing Strategic military matters
Sgt Anis Oldham returned to the UK this month having taken part in Exercise LONG LOOK, an exchange to with the Australian forces. Having had to deploy from RAF Brize Norton in mid March with flights to; Hong Kong, Sydney then finally to Townsville it was a fairly exhausting trip just to get to Australia! Based at the Combat training centre, Sgt Oldham was given little time to adjust as he deployed two days later on exercise for a week working as an observer controller, helping to train and support the Australian army for operations in Afghanistan. The weather on the training area also made Brecon seem like a nice place to be, as it was either pushing 40 degrees and humid with not a sign of any wind or it was torrential rain with a very real risk of flash floods. Sgt Oldham also deployed as an instructor on a short course in Sydney, teaching Australian soldiers how to be an observer controller so that they were able to conduct their training for deployment to the Solomon Islands. It wasn't all work however as Sgt Oldham did have a lot of scope to see Australia. Being on the north east Queensland coast he was able to go sight seeing up to Cairns and down to Brisbane for a week!
Adventure Training. In the first week of July over a hundred Fusiliers, NCOs and officers took part in 1RRF's annual Adventurous Training Camp. After the success of last year's camp, a similar week of activities was again held in the mountainous town of Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia, North Wales. The Fusiliers took part in a range of activities including hill walking, mountain biking and rock climbing. Some of the mountains conquered included Snowdon (by many and varied routes and approaches), the knife-edge of Crib Goch, and the famous peak Tryffan with the Adam and Eve monoliths, and the Cantilever Rock. When on the mountain bikes, the Marin Trail was the route favoured for its mix of technical challenge and testing hills. The men seemed to enjoy the biking most when it was raining and muddy. Rock climbing offered a different challenge, putting all Fusiliers out of their comfort zones whether that was only a metre off the ground (in some cases) or whether the instructors had to take the odd Fusilier out onto a far more difficult and exposed route in the evening to get the required adrenaline rush. The end of the week came all too soon, and the men of 1RRF went away having learned that hill-walking can be a lot more scary than they originally thought, rock climbing is just as gripping two feet up as 300 feet up and that mountain bikes can be quite dangerous bits of kit!
Cpl Mess. The Corporals Mess Summer Ball was held on Thursday 21 July. The preparation for the function was a challenge for the Mess committee; however they all pulled together under the PMC, Cpl Mark Crook. The renovation of the cookhouse was a sight for all to see. A big surprise came to everyone when the pre-drinks were served from a beautiful woman dressed as a table! The entertainment came from the fabulous Waikiki the amazing limbo artist, a few hearts skipped a beat when he decided to ignite the limbo bar and turn his act into a flaming limbo spectacle, including the Unit Fire Safety Manager the RSM who was attending the function!! A really big thank you goes to the catering staff of 1 RRF who provided outstanding exotic cuisine.
Football. On 16-23 July 11 the 1 RRF football team were granted time by the Commanding Officer to visit the North East of England to aid in some recruiting and play local football teams in preparation for the following season. The week including intensive training everyday, and a trip to the beach at Tynemouth which proved to be a winner for the whole squad who enjoyed the many steps leading to the beach! The first game was against Wallsend Boys Club The club is the most famous Boys Club in England and has produced some of England's best footballers including: Alan Shearer, Peter Beardlsey and Michael Carrick to name a few. On the Tuesday after training the team was invited by Bob Herworth an Ex Northumberland Fusilier to a Stadium Tour of Newcastle United's St James' Park. Bob used to be Sir Bobby Robson's driver and friend during his time as both manager of PSV Eindhoven and Newcastle. After training on Wednesday, CSM Ronnie Collins took some of the squad and the Drums Platoon back to his local school, Burnside High School. Under CSM Collins the squad ran an hour coaching with the year 7 Football team, before the Drums played for the whole school including the teachers and again were a great success. At that point it was evident that potentially they had recruited a complete school to join the Fusilier family!! On Thursday, some of the squad and the Drums visited Woodlawn School, a school for children with special needs. It turned out to be a fantastic day and all of the children very much enjoyed the coaching. Post coaching the Drums played and allowed the students to march behind them which seemed to be the highlight of the day for many of the children. Everyone who took part thought it was a very worthwhile activity as it really engaged members of the community who may not be as fortunate as many. The last game was against Blyth Spartans Under 19's, this was a game that surprised everyone, the Battalion were losing 3-0, however, in good Fusilier fashion they fought till the end and it finished 3-3. Overall it was a great week for all who participated and it was good to return something to the North East community in the form of some free football coaching.
SSAFA Big Brew. The SSAFA big brew charity event was held at a time when 2 of the Rifle Companies were deployed, the Commanding Officer thought it would be a good idea to have his first post leave PT session as a charity event. The course was a 4 mile run with various 'activity stations' en route including burpees, press ups, squats and hill reps up Sidbury hill. The CO made the offer to the Battalion that they could buy their way out of this PT session by making a donation to the SAFFA charity and those who were conducting the PT could also buy their way out of each station for a donation. Those members of Battalion who did buy their way out of 5 hill reps of Sidbury hill thought it was the best pound they had ever spent! The Commanding Officer and his wife then hosted a families barbeque in Mooltan house, again raising money for the big brew. In total the Battalion raised £1,320 which will go to help the local SAFFA branch. As the event was so successful, the CO is already planning on running it again later in the year for 'Fallen Fusiliers', there is no doubt that more people will be buying their way out of the hill reps then!
Cricket. Cricket in the Battalion has gone form strength to strength thanks to the energy of Major Edd Sutthery. The Battalion team has made it through to the semi finals of the Divisional cup and has played well all season. The most recent fixture saw the Fusiliers take on a rather serious looking 2 Royal Tank Regiment team in a friendly. After some discussion about the toss the captain, Lieutenant Alex Gay in the absence of Major Sutthery, elected to bat first.
Initially it seemed as if the match would be over perhaps before lunch had even had time to be digested; Lt Gay being unable to settle at the crease before his return to the pavilion along with the remaining top order batsmen. However, with the Tankies' opening bowlers exhausted it became clear that they would struggle to match the depth of the Fusiliers team and Fusiliers Thomas Driscoll and Ben Hinnel soon accelerated the run rate. The Fusilier team was eventually all out for a total of 182 after Sergeant Cliff Kendrick and Fusilier Johnny Varte put in some good work keeping the scorers busy towards the end of the innings. Fusilier Densley Chambers' bowling proved potent once he found his line and length having initially fallen foul of the umpire. In the end the pressure in the field, in support of a good all-round bowling performance saw the 2 RTR team all out for 134.
Road Safety Campaign. The 1RRF Road Safety campaign has continued with WO2 (MTWO) Jim Kenworthy organising another 'Safe Skilled Driving Event'. The 2 day event took part within Mooltan Barracks and the off road driver training on Salisbury Plain. Each Company had to submit a Land Rover with a three man team consisting of Driver, Commander and Signals operator, with a view to making the competition reflective of how a Company group would deploy into the field with a Land Rover TUM FFR (Fitted with BOWMAN) and a ¾ Ton Trailer. The competition consisted of eight stands, allowing each team to accumulate points per stand that were to be added up for a final score in order to determine the winning team. All the drivers who took part in this competition showed that they have improved their driving over the last two years. Overall the competition was a huge success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part in it. The winning team from Z Company consisting of Sgt Poolton, Fus Wood and Cpl White (BOWMAN Operator), who won a day out driving Porsche Caymans around Thruxton race circuit.
Departures. The Officers' Mess sadly said good bye to both OC X Company, Major Mike Cooke and OC HQ Company Major Keith Everson. All the Mess Members wish them well in their future careers and look forward to seeing them again soon.
The Battalion has had a busy summer maintaining its high readiness capability as the Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup and continued its preparation training for Ex ASKARI THUNDER in Kenya later this year. Internal courses, adventurous training and high profile inter-company sporting events provided the highlights of the summer before a welcome summer block leave.
Ex STRIKE HACKLE. About 40 members of B Company departed for a company level exercise on Hohne Training Area. The focus of this training was to revise and practise Counter Insurgency (COIN) Operations in a contemporary environment. The first two days were designated training days for the platoons and were spent revising all the skills required at the lower level before entering the company phase.
The third day started with the Company deploying to Patrol Base (PB) St George, an excellent construction in close proximity to the 'AfghanDorf' village on the training area. From here, members of B Company would put their training from the first phase into practice. Each platoon was assigned a role for 24 hours covering guard duties, Quick Reaction Force and patrolling. Working with the rifle platoons (or opposing them; depending on whose opinion you asked) were the personnel from B Company HQ, led by WO2 (CSM) Halloran. They would be playing the role of local nationals as well as disappearing off into the woods every now and again to fire a few shots at the patrols and the PB, making sure the exercising troops were kept constantly on their toes.
Ex LONG LOOK 2011 (Mar - Jul 11). July saw the return to Celle of two Fusilier officers who recently took part in Exercise LONG LOOK, a four month exchange program with the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces. Following a particularly arduous first class flight (Ed: is that not a flogging offence in todays' austere environment?) in a chartered Boeing 747 Lt James Chacksfield and Captain Alan Williamson were both posted to different units in Australia.
Lt Chacksfield was employed at the Australian Combat Training Centre in Townsville, Queensland, a unit responsible for the planning and conduct of Mission Readiness Exercises (MREs) for the Battle Groups preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. On his return he said of his antipodean adventure: "Ex LONG LOOK is an exceptionally enjoyable and beneficial exchange programme which provides a great service to the British, Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces equally"
Ex DIAMOND ADVENTURE HACKLE (Jun - Jul 11). Fusiliers
from 2RRF recently took part in a four week Adventure Training package
(AT) in the Harz Mountains. Ex DIAMOND ADVENTURE HACKLE (DAH) offered
four exciting activities; mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing,
and a trek to a high wire confidence course. The week's activities culminated
in a cultural visit to a World War II work camp; home to the V2 rocket
and the scientists who subsequently competed against each other in the
With the range of activities on offer each Fusilier soon found their favourite! Mountain biking was a popular although the downhill proved to be far more enjoyable than the uphill peddle! The high-wire confidence course proved to be extremely good fun as Fusiliers did their best monkey impressions climbing through the trees, along wire obstacles and using a zip line to descend over the adjoining lake.
The weather held out for the most part with some excellent sunshine, enabling BBQs to be held with some fantastic meals being produced by the chefs. The occasional downpour only added to the excitement!
Ex DIAMOND BAVARIAN HACKLE (4 - 14 Jul 11). Between 4 and 14 July 2011 a group of 12 Fusiliers from across the Battalion deployed to Bavaria and completed a 10 day white-water kayaking expedition in the German and Austrian Alps on a series of challenging rivers up to Grade 3. The Expedition followed a progression of rivers of increasing difficulty before finishing on the glacial Grand Canyon style River Inn with an adrenalin fuelled run. All Fusiliers achieved their Kayak Foundation Course qualification with Fusiliers Fox, Gregory and Craftsman Philips progressing further to gain the British Canoe Union 3 Star award. Expedition leader Capt Noel Webb enjoyed paddling his way across numerous lakes with Fusiliers in tow taking glorious pictures with his camera, until he tried to take some pictures of the pond life and promptly dropped his camera into the lake!
The first win of the evening went to Fire Support Company's (and the Sgts' Mess) Sgt 'Spud' Taylor who triumphed in the featherweight division with a hard fought win over Fus Roberts of B Coy. This got the night off to a good start and the boxing that followed was of equally high quality. Fus Camps of B Company won the middleweight category with an outstanding performance.
One of the most talked about fights was LCpl Hood fighting for HQ Company against Fus Dawson of A Company in the light heavyweight division. Fus Dawson was to prevail in the end (although he did admit he took a couple of big hits from LCpl Hood's famed "left hand" during the fight!)
Widely judged as the best fight of the night, Fus Eldridge and Fus Howard represented B and C Company respectively fighting in the welterweight division. It was an extremely hard fought battle with the crowd in full voice cheering on both the boxers. In the end, it was Fus Eldridge of B Company who was victorious. Fus Howard can be extremely proud of the performance he put in.
At a night, attended by Commander 7 Brigade - Brigadier Paul Nanson, and exceptionally well organised by the Battalion boxing officer, Capt Jason Oliver; Fus Brown of Fire Support Company was presented with the Best Boxer Award for his win at Cruiser Weight and the title of 2 RRF Inter-Company Boxing Champions 2011 was shared between Fire Support Company and B Company. With awards completed there was still time for all the boxers to attend a drinks and curry evening in the Officers' Mess hosted by both the Officers and the Warrant Officers' & Sergeants' Mess. An excellent evening was had all round as could be seen from the Battalion suffering the following day on the CO's PT Parade!
The 2RRF Prohibition Ball (23 Jul 11). The annual 2RRF Officers' Mess Summer Ball would prove to be one of the highlights of its 2011 social calendar. The theme, chosen by the Ball Committee, was ambitious; a 1920's Prohibition ball! Through a combination of imagination and teamwork the subalterns would bring to life the Chicago of gangsters, molls and Al Capone in a night to remember.
Months of preparation culminated in the finishing touches as mess 'livers-in' were employed "en masse" to decorate the exterior of the mess, creating a prohibition bust crime scene blocking off the main entrance (complete with police cordon and prohibition closed warning signs!) The bulk of the praise must, however, go to Capt Rob Jackson, who aside from being the driving force behind the success; also managed to bring 20kg of glass jam-jars back from the UK, on an aeroplane, without incident!
The ball was billed as one of the best in recent memory and has definitely set the standard for next year's event. With this likely to be the last function held in the Officers' Mess before the closure of Trenchard Barracks, the Officers of 2 RRF are determined that the ball will be even bigger and better.
During August and early September there has been some productive training take place across the Battalion; as the summer draws to a close TA soldiers are returning fresh from their summer break and focussing on a busy period ahead. With the annual Battle Camp set for late Nov (location still to be confirmed) and a raft of other training opportunities between now and then it is an exciting period for the Fifth Fusiliers.
The handover of Training Warrant Officers sees WO2 Mitchinson arrive from RQMS (Tech) at 2 RRF conducting a straight swap with WO2 Waddell. WO2 Waddell's efforts have been greatly appreciated here and all in 5 RRF wish him well in his new post.
Andy is looking forward to getting his teeth into the role of Ops Officer. With Fusiliers and Rifleman from every company within the battalion due to serve in Afghanistan and the high tempo of TA training over the coming year, he will be kept busy!
Married to Fiona, Andy has a seven year old son James. His hobbies include, scuba diving, Mountain biking and a much more sedate, love of gardening.
After moving several miles cross-country, overnight, in thick fog and setting up OPs, each patrol then logged and reported activity in its AOR over the following 36 hours. An enemy force provided by the HQ element of Z Coy then presented a number of serials for each OP to report including a number of small arms contacts. The exercise concluded with the patrols returning to the Battalion HQ location before extracting tactically to a pick-up-point 4 miles away, where (CQMS) CSgt Smith was on hand to provide hot dogs and beef burgers to the tired troops.
The weekend was full on from the very beginning and a real test of navigation skills for the patrols, which had to navigate through thick fog at night to reach their positions. As the patrols moved back to HQ on the Sunday, although tired, they all felt it had been a positive and worthwhile training package.
UK / US Exchange - Lt Marcon. From 22 July-06 August 2011, Lt John Marcon, CSgt Howard Smith (Z Coy) and Sjt David Richardson (D Coy) were joined by Sjt Jim Morgan (6 RIFLES) for annual training in Indiana with the US National Guard as part of the UK/US Reserve Forces Exchange Programme. Touching down in Indianapolis in temperatures over 95F (and the humidity adding another 5-10F), the group joined the 1/293 "Night Fighters" Battalion for the 1st two weeks of their Annual Training.
The British exchange soldiers were treated to some excellent
US hospitality and were able to get a good cultural perspective from
their hosts with a visit to the Indiana War Memorial museum.
The 1/293 is on stand-by for mobilisation and spent the majority of their annual training conducting pre-deployment tests, similar to MATTs. This included the US equivalents of BCD and CIED, which were remarkably similar to our own TTPs. This gave a good opportunity to talk to the junior commanders (many of whom had served at least 1 or 2 operational tours) about how their training was different to our own and their previous experience working with UK forces. Overwhelmingly, the opinion among the Americans was that the British Army are highly professional allies.
D (RIFLES) Coy - Maj M Gill. D (RIFLES) Company, fresh from marching through Dewsbury alongside 3 RIFLES as they exercised their freedom of the towns of Dewsbury and Batley in West Yorkshire, are now set to receive the Freedom of the town of Spennymoor, Co Durham.
The Mayor and the Council of Spennymoor have decided to bestow this great honour to the Officers and Rifleman of D (RIFLES) Company in recognition of their long history and association with Spennymoor and its people. The honour will be awarded next year and will be marked by all ranks marching through the main streets of Spennymoor in Parade Dress and Bayonets fixed and to the sound of the Band and Bugles, no doubt being cheered by families, friends and onlookers from the surrounding areas.
Major Marc Gill, Officer Commanding D Company, said
"This really is a great honour for us and we are looking forward
to parading through the town. We recruit our soldiers from Spennymoor,
Bishop Auckland and Sedgefield and all the surrounding areas so we are
at the very heart of the community". Captain Benjamin Clare, stated;
"It is believed that this is the first time that a single Company,
rather than a whole Battalion, has been given a Freedom of a Town or
City and D (RIFLES) Company are hugely honoured to receive it".
Riflemen Michael Hobson and Rifleman Chris Hitchens, both having served in Afghanistan in the past 12 months, are inspected by Deputy Colonel Commandant of The Rifles, Brigadier Richard Smith OBE.
" 23 - 25 Sep - Bn AT Exercise, Lake District
The summer has been relatively quiet in the Northeast with both the AHQ and the Museum awaiting the outcome of the Defence Review whose decisions will be known very shortly. C/Sgt Clark and his Recruiting Team continue to cover the North East with a very demanding schedule that culminated with a recent 3 day Sunderland Air Show that was attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators. Both the recruiting caravan and the paint ball range were overwhelmed by potential recruits and others.
The planning for the St. George and Dragon Past & Present 2012 has taken a major step forward with the confirmed booking of The Bamburgh Suite at St. James' Park Stadium. The weekend will start on Saturday 16 June with a Newcastle vs Sunderland supporter's football match which ill be followed by a Beating of Retreat by the Regimental Band and a 3 course Dinner. There will be a Curry Lunch at a venue tbc on Sunday 17th at midday (which will no doubt have the potential to go on for some time!).
Association Branch officers will shortly receive notification of the details for the event and these will also be placed on the Association website. The Dinner ticket will cost £30 and the Curry Lunch ticket will be £5. The priority for the Past & Present tickets will be all Northumberland Association members and all serving Fusiliers, Regular and TA. Association members from the other Regimental Areas will be more than welcome to attend. Facebookers and non-Association Members will be able to apply for tickets much closer to the event. Each person attending will have the option to invite one guest at the same ticket cost for the functions. Early booking is strongly recommended as there has already been a great deal of interest shown.
Details for the 20th Anniversary of the last parade
of the 3rd Battalion in August 2012 will be finalised in the very near
future and will be set out in this publication, the Association website
All Fusiliers here in the North East congratulate the Colonel Northumberland, Colonel Simon Marr, who has won the Royal College of Defence Studies poetry award and was recently presented with a top of the range laptop as his prize. We look forward to reading more verse as Colonel Marr awaits news of his next appointment back in the real world.
AREA HQ WARWICK
The 50th anniversary of the opening of the Regimental Museum was held on 2 August which attracted many local people including the Mayor of Warwick, Mrs Trudy Offer. Amongst the many attractions were a group of re-enactors including Monty's double who certainly shows a fair likeness to the Field Marshal! Antelope Day was celebrated on 16 July by the Friends of the Museum who organised a first class picnic lunch in the grounds of St John's House. Thanks go to David Seeney and his committee for laying on such a memorable day.
The Warwick Folk Festival once again proved to be a popular venue for members of the Regimental Association over the weekend of 29/31 July. Central Branch attracted many well wishers and sales of "Fallen Fusiliers" merchandise were most encouraging. The Bouncy Castle and Assault Course proved to be a popular attraction which certainly encouraged donations to the Fusilier Aid Society. Thanks to Lee Bott, Carol Valentine, Pete Fazakarley and Colin Woodhead for once again promoting the Fusiliers at the Festival.
Teams from Central and Sheldon Branch enjoyed the Regimental Fishing Competition at Droitwich on Saturday 6th August. Neil Gregory reported record catches! All profits were donated to the new Fusilier Memorial Fund. The event was organised by Tony Harrop and was a huge success. It is intended to hold a similar event next year.
Following the fishing competition Sheldon Branch made their annual pilgrimage to the Black Country Real Pubs not forgetting the usual faggots, chips and peas supper as a finale to the weekend! The Annual Association Bowls Competition took place on Saturday 14 August, a hard fought final was contested between Sheldon and Coventry Branch, overall winners were Alan Rickets and Jerry Creighton of Sheldon Branch. Great weather contributed to a very enjoyable competition for all involved, both players and spectators alike. A buffet followed at Chelmesley Wood RBL, Major Peter Stanley kindly presented the Dougie Portsmouth Trophy to Dave James on behalf of Sheldon Branch
On Thursday 26 Jul, 14 young men were enlisted into the Regiment in the grounds of St John's House. On this glorious summer morning family and friends witnessed the ceremony and then enjoyed lunch and refreshments in the Regimental Museums. Thanks go to Sgt Cormell and the AFCO recruiting staff for organising this well run event.
Warwickshire ACF had their Annual Camp at Oakhampton this summer. This was supported by NCOs from the 1st Battalion and was a great success. Col Peter Merriman visited the ACF on exercise.
18 Sep 11 Dedication of Central Branch Standard St Michaels
There is no longer such a thing as a quite summer. All London Area Cadet Units have been on camp and their will be a flurry of reports in due course. The Harben Armoury Trust granted £35 per Cadet to attend Annual Camp totalling £10950.00. A magnificent gesture.
The highlight of the summer was RHQ and City of London HQ 'going live' on DII. There are now six terminals in the building including one for; "I will never use a PC", Area Secretary London (Ed: I hear him shouting at it every day - bless him) A number of dinners have been held for, amongst others: the Chief of the Air Staff, CRR London, MOD ADCs and MAs and C Company LONDONS Minden Dinner.
The museum outreach programme continues apace and Dale Copley tutored a group of local young people to write and produce a theatre drama of the Royal Fusiliers in India. This culminated in a performance in the Tower on Sat 20 Aug. On 31 Aug there was a mass attestation of recruits due to join AFC Harrogate next term. Together with parents there were some 80 people present for the ceremony taken by CRR London.
The Association Corps of Drums have had a busy time attending funerals and weddings. In addition they played at the step short ceremony in Folkestone. This is a re-enactment of the troops leaving for France in WW1. Mr Alan Warren of the Association South East Kent Branch is now the coordinator for what is a very large and complex event. They also played in the Tower of London on 3 September for the Buffs Association Annual Service where they were very well received indeed.
A large coach group of the Association led by Mr Richard Adams travelled to Mondemont over the weekend 2/3 September where they represented the Regiment and the British Army at the celebrations of the First Battle of the Marne. A further trip led by Mr Bert Mayle will be travelling to France for the Highwood Cemetery Pilgrimage over the weekend 17/18 September.
Finally, LCpl Kyme and his new bride, Peach, were married in the Tower of London on Saturday 3 Sep 11.
Royal British Legion 90th Anniversary Service. The Royal British Legion for Greater Manchester celebrated its 90th Anniversary with a service in Manchester Cathedral. Led by the Lord Lieutenant Warren Smith, JP it was a grand occasion which brought together those with an interest in the Legion from all over Greater Manchester. The Lancashire Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers played and hackles among the standard bearers were much in evidence. It is occasions like this that highlight the importance of the Lancashire Band and the standard bearers in raising the profile of the Fusiliers in the North West.
Booth Charity Service. The Fusilier Museum and the Regiment have established a strong relationship with the Salford based Booth Charity. In the past, the charity generously donated £30,000, towards the Fusilier Museum Project and has now granted a further £30,000 to the Fusilier Museum to fund an education programme. The education programme will be directed at Salford schools and will tell the story of Salford's Lancashire Fusilier Battalions and Salford's continuing legacy in the Regiment today.
To commemorate the founding father of the Booth Charity, Henry Booth, a service was held at the church of the Sacred Trinity. The church, built by Henry Booth is a fine example of 17th century architecture. It is also a regimental chapel of the Lancashire Fusiliers. The Colours of the 7th and 8th Territorial Battalions still hang in the church. Sadly the Colours of the Salford Pals Battalions, presented in 1919 no longer hang in the church as they have long since disintegrated.
The church also has two fine Lancashire Fusilier memorials. There is a wooden triptych, placed in the church in 1918 in memory of those from Salford's Lancashire Fusiliers battalions who fell in the Great War. In addition there is a parchment tablet presented in 1935 giving particulars of the members of Salford's Pals battalions who lost their lives including the 15th, 16th, 19th, 20th Battalions. Sacred Trinity can be viewed on Tuesdays between 1200hrs and 1400hrs.
Visit Colonel Lancashire. The recently appointed Colonel Lancashire, Brigadier Paul Nanson, Commander 7 Armoured Brigade, took the plunge and descended on Lancashire for a week to be inducted into the art of being an area Colonel. He had a full programme over a seven day period that brought him into contact with most elements of the regimental family. He was most impressed with what he saw and was extremely grateful for the time and effort that members of the Lancashire family took to meet and brief him. From cadets to the Association he saw that the Regiment in Lancashire is thriving. He left smiling and looking forward to the next five years as head of the Regimental family in Lancashire.
Col Lancashire with Mayor of Bury & with the Volunteer Corps of Drums
Minden Weekend. Minden was celebrated in style in both Bury and Rochdale. The weekend commemorations commenced on the Friday night when Minden Company of Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force held their first Minden Dinner in the Gallipoli Room of the Lancashire Headquarters. A good time was had by all, as the festivities continued well into the early hours of Saturday morning.
Also that night, the Rochdale Branch of the Association held their annual Minden Ball at the Masonic Hall in Rochdale, the guests included Brig Paul Nanson and the Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Alan Godson. The hall was suitably decorated with the Regiments Lancashire Fusilier Silver Drums and silver from the Lancashire Headquarters.
In Bury the catering staff at the Fusilier Museum had to execute a swift turn around following the ACF dinner on Friday as on Saturday night another Minden Dinner was held in the Gallipoli Room. This one was organised by Joe Eastwood, a strong supporter of the museum. I am reliably informed that the evening went well and the new bar facility proved its worth.
The culmination of the Minden Weekend was the Association
Drum Head Service in Gallipoli Garden. The Service was led by the Rev
John Findon, the regimental chaplain in Bury, with a fine turnout from
Association. The new speaker system worked well under the careful supervision
of Dennis Laverick and to cap it all the sun shone. Against the backdrop
of theFusilier Monument the Lancashire Fusilier Silver Memorial Drums
sparkled and made a splendid altar. For the first time, the assembled
Association retired to the new bar in the Normandy Room to remain for
a convivial afternoon. Lancashire is extremely lucky to have an Association
that stands on its own feet and organises its own events. On behalf
of the Regiment I would therefore like to thank John O'Grady and his
small team for organising and running Minden Sunday.
Assembled Fusiliers on parade
The final Minden event was the Minden Club Annual Dinner. The Club was established in 1890 for the officers of the Lancashire Fusiliers with an annual dinner to be held in London. This year, for the first time, the dinner was held in the Lancashire Headquarters in Bury. It was a night for breaking rules as the guest of honour was the General Manager of the Fusilier Museum, who is a woman ( Helen Field) and a woman has never been present at the dinner before! Despite all this rule breaking the dinner went so well that the Club AGM decided in future to hold two dinners in London to be followed by a third in Lancashire.
Attestation. The summer has seen a number of mass attestations in the Lancashire Headquarters and Fusilier Museum with 15 potential fusiliers setting off for Phase 1 training. On each occasion the Mayor of Bury was present to give her support.
Bury in Bloom. Each year Bury competes in the Britain in Bloom competition. During the summer the town bursts into colour with displays of flowers and shrubs. The event is supported by the local community and the Lancashire Headquarters and Fusiliers came out to support the Bury grounds staff. It turned out that one of the inspection team from the Royal Horticultural Society had previously worked in Warwick and knew John Turquand, not sure this did us any favours!
Saturday 24 September. Machine Gun Platoon Annual Dinner,
Castle Armoury, Bury.
For more information ring Linsay Walsh on 0161 763 8969
I R Liles OBE
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 18th July 2011
The Colonel of the Regiment, on behalf of all Fusiliers, congratulates the following on their appointments announced in the Jun 11 Command Board:
Command of 2 RRF in 2013; Maj (for Lt Col 2012) J
W Taylor MBE.
Officers' Annual Regimental Dinner.
The Officers Annual Dinner will be held in the New Armouries, HM The Tower of London on 21 Oct 11. Tickets have been kept at 2009 prices and a good attendance is expected from the Battalions. The Colonel of the Regiment extends an invitation to all Fusiliers, serving and retired and in particular to all antecedent officers. This is an opportunity to meet old friends and to mix with today's generation of young officers. The success of the dinner depends on attendance, a simple message; come this year! Bookings can be made through Capt Andy Harris at RHQ on 02031666906.
Harts Medals. The result of this year's Hart's Medals Inter Company novice boxing competition went all the way to the final bout and the finals were the best for some time with some outstanding performances. It was decided by the officials that the prelims would be completed in one day which meant that some boxers had to box twice in a single day. Once the finals were decided the competition could only have been won by W or Y coy with both teams having seven boxers in the finals. The prizes were presented by Brigadier Tim Robinson, Commander 1 Mechanized Brigade, who was massively impressed by the technical standard of the boxing demonstrated by all boxers. As the night progressed the points tally was neck and neck and eventually the whole competition went to the final bout between Cpl Marika Tikotani Y Coy and LCpl Gary Sandilands W Coy.
If W Coy had of won this final bout the Hart's Medals competition would have been drawn and the rules state that the winner of the Heavyweight competition would decide the outcome. It was in fact Cpl Marika Tikotani who won the bout which meant that the winners of the 2011 Hart's Medals were Y Coy coached by Cpl Carl Boyd. The overall results are below:
Bout Name Weight Name Winner
The award for the best boxer went to Fus Darren Morris of Y Company who showed he has just as much to give in the boxing world as his brother Sgt Lee Morris who used to box for the Army. It was obvious there had been a great deal of training in the family garage before this competition! The Battalion now look forward to assembling a team to enter the Army Team Championships towards the end of the year.
Y Coy Training.
Y Company made the most of a rare clear period in
the LWC diary to deploy to Sennybridge for some much-needed CT1 refresher
training. Over the course of a (mercifully dry) week, the 40 Fusiliers
present covered a variety of low-level skills including patrolling,
ambushes, day and night attacks and harbouring.
Highlights of the week included Lynx Helicopter flights at the end of a long day of advance to contact, which whisked the Company to safety as the heavens opened. The Fusiliers also benefitted from some FIBUA training, enjoying the opportunity to fight under cover from the elements! Fusilier Jake Foxall made particularly good use of the rafters in Farm 10, dangling upside down to surprise the assaulting troops. A series of night attacks saw Fusilier Lalhmangaiha Varte 'killed' in his sleeping bag on two separate occasions, as the exercising troops disdained the concept of seeing where they were going with a dawn attack to sneak in at 0300 hours in an unsporting fashion.
There were a great number of opportunities for the Fusiliers to practise medical drills, instructed by LCpl Hill of the RAMC, and their understanding of the immediate response to casualties improved out of all recognition. Fusilier Callum Gilchrist was particularly grateful for this when he managed to attack a twig with his eye in the pitch black of a harbour area. Needless to say the twig won, and the next day Fusilier Gilchrist could be observed hiding behind a bandage which covered almost his entire face.
The climax of the week was the opportunity for a Section competition over Pen-y-Fan. All of those who began the competition successfully completed it, with the winning section led by LCpl Soane Navelininkoro. This was despite the Brecon Beacons throwing everything they had at the Company, with thick mist, horizontal rain, and even hail striking the exposed walkers (indented for by the CQMS no doubt, who was safely cruising down the M4 in a Bedford truck at the time).
The Fan marked the end of a useful spell of training, which dispelled many of the myths surrounding Brecon for Fusiliers who had never before visited. The Company is now looking forward to drawing down from the Land Warfare Centre role to enjoy summer (?!) leave before deploying to Canada in September for a joint exercise with the Canadian Army.
W Coy Selection.
During June, W (Fire Support) Company initiated a marketing day. This was in support of the Commanding Officers' direction to fill and train W Coy in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. Each of the Rifle Coys listened to a short presentation given by the three Fire Support Platoon Commanders. The presentations explained what each platoon was looking for and what positions the Company were looking to fill. Each Platoon Commander highlighted the fact that soldiers who were successful in completing the selection process would come to the best company in 1 RRF. After the briefing the potential W Coy recruits visited stands from each of the Support Platoons. The Fire Support Group displayed the key weapon systems and vehicles in which the soldiers could be expected to operate from whilst deployed on OP HERRICK 18.
Recce Platoon was able to dig and successfully conceal a sub surface observation post, which none of the perspective W Coy recruits were able to spot. Cpl Griffiths also supported the effort from Recce Platoon with a well designed and presented Sniper stand. Many of the soldiers were very interested in the sniper role and how it is used on operations. Finally, Mortar Platoon was able to demonstrate their ability to deliver accurate fire on enemy positions in an operational environment.
The marketing day was very successful with many of the Rifle Coy soldiers showing a great interest in joining W Coy. These soldiers will complete a selection process and then a W Company fire support cadre in early 2012.
X Coy Training.
For the men of X Company the month of June began with some well needed armoured training for the crews and some basic lessons for the dismounts. This allowed them to get up to speed on the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle in preparation for the armoured ranges the following week. This included 'remind and revise' sessions in the turret as well as general maintenance.
Whilst in Warcop the Company was split into two groups.
The first group consisted of all Warrior gunners and commanders who
would conduct a week long live firing package. This was designed to
allow the gunners and commanders to build up from the Initial Gunners'
Live Firing Exercises all the way up to platoon defensive shoots in
the latter part of the week. As per usual LCpl 'Bobby' Charlton backed
himself 100% to win the esteemed title of "Top Gun" for the
week. This looked like being the case, or so he thought, until Fus Christopher
Smith 37 grasped victory from the jaws of defeat at the last minute,
thereby crushing L/Cpl Charlton's hopes and ego!
On returning to Mooltan barracks the Coy has focused on preparation for the upcoming adventurous training and the final part of the Champion Company competition (The Operational Fitness Test).
Congratulations go to Sgt John Morton, Sgt Morris and CSgt Curran for their promotions.
Rugby. At the start of June, a team from the 1st Battalion set off to Hamburg to play in the Hamburg Exiles 7's Competition. Having narrowly lost last year in the final to a team from 5 Rifles, the Fusiliers were confident that this year they could go one better! The Hamburg Exiles 7's Competition has been running for many years and attracts teams from all over Europe (Ed: 3 RRF won it in 1980 with the then Capt Colin Bowes-Crick as team captain, and the then Capt Ian Liles as a brilliant flanker, and the then Lt Andy Harris as an elusive running full back). This year, 14 teams turned up in total, including previous winners, and a team from 2 RRF. Having been drawn in a difficult group the 1st Battalion team knew it would require them to play well just to qualify for the knock-out stages.
The Fusiliers opened the competition with a convincing win over St Pauli, 25 - 10. In their second game they faced a strong team from Breman Rugby Club. With the Fusiliers finding their form, they proved too good for the opposition and comfortably won by 40 points to nil. The team were now starting to play some attractive 7s, with the pace of LCpl Sikela Ratubuli and Fus Eroni Ratulevu causing real problems for the opposition defence. The third game was the much anticipated clash with the team from the Front Row Club, made up only of players who have played in the front row. After some thumping tackles from Fus Paul Tuinasakea, supported by powerful line breaks from Fus Inia Qiolevu, the Fusiliers won 27-0.
With a place in the semi finals at stake, the 1 RRF team faced Hamburg Rugby Club, who were dispatched convincingly 40 - 0. After a short break, the Fusiliers lined up for their semi final against a team from the London based, Old Tiffinians. Right from the word go the pace and style of play from the Fusiliers was too much for the opposition. Some hard graft from forwards; Sgt Billy Hills and LCpl Alepeni Suluma paid dividends and once again the backs ran in a number of tries, without reply.
Having reached the final, the men from 1 RRF were up against none other than 2 RRF who were also unbeaten throughout the Tournament. Almost immediately after kick-off 1 RRF were on top and after some sustained pressure scored a well worked try, superbly converted by Lt Alex Gay. 1 RRF continued to pile on the pressure. With both teams scoring before half time, the game was in the balance. The second half was dominated by the 1st Battalion, with notable performances by Fus Vatemosi Rokowai and Cpl Temo Bielefelo, resulting in a final score of 38 - 5 and the men from Tidworth being crowned champions!
Thanks are given to Sgt Billy Hills for running training throughout the season and Maj Keith Everson for organising the fixtures and transport. The player of the tournament was Cpl Temo Bielefelo, who played every minute of the tournament. The rugby team is now looking to develop the success they have had this season with a pre-season tour in the autumn.
During June the Battalion deployed concurrently on a number of different exercises and events. The majority of the month saw the Command Team in France as part of an Anglo-French interoperability exercise, Ex FLANDRES 11. This was a high-profile exercise with 7 Armoured Brigade operating alongside a French Brigade within a French divisional context in a Command Post Exercise (CPX) similar to our CAST. Along with the command element of 2 RRF, a defence platoon (providing real-time security for the Brigade HQ) and a platoon, demonstrating the Battalion's Fighting in Built Up Areas (FIBUA) skills also deployed. The start of the month also saw the Battalion's football team in action again, this time in the British Forces (Germany) (BF(G)) Cup Final. Fire Support Company also sponsored a Battalion adventurous training Package in the Harz Mountains; where a large number of the Battalion's soldiers took part in mountain biking, hill walking, climbing and kayaking.
Ex DIAMOND ADVENTURE HACKLE (DAH) was a four week adventurous training (AT) exercise in the Harz mountains, where 96 Fusiliers conducted a week long multi-activity package. Each group completed four activities; mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and trekking with a high-wire confidence course thrown in for good luck. Each week culminated in a cultural visit to the site of a WW II work/death camp, home to the V2 rocket and the scientists who subsequently competed against each other in the space race.
With the range of activities on offer, each Fusilier
soon found a favourite. Some even managed to get quite intimate with
the AT equipment as Fus Davenport will testify (tip: whilst mountain
biking never put your feet down until fully stopped - the result is
inevitably painful!). Each day's activities lasted approximately 5 -
7 hours, usually under glorious sunshine.
Ex DAH was made possible by the hard work and effort of the directing staff; special thanks to Cpl Stuart Fiddler, Cpl Sammy McKeown, Sgt Dex Ansell and Capt Noel Webb.
On 7 June 11 the Battalion's football team played 1ADSR at Stadium Nienhagen. The Battalion hosted the event, and as the home team had secured a 'proper' stadium in Celle in order to give the BF(G) final the setting it deserved. A light training session and warm up was conducted prior to the game as the rest of the Battalion and the opposition arrived. Major Will Blinco (QM) gave his motivational team talk, reminding the players that as Fusiliers, Infantry fitness would win the game.
A good tempo of play by 1 ADSR at the start of the game saw them pressing the Battalion, which the Team duly soaked up. A few chances came the way of the Fusiliers, but unfortunately the opposition scored prior to half time. With 1ADSR up 1-0 at half time, Major Blinco gave another team talk during the break. He reminded the Team they were Fusiliers and that this was their trophy, so go and win it. The Drums Platoon did their bit for the occasion, playing in the stands and at half time, along with Sgt Richardson acting as the MC for the event.
The second half saw an early Fusilier equaliser.
1 ADSR scored again then Cpl Bell outstandingly saved a penalty before
the Battalion equalised again, sending the game into extra time. Towards
the end of extra time, as a penalty shoot-out was looming, Fusilier
Watkins was rewarded by chasing a ball down, and, with the 1 ADSR goalkeeper
unable to control it, slotted home. The final score was 3-2 to the Fusiliers.
Congratulations to the Second Fusiliers Football Team, this was a fitting
finish to a successful season, with the BF(G) cup to add to their impressive
As part of the Germany based 7th Armoured Brigade
(the Desert Rats), 2 RRF conducted simulated operations in cooperation
with their Gallic colleagues in the 3rd (French) Mechanised Brigade.
Officers from 2 RRF played key roles as exercise 'Commanding Officers',
Operations and Intelligence Officers for 2 RRF, SCOTS DG, 9/12L, 4 SCOTS
and 3 MERCIAN (the combat arms battle groups in the Brigade). Meanwhile,
the Fusiliers worked tirelessly as unit movers and radio operators ensuring
all commands were carried out with precision on the numerous IT systems
employed to simulate the battle in real time. Each brigade also had
embedded liaison officers to ensure that information was passed swiftly
and accurately between nations.
In addition, the Drums Platoon deployed on the exercise to provide the Brigade HQ Defence Platoon. Significant praise was levelled for the professionalism of the Platoon; both for their provision of security (which included assisting with the construction of the significant HQ) and their immaculate performance at the Brigade Cocktail Party. Well done the Drums!
The final element of the training undertaken in France was conducted by A Company at CENZUB; a purpose-built FIBUA training centre. An exceptional facility, with areas including high-rise blocks of flats; run-down markets; housing of varying standards and a business area (complete with underground car park), the training was rated by those who took part as outstanding. Formed as a composite platoon from across the Company, Lt Matt King deployed as its commander, under no pressure to perform by the 47 'stars' from across both the French and British Army, who witnessed the demonstrations. Equipped with French weapons and their equivalent of 'TES' (our laser battle simulator), the Platoon integrated into a French company group, which included tanks and armoured personnel carriers. The successful training further proved our ability to operate together at the tactical level, and may have helped to pave the way for further joint training in the future.
The wider purpose of the ambitious two-week exercise was to learn how well the systems and equipment of the two countries could work together. In military-speak, this is 'interoperability'. Similar exercises take place with other nations. This, however, was the largest of its kind with the French since they re-joined full membership of NATO in 2009. Personnel from 2 RRF played a key role in assessing the measures needed to increase interoperability of the command structures, procedures, equipment and personnel. The exercise was visited by Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen, and his French opposite number, General Elrick Irastorza. Both said they were impressed with the contribution 2 RRF had made to the exercise representing the fighting elements of the Desert Rats. Another important aspect of the exercise was the chance for soldiers from 2 RRF to meet their French counterparts in an informal setting. An opening social function provided just such an opportunity. Whilst initially there was a certain amount of reserve from both parties, as the night got underway the "Franglais" was practised with enthusiasm and numerous rank slides, cap badges and other mementoes exchanged (it should be noted that the Fusiliers seemed to do somewhat better out of these bargains)!
The conclusions drawn from Exercise FLANDRES identified several improvements needed in order to carry out Anglo/French combat operations and the exercise was judged to be a great success. The 2 RRF experience of this exercise will now lead to further work, both diplomatic and military, to strengthen ties with the French and the UK's other allies for future multi-national operations.
CIS Platoon Driver Training.
The Command and Information Systems Platoon (formally the Signals Platoon) is responsible for, amongst other things, the movement of Battlegroup Headquarters, and having had a large influx of new soldiers from across the Battalion over the last year the RSO, Capt Dan Wright, was concerned about the cross-country driving ability of the soldiers. Not only for the Second Fusiliers' current role of Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup (SSC BG), but also looking forward to Kenya and the Battalion's role as Theatre Reserve Battalion (TRB) once in Cyprus. Supported by Maj Stu Field RLC and his 22Sqn RLC (the affiliated SSC BG Squadron), four of the primary drivers for Battlegroup Main vehicles deployed to Gütersloh for some intensive driver training over a three day period. The focus was to be on route selection and self-recovery. After the first day covering self-recovery the soldiers were out practicing their route selection. The motivation on this was; the better they were at route selection the less they would have to practise self recovery! Suffice to say there was a lot of self-recovery practised over the full duration of the course with some good lessons learnt on the true capability of a heavily laden Land Rover. The soldiers returned more confident in their off road driving capability and their ability to get themselves and their equipment out of, quite literally, sticky situations. RSO 2 RRF is grateful to 22Sqn RLC for their support and allowing 2 RRF to tag on to their exercise for some very important training.
June can be looked back upon by 2 RRF as a successful month covering a vast array of military training, sporting success and good quality adventurous training. Unfortunately the Second Battalion has had to bid farewell to another well regarded and respected member of the Officers' Mess. Capt Jay Shaw has moved on from service life to a new role with G4S working on the 2012 Olympics. The Battalion wishes Jay and his wife Belinda all the best in their future together, Once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier. The activities covered over the last month have enhanced the Battalions operational capability, all the more important during the current role as SSC BG and with the future task of TRB. The high level planning speaks for itself; the adventurous training develops the soldiers' ability to cope and deal with real fear and challenges in a controlled environment. The driver training improves the Battalion's ability to move confidently and more importantly safely in arduous environments (very important with the exercise in Kenya approaching). The Battalion's Football success improves camaraderie and cohesion across the Battalion. Furthermore, all demonstrate a strong, trained and capable infantry battalion; ready to deploy, at short notice, anywhere in the world.
June and early July was a very busy period for the Battalion. The main focus was the Op HERRICK Battle Camp at Sennybridge. The Battalion not only trained its own cohort but also provided the G4 enabling component for the whole exercise with upwards of 300 personnel from across the Territorial and Regular Army. The aim of the camp was to close the training gap between what the TA soldiers had achieved at RTMC Chilwell, and the standard that was expected of them when they joined their respective Regular Battalions. The end state was to have each Infantry soldier qualified up to Platoon level tactics and live field firing in order that they could go straight onto Mission Specific Training (MST) and Combined Arms Live Firing Exercises (CALFEX).
The Battalion has 27 soldiers deploying on operations in the coming months. The majority are attached to 2 MERCIAN and 5 RIFLES, with the remainder undertaking a plethora of specialist training roles.
US Exchange Programme - CSgt Neil Redpath.
Five members of the Battalion are currently in the US as part of an annual US and UK Reserve Forces exchange programme. As the reciprocal part of this the Battalion received 6 members of the US National Guard (USNG) for the duration of the Battle Camp from 06 - 18 Jun 11.
5 RRF hosted the following; SSG Jay Breitzke from Indiana, SSG Russell Throckmorton from Alaska and SSG Jeremy Braunt from Michigan. 5 RRF also hosted the following on behalf of 2 Royal Irish; Lt Swaney, Sgt 1st Class Jamie Ingles, and SSG Derek Holbrook (all from Ohio).
The first week saw them introduced to the British Army rifle, which they had mixed opinions on. They did not like the weight or our "cack handed drills" (Left hand to cock the weapon). They did however like the internal operation which keeps the carbon at the front of the weapon. As opposed to the M4 where the carbon goes everywhere.
Other activities included visits to Cardiff, Swansea, and a tab up Pen Y Fan. All agreed that the high point was the visit to London on the middle weekend. The weather was glorious and the Tower of London was followed by a walk up the river to Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. Saturday night consisted of further "sightseeing". On Sunday morning they met Maj Alex Dart who had arranged for them to watch the changing of the guard from the Buckingham Palace forecourt. Due to a change in the weather, however, a "wet mount" was called (the guard simply marched off in capes less the band). There then followed what the Americans described as the high point of their two weeks in the UK. A tour of the Officers Mess at St James Palace, followed by a three course silver service lunch. The USNG does not have regimental dinners so all were over whelmed by the experience. Among the after lunch activities, were the taking of snuff from the hoof of Napoleons horse, Marengo, as well as a cadre on how to open a bottle of champagne with a sword by the Training Major. Thanks must go to Maj Dart and Capt Sexton PWRR for giving the USNG a day they will never forget.
Battalion Shooting Team - Maj Pat Scullion.
Maj Paul Blaney led a successful Battalion shooting Team at the 42 Bde SAM as one of the three 15 Bde teams taking part out of a total field of twenty one teams. The competition took place at Altcar Ranges. The team won three of the five team competitions, with a runner up medal and a third place in the other two events. As individuals, a good spread of success was achieved with Major Blaney gaining runner up to 2 Sigs in the MMTT. LCpl Wood won the CGR with Sgt Fenwick in second place. Sgt Fenwick also picked up a second in the ETR event. Overall a very successful weekend spent with 42 Bde, unfortunately, only individual medals were kept by the team with the impressive cups staying 42 Bde for safe keeping!
Following the success at 42 Bde SAM the team qualified for Bisley, where the team finished 4th out of 19 teams from across the Army, with Sgt Fenwick winning the Queens Medal for best shot for the third time in his career.
5 RRF Documentary on Australian Television.
The Battalion was asked by representatives of SBS Television if they could film a documentary on the preparation and deployment of 5 RRF soldiers to Afghanistan. The Battalion Media Officer, Capt Chris Hall did an excellent job in making this happen, when aired last week it was viewed by an audience of 500,000 on television and a further 750,000 online. For those interested the link is: http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/watch/id/601241/n/Into-the-Breach
15 Oct 11 - Ladies Dinner Night
A (FUSILIER) COY 4 MERCIAN
Since the last update from A (Fusilier) Company they
have been 2 training periods. The first concentrated on Fighting In
Woods And Forests (FIWAF) using 2 areas on the Earl of Aylesford's Packington
Estate. The 2 areas allowed the Fusiliers to practise in one area honing
their skills and then patrol and fight in another putting what they
had learnt into practise. To read further on this go to http://blogs.birminghammail.net/weekendwarriors/2011/06/ta-fusiliers-train-in-woods-be.html
The second training weekend was; Fighting In a Built Up Areas (FIBUA) which saw the Fusiliers operating in an Afghan based scenario including dealing with locals and going to a shura, a meeting with village elders. The Afghans were played by members of the Company led by Fusilier King who, getting carried away with his Thespian qualities, added elements to the scenario that were not planned! Clausewitz said no plan survives contact with the enemy, he forgot to mention Fusiliers making it up as they go along, despite clear briefings from the Directing Staff!
On both the weekends there was plenty of opportunity to test commanders at all levels and confirm drills and tactics. The Coy has also found the time to carry out scuba diving, more of which in future editions.
AREA HQ NORTHUMBERLAND
The North East is now well into the Summer Show and Carnival season which has resulted in the Area Recruiting Team covering one of the largest patches in the UK. C/Sgt Clark not only has a new born son to cherish but is very much learning 'on the run' with a variety of commitments throughout the summer.
On 7 June the Trustees of The Fusiliers Museum held an extraordinary meeting in Alnwick Castle to discuss the way ahead concerning the refurbishment of the ground floor displays and possible implications of the museum review. Colonel Brian Gorski attended the meeting as Colonel Heritage for the Regiment and discussed a number of issues with the Trustees concerning collaboration with the other 3 area museums and the possible outcome should MOD funding be cut or withdrawn.
On 20 June the Fusiliers Association took part in numerous 'Armed Forces Day' parades throughout the North East. This was covered by local TV to good effect with a host of hackles on parade. Association members also took part in the commemoration parade at the memorial outside the church of St Thomas the Martyr where a wreath was laid in memory of those members of the 'Fighting Fifth' who lost their lives in Aden in 1967.
Major Chester Potts and his committee are now well
advanced with their planning for a Fusilier Reunion in June 2012 at
St James' Park. To date there have been more that 1000 people who have
expressed an interest in attending and details will be updated on the
Association page of facebook.
Once again a number of groups from the Association travelled into Europe to visit the battlefields and Commonwealth War Graves where so many Fusiliers fell during both World Wars. Major Graeme Heron led a group to Italy and after visiting both the Anzio and Cassino battlefields, stopped in Rome to visit the caves where the German Army took reprisals on many Italians due to the help they were giving the Allies after Italy surrendered. Many a tear was shed by the group as the story was told about the sacrifice of the local people.
Another successful Museum Fund Raising event was held at Warwick School on 6 July. The Minden Band performed a superb Beating Retreat and Sunset Ceremony. Around 250 people watched the event which was followed by an excellent dinner with an auction that raised £5400 for the Regimental Museum. Amongst the guest were; Brigadier & Mrs Carol Liles, Brigadier & Mrs David Paterson and Colonel Peter Merriman. An excellent display of weapons was provided by Captain Charlie Mulira and his FSG from 1 RRF which attracted much interest from Warwick School CCF.
The Somme Sunday Parade at Aston Church on 3 July attracted many members of the Birmingham Branch of the Regimental Association and was well supported by local service organisations and the Royal British Legion.
The HQ was delighted to welcome to St John's House Mr James Preece who served with 1st Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1956-58. James was one of four Private Soldiers competing at Bisley in 1957, he came 67 out of 100!
The London Association Corps of Drums have been busy and played at the opening of the 1st and 2nd World War memorials in Covent Garden attended by the Mayor of Westminster. They were also delighted to play in the Tower at the wedding of Captain Alex Mills.
The footfall through the museum continues to grow and with the impending summer holidays it is expected to increase significantly. A number of functions have been held including an Appeals Dinner on 14 June which raised some £3000 from the raffle and auction. A reception for donors was also held on 5 July which was very well attended. Once again the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment held their annual Officer's Lunch in the Mess. The final figure for the appeal reception for the Cordwainers Company came to £5400. Colonel Easton hosted an excellent dinner for the London Cadet Commandants and senior hierarchy on 6 June. With 2012 being Olympic year in London the Museum would like to hear from any member of the Regiment who has been an Olympian and would like to contribute to a one off exhibition.
A number of events have taken place including the Area Colonel carrying out the annual inspection of the Haberdashers Federation CCF in Lewisham. This detachment has now grown to over 100 strong. On 1 July Haberdashers' Aske's CCF from Elstree held a hackle parade in the Tower for 50 junior cadets. They were surprised and excited to have their hackles presented to them by the Chief Yeoman Warder who gave an equally stirring speech in front of the awestruck public. 45 Detachment from Romford have had a busy month having attended a reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by the Prime Minister whom they all met. This was in recognition of them raising £250k across London for Poppy Day last year.
Fusilier Cadets meet the PM AT Downing Street
TA. C Company at Balham held a Fusilier Challenge competition for the Cordwainers Company at Balham Drill Hall on 25 June. Five teams of five took part during an afternoon of fun which was not only enjoyed by all but gave a valuable insight to the Cordwainers on what Fusiliers do and represent.
The annual Bury Carnival, run by Bury Lions, took place in June. The aim of the event was to raise funds for worthy causes, which last year included the Fusilier Band and Help for Heroes. The Carnival commenced with a parade that ended at a static site which included a fair ground and display stands. This event clearly presented an opportunity to raise the profile of the Regiment and Museum in Bury. A combined team consisting of the Fusilier Band, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Fusilier Museum staff and staff from the Bury Recruiting Office took part in the parade and on the static site. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints it proved impossible to bring vehicles up from 1 RRF in Tidworth to take part in the parade. However, 156 Transport Regiment RLC (V) very kindly provided their "Big Trucks" which emblazoned with museum banners made a big impact on the parade.
The Fusilier Museum "12 x 12" was present and Helen Field did a roaring trade in handing out museum leaflets and helium filled balloons. The helium balloons proved very popular judging by the large number of squeaky voices much in evidence around the Museum Tent. The Recruiting Stand did steady business in responding to requests for information on the Army and the Regiment including the Regular Army, Territorial Army and Army Cadet Force. Who says that joined up regimental based activity doesn't work
The Fusilier Band and Corps of Drums, having recently returned from Belgium, led the parade and despite the rain and hail stones did an excellent job. That said a week later, a letter was received by this HQ, from PS12 (I suspect Andy Greenwood) pointing out that the Band and Drums were incorrectly dressed on parade, having been seen wearing berets with scarlets rather than seal skin hats. Point taken, so if any reader is aware of a supply of seal skin hats please let us know. (Ed: it is no business of PS 12 what Association Bands wear. Perhaps PS 12 would like to buy the Sealskin hats for the band).
Fame and the bright lights came to Bury in June when
the David Dickinson's Real Deal road show came to town. Following a
request from the Real Deal team, Col Glover was nominated, from a cast
of thousands, (because he wasn't in the office at the time) to attend
the show and represent the Fusilier Museum. The filming took place on
a Saturday and some 500 people turned up clutching various antiques
and items of interest. The team filmed throughout the day and produced
enough material to produce four television programmes which will be
part of a series to be transmitted in the autumn.
Fusiliers Brierly and Thorpe became stars in their own right by acting as close protection for David Dickinson. The programme concluded with a competition which involved a considerable amount of money which was spread out on a table for filming while the rules of the competition were explained. Brierly and Thorpe were interviewed by David Dickinson and together they did a first class job of promoting the Regiment and the Territorial Army.
On 25 June, Armed Forces Day, witnessed the 2nd Anniversary of the opening of the Fusilier Museum. Colonel Brian Gorski, Chairman of the Fusilier Museum would like to thank all members of the Regiment who provided financial support and considerable encouragement that enabled the Project to overcome considerable difficulties and reach fruition. He is particularly grateful for their continuing support.
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers now has its own collection, museum, and displays that illustrate its own unique story. A story that the antecedent regiments would be proud of. There is still a considerable amount of work to do and the Fusilier Museum is involved with several projects including the development of the top floor of the museum building, to enhance storage space for the reserve and research collections, improvements Gallipoli Garden outside museum, the creation of a lasting memorial on Bolton Road to Wellington Barracks and has just been awarded a £10k grant from Booth Charity to develop a regimental education project in Salford.
Helen Castle onwards and upwards.
Following what would appear to have been a successful interview in Monaco, Helen Castle, has been appointed to head up a team to establish a new museum for Leeds United Football Club. She has explained that this has something to do with Association Football, rather than Union or League. Helen played a pivotal role in the move of the Lancashire Fusilier Collection from Wellington Barracks and in setting up the new museum. She will be missed and the Regiment thanks her for all her dedication and hard work.
Armed Forces Week Blackpool.
Nearly 50 members of the Regimental Association in
Lancashire deployed to Blackpool for Armed Forces Week. Blackpool was
the venue for one of the first commemorations and the members of the
Fusilier Association have returned there annually ever since. A number
booked in for the week and made a holiday of it. Among the veterans
on parade, a previously unknown member of Jefferson VC's Company Peter
Maher MM, during the campaign in Italy, came to light.
More on this to follow in future editions.
Three Peaks and Jump for Charity.
Fundraising is the name of the game. Colonel Brian Gorski's attempt on the Three Peaks has been published. In addition sponsored bungee jumps have been arranged to raise funds for FAS and the Fusilier Museum in Bury. The first will take place at the Tower of London in August and will be followed by one at Salford Quays in September. This is a great opportunity to have fun and raise money for your regimental museum. For details contact Helen Field at the Fusilier Museum.
For more information ring Linsay Walsh on 0161 763 8969
I R Liles OBE
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 14th June 2011
The Colonel of the Regiment congratulates the following on receiving awards in The Queen's Birthday List:
Major Chris Carter formerly OC A (Fusilier) Coy 4 MERCIAN now Training Major 4 MERCIAN.
CinCs Certificate for Meritorious Service
Major Iain Hallam formerly Training Major 5 RRF.
Sergeant B D Cormell 2 RRF Midlands Recruiting Team.
FUSILIER GATHERING 2011
Due to a very poor take up for attendance at the Fusilier Gathering 2011 a decision has been reluctantly taken to cancel the event at Tidworth as guests of 1 RRF. From across the Association no more than 70 Fusiliers, including wives had indicated an interest in attending. This number was not cost effective and would have resulted in the price per person being prohibitively high. If there is a desire for a centralised Gathering to continue then Areas and Branches must support by attending. Presidents of Associations are to seek an opinion from their Branches and inform RHQ of the outcome. In the meantime the intention will be for RHQ to support Area and Branch events and encourage interaction Regimentally across the 4 Areas. A message concerning this from the Colonel Association is on the new Association Web site. Click here to see the Chairmans letter
At 0830 hours on Monday 6 June members of the 1st Battalion came together to celebrate and remember the actions of the servicemen and women involved in the D-Day landings, 67 years ago. The Battalion gathered to listen to a presentation from Lt Alex Gay which focused on the involvement of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on D-Day, and the ensuing battle for Normandy. In 1946 the Colonel of the Regiment, Field Marshall Montgomery the Viscount of Alamein ordered the observance of the 6 June by the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Normandy Day to celebrate the Regiments involvement in liberating Nazi occupied Europe. In 1963 the Royal Warwickshire Regiment re-titled to become the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, and in 1968 amalgamated with the 3 other Fusilier Regiments of England to become the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Following the presentation Padre Bateson gave a short service of remembrance followed by the National Anthem. The morning gave a stark reminder to the Officers and Fusiliers alike, of the bravery and courage shown by our predecessors, and what it means to be a Fusilier.
May began with X Company running selection for the Fire Team Commanders Course (FTCC - JNCO Cadre in old money). After a gruelling 3 days consisting of navigation tests, a log race, basic tactical assessment and various other physical tests a shortlist was drawn up of those who would attend the course in Brecon. Those Fusiliers who passed are now in Brecon working hard with the aim of promotion on returning to the Battalion.
The final LION STRIKE exercise of the Battalion's time as the Land Warfare Centre Battlegroup took place in May, and X Company enjoyed their role as enemy once again. As ever, they managed to successfully fend off the Light role Companies as they fought their way into Imber Village, and 2Lt George Eid along with his RPG team managed to repel the armoured attack led by 2Lt Xavier Teasdale-Firth who was attached to Z Company for the exercise.
Okehampton provided the setting for small arms ranges towards the end of the month, which saw the whole of X Company conducting live firing up to, and including, the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test. The weather conditions provided some particularly demanding conditions on the final day which was a good test to fully establish the best shot!
The return of those men deployed on HERRICK 13 as Battle Casualty Replacements with 16 Brigade meant that May has also been a month for reorganisation. Having enjoyed anything up to 4 weeks off on Post Operational Tour Leave, the men had a good break, but many were keen to get back to work. In the words of Fus Oliver Hashtroudi, "I started turning into a civvi after a couple of weeks and needed to get back to the Army! " The men will now rejoin their respective platoons, and begin to share their experience of being in Afghanistan with the remainder of the Company as they start to prepare for deployment as a Battalion in 2013.
Recce Platoon and elements of Mortar platoon deployed to the range complex in Lulworth to conduct Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) live firing. Most of the crews were confident and hit the targets but it was evident that some of the crews were a little rusty and so this provided a very good training opportunity for the gunners to 'get their eye in'. Recce platoon was supported by Mortar platoon who ran a pintle mount shoot from their AFV. Concurrently, from a static firing point, snipers engaged targets at varying distances. The ranges were visited by the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Swift, on the Tuesday, after a thorough safety brief, he was able to engage and hit some of the sniper targets and also conduct the GPMG pintle mount shoot.
After engaging and destroying targets by day, both Recce and Mortars engaged and destroyed targets by night. By the Wednesday, crews began to fire their Annual Crew Test. The Platoon as a whole achieved a high Level 5 pass. With the whole platoon passing it was not until the end of the day that the top gun award was decided. This time it was not clearly won by one crew and the trophy was shared between 3 crews; LCpl Jay Smith and LCpl Paul St Louis, Cpl Francois Wright and Fus Eugene Kevane, and LCpl Robert Grantham with LCpl Dean Mace.
Following in Recce Platoon's tracks, Z Company ran a Warrior Gunnery Camp on Lulworth Ranges. Initially, the lack of recent field firing was evident. Ultimately, however, it was a highly successful week, which allowed most of the Company's gunners to pass their Annual Crew Test. It puts the company in a very good position for its next gunnery camp in December, which marks the beginning of the build up towards BATUS next spring. The very next week Z Company was back out on the ranges, this time in Bulford and Warminster to get everyone through the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test for their personal weapons prior to the Company's deployment to the Falklands in the Autumn. With the long summer days and night shoots needing to be fired, the week felt very long indeed. A huge amount was achieved, however, and the standard of firing was noticeably improved by the end of the week.
The 1RRF SPS Detachment has recently celebrated success at the annual Triple Crown Competition held in Worthy Down on 18 May 2011. Four members of the Detachment, captained by Cpl Danni King took part in the Military Skills event which consisted of a series of military stands including first aid, CBRN, a loaded march and an obstacle course. The march and shoot event was also entered and a further four members of the Detachment completed the 12 mile march with a time of 2 hrs 7 mins and finished as winners of the SPS Detachment March & Shoot competition. The standard of competition was higher than ever before and over 120 teams entered the competition this year. The winning team consisted of Capt Tony Frank, Cpl Benny Benoit, Pte Dally Mandson and Pte Jim Sussex.
The Officers' Mess
opening batsmen- enough to put fear into any bowling attack
In May, a team from
1 RRF LAD departed Tidworth and took part in the minor unit's category
of the REME Orienteering Championships. The event, held on Hankley
common training area, was split into 3 separate courses, with the
ASM (WO1 Steve John) competing in the Brown course (the longest and
most technical, apparently), LCpl Skye and Sgt Mark Horsfall competing
in the Blue course (a much easier course, as both felt that they couldn't
match the ASM's superior athleticism and navigational prowess on the
brown course) while Craftsmen Darren Custy, Don Fong, Sean Hibbert,
Ricky Mehew, Prab Singh and James Westwood competed on the light green
A team of boxers from 1 RRF went to the Army individual Championships in Aldershot. The team fought valiantly, with both courage and pride. Fus Lee Chilton became the Army's 2011 Light Middle Weight Champion. He came back from a standing count in the first round to technically out box his opponent in an intelligent display of courage and skill. In addition, Fus Chilton and Fus Ashley Peace were selected to attend training with the Army Boxing Team.
WO2 Ronnie Collins was awarded 'The Paul Oatway Prize' at the recent Tidworth community area awards for his support to local youth activities. WO2 Collins has coached the U13 Shipton Bellinger football team since the arrival of 1 RRF in Tidworth in Aug 09. The young team involves both military and civilian kids from across the Garrison and wider community and has proven to be a great bridge builder; the children are considerably more aware, more mature and more understanding as youths contributing to society. Recent successes include winning the Div 2 league and runners up in the Cup Final.
In May, six members of the Battalion competed in the second annual "Pain on the Plain" cycling event in Tidworth. This civilian competition included 50km and 100km routes for road bikes, with a share of the profits going to SAAFA. Congratulations must go to the Commanding Officer, who set the bar high in the 100km event, and to Fus Marc Collins Cooper and Capts Matt Clarke, Stu Richardson and Mark Milne who ensured that 1 RRF took 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places (respectively) in the 50km event. Planning for a 100 mile charity ride in September is already underway!
May has been one of the few months over the past year when 2 RRF has been in a period of relative routine (although the Companies may disagree!) Internal courses and inter-company sporting events have formed the basis of the month with the highlights being the British Army (Germany) and Army Football 6's and the Battalion's Skill at Arms meeting.
The Battalion, whilst maintaining its high readiness capability as the Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup, is now firmly looking forward to Ex ASKARI THUNDER in Kenya later this year. As part of the build up there has been a large amount of work going in to improving the vehicle driving standard of the Battalion. The CIS Platoon has also been working hard to improve the Battalion's communications during the Regimental Signaller Part 1 course in Trenchard Barracks. The Intelligence Officer, Capt Georges Strachan-Heyes, in his role as Battalion Shooting Officer organised and ran the 2 RRF Inter-Company Skill at Arms Meeting (SAAM) as an event to both improve the level of shooting within the Battalion, one of the core infantry skills, and to select a team for the Bisley SAAM.
Regular readers will know the Second Battalion is proud of its football team and affords them (and the QM) significant coverage in this publication. They have been in action again over the last month with some good results. As those of you who know Lt Col Mike Butterwick (Commanding Officer 2 RRF) you will be aware that he has a passion for all sports; this has quickly rubbed off on the Battalion. Consequently, there have been a number of sporting events over the last month, mostly inter-Company, seeking to improve sporting capability and image beyond the confines of the football pitch and to identify the wide talent base within the Battalion. As part of this, Capt Dale Smith organised and ran an inter-Company rugby competition; whilst Sgt Lalley along with Mr Neil Saunders, the Battalion SHEF Warden, organised a day of cricket coaching for a local School in Celle.
Regimental Signaller Part 1 Cadre. The CIS Platoon managed to run the first part of a two part course that will hopefully see 20 soldiers qualified as Regimental Signallers. Looking forward to Kenya, where the Battalion will find individual companies operating at over 100Km from Battlegroup HQ, this qualification will be essential. Recent years have seen battalion level communications focus on VHF equipment but due to the range the Battalion will be operating over in Kenya soldiers will need to also be competent in the HF equipment at a lower level than currently practised. The course was run at Trenchard Barracks and on Bergen-Hohne training area. The students were taught plenty of theory during the early phases of the cadre before deploying on a comprehensive exercise; where according to the directing staff the highlight was the 'Line Laying' and 'Line Maintenance' elements (this may have something to do with the DS cutting the line and the students having to find the break and repair it in the middle of the night - RSO). In all, 21 students passed the internally run Part 1 of the RS course, of which 20 are loaded on to the 'Part 2' at the Support Weapons School, Warminster, later next month.
Football. In May the 2 RRF Football team competed in both the British Army (Germany) (BA(G)) and Army 6-a-side competitions. As the reigning Army 6-a-side champions there was much for the squad to live up to. At the start of the six-a-side competition the Battalion Squad was down two of its star players, however the Football Officer, QM(M), Maj Will Blinco, held a football squad trials in the form of a small competition and had a lot of new players that were jumping at the opportunity to play for the Battalion. 2 RRF entered an A and B team in the British Army (Germany) (BA(G)) tournament. The competition consisted of two pools and the draw placed the two teams in different groups. In the knockout phase the A and B team met, surprisingly the A team won. As this was also the qualifying event for the Army 6-a-side competition the B team needed to win the 3rd place playoff to qualify for a place at the Army 6-a-side tournament. Despite a Yellow card for the B team goalkeeper they won and qualified. The A Team under Sgt 'Windy' Miller romped home as BA(G) winners. Once again the Second Battalion had two teams in the Army 6-a-side competition!
For the Army six-a-side competition the team had a long drive to Pirbright. After a day to settle in the A and B teams arrived at Aldershot Stadium on 25 May 11 for the competition. After a brief on the rule changes from the BA(G) competition the teams found that they were in the same pool of 8 and that the first game was 2RRF A vs 2RRF B; an unenviable start! After a hard fought game the B Team beat the A Team 4 - 2. The loss to the A Team seemed to motivate them; they played hard and racked up a good goal difference with lots of wins. The B Team managed to scrape some wins too, but due to goal difference they finished the competition in 3rd place and did not qualify for the knock out phase. The A team qualified for the Semi-finals in 2nd place within their group. The knockout phase opened with the A team up against 1 SCOTS, a hard fought game (and some dodgy calls from the man in black - A Team players) with both teams fighting hard to progress; eventually 1 SCOTS went through to the finals.
Congratulations to the Battalion Footballers. Despite no winners trophy (this month) the Army Coach was at the event scouting for talent and two Fusilier players may find themselves heading for Army colours very soon. Stop press; the Battalion won the BFG Army Championships in Jun. More in the next News.
2 RRF Operational Shooting Competition. The aim of the 2 RRF Battalion Operational Shooting Competition was two fold; first to improve and develop the overall shooting ability of the battalion through competition marksmanship; and second to enable the selection of a Battalion Team to be sent to this years Army Operational Shooting Competition at Bisley. Lessons identified from recent operations have radically changed the old 'competition' matches into brand new 'operational shoots', these have a much greater emphasis on snap shooting, and firing from multiple positions with the full range of section weapons (LSW/LMG/Pistol). Additionally, all shoots are now conducted as fire teams or sections and must contain Section Commanders and machine gunners. 140 members of the Battalion competed in this
year's event on Bergen-Hohne ranges. In all there were five competition shoots; The Section Attack Match, The Section Advance to Contact Match, The Fire Team Close Combat Match, The Fire Team Combat Snap Shooting Match and the Fire Team Falling Plates Match.
Despite extended periods of no firing due to the range area being set alight by neighbouring live fire exercises, all teams were able to complete each of the 4 main matches on the Wednesday and Thursday, which led to an exciting morning on the Friday with the falling plates competition which was won by the team from 9 Pl C Coy. Prize giving was held in front of the Battalion in Trenchard barracks and saw A Coy take three of the four team competitions as well as the best overall Fire Team and Section. Mortar Pl took a surprising victory over the rifle platoons in the Section Attack Match whilst Sgt Henderson of A Coy won the championship shot and Fus Fick of A Coy was awarded the CO's prize of best 'young shooter' having finished an impressive third overall.
All firers benefited over a week of shooting that improved skills and developed potential. This event has nurtured a desire in the Fusiliers to continue to excel in this core skill and has proved a spring board for the Battalion Shooting Team where a strong performance at Bisley later this year is expected.
Summary. Shooting, communications and sports are key for the Infantry. Shooting and communications are obvious as to their importance. Sport has a less obvious but equally important part to play. Soldiers work as part of a team, whether that is part of the Rugby or Football team or their Fire team or Platoon. Teamwork is key to being a soldier, the ability to rely on your team and for your team to rely on you is even more important on the battlefield than on the sports field. Next month the Battalion will be conducting some adventurous training, again an event where key soldiering skills are developed. Adventurous training is designed to take soldiers outside their comfort zones, testing their spirit with real fear and developing their courage to overcome challenges in a controlled environment.
Next month a large contingent of the Battalion will also be taking part in Ex FLANDERS, 2 RRF's major event for June. The exercise is a high level joint command exercise with the French military and will include the command element of the Battalion attending as LOCONs. There will be a defence platoon and a demonstration from 2 RRF soldiers conducting Fighting in Built-Up Areas (FIBUA) at a major new purpose built complex. The exercise is of such a high profile that several high ranking British and French officers will be visiting as well as President Sarkozi. The Battalion Football team will be competing again early next month this time on a full sized pitch in the BF(G) Major Units Final. Good luck to them.
The last month has been focused on the lead up to the mobilisation of the cohort destined for Afghanistan in the Autumn. The two training weekends in May have been used to concentrate on the slightly mundane, but still highly important G1 administration matters. The RAO and his team have been busy in all of the main TACs taking the cohort through their MCCP, checking all personal documentation and other administration. This is vital for TA soldiers intending to deploy because their time at RTMC Chillwell is very short and the slightest anomaly with their paperwork can lead to their demobilisation.
On the 29 May the cohort paraded at Chillwell having been 'called out' as mobilised soldiers. At the time of writing they are going through their mobilisation training. Those successful will progress to 2 weeks of post mobilisation training at Sennybridge before joining their Regular Battalions for mission specific training and deployment in late June.
On other news - congratulations go to Cpl Unwin for coming top student on the last TA Platoon Sgts Battle Course.
The Band received its periodic Band Inspection from CAMUS. This is an important inspection for the band where all aspects of the running of the band are looked at. The inspection team left very happy and much credit must go to the Director of Music Capt Kevin Crook and his team.
" 06 - 18 Jun
11 - Op HERRICK 15 Battle Camp at SENTA
After the success of the St George's weekend the Area has moved into full summer season mode. The Recruiting Team are now at full stretch covering the vast number of Summer Fairs and Shows that are such an important part of life in this mainly rural area. Congratulations must go to C/Sgt Clark and his partner on the birth of a baby boy last week and hopefully this will not impact on the rest of the team as result of the C/Sgt not getting his beauty sleep!
Saturday 28 May saw
the 'Fighting Fifth' Golf Day take place at Morpeth Golf Club. The
weather was once again very challenging which was reflected in the
stableford scores. Mr Ron Creasey,
A large number of The
Fusiliers Association of Northumberland is currently travelling to
the battlefields of Anzio and Cassino. It was with some surprise and
pleasure that they met up with association members of both Lancashire
and Warwick in France who were also visiting the battlefields and
Commonwealth Graves in the Flanders area and shows how much the service
and sacrifice of our former Fusiliers is respected and commemorated.
The Association Area Chairman, Major Chester Potts, has continued to assemble a committee and research the concept of holding a large Fusilier function in Newcastle in the summer of 2012 and plans are firming up for this to go ahead and it will be for all Fusiliers, Regular and TA (RNF and RRF). More details will appear on the Association Facebook page for what will be a very high profile and inclusive event.
Fusiliers Museum London. The more open aspect of the refurbished museum galleries have, as expected, allowed for much larger receptions to take place. The first of these was on 1 June when the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers held a reception in aid of the Museum Appeal. Over 120 guests attended.
A very successful fashion show was held from 21-25 May. The organiser, Tony Hampton, is an ex member of the Lancashire Fusiliers and RRF and is the MD of the Suzanne Neville fashion house. Some 200 invited fashion stockists and journalists attended the four day event. On 31 May the British Red Cross held their annual "Jailed & Bailed" event in the Association Room. This entails very senior people from the City being invited to Mansion House for coffee whereupon they are instantly arrested by the City of London Police and transported to the Tower for further investigation. On arrival at the Tower the prisoners are put into balls and chains and led in file up to RHQ. They then have a couple of hours to rustle up bail to be released. Last year the British Red Cross raised some £25k at this event.
History Talking Back.
Come and visit the museum on a weekend and you might get closer to
history than you expect. The Fusilier Museum has now got its very
own Victorian Soldier.
Schools World Premier.
For the first time, The Fusilier Museum is delivering a dedicated
programme of workshops for school groups. Working with friends at
Historic Royal Palaces, the Tower Education team, the museum has just
finished its first schools project. Four local schools came to visit
the museum in March. Each school was introduced to a different Fusilier
story through a live interpretation workshop. Back at school, the
children worked with the Tower Education team to develop a story board
of the story, writing dialogue and doing artwork.
The Association. There
have been two major trips carried out by the Association in May. The
first led by Captain Bob Keating took a party of 40 to Italy where
they visited a number of battlefield sites including Anzio, Cassino
and Snakeshead Pass. Although a huge success it is disappointing that
the trip fails to attract Regular and TA soldiers who are able to
get educational grants for battlefield studies. These trips give a
valuable insight to the Regiments heritage and are an excellent opportunity
for serving soldiers to experience this on site and to get involved
with their Association.
Another successful Association Skill at Arms Meeting was held at Swynnerton on 2 May. A total of 10 teams from Warwickshire and the West Midlands Branches along with guest teams from Lancashire, the Staffordshire Regimental Association and the Yeomanry competed for the team trophy which was won this year by the Royal Leamington Spa Branch. The individual best shot was shared between Major Peter Stanley (Coventry Branch) and Mr Mark Blakely (Central Branch), both served together in 5th (Warwickshire) Battalion. Some 120 members of the Association with friends and family attended what is now becoming a really popular meet for Fusiliers. Sheldon Branch and in particular Neil Gregory are to be congratulated for organising a first class event, not forgetting Major Tommy Nugent and his safety team from Warwickshire ACF for running the firing point and reminding members of SA 80 drills! The star of course was Eamonn Gannon BEM for fixing ATE Swynnerton. Warwickshire looks forward to seeing teams from Northumberland and the City of London Associations in 2012, making this a truly Regimental Association event!
A first class Normandy
Day lunch was held by the Nuneaton Branch at the Chestnuts Club on
Saturday 4 June, guests included Lt Col & Mrs Aubrey Chalmers
and Major Richard Mills. Around 50 members of the Branch plus a strong
contingent from Sheldon enjoyed an excellent meal and entertainment
with a '40's theme provided by vocalist Madeline Brown! Ty Chadwick
and Tricia Wood were wonderful hosts The Normandy Day Parade was held
in Riversley Park, Nuneaton on Monday 6 June, as always there was
a good turn out from the Nuneaton Service Clubs and the Nuneaton Branch.
Continuing on a Normandy Day theme, Murray Richards and his team of cyclists, who are raising funds for FAS and the Fusilier Memorial, made a quick tea stop at St John's House on Tuesday 1st June en route to Sword Beech. The welcoming committee included Mr Chris White MP, the Mayor of Warwick along with Sgt Cormell and his Recruiting Team.
AHQ was delighted to host Mr Jim Smith aged 92, at St John's House, Jim enlisted in 7th Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 27th November 1934 in Coventry and served with A Company until 1938 when he was forced to leave due to his reserved occupation. Jim was called up in 1940 and was posted to North Africa in 1941 with the RAOC. Clearly Jim wanted something more challenging and found himself serving with Colonel David Stirling in L Detachment 1 SAS. Jim is recognised as one of the few remaining "originals" of the Special Air Service Regiment, he went on to see action in Sicily, Italy and the Dodecanese.
The Area Secretary was lucky enough to take part in the Battlefield Tour of Albuhera over the period 13 -17 May organised by RHQ PWRR. There was a strong contingent of former Royal Fusiliers and 3rd Fusiliers headed up by Major General Brian Webster and Major General David Woodford, with staff support from Colonels James Aldous and Nigel Easton, the foot soldiers included Lieutenant Colonels Keith Kiddie, Nick Beswick and Majors Maurice French, Brian Whalley and not forgetting Captain John Davis who kept everyone in good order. Congratulations to Colonel Mike Ball and his team from RHQ PWRR for laying on such a memorable event.
Bury Wartime Weekend. The East Lancashire Railway Wartime Weekend has been running for nearly 15 years in Bury. It is a three day event, held annually over the last bank holiday in May. The event is well subscribed, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Prior to the move of the Area Headquarters and Fusilier Museum into the centre of Bury the Regimental presence at the event had been limited to the Fusilier Band & Corps of Drums supported by a small team from the Fusilier Association. Now that the Headquarters and Museum are based in the centre of Bury next to the East Lancashire railway the event presented a Regimental opportunity not to be missed.
The weekend proved to be a good example of a combined Regimental event, coordinated by the Area Headquarters. Taking part where a section from 1RRF, a good part of the TA Machine Gun Platoon, Fusilier Cadets from Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force, the Association, Friends of the Fusilier Museum and staff from the Tourist Information Centre and Fusilier Museum. The aim of the weekend was to raise the profile of the Regiment and at the same time attract additional visitors to the Fusilier Museum. With no practical experience of the Wartime Weekend the decision was taken to organise several events in order to establish best practice for 2012. The 2011 events included:
Stand. All three days. On the platform of Bury Station based on 12
x 12 provided by the TA.
The weekend proved successful, bringing in many additional visitors and £800 in income for the Museum. Also, all the hard work considerably enhanced the profile of the Regiment and Army. That said, there are areas for improvement which will be incorporated into the plan for 2012. Finally, special mention should be made of the NCOs and Fusiliers from 1RRF, the TA Fusilier Machine Gun Platoon, Steve Fitt, Secretary of the Association in Lancashire and Steve Douthwaite Secretary to the Friends of the Fusilier Museum for their help with the preparation and for their hard work over what turned out to be a very wet and windy but successful weekend.
GMACF Shooting at Altcar.
Shooting is a core activity for the ACF and the opportunity was taken
to visit the Fusilier Cadets from Greater Manchester firing the target
Rifle at Altcar Training Camp recently. Despite horizontal rain the
cadets put up a tremendous performance shooting out to 500m.
Band on Tour. The Fusilier Band (Lancashire) recently took the opportunity to mix business with pleasure by playing a number of concerts in Belgium. The band formed in 1997 and is now some 35 strong and has established a reputation for musical excellence both at home and abroad. This year the Fusilier band was invited to play in Belgium and events were arranged in the beautiful mediaeval city of Bruges, at the atmospheric TOC H in Poperinge and finally at the famous Menin Gate in Ypres.
Ypres has a particular significance for the British Army for during the First World War, the British Army held Ypres against repeated German attacks for nearly four years sustaining many casualties as a consequence. Throughout the First World War the antecedent regiments of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers suffered 63,841 dead and many thousands more wounded.
At the end of the tour the Band paid their respects to the last two Lancashire Fusiliers of the First World War to be buried. Private Harry Wilkinson was buried in 2003 and Private Richard Lancaster in 2007, both at Prowse Point Cemetery south of Ypres. The bodies of a further two Lancashire Fusiliers have recently been discovered and are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence pending a formal burial.
It was with great pleasure
for the band that during the tour the members were able to meet up
with fellow Fusiliers from both Northumberland and Warwickshire
Friday 29th July. Rochdale
Branch Minden Ball, Rochdale.
" FAS now has its own Justgiving site. Those who wish to raise funds for FAS should use this site for all donations: http://www.justgiving.com/fusiliersaidsociety
" This year, Stephen
Hussey's Challenge or Stupidity will takes him to the European Alps
with several other Partners in Crime to cycle 320 miles from Turin
to Geneva. During the 4 days they will encounter six Tour de France
Mountain Climbs including the Infamous Alpe d'Huez. The aim is to
raise £3000 for the Regimental Memorial fund at the new Arboretum
in Staffordshire. A dedicated National location for the Roll of Honor,
and a place for all families and comrades to pay homage to the Regiments
recent and not so recent Fallen Comrades. Stephen seeks sponsorship
I R Liles OBE
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 19th May 2011
Change of Appointments. You will note in detail further into the News that the Commanding Officers of 1 and 2 RRF changed in Apr 11. Lt Col Jim Landon has moved on to a staff appointment in Afghanistan and Lt Col Charlie Calder will be a DS at JSCSC (The Joint Staff College). Lt Col Jon Swift now commands 1 RRF and Lt Col Mike Butterwick 2 RRF. Colonel Brain Gorski has handed over his duties as Area Col Lancashire to Brig Paul Nanson. Col Gorski has assumed a new Regimental position as Col Heritage and Museums.
Assistant Regtl Sec. After several attempts Capt John Davis has finally retired as Assistant Regimental Secretary and has been replaced by Capt Andy Harris. The Colonel of the Regiment sends the thanks and best wishes of all Fusiliers to John for the huge contribution he has made to the Regiment and wishes Andy good luck in his new appointment.
Commissioning of HMS DIAMOND. A new RN ship, HMS DIAMOND, affiliated to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was commissioned at a ceremony at Portsmouth this month. The Regimental Secretary and Maj Craig Taylor (Bn 2ic, 1 RRF) represented the Regt. A piece of Warwick Regtl silver was presented to the Captain as a mark of the affiliation; HMS DIAMOND is also affiliated to the City of Coventry.
Disbandment of 13 Sqn RAF. The Regimental Secretary represented the Colonel of the Regiment at a ceremony at RAF Marham to mark the disbandment of 13 Sqn, RAF as a part of SDSR. The Regiment has enjoyed a long and successful affiliation with 13 Sqn and it was indeed a sad day. The Sqn, however, produced an outstanding parade and the officers an equally splendid last dinner night. Should 13 Sqn be resurrected the Regt stands by to renew the affiliation.
Regimental Cocktail Party. Another reminder that the Regimental Cocktail Party this year will be held on 30 Jun in the Tower. Tickets are available through RHQ for what is a very well attended and increasingly popular event.
At the end of Apr 11, Lt Col Landon handed over command of the Battalion to Lt Col Swift. On his last day in command, Lt Col Landon was pulled in his Warrior to the camp gates by the Officers, Warrant Officers and SNCOs. During his time in command, Lt Col Landon moved the Battalion from Fallingbostel to Tidworth, spent nearly 2 years as the Land Warfare Centre Battlegroup, provided a Battle Casualty Reinforcement (BCR) Cohort to Afghanistan and, as the Regiments Recruiting Colonel, achieved full manning within the Battalions.
On Wednesday 27 April the Officers' Mess formally welcomed the new CO, Lt Col Jon Swift at a Regimental Dining In. Lt Col Swift began the evening by addressing the mess for the first time to lay out his vision for the future of the mess and the Battalion. Another excellent dinner was provided by the mess chefs, followed by drinks in the newly refurbished bar.
The remaining BCR Cohort still based in the UK said
farewell to the final men deploying to Op HERRICK at the beginning of
April. Shortly after LCpl Adrean Salem and his fire team deployed, the
Battalion began to welcome home Fusiliers who had been on Operations
for between 2 - 5 months. They returned with stories of what they had
accomplished, and were rightly proud of their achievements. The Fusiliers'
tasks in theatre ranged from working in the Brigade Reconnaissance Force
(BRF) out of Camp BASTION to conducting foot patrols from some of the
remotest Checkpoints (CPs) far from any established Forward Operating
Base. The experience gained will no doubt be put to good use as the
Battalion begins to prepare for its own tour on HERRICK 18 in 2013.
While the amount of administration required to get the men away on Post
Tour Leave initially seemed a mammoth task, paperwork was trawled through
and the BCR Fusiliers are now enjoying a well earned break in various
locations across the world ranging from Newcastle and Manchester to
Germany and Australia. After leaving theatre, the Fusiliers travelled
through Cyprus to attend post Operational briefings, and enjoyed a couple
of days relaxing before flying back to the UK. Since the teams were
deployed to different units in theatre, they received different welcomes
home. Some enjoyed a full parade with Union Flags flying and others
simply transited through quietly to be welcomed by the Fusiliers back
in the Battalion. X Company are planning a welcome home event for the
men collectively when all return from their leave in June in time for
the Harts Medals.
Instead of watching HRH Prince William tie the knot, members of 1 RRF football team travelled to Celle Germany to take on their sister battalion in a match organised by the two RSMs to celebrate St George's Day and Gallipoli Day. In what proved to be a hard fought game 1 RRF emerged with a well deserved victory The First Battalion returned to Tidworth with the trophy, which was last competed for in 1994 when the Second Battalion won 4-1. After the match all members of the football squad were invited to an all ranks function. This was further supported with hosting of all members in their respective messes on the Sunday afternoon. After a fantastic match, warm welcome and impeccable hosting the First Battalion returned to Mooltan Barracks victorious and look forward to a return match and defence of the trophy on home soil.
Over Easter leave the 1 RRF Welfare Office arranged for members of the Newcastle Community Football Coaching organisation run a coaching course for the youth of Tidworth. The course was open to anyone aged 5 - 16 years and attracted 37 potential Alan Shearers!
April has been a month of many changes for the Second Battalion. Lt Col Charlie Calder OBE was pulled out of Trenchard Barracks on 7 April and was succeeded by Lt Col Mike Butterwick. Other changes within the Battalion included Captain Paul Mullis moving on from BCMO being replaced by Capt Dave Granfield and Capt Paul Bland moving on from the role of Welfare Officer to pursue a civilian life after a very long and successful career. This year also offered the Battalion its first opportunity in a long time to really celebrate St George's Day and Gallipoli Day.
Change of Command. Lt Col Charlie Calder OBE was pulled out of camp after an enormously successful time in command of 2 RRF. He had commanded the Battalion through the full spectrum of military tasks, from the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to the green zone of Afghanistan. During his time he hosted President Karzai at Wellington Barracks, the Duke of Kent twice and the Secretary of State for Defence. He participated in the State Opening of Parliament as well as routine public duties across London. He prepared and commanded the Battalion on operations in Afghanistan and prepared the battalion for its current role as SSC BG..
On the morning of his departure Lt Col Calder's vehicle was prepared outside the Officers' Mess and screened behind a MAN Support Vehicle. Initially the Commanding Officer looked disappointed that he would be pulled out of camp in an SV, but the real vehicle was revealed and provided a better view with more comfortable seating. After having his own driver and car as CO, the Battalion was concerned he would have difficulty getting around under his own steam, luckily this was solved by providing two mountain bikes (one for Lt Col Calder and one for Claire) as the gates were closed behind him. Lt Col Calder was an exceptional Commanding Officer and all ranks of the Second Battalion wish him and his family the best of luck in his new role as a DS at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham.
Lt Col Mike Butterwick assumed command and the Battalion continues to meet the challenges facing it; including maintaining a continued high readiness capability as the SSCBG, Exercise ASKARI THUNDER in Kenya at the end of the year; the move to Cyprus and ultimately the Battalion's assumption of the Theatre Reserve Battalion for Afghanistan next year.
St George's Day and Gallipoli Celebration. For various reasons, over the last few years the Second Battalion has not been able to celebrate St George's Day nor Gallipoli Day in the traditional manner. This year, however, the opportunity to change this was taken fully. With planning commencing several months out, the intent was to have a day whereby the whole Battalion and its extended family could truly celebrate our Regiment's anniversary (albeit not on the 23 April as the date fell during well-earned leave). The traditions of the day were merged with a family friendly fun-day and an all ranks evening function. St George's Day 2011 was planned to foster a feeling of family, not just for the serving soldiers but for all dependents, particularly the children, as well. Under the direction of Maj Ged Murphy, Officer in Charge St George's Day, 2 RRF held the largest party the Battalion has delivered in recent history.
The day started traditionally with "gun fire" and a breakfast bap. The Battalion then formed up for a formal parade including members of the Fusilier Associations and the Wilhelmstahl Colour, carried as tradition requires, by the youngest drummer on parade. Maj Pete Harty led the parade as Lt Col Mike Butterwick took the salute on the dais with the Burgermeister (Mayor of Celle). Immediately following the parade, there was a children's fancy dress competition. The winner had the honour of opening the Second Fusilier's Festival of Fun by cutting the ribbon on the very impressive castle entrance to the sports pitches constructed by Cpl Marsh.
Entertainment for the day included numerous bouncy castles and inflatable games, pony rides, a carousel, several food stalls, a children's area and of course the Company tents. The First Battalion's football team were flown in to make sure it was not solely a Second Fusiliers event. As described earlier the match was well contested, though the result did not adhere to the Battalion's (or QMs) plan; 3-0 to 1RRF. There was also an intercompany chariot race comprising two laps of a course which included a water obstacle. While the horses changed over between laps, St George had to complete an obstacle course. Each company had designated ambush points where dragon slayers were poised with water, flour and shaving foam bombs to try to improve the chances of their own team.
Each company tent was competing for the best at show, the winner was a little controversial as I'm not sure St George ever visited an Ibiza style beach bar, but B Company secured the win here (and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the Adjutant being ambushed and thrown into their pool!).
The 'Festival of Fun' closed down in the early evening and after a short turn around all had returned in their dancing shoes for the all ranks function, replete with bumper cars, hog roast and the world's largest glitter ball (not substantiated by the Guinness book of records).
The highlight of the evening was the raffle; there were two main prizes, one for a single living in soldier and a second raffle for the whole Battalion. The main prize for the livers in raffle was a large TV, a week's leave and 500 Euros; Pte Limbu from the RLC was the lucky winner of this prize. The grand prize of a 40" 3D television with stand, X-Box 360, Blue-Ray player and surround system was won by Cpl Phil Carr, CIS Pl. The Day was a great success, all ranks reported having had an amazing time; Regimental family ties were reinforced and the event was one which set the standard within the Battalion and will not be forgotten for some time.
At the end of Mar 11 the Battalion held a Battle Camp at Otterburn Training Area the aim of which was train 5 RRF and other TA Infantry Units soldiers warned off for an Op HERRICK deployment in the Autumn. The Battalion was honoured to be visited by The Colonel Chief, along with the Colonel of the Regiment, Regimental Secretary, and the Honorary Colonel Lord James Percy. The Colonel in Chief met all soldiers in training and was given the opportunity to fire the UGL which was a first for him. The Honorary Colonel enjoyed his GMPG live firing session so much on his previous visit he was employed as the No 1 on the flanking fire gun. The visit concluded with a light lunch with the Officers and Warrant Officers.
April was dominated by the preparation and delivery of the St Georges Day Service and Parade in Newcastle upon Tyne on Sat 23 Apr 11. The day started with a church service held in the Grand Hall of the Civic Centre (Newcastle Cathedral was out of bounds due to it being the Easter weekend). There was added significance with this service as it also marked the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Imgin. The parade was attended by all marching troops, association members, assembled dignitaries and guests.
Following the service the Parade formed up with the Regimental Band, Fifth Fusiliers Colour Party, and three guards of marching troops. The Commanding Officer was granted permission to exercise the freedom of the city by the Leader of Newcastle City Council, and at 1100hrs the parade stepped off following a now well established route via a saluting dais at Grey's Monument back up Northumberland Street to the Civic Centre. The City Council were kind enough to provide a Civic Reception for all Fusiliers and their families in the Grand Hall. The reception concluded at 1400hrs where the Officers and Warrant Officers retired to prepare for the annual ball at the Assembly Rooms and the remainder to a number of company parties at their local TA Centres.
The whole day was a great success with an enormous crowd cheering the marching troops along the entire length of the route. The Commanding Officer would like to thank Maj Tony Gawthorp and 20 men from 2 RRF who gave up a day of their Easter leave in order to join the parade and celebrate it with 5 RRF.
Key Personalities. WO1 (RSM) Niel Frost has now left the Battalion on commissioning to become 2IC Fire Support Company with 2 Royal Anglian in Cyprus - although he is keen to make it clear that he commissioned as a Fusilier and is only 'on loan'. He has been replaced by WO1 (RSM) Pete Ramm who is welcomed to the Regiment having previously been a Royal Anglian.
Operations. The following personnel have all now returned from operations in Afghanistan as part of 3 PARA Battlegroup:
" Fus Martin Hanley
Shooting has dominated the training programme for April. The Brigade Skill At Arms Meeting happened on the first weekend of May. The competition shoots are operationally based with much fire and movement and full kit being worn; gone are the days of the old boy who has been shooting for 50 years being dusted off to do all the shooting and then not train for the rest of the year. A Company provided a great deal of support to the team with WO2 Carl Spencer working as the non shooting captain and Corporal Mark Brayson and Lance Corporals Scriven and Caffrey all in the team. The Company also provided much of the logistical support for the team who stayed at Sheldon TA Centre when on range weekends and also made up a large part of the range team and butt party.
All the hard work and support paid dividends and the team won nearly every prize going. Corporal Brayson came second in the Combat Marksmanship Test and the top 10 shoot out and Lance Corporal Scriven won the best young shot (won last year by Fusilier Jones who could not compete this year as he is in Afghanistan). The dominance of the 4 MERCIAN team was best illustrated by the falling plate competition. Two teams of 4 sprinted from the 300m point to 200m point and then had 10 targets to shoot down before the other team. In the first round all 10 targets were down before the other team had any targets down and even in the final the other team only had 3 down before the 4 MERCIAN team had finished. It was a successful and enjoyable competition (except the 2 hours when it poured with rain) and the team will now go to Bisley to represent the Brigade.
The Company hosted a St George's Day dinner at Sheldon
which was open to Fusiliers of all shapes and forms from across Warwickshire
and the West Midlands. Representatives from the Army Cadet Force, the
local Associations, 143 Brigade and Area HQ attended as well as those
that had served with A Company or (the old,
St George's Day was a great success in Newcastle
as described above in the 5 RRF article. The Lord Mayor, Colonel Northumberland
and Major General Wilson were present when the flag of St George was
raised at the Civic Centre to join the flags of the RNF and RRF. There
was also a wreath laying ceremony at the RNF memorial inside the centre
which is dedicated to the memory of the men of the 'Fighting Fifth'
who gave their lives in Korea, Kenya and Aden. The Fusiliers Association
of Northumberland was then marched onto parade on Ceremonial Way by
Maj Chester Potts for the Colonel's inspection. The Church Service started
at 10.00am and celebrated both the Regimental Day and, the 60th anniversary
of the Battle of Imjin when the RNF were, along with the Royal Ulster
Rifles and the Gloucesters, the infantry units that made up 29 Infantry
Brigade positioned on the Imjin River. The service was prepared with
both the colours of 1RNF and 5RRF on display and with a back drop of
large flags of South Korea and 29 Brigade. The service was both a tribute
to the Fusiliers who serve today and those who have given their lives
serving their country in the Royal Regiment and the 'Fighting Fifth'.
The Colonel Northumberland, Colonel Marr MBE, gave an excellent St George's
Day Address which covered the events at the Battle of Imjin and the
service and sacrifice of the men of the Regiment from 1950 up to the
present day. The Lessons were read by Colonel Lord James Percy, Honorary
Colonel 5 RRF and Captain Christopher
The Colonel Northumberland expressed the Regiment's appreciation to the Civic Authorities for their hospitality and support for the all members of the Fusilier family in the North East and stressed that it once again reinforced the bond between the city and the Fusiliers.
The recruiting Team have bid farewell to C/Sgt (now WO2) Reeves and this Headquarters is grateful for his and his team's hard work and professionalism. C/Sgt Clarke, who has taken over as team leader, has hit the ground running as a result of the St George's Day celebrations and the busy season as shows start to take place all over the North East.
The 'Fighting Fifth' Golf day at Morpeth Golf club will take place on Saturday 28 May. All Regimental golfers are welcome and should contact AHQ if they wish to play.
The Chairman of The Fusiliers Association is researching the possibility of holding an annual Fusilier Reunion for all members of the Fusilier family in the North East. It is recommended that those interested should maintain a watch on the Association's Face Book page.
April was dominated by St George's Day celebrations, first off was the Royal Leamington Spa Branch of the Regimental Association with a first class luncheon at the Angel Hotel on Sunday 17 April. Guests included Colonel and Mrs Martin Jones, Colonel and Mrs Ken Caley, Colonel Jim Haywood and the Regimental Area Secretary. Some 50 members of the Branch enjoyed what is becoming a regular event in Leamington Spa. Major John Bartlett, President of the Branch proposed the toasts to Her Majesty The Queen and the Regiment. Sheldon Branch were strong on the ground at the A (Fusilier) Company 4 MERCIAN St George's Dinner at Sheldon TA Centre on 16 April. This was another excellent event kindly organised by Captain Steve Hopkinson. It was good to see Lt Col Dominic Wilford, CO 4 MERCIAN and Major Chris Carter, the former OC of A Coy at the dinner. Nuneaton Branch celebrated St George's Day at the Chestnuts Club by way of a buffet supper on 23 April. The St George's Day Parade in Warwick on 23 April attracted many members of the Association, Neil Gregory reports that Wetherspoons was packed before and after the parade! It was good to see the Warwickshire ACF Corps of Drums on Parade proudly sporting Hackles.
The Annual General Meeting of the Regimental Association was held in St John's House on Saturday 16 April. Lieutenant Colonel Keith Whiteman was in the Chair, and after a relatively quiet meeting some 25 members retired to the Roebuck for refreshments and a very good lunch.
The Mayor of Warwick, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kinson
OBE kindly presented a cheque of £3000 to the Fusilier Aid Society
on 11 May. Colonel Mike chose the Fusilier Aid Society as his nominated
charity during his year of office. In the absence of the Area Secretary,
Captain John Lam accepted the cheque on behalf of the Regiment.
Meetings have included the Area Colonel's Regimental Council on 3 May and a strategy meeting with key staff of Warwickshire County Council and Trustees of the Regimental Museum on 10 May. The Area Secretary was privileged to be invited to the Mercian Regiment Officers' Dinner at RMA Sandhurst on 7 May. The Colonel of the Regiment provided an interesting account of recent activities of the Mercian Regiment and spoke highly of the support from A (Fusilier) Company to the 4th Battalion.
On the Museum side planning for the Beating Retreat by the Minden Band followed by a fund raising dinner at Warwick School on 6 July continues apace, at the time of writing some 60 dinner tickets have been sold, application forms can be obtained from St John's House on 01926-491653. AHQ has been fortunate to identify an organisation that will digitise all photographs, around 1500, this will save many hours of work by volunteers. 721 EOD Squadron from Aschurch carried out a routine inspection of the museums firearms and promise to return later this year with more sophisticated equipment that will confirm that all weapons are fully deactivated!
22 May 11- Association Inter Branch Shoot, Swynnerton
Theft of Nimy Brdge Memorial. Unfortunately the large brass memorial plaque at the Nimy Bridge in Mons has been stolen. This plaque was erected 90 years ago in memory of the actions by 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and the wining of the first two Victoria Crosses of WWI by Lt Dease and Pte Godley of the Battalion. We are awaiting further details from the local civic authorities in Belgium.
Fusilier Museum London. The refurbished museum reopened on 4 April and has been well received. The project progressed smoothly and has come in on time and close to budget. The Colonel in Chief, HRH The Duke of Kent officially opened the Museum on 20 April and showed great interest whilst being shown around the display. He was joined by one hundred invited guests to celebrate the event. Now that the capital element of the project is complete we turn our attention to outreach, education and live interpretation. On the latter we have an actor dressed as Sgt Gowing, Royal Fusiliers who talks to the visitors of his exploits in the Crimea. There are a number of educational and outreach projects in train and four educational sessions have already been held. The more open aspects of the museum now allows for larger receptions to take place and most drinks receptions before dinner will now be in the museum.
Cadets. On the cadet front, Lieutenant Colonel Swift, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, carried out the annual inspection of Whitgift School CCF on 6 May. Mill Hill School also had their annual inspection on 11 May. Colonel Nigel Easton presented hackles to the new 153 Detachment at Esher on 11 May. Captain Nigel Warren and Cadet Sergeant George Heine of 103 Detachment were recipients of awards from the Glazier's Company. Captain Warren received the Stockdale Salver for his leadership of 103 Detachment and Sergeant Heine the Glaziers' Trophy for Community Service.
Events. A well attended Albuhera Lunch was held at the Tower on 6 May and the Colonel of the Regiment gave the toast to those who fell in the battle. This year is the 200th Anniversary of the battle and a number of Fusiliers from London are attending the celebrations in Albuhera from 13 May to 17 May. The Regimental Service held on 10 April was not too well attended but the numbers were boosted by what is now the annual attendance of the Sheldon Branch. The service was taken by the Chaplain General.
Hon Col The London Regt. Finally, HRH The Earl of Wessex has been appointed the Royal Honorary Colonel of the London Regiment from 1 May. As a mark of respect for his Grandmother, HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, HRH will wear the uniform and badges of the London Scottish. The Queen Mother was Royal Honorary Colonel of the London Scottish when she was still the Duchess of York in 1935, and held the post until her death in 2002. His first duty on 8 May as Colonel was to welcome home those members of the London Regiment who had augmented 5 SCOTS in Afghanistan. One of their members was LCpl Marr from C (City of London Fusiliers) Company at Balham.
Introduction. April is a busy time of year for the Lancashire Headquarters as we prepare to commemorate not only Gallipoli but also St George's Day. A considerable amount of planning and preparation is involved in putting together and extremely busy weekend. That said it was a team activity drawing from all parts of the Regimental family in Lancashire without whom it simply would not happen. This year Gallipoli Day coincided with Easter Monday so with the agreement of the Regimental Chaplain the Reverend Doctor John Findon, the Gallipoli Sunday commemoration was moved forward to the 17 April. It has also been a month of "Hails and Farewells". In April Lancashire has said farewell to Colonel Brian Gorski as he retires as Colonel Lancashire and Brigadier Bill Aldridge who steps down as Commander 42(North West) Brigade and hail to Brigadier Paul Nanson who takes on the appointment of Colonel Lancashire for the next five years.
Trust Meetings. The build up to the Gallipoli Weekend started with a meeting of the Collection Trust. There are two trusts in Lancashire responsible for the museum and collections. The Collection Trust is responsible for all material in the Lancashire Fusilier Collection as well as the developing Royal Regiment of Fusilier's Collection. The Collection Trust in turn loans material to the Fusilier Museum Company for display. The Collection Trust remains responsible for the state of the collection including insurance and conservation. The Collection Trust has also recently taken on responsibility for War Memorials from the Lancashire Fusilier Compassionate Fund. This has caused considerable debate within the Trust as each trustee would appear to have their own definition as to what constitutes a war memorial. The other trust is the Fusilier Museum Company which has now established the practice of holding its Annual General Meeting on the Friday before the Gallipoli Weekend. The AGM was preceded by a lunch which probably accounted for the good attendance. Reports were presented by the Chairman Colonel Brian Gorski, the General Manager Helen Field and the Finance Director Edmund Gartside.
Association Dinner. For the second year running the
Regimental Association in Lancashire and Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
ran a joint St George's and Gallipoli Dinner at the Radcliffe Civic
Centre. This joint arrangement has proved to be a success for both the
Association and Bury MBC. Some 250 attended with tickets selling out.
The Mayor, Councillor John Byrne gave a speech on behalf of the Council
in which he expressed his appreciation of all Colonel Brian Gorski had
achieved during his tenure. Colonel Brian replied on behalf of the Regiment
and thanked the Council for their kindness during his time in office
and concluded by providing the assembled audience with an update on
the state of the Regiment. Dinners such as this do not just happen by
accident and require a considerable amount of preparation by a volunteer
staff. Recognition should thanks should therefore go to John O'Grady
and his association team including Steve Fitt, Alan Noble and "Jack"
Horner for all their efforts in putting the evening together. A special,
thanks should also go to Linsey Walsh for her behind the scenes administrative
work in support of the evening.
Parade and Elizabeth Cross Presentation. Gallipoli
Sunday commenced with a parade in the Castle Armoury. The Castle Armoury
was full as the Fusilier Machine Gun Platoon, the Sea Cadet Corp including
representatives from Training Ship Euryalus, Bury Grammar School CCF,
Minden Company of GMACF, the Regimental Association and the Band and
Corps of Drums (Lancashire), formed up in hollow-square. An addition
to the normal format was the presentation of the Elizabeth Cross to
Mrs Lynn Barker by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Warren
Smith JP. Lynn Barker was the wife of Corporal Barker sadly killed in
Northern Ireland in 1982. Following the presentation the Parade moved
to church for the Gallipoli Service. The reading was done for the last
time by Colonel Brian Gorski, the Regimental Secretary, Brigadier Ian
Liles gave a moving account of what Gallipoli meant to him. And a forceful
sermon was given by the Rector of Bury the Reverend Doctor John Findon
Gallipoli Luncheon. Following the parade invited guest and members of the Regiment assembled in the Fusilier Museum for a regimental luncheon. Some 80 guests attended including the Mayors of the Regiments Freedom Towns, Bury Rochdale and Salford and civic guests from the surrounding area including, Wigan, St Helens, and Trafford. Luncheon commenced with a sherry reception in the Gallipoli Room and concluded with a curry lunch in the Normandy Room.
Handover to Brigadier Paul Nanson. April's activities concluded with the official hand over of the appointment of Colonel Lancashire from Colonel Brian Gorski to Brigadier Paul Nanson who has recently taken over as Commander 7 Armoured Brigade. The day included an invitation to Bury Town Hall to attend the St George's flag raising ceremony. The invitation also provided the opportunity to visit the Fusilier Room in the Town Hall and meet the Mayor and the leading members of Bury Council
Linda Humphries the Chief Clerk at Regimental Headquarters
walked a half marathon on 14 May 2011 through the night and through
the streets of London for Walk the Walk in aid of Breast Cancer a worthy
cause. Please donate if you can by clicking on this link:-
I R Liles OBE
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 28th April 2011
Fusilier Glenn Tunstall, I RRF (attached Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan) received a wound to his eye and face when struck by a rock fired directly at him from a catapult. He is currently back in England undergoing treatment in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. The Colonel of the Regiment, on behalf of all Fusiliers, wishes him a speedy and full recovery.
CHANGE OF COMMAND
The Commanding Officers of both 1 and 2 RRF have recently changed. Lt Col Jim Landon MBE has handed over command of 1 RRF to Lt Col Jon Swift and Lt Col Charlie Calder OBE has handed over command of 2 RRF to Lt Col Mike Butterwick.
REGIMENTAL COCKTAIL PARTY
As a reminder, the Regimental Cocktail party will be
held on 30 Jun in the Tower of London. The last 2 have been exceptionally
well attended and the same is expected this year. If you have not attended
in recent times then this is the year to put that right! Tickets are available
through the Asst Regt Sec,
After a year living in a temporary mess, the Officer's
Mess of the 1st Battalion were proud to invite and show the Colonel of
the Regiment their newly refurbished home. Brigadier T J Minter OBE DL
arrived for a formal tour and dinner night on the 23 Mar 11. After being
greeted by all members of the mess a photograph to mark the occasion was
taken. Brigadier Minter then took the opportunity to talk to all the officers
and realised how busy they had all been in recent months, supporting the
various tasks of the Land Warfare Centre. Combined with the Brigadier's
visit, the Officer's Mess said goodbye to Major Dennis Currie and Major
Jez Robinson. The First Fusiliers Officers mess would like to extend their
gratitude to the Colonel of The Regiment for his visit and look forward
to another visit in the near future.
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has the unique honour of possessing three Colours. In addition to the Regimental and Queens' Colour, the Regiment also possesses the Wilhelmstahl Colour. The Wilhelmstahl Colour had been in a bad state of repair for some time, but a new Colour was commissioned and will be paraded by both 1 and 2 RRF in Apr 11. It is a striking 'gosling green', and depicts St George killing the Dragon, and the regimental motto of the 5th Foot. This Colour commemorates the valour of the 5th Foot (later to become the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) at the Battle of Wilhelmstahl on 24th June 1762 during the Seven Years War. The Regiment played a central role in the defeat of a French Army that day, and also succeeded in forcing the surrender of twice their number in French Grenadiers and captured a French standard.
On Sun 27 Mar members of the Battalion deployed back onto Salisbury Plain for the penultimate Ex Lions Strike while in the Land Warfare Battle Group Role. With students ranging from plastic surgeons to sub unit commanders already with operational experience it was likely to be an interesting and challenging week for all involved. The Rt Hon Peter Luff, the Minister for Defence-Equipment, Support and Technology visited the exercise. After seeing how Battle Group main worked he was given a tour of the equipment and weapon systems that are held in an armoured battle group before having a ride in an armoured vehicle.
After perfecting the straight lines in the BG Leaguer, Z Company left their vehicles for a day of light role company attacks, blowing away the cob webs for Combat Team Commanders Course. It was also a good run-out for the Fusiliers who were deployed on their first conventional exercise since before Christmas leave! Thankfully the dish-dashs were left in the stores!
The remainder of the week was spent operating as an Armoured Battle Group with the Challenger 2 tanks of A SQN 1RTR. The first day was spent completing a number of advance to contacts and company squadron attacks. It gave the Warrior crews the chance to shake out and provided some valuable experience for the new commanders, gunners and drivers. After two complex night moves the exercise came to an exciting climax with a simultaneous obstacle crossing and airborne assault onto Imber Village. This difficult operation tested the students and the real-time Fusilier commanders, crews and dismounts alike. The successful clearance of Imber Village signalled end ex for the student commanders, now set to take over their respective sub units having had a helpful reminder of command in the field. Ex LIONS STRIKE gave the Battalion a useful run out in an armoured battle group; experience which will be vital for the deployment to BATUS in 2012.
This month the 1 RRF Mortar Platoon conducted its numbers cadre after being reinforced by the rifle companies. Six Fusiliers and 2 Lance Corporals were moved across to Mortar platoon (W Coy). The platoon ran an executive cadre for the JNCOs. The course teaches newly recruited mortarmen the basic drills on the 81mm. During this week the JNCOs that had attended the executive cadre got a chance to see what it's like being a Mortar Fire Controller. There was one Fusilier who outshone the others and was awarded top student, this was Fus Karl Reay. The Platoon are currently waiting to finish the role as a part of LWC BG before deploying to either Canada or the Falkland Islands later in the year to support the Rifle Coys.
The final of the Newcastle Cup was played on Monday 4 April as 1 RRF celebrated St George's Day. The final was between Y Company and Z Company, after qualifiers had been played in the weeks leading up to the event. Y Company made it to the final undefeated having beaten all before them in the qualifiers, including Z Company with a reserve team which included OC Major Edd Sutthery and CSM Darren Wilkinson! Y Coy lifted the Newcastle Cup for the second year running with LCpl Steven Usher as top goal scorer.
March was another busy month for A Fusilier Company 4 MERCIAN, with training happening on every weekend. Shooting has continued apace under the direction of WO2 Spencer with the team slowly being whittled down as the standard of shooting increases, Corporals Brayson and Gorin and Lance Corporal Scriven are all still in the running so fingers crossed they make it to the final cut.
During March, the Second Battalion focused on three main events. First, was the visit of the Colonel in Chief, HRH The Duke of Kent who visited the battalion on 9 March. Following soon after, the Battalion had a number of inspections in the form of a Combined Inspection Week (CIW). This is where the various elements, particularly the supporting elements such as the QM's and MT departments within the Battalion are placed under the detailed scrutiny of various external inspection teams. At the same time the Battalion was preparing for, and conducting, a major live firing exercise. Exercise ACTIVE RHINO was a Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup (SSCBG) readiness exercise, which at relatively short notice saw a sizeable proportion of the BG deploy to Bergen-Hohne ranges for a comprehensive live firing range package; culminating in two, Company Group attacks over a 6 km range.
Visit of The Colonel in Chief and The Colonel of The Regiment .
On 8 Mar 11 the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Trevor Minter OBE, DL arrived at 2 RRF, the evening prior to the arrival of the Colonel in Chief, HRH The Duke of Kent. That evening the Warrant Officers were invited into the Officers' Mess for a Regimental Dinner. Brigadier Minter umpired a number of inter-Mess games that were completely fair and impartial, with the Officers' Mess winning every event including 'fireball hockey'.
HRH the Duke of Kent arrived the following morning
and was collected from the airport by the Commanding Officer and the Regimental
Colonel. The Adjutant, Capt John Gammon at the last moment discovered
the staff car for the Colonel in Chief had an aluminium bonnet and therefore
the magnetic Royal Standard would need to be attached in a more novel
way. With the standard suitably secured HRH the Duke of Kent arrived at
Trenchard Barracks and was met by the Ceremonial Barrack Guard lead by
During the visit The Colonel in Chief lunched with the Officers before receiving an update on the Battalion from the CO. He visited the Companies and the welfare facilities before presenting a number of awards to members of the Battalion and civilian support staff in the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess.
The Combined Inspection Week.
The Combined Inspection Week was clearly not the press highlight of the year however it was an important, essential and compulsory event. The majority of the checks were focused on the QM's department with a few checks falling on other departments such as the Regimental Administration Office and the Command and Information Systems Platoon. A huge amount of preparatory work was conducted in the run up to the inspection week in order fully to prepare the Battalion. The QM's department and MT in particular worked exceptionally hard, with commendable results. Thanks are rightly due to all who made the week an overall success.
Exercise ACTIVE RHINO.
The SSC BG requires the Battalion to be at 30 days' notice to move (NTM). In order to confirm the continued readiness for this task the BG was informed, within its NTM that elements would deploy on a rehearsal deployment to Bergen-Hohne ranges and conduct a Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX). The BG deployed with two rifle company groups consisting of three platoons, a troop of Scimitars provided by the excellent A Squadron, Household Cavalry, a Fire Support Group (FSG) mounted in RWIMIK(+) support vehicles, a recce section and snipers. In addition to this, BG Headquarters deployed to provide a control function whilst the Regimental Aid Post was tested fully in its ability to provide both exercise and real-time medical support, as part of its operational evaluation. These elements together created a sizeable and potent force.
Week one of the Exercise comprised a number of platoon or troop sized ranges with the dismounted soldiers, FSGs and the HCR all firing on their own ranges before integrating later in the week. Over the course of the first 5 days the rifle company soldiers conducted section and platoon ranges which included conventional rural objectives as well as live firing attacks on to a number of purpose built villages on the ranges in order to practise building clearance drills.
The culmination of Exercise ACTIVE RHINO was conducted over four days. The scenario for the final phase was based on UK Entitled Personnel trapped in a hostile environment with the 2 RRF BG having to secure a route to enable the FCO to extract those personnel safely. Each company group conducted a large operation to secure a 6 Km route for the civilians to travel down. Enemy forces had defensive positions along the route and on a number of objectives, both from within villages and out in the open. The range days were long and the soldiers worked hard to clear the route and provide the safe passage required. All UKEP were successfully extracted from the area and the 2RRF Battlegroup achieved its mission (twice)!
Maj Mike Cornwell was entrusted with the role of Senior Range Conducting Officer for the duration of the Exercise and his meticulous planning, attention to detail and ability to generate exceptionally good relations with the Germans, who manage the range, were all essential in getting the package to work as well as it did, many thanks to him and his team.
CALFEX was the first time the majority of Fusiliers
and young officers had been involved in such a complex live firing package.
Realistic and demanding training remains critical; and as a high readiness
unit it is even more important for the Second Fusiliers to be able to
maintain capability and a high state of readiness for a long period without
deployment, thereby ensuring they remain ready for anything.
Finally by way of a 'look forward' on 30 April, 2RRF will hold a significant St George's Day celebration event (yes it is a few days late); a fun-packed day with various activities for all, including fairground rides and stalls, and the ubiquitous 'Company Tent'. The First Battalion intends to send their football team for the main sporting event of the day, though there will be many other less high-profile (and fiendish) sideline events such as the intercompany 3-legged football match and chariot race. In the evening the Second Fusiliers will hold an all ranks function to finish off the day in style - it promises to be a memorable day.
A (Fusilier) Coy 4 MERCIAN
In Mar, 4 MERCIAN went to Capel Curig in North Wales for adventurous training. Being Wales the weather varied greatly being grim and overcast on the Saturday and Glorious sunshine on the Sunday, luckily the events A Company had planned suited this perfectly.
On Saturday the Company carried out sea level traversing, do not worry that meant nothing to anyone in the Company either. It is a form of rock climbing along cliffs just above and, if someone gets the timing wrong, below the waves. The climber is attached by a clip to a rope that follows a route several hundred metres along the cliff face. The rope is slack enough to fall into the sea and be thoroughly soaked but tight enough not to be swept away. The first section was quite difficult technically and several people fell into the sea at the first attempt much to amusement of those waiting to start. The route then turned a corner and became quite easy, lulling the unwary into a false sense of security as it then cut back into a narrow ravine that varied from 3 to 6 feet wide.
The climber had to move along between the two cliff faces, the sky a narrow band of light above and the sea crashing along underneath. The route involved moving from one side to the other, sometimes taking a leap of faith that the hand hold on the other side would be large enough. In some places there were no hand or foot holds at all and the only technique was to brace the back against one side and feet against the other and shuffle along ignoring the sea beneath that would rise and fall up to five feet due to the narrowness of the gorge. Once out of the ravine the rope turned a corner again and rose to the top of the cliff top. At the top of the cliff it stretched out across an inlet to another cliff 60 feet away.
The Fusiliers had to haul themselves over to the other cliff before finishing on the far cliff. Many people did the route a second or even third time
On Sunday the Company went canoeing in 2 man canoes, the sun was shining, on one side of the lake were forested hillsides, the other side was steep cliff faces and at the far end stood the snow tipped Mount Snowdon, it was quite spectacular. Several techniques on how to manoeuvre a canoe were taught and everyone become proficient, although not proficient enough to prevent a couple of canoes regularly capsizing.
A Battalion tactical weekend was held in Leek Camp
and was based around patrolling and practising low level skills. Each
Company ran one or two stands and the soldiers patrolled between them.
The stands that A Company ran were ambush and counter IED headed by WO2
Spencer the SPSI. This is still quite a new subject at battalion level
and is something that is based on the lessons of the Army's operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few years and was of great interest
to the troops.
Dinner on the Saturday evening was chicken which featured as part of a survival skills stand and was given to the soldiers still alive. They had to kill and prepare it themselves, some took to it with more relish than others as you can see from Fusilier Fulton's picture below!
Finally congratulations to Fusilier Robinson who is promoted to Lance Corporal and Captain Carpenter-Balmer who is promoted to Major.
March has been a busy month here on Hadrian's Wall with numerous meetings and parades. The Area Secretary and senior officers of 5 RRF enjoyed the hospitality of the Chair of Northumberland County Council at dinner on Friday 11 March in County hall and there was still considerable pride in the Council members concerning the Freedom of the county that was granted to the Regiment in 2010. On Tue 15 Mar the Queen's Division Colonel, Lt Colonel Steve Brunt and Major Daren Hazelwood visited the Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland in Alnwick Castle to give a briefing to the museum staff concerning the possible outcomes of SDSR on the museum funding and staffing.
There was a renewal, after many years, of the commemoration of the sacrifice of the Tyneside Irish community on Thursday 17 Mar at the Eldon Square memorial. Four battalions marched off to fight in the Great War and suffered horrendous casualties which are still remembered in the Irish Centres North of the Tyne. The two brothers who organised the event ensured that the 30 plus members of the association who paraded were very well looked after and introduced to a strange black substance called Guinness!
The Northumberland Clubs for Young People held their Charity Boxing event on the evening of Thursday 24 March in the Assembly Rooms, with prizes sponsored by the Regiment. A number of 5 RRF SNCOs and Association members attended an excellent evening of hospitality and boxing.
The trustees of the Sir Francis Festing Fund met on Thursday 31 March for what was the 1st Annual General Meeting under the new charitable objectives. This was followed by a buffet lunch which led into a Colonel Northumberland's Council Meeting for the various Chairmen of the Regimental Organisations. Col Lord James Percy joined the meeting as Honorary Colonel 5 RRF where a wide variety of topics were discussed.
The Area Headquarters sponsors Whitley Bay FC reserve team and this link allowed a number of Fusiliers to attend the FA Vase semi-final second leg against Poole in Dorset, at home on Saturday 2 April. 'The Bay' led 2-1 from the first leg and in very windy conditions prevailed 3-1 for an aggregate score of 5-2. This will be the third successive appearance at Wembley for 'The Bay' with the final on Sunday 8 May.
Friday 15 April will be 'The Fusiliers Night' at Newcastle
Falcons RFC where collections will be made for the Regimental Charities.
The Regimental Band will play on the evening and the Recruiting team will
be helping with the event. It is hoped that the Falcon's game against
Leeds on Saturday
All branches of The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland and other fusilier organisations are now aware of the format for St George's Day in Newcastle and it is hoped there will be a very good turnout on Easter Saturday Ed: there was and it was a highly successful weekend which will be covered in the next News.
The 63rd Annual Dinner for Past Officers of 7th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 7th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers and 5th(Warwickshire ) Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was held at Gamecock Barracks on Friday 4 March attracting 36 former officers and eight regimental guests, which included Colonel Stanford Cartwright, Chairmen of West Midlands RFCA, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kinson, Mayor of Warwick and formerly QM of 5RRF and Colonel Robert Boyle, Honorary Colonel of the Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomanry. This event is becoming increasingly more popular with former officers of the Regiment, and on this occasion accommodation in 30 Signal Regiment was fully booked. Colonel Peter Merriman presided at the dinner and provided those present with an update on the two Regular Battalions, TA, ACF and Regimental Association.
On 10 March the Area Secretary attended the presentation
of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scrolls to the relatives of Fusilier
F G Spears who was killed in action whilst serving with 1st Battalion
The Royal Fusiliers in Korea. The Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire presented
the Elizabeth Cross to Mrs Robinson, sister of Fusilier Spears with the
Memorial Scroll being presented by Brigadier M Banham, Commander 143 (WM)
Brigade. Many civic dignitaries attended the presentation which took place
in the excellent surroundings of the Shire Hall kindly provided by Warwickshire
The Lord Lt and the family of Fus Spears with the EC
Fusiliers from the Recruiting Team were present at
the Civic Dinner for the Mayor of Warwick which was held in the Great
Hall at Warwick Castle on 1 April. The Mayor of Warwick had requested
support at the reception as he has very kindly chosen the Fusilier Aid
Society as his charity during his period of office. Councillor Kinson
paid tribute to all Fusiliers during his speech and reinforced the strong
connection between Warwick and the Regiment.
Former officers of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Sixth Foot) held a luncheon on 6 April at the Army and Navy Club which was attended by twenty officers. The Regimental Secretary was welcomed as a guest by Lieutenant Colonel John Rice who presided.
Central Branch continues to raise funds for the Fusilier Aid Society with the focus being on the Fallen Fusilier which has totalled during February and March some £3,000 in revenue and Fallen Fusilier products. Once again the Manufacturing Technology Association (MTA) generously donated the sum of £3,450 to the FAS. Donations from Central Branch have included £500.00 to LCpl Aviar 1RRF towards his expenses in qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in 2012. The Fusiliers Museum (Royal Warwickshire) gratefully accepted a donation of £1,000 towards the fund raising event being held at Warwick School on 6 July. Members of the Central Branch are supporting Op Sword which is a cycling fund raising event organised by Murray Richards which takes place over the period 1 -6 June and culminates on Sword Beech. The Fallen Fusilier Website has now been launched- http://www.fallenfusiliers.co.uk, thanks to Captain Martin Gordon , a former Fusilier ACF Officer for all his hard work in producing such an excellent website. The Central Branch Standard is keenly awaited which will be officially blessed later this year. Planning for the Annual Branch Dinner is now well advanced which will take place at the Village Hotel in Coventry on 4 June.
Sheldon Branch attended the Annual Regimental Service at The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vinicular on Sunday 10 April which was followed by an excellent lunch in Regimental Headquarters. Some 25 members of the Sheldon Branch attended what is for them becoming an annual event; your scribe was delighted to be there and was pleased to meet up with Majors Jonny Austin, Ben Walters and Ollie Campbell and their families who were also supporting the event.
The Afghanistan display which records the 2 RRF Op Herrick operational tour in 2009 is now up and running which includes graphic panels, photographs kindly loaned by the Regimental Museum. The Leamington & Warwick Courier have provided their readership with an excellent report with pictures of the display. The new museum website was launched in early March, which readers can find at http://www.warwickfusiliers.co.uk/ Thanks to Stephanie Bennett our Curatorial Officer for project managing this most informative website. A recruitment drive for more museum volunteers at Warwick University has proved successful and produced 7 new volunteers; they will assist in front of house duties and answering historical enquiries. Fund raising continues to play a considerable part in the activities of the museum. Planning is now advanced for a Beating Retreat by the Minden Band at Warwick School on Wednesday 6th July, which will be followed by a fund raising dinner and auction. There will be more details in the June edition of Fusilier News.
Operation Sword is a 350 mile charity cycle ride from Nuneaton (via St John's House) to Normandy taking place over the period 1- 6 June 2011. The Aim is raise £15,000 to be shared between the Fusiliers Aid Society, The Fusiliers Memorial Trust and The Forces Children's Society. Those taking part in the event include Captain Frank Young MBE, a Fusilier TA Officer who is currently QM of 4MERCIAN, Murray Richards formerly of 2RRF and Amy Taggart. The support team includes Carol Valentine and Denise Carter. For more information on how to sponsor this most worthy cause get in touch with:
The Warwickshire Band
The Warwickshire Band was formed as a result of Options for Change when 5th (Warwickshire) Battalion was absorbed into The West Midlands Regiment, now known as 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment. The Band is now firmly established in Warwickshire and the West Midlands and proudly sports the Fusiliers Number One Dress with a beret and hackle. Whilst they are all now civilians they carry out many engagements throughout Warwickshire not only for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers but many other military organisations. They have earned a fine reputation and are always in demand, recent engagements have included the Fusilier Gathering in Warwick in 2010, the Fusiliers Officers Club Dinner at 30 Signal Regiment in March this year. They will be playing at the A (Fusilier) Company 4MERCIAN St George's Day Dinner in Sheldon on 16 April and have been booked to appear at The Kenilworth Party in the Park in early May.
Area HQ Office
The many and varied activities which take place in
Warwickshire not forgetting what to us and readers may seem as routine
will only happen with a strong "back office" organisation provided
by Area HQ. Currently our energies are being directed towards the next
museum fund raising event- some 700 letters of invitation are being printed
ready for posting, emails being sent far and wide along with a well coordinated
press release to the media. At the time of writing your scribe is putting
the finishing touches to the planning of the Association AGM and Trustees
meeting on Saturday 16 April. Dinner Club Accounts continue to be maintained
and of course have to be audited, thanks to Colonel Jim Hayward who takes
the time to audit the accounts of 6th Foot Dinner Club Fund along with
the Fusiliers Officers Club account. The accountants have just completed
an audit of the Regimental Association General Purpose Fund and plans
are in hand to audit the commercial trading account of the Museum.
" Sat 16 April - Association AGM 1100hrs St John's
Gallipoli Garden and Wellington Barracks Memorials.
The second grant was made by the Community Spaces scheme
and will fund the final refurbishment of Gallipoli Garden. This project
will see the garden extended to take in a small strip of derelict ground
on the edge of the park. It will be developed to not only enhance the
garden and create a better environment but also to provide a location
for delivery of the museum education package outside. Overall this has
been a Regimental family effort. The Regimental Association in Lancashire
sponsored the Bolton Road bid and the Friends of the Museum sponsored
the Gallipoli Garden
Soldiers Assisting With Education.
For the many school children who visit the museum, one of the highlights of the visit is the opportunity to meet "real soldiers." The presence of the Careers Office in the building has provided a unique opportunity to generate resources that are not available to most Regimental Museums. This link is being developed further and a programme of joint visits to schools involving the recruiters and museum staff is currently being planned.
Sgt "Knocker" Knowles has now taken over the Fusilier Recruiting Team based at Holcombe Moor. The team which forms part of ART 12 are the only formed body of Regular Fusiliers in Lancashire. They therefore have an important role to play in projecting a positive image of the Regiment by supporting Commander Regional Recruiting as well as supporting Regimental events in Lancashire. In August they will deploy to Wathgill to support |Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force. The Team work closely with the Museum providing support to museum events; in return the team loan weapons and equipment from the Museum.
The Army Briefing Team recently toured the North West. HQ 42 (NW) Bde put out a plea for hosts. It was an interesting presentation providing great opportunities for networking. The presentation in Sale proved to be not only an opportunity to promote the Army but was an excellent opportunity to promote the Fusilier Museum. The event was a good Fusilier Family occasion as the photo below illustrates
Minden Company GMACF Halton Camp.
Minden Company of Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force deployed to Halton Camp over a weekend. Some 70 cadets and adult instructors sent the weekend training in basic military skills including live firing the new 5.56mm cadet rifle on the 30m range. In good fusilier fashion the OC and CSM had to dash back to Manchester for a dinner night. It is good to see that the ACF know how to work hard and play hard.
Wartime Weekend 28 -30 May Bury
Musical Extravaganza 9 July Britannia Hotel, Stockport
Minden Drum Head Service 31 July Gallipoli Garden Bury
Fusilier Museum Minden Day Celebration 1 August Bury
Fusilier Territorials Annual Dinner 24 September Castle
Band Concert 29 October Castle Armoury Bury
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 29 March 2011
Honours & Awards
The Colonel of the Regiment on behalf of all ranks congratulates Lt Col John Matthews on being awarded an operational OBE.
Visit of the Colonel in Chief
The Colonel in Chief, Field Marshal His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent visited 2 RRF and 5 RRF in Celle and Otterburn respectively in early March. The Colonel in Chief spent the day in Celle where he visited riot control training, the main BFG School and the Battalion sponsored nursery school where he also met some of the Battalion wives. He also presented operational and other awards in the WO and Sgts' Mess. With 5 RRF he visited the 50 strong cohort from the Battalion who were on pre-deployment training for Afghanistan at Otterburn. For once there was not a cloud in the sky. There will be more on these visits in the next Fusilier News.
There remains no further information on SDSR. The studies into; the Infantry Directorate, RHQs/AHQs and MOD sponsored museums continue, and until their findings have been staffed to the Chain of Command any comment on the final outcome would be mere speculation. Strategically, the work to produce effective yet affordable Armed Forces also continues with several options being staffed. No final decisions have yet been taken.
New Memorial at the National Arboretum
At the Council Meeting in March, the Council agreed on the basic design for the new Fusilier Memorial at the National Arboretum. Details will be promulgated by the Memorial Committee shortly. Donations for the Memorial should be sent to RHQ and made payable to the Fusilier Memorial Fund.
Recce and Sniper Platoon Training
Following two weeks deployed, as part of the Battalion's commitment to Ex PASHTUN DAGGER, the Reconnaissance and Sniper Platoon conducted a week's cadre training. The platoon has recently received a surge in manpower from the Rifle companies and has about a dozen unqualified Fusiliers and LCpls to train as Recce Operators or Snipers. The focus of the week was a general introduction to reconnaissance 'core-skills' and dismounted tactics. The main focus for the practical lessons were patrol contact drills, conduct of the close- target- reconnaissance, marking and briefing of Battle Group control measures and other associated dismounted skills. These lessons were largely taught by the platoon's qualified Recce and Sniper Section Commanders as well the newly qualified Jungle Warfare Advisor. Cpls Phil Harris, Lee Griffiths, Alan Brooks and Lenny Barrass delivered some excellent 'in the field' lessons accompanied by imaginative practical tests.
The culmination was a platoon sized reconnaissance of several large objectives, after which the patrol commanders were required to deliver a detailed back-brief to OC W Coy, Major Hamish Macpherson, OC Recce Pl, Captain Steve Carter and 2IC CSgt Lee Jones. As a final test of robustness and determination the platoon completed the week with a speed march followed by a stretcher race. All ranks from the platoon underwent the training either as a refresher or introduction for the new soldiers. The next phase of training will be a two-week Sniper Pre-course, including live- firing of the L115A3 sniper rifle prior to their attendance on the Infantry Battle School course.
Z Company Adventure Training (AT) and Recruiting Week 21-25 Feb 2011
During the last week of February Z Company travelled to the North West to conduct adventurous training and recruiting. The Company stayed at Halton Training Camp, a location that a lot of the Fusiliers remembered well from their time at ITC Catterick. Each day groups travelled to either Ambleside or Holcombe Moor to carry out their designated activity. The groups conducting hill walking where they ascended Wansfell Pike and Baystones and took in views of a number of waterfalls and reservoirs around Stickle Tarn. When the mist cleared, good views back down into Ambleside and Elterwater were revealed. Fusiliers William Clifford and Bradley Turner showed particular enthusiasm to reach the summit during the hill walking. The Fusiliers who were recruiting gave encouragement to groups conducting their pre-course, prior to joining the Army and took the time to explain exactly what life in the Fusiliers is like. The week was a great success and provided the Company with an excellent opportunity to take in some of the spectacular scenery in the Lake District and also demonstrate to future Fusiliers some of the activities they can look forward to participating in when they reach Battalion.
Y Company travelled down to Lulworth for a week of ranges with the task of qualifying all crew members from Live Firing one to Annual Crew Test by the end of the 5 days. On day one it took some time to blow out the cobwebs, but the gunners and commanders soon got into the swing of things after some firm, diligent instruction and guidance from the instructors, Cpl Matthew Mackie and Cpl Brett Bland.
The weather held up well all week which aided the progression of the shoots. Top gunning came in the form of Dmr Ross Sewell-Harper and commander LCpl Tony 'big guns' Waters; who scored a 12, Level 6 on their ACT, missing only 2 targets on the whole shoot. The week came to a close on the Friday with some 'clag' that prevented firing, however on the whole it was a great week had by all, and a refreshing break to life on Salisbury Plain!
Ex Pashtun Dagger 26th Jan - 11th Feb
The final PASHTUN exercise on 1 RRF's calendar was for 3Cdo Bde. Y Company occupied positions at Blackball Firs, Greenlands camp and the infamous Copehill Down Village. The 'insurgent' teams were led by Lt Rick Smith and Lt Mark Mulholland and their teams caused significant damage to the exercising troops in the form of their 'shoot and scoot' tactics. These tactics proved sound, although the civillian Mitsubishi Warriors were put through their paces when trying to escape Jackals (one of the latest vehicles designed for ops in Afghanistan! The blue force was also kept on their toes by the likes of Sgt Phil Fergerson, who managed to surprise a late night VCP with a L29 which caught a placid RLC Pte off guard!
Morale was kept high by the new RSM who delivered the newspapers to all locations. A late night movie club was also a highlight of each day which gave the troops a cinema experience which was enhanced by the copious amounts of 'claccy' provided by the CQMS.
A particular highlight of the exercise was the strike Op by B21 aka Cpl Richard Worswick, which was a classic example of how the determination of Fusiliers can deny blue force from doing anything right. Four Fusiliers managed to hold off a company of men from entering a compound for 25 minutes, resulting in the need for the DS to kill them off in order to allow capture of the location by blue forces.
It was not all work for Y Company this month. The company took a day to practice their marksmanship principles for real when they went paintballing! This proved to be a great day both in terms of team bonding and raising morale after a hectic start to the year.
On 23 Feb the First Fusiliers rugby team took on 32 Regt RA. This was 1 RRF's first competitive game for nearly two years and was eagerly anticipated by all involved. The game was very evenly matched from the start although the Fusiliers rode their luck to a degree after nearly conceding two dis-allowed tries in the first half. The Artillery had the upper hand in the pack, they were well drilled and had a strong scrum but the Fusiliers battled hard. The Fusiliers backs were very strong both in defence and in the open spaces that presented themselves well as the game wore on. There were some fantastic runs by Fus Paul Tuinasakea, Sikeli Ratubuli and Inia Qoilevu. The Artillery eventually won the game 18-17, which was still a very good result s given the lack game time and trainin.
On 2 Mar the First Fusiliers played their second game of the season, a "friendly" against 2 RWELSH "Dragons" (their second team). This was a far more serious encounter. Given that rugby is 2 RW's primary sport and their first team had won the Army Cup five times in the last six years a tough game was expected. The Fusiliers drew first blood scoring the first try and from there put in a gritty and solid performance. The Welsh were again very well drilled and ran and tackled hard, however the Fusiliers were stronger at the set-pieces and worked very hard in defence. The spaces that opened up towards the end of the game suited the 2 RRF running style of play and a number of other tries were scored. Fus Paul Tuinasakea (again), Capt Tom Atkinson and Training Officer, Capt Paul Cooper who was facing his parent regiment all produced fine performances! The Fusiliers won the game (and some bragging rights) 24-10 which was a fantastic result for the Fusiliers and one that 1 RRF will aim to build on for future matches and into the league next season.
Ex PASHTUN DAGGER (3 Cdo & 7 Armd Bde FTX for HERRICK 14)
In Jan and Feb, 14 Officers and SNCOs from 2 RRF were tasked to act as Observer Controllers for 3 Cdo and 7 Armd Bde Final Training Exercise (FTX) a mere five weeks before they deployed on OP HERRICK 14. Over three weeks, two 8 day FTXs were constructed for the Battle Groups (BG) with a; CLEAR, HOLD, BUILD mission. There was considerable emphasis on liaison and compatibility with partnered and local forces built into the exercise scenario. 42 and 45 Cdo Royal Marine Battle Groups were put to the test on FTX1 with 1 RIFLES and 4 SCOTS on FTX2. From the Battalion's (Bn) recent operational experience and Pre Deployment Training for assuming the role of Small Scale Contingency Battle Group (SSCBG), they were in a unique position to provide assistance and advice as well as drawing on their own experiences in Afghanistan on Op HERRICK 10. The 2RRF staff who deployed on Ex Pashtun Dagger also observed how other units approached their own training; a useful learning process.
A Coy and Fire Support Coy - Sennelager Ranges 14-17 Feb
A Company and elements of Fire Support Company deployed
to Sennelager Ranges for four days in the third week of February. Having
already completed build up training on Hohne ranges they were put through
their paces from Fire Team day attack, up to Section night attack ranges.
The range practices were a good test of basic soldiering ability and
provided the Fusiliers with a good environment to develop their skills.
It was good to see many Fusiliers fresh out of training putting themselves
to the test and particularly pleasing were the number of Fusiliers who
'stepped up' as Fire Team Commanders and acquitted themselves well.
These ranges were the first opportunity for most of the Fusiliers to
conduct this intensity of field training since Ex DRUIDS DANCE in November
last year. It was especially good to see how quickly the Fusiliers were
able to recover from skill fade and field fitness levels so soon after
Christmas leave! The ranges also enabled most elements of the Coy to
swiftly progress in the PDT requirement for the BN's SSCBG call out
exercise as part of Ex ACTIVE RHINO.
The Mortar Platoon have run a mortar executive skills cadre in Celle aimed at honing the executives existing skills and developing their ability to fulfil their roles as Number 1s and working in Command Posts. The training also taught the executives about their future employment as either a Command Post Operator (CPO) or as a B Mortar Fire Controller (MFC).
The mortars carried out both day and night shoots
with HE, smoke and illum. This live firing was the perfect way to end
the Executives Cadre and gave the LCpls the opportunity to put their
new skills into practice. The training gained by the remainder of Pl
was excellent and blew off many of the cob webs created from not having
fired live for over 5 months.
81mm Mortar Numbers' Cadre & Ex PASHTUN LIGHTNING 14
The Mortars also trained volunteers from across the
Battalion in the art of Mortaring. The students completed an intensive
week long period of in camp lessons. The second week was a damp, chilly
experience on Hohne training area conducting a Dry Exercise where the
Mortar Sections were deployed in support of a fictional battle group
in a conventional war fighting scenario. The third and final week involved
a deployment to the UK in order to take part in the 7 Bde Ex PASHTUN
LIGHTNING. This exercise incorporated live firing in support of soldiers
from 3 Mercian and 2 RGR and allowed them to complete the final piece
of their very realistic Mission Specific Training before deployment
The exercise proved to be the ideal training opportunity
to not only live fire but to teach the lessons of how Mortars can be
employed in a contemporary operating environment. The level of mortaring
was greatly enhanced by being able to conduct a shoot with the weapon
in the Direct Role; this is only possible when the target area can be
observed by the Mortar Line without the use of deployed Mortar Fire
EX DIAMOND HARZ HACKLE
Ex DIAMOND HARZ HACKLE was a Bn run, 10 day skiing exercise in the Bavarian Harz Mountains. After a faltering start with a broken down coach, 10 members of FSp Coy made it to the mountains for 10 days of alpine skiing, the first skiing arranged by the Bn since Cyprus. By the end of the first week all had passed the basic skiing proficiency test and progressed to the advanced skiing proficiency. After a warm and sunny week the weather closed in, however, this meant that the pistes received some well needed snow which allowed exploration of some 'off piste' areas which resulted in a number of near misses with trees; except for one, no names Fus Lyall!
Ex SNOW WARRIOR
Ex SNOW WARRIOR is a BFG led Adventure Training Ex that takes novice or advanced skiers through a tour de force of ski techniques and the more complex discipline of ski touring. Over a period of ten days 48 Fusiliers, in two groups, ventured into the Harz Mountains to conduct the Basic Ski Proficiency (Alpine) Award. This involves learning and mastering the basics of alpine (downhill) skiing, survival techniques, avalanche drills, an introduction to ski touring (crossing terrain on skis - including uphill) and finally search and rescue techniques. All of these activities were incorporated into the daily routine with as much fun as possible, for instance snow holes quickly became fire trenches and a snow ball fight of mammoth proportions quickly ensued. The Exercise resulted in 36 Fusiliers being awarded the BSP (Alpine) and 8 awarded the Advanced Ski Proficient, with 3 earning instructor recommendations which 2 RRF can build upon in the next ski season.
Army Cup Football Semi-final
On the 15 Feb, the Battalion lost to 28 Engineer Regiment in the semi-final of the Army Cup. At the end of full time and after an exciting and physical match the score was 2-2. The Engineers finally won 5-4 in a penalty shoot out
Along with the whole Regiment 5 RRF have been rocked by the tragic and untimely death of Fusilier Karl Reay from Z Company who was killed in a road traffic accident on 26 Feb 11. Our deepest condolences go to his family and friends at this tragic time.
The last month has been busy on all fronts. The Battalion has had an Equipment Care Inspection (ECI) achieving a GREEN, which is testament to the hard work and preparation of the Quartermaster, Maj Lee Phillips and his team. Training weekends have continued focused on preparing the 50 strong cohort for mobilisation and deployment on Op HERRICK later this year. Alongside this there has been the normal focus on ensuring completion of Mandatory Training Tests in order to qualify for the annual bounty. Maj Iain Hallam was in on the action and used 'the power of his Ron Hills' to produce a highly respectable PFT time. Eleven members of Battalion also deployed on Exercise Bavarian Hackle II to run a Basic Ski Proficiency (Alpine) in Southern Germany.
There have been two separate visits to the Regiments affiliated Royal Navy Ships. X and Z Coy provided a joint Honour Guard for HMS NORTHUMBERLAND when she docked in Newcastle on 04 Feb 11. Three Fusiliers also took the opportunity to sail on the newly commissioned HMS DIAMOND.
Both visits allowed the Fusiliers to spend some time with their Royal Navy counterparts and they were all extremely impressed with how they were hosted and the standard of both the Navy personnel and equipment.
On 22 Feb 11, Bn HQ hosted a Networking Brunch at Durham on behalf of the North-East Chamber of Commerce (NECC). This was the first of four similar events over the next year with aim of engaging with a variety of local employers and businesses and delivering the Regiment and MOD messages to the widest audience possible. The feedback from those in attendance was excellent as HQ Coy pulled out all of the stops with the Colours and mess silver on display inside the newly acquired marquee liner for the drill hall in Durham (available for hire!).
The Officers Mess held a Ladies Dinner Night at Durham on 05 Mar 11. This was the first mess function in the new marquee liner and presented an opportunity to dine out Maj Richard Sharrocks and Capt Dan McKindie. A former QM, Maj Gary Jones and his wife Debbie also attended.
Up and coming Events
" 11 - 18 Mar 11 - Op HERRICK 15 Battle Camp
The Bn currently has the following personnel deployed on operations.
Deployed with 3 PARA BG on HERRICK 13
" Fus Martin Hanley
A (Fusilier) Company 4 MERCIAN
In February, thirty Fusiliers from A Company joined with 2 other companies from 4 MERCIAN to take part in an exercise in Nesscliff. On Friday night the troops were split into a strong platoon of 30+ operating under a Company HQ providing enemy forces and G4 (logistics) who cooked and transported the various elements that were training. The platoon deployed straight onto the ground with a march of 5 miles carrying all their kit through constant rain. Once in the harbour area patrol routine was implemented. A realistic exercise followed with free play allowed on both sides. Corporal Gorin who was leading a patrol was either lucky or unlucky depending on your point of view in managing to have a contact with each of the enemy units whilst the other patrol was incident free. In the second contact the enemy left behind a wounded casualty to which first aid was administered. Again you can decide whether they were lucky or not as they had to carry the casualty for 2 miles but it was the relatively light Lance Corporal Korimbocus rather than WO2 Wilkes the CSM who was also amongst the enemy force and not light, relatively or otherwise! The platoon carried on patrolling over the course of the day and stayed in their harbour area at night. Whilst this was going on there was cross country driver training for the G4 element. Several laps around a rutted, muddy course of dips, hillocks and vast puddles under instruction in a land rover was enjoyed by all that took part.
Elsewhere WO2 Spencer has started training the shooting
team in earnest with several members of A Company going for selection.
Several of the Fusiliers who are mobilising on Herrick 14 have come
in on Tuesday drill nights to say hello and join in training and there
was a farewell drinks session held in Birmingham at the end of the month.
The North East has been relatively quiet during February and early March as everybody organises themselves for St George's Day that will be held at the Civic Centre and in Newcastle on Saturday 23 April. The Lord Mayor of Newcastle has invited 5 RRF to Exercise the Regiment's 'Freedom' by marching through the city centre with bayonets fixed, bands playing and Colours flying. The Commanding Officer has invited the two Officers Clubs and The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland to join the Battalion in celebrating the Regimental Day.
St George's Day will start with the Association members
mustering at the Civic Centre at 9.10am and they will step off at 9.15am
to parade outside the Civic offices for inspection by the
The parade will step off from Ceremonial Way at 11.00am and march through the city centre with the Association and Officers Club members joining it near the saluting dais and then returning to the Civic Centre. There will be a Civic Buffet Reception at 11.55am that will finish at 2.00pm
Tickets for the service and for the reception can be obtained from AHQ and Association Branch Officers. For security and logistical reasons only ticket holders will be admitted to the Civic Centre and these will cost £7 per head for non-officer club members to help offset the cost of the hospitality.
There will be various functions that evening in and around Newcastle including a Fusiliers Officers Club St George's Ball at The Assembly Rooms.
The tempo of the museum refurbishment is now increasing daily with at times as many as five different contractors on site. The display cabinets are now all installed and the collection will be returned for installation by the end of the month. The official opening of the museum will take place on 20 Apr 11 with a soft opening anticipated for 4 Apr 11.
On the cadet front, 103 Detachment ACF provided the marching music for the Ceremony of the Dues on 25 February. The ship presenting their dues to the Constable was HMS Westminster and most will have noticed that she has already deployed back to the Mediterranean. On 7 March Sgt Neil Scott of C Company at Balham received the Lord Lieutenants Commendation for Meritorious Service. CSgt James Whitney of 94 Detachment ACF was awarded the certificate of Best Detachment Commander in South East London Sector and W02 Andy Morgan, CSM 7 Company ACF, received a special commendation for outstanding performance of his duties.
After the usual lull in January, functions have begun
to pick up with a most successful Fusiliers Officers Club Luncheon on
17 February with a large turnout. The 3rd Bn Officers had a dinner to
commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first Gulf War which again was
very well attended. The president of the Army Rugby Union (who also
happens to be Chief of the General Staff) held a dinner in the Tower
for the Management Board, Council and ARU sponsors. The Army Museum
Ogilby Trust also held their annual trustees meeting. On a sad note,
the 1st Bn Royal Fusiliers Branch held their annual dinner on 5 March
for the first time in thirty years without their late Secretary, Terry
Crowley. In future the dinner will be called the Terry Crowley Memorial
Dinner. Finally, General Bryan Webster held a lively family party to
celebrate his 80th birthday.
A set of five Michael Sutty figures belonging to the Regiment featuring one each of the former Regiments and a RRF Drummer previously on display in the museum are available for sale. In the 1989 catalogue they retailed for just under £1000 for the five and were a limited edition of 250. This set is number 7. The trustees have decided to offer the set for sale by sealed bids. Anyone interested should forward their sealed bid in excess of £1000 to the Area Secretary, City of London Headquarters by 14 April 2011
I R Liles OBE
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 2nd March 2011
It is with much sadness that I have to report the death of Fusilier Karl James Reay, Z Coy 5 RRF. Karl was killed in a traffic accident on Saturday afternoon, 26 February 2011 while travelling on the A189 in Cramlington, Northumberland. His girlfriend was in the car and has sustained injuries although these are not believed to be life threatening. The Colonel of the Regiment extends his, and the Regiments, deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Karl at this tragic time.
The Colonel of the Regiment congratulates the following officers on being selected for promotion to Lt Col on the Pink List which was published last Friday:
Maj Jo Butterfill (also selected for ACSC)
Maj Jim Taylor
Maj Karl Mace
It has been agreed that the Regimental Dinner will be held on 21 Oct 11 in the Armoury Rooms in HM Tower of London. Attendance at the last two Regimental Dinners has been exceptionally good (340 in 2010 and 304 in 2009). All officers, both serving and retired, are encouraged to attend and to invite personal guests. This is the one opportunity in the year that all officers from the Regt can meet for dinner, renew old friendships and meet new officers from the Regiment and catch up on what is really happening in the Battalions.
Ticket reservations can be made with the Asst Regimental Secretary on 02031666906.
Some of you have asked when the 2010 Journal will be
issued? The good news is that the Journal is now being distributed having
taken close to 3 months to be published and printed. I apologise for the
delay but it has not been in the hands of RHQ who are totally reliant
on a commercial publisher and printer.
BOOK - Mrs Ann Annis
Ann Annis, the mother of Fusilier Simon Annis who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009, has published a book called 'Butterflies and Feathers'. It is an account of Simon Annis' life and death from a mother's perspective. This is a truly moving story of initially happiness and then tragedy and grief, and a proud tribute to Fusilier Simon Annis. I thoroughly recommend this book which is available through Amazon and Waterstones.
I R Liles OBE
It is a PDF file and you need Adobe Reader 9 to read it click on
the link below and follow the instruction to download it FREE
RHQ/RRF/1363 8th September 2009
Also wounded through enemy action in the month of August were:
Fusilier T A James who remains in Selly Oak hospital and, despite extremely serious and life changing wounds as a result of an IED, is starting to make good progress and has just been upgraded from VSI to SI.
Corporal S C Ferguson who received minor injuries as a result of an IED and has remained in Theatre.
Lance Corporal W Senikaucava who received minor injuries as a result of an IED. He has been flown back to Hounslow and is undergoing medical tests and treatment.
The thoughts and prayers of the Regiment remain with all of these Fusiliers and their families, and with those still on operations in Afghanistan .
The first Battalion have been on leave for the month of August following a very successful move from Fallingbostel to Tidworth. They have now assumed the role of; The Land Warfare Centre Battlegroup with their first exercise being on 14 Sep 09.
Despite being on leave the 1st Battalion have provided outstanding support to the Regiment over the deaths and casualties sustained by the 2nd Battalion in Afghanistan . From providing emergency Casualty Visiting Officers to assembling firing parties at short notice for the funerals of our Fusiliers their performance has been truly magnificent.
Next months Fusilier News will give a good overview of the 1st Battalions new role.
The 2nd Battalions Operational News from Afghanistan is attached and is, as usual, an excellent piece of work which we are all privileged to receive.
The Rear Party have had a particular demanding month and one should not underestimate the enormous pressure they have been under, for obvious reasons. That said, they have risen to every challenge and reacted with flair, determination and where appropriate compassion and dignity.
Next month there will be a larger piece on some of the family events that have been run by the Rear Party.
August was a quiet month for the 5th Fusiliers. With most people on holiday and the majority of industry in the North East taking the Factory Fortnight, the level of activity was much reduced. August did see, however, the safe return of Delta Platoon from Kabul . During their 6 month tour and in addition to the myriad of base protection tasks, the Platoon carried out 107 foot patrols in Kabul . They also created a small piece of Fusilier history by being commanded for a short period by a German Officer, Lt Muzer (GE/NE Corps), when their own Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Dunn was on R&R and CSgt Thomson had to leave Theatre for a short period of compassionate leave.
Delta Platoon flew the Fusilier flag with distinction at HQ ISAF and received high praise for their professionalism and dedication from many UK and foreign senior officers within Kabul . Yet again, the TA Infantry has proven its worth and competence when given the chance to train and deploy on Operations independently. Maj Snaith also returned home safely from Baghdad where he had been working as a SO2 within the Joint HQ. Three of the Battalions Mortar Platoon remain deployed in Helmand with 2 RRF.
The only training activity of note was an adventure
training weekend in mid August. All companies took part in a variety of
activities including Hill Walking, Canoeing and Mountain Biking in the
Lake District and Northumberland. Thanks go to Capt Mick Straker , ex
Z Coy who now works full time at 15 NE Bde HQ, for organising the majority
of the training. The following short article is written by WO2 Noble,
SPSI X Coy 5RRF.
X AND Z COY, 5 RRF, MOUNTAIN BIKING 21-23 AUG 09
The long awaited summer adventure training weekend
saw 8 members of X and Z Coy, 5 RRF under the supervision of WO2 (SPSI)
Noble cycle the first 114 miles of the coastal castle cycle route from
Newcastle to Berwick upon tweed. The route was via both of the Companys
manned locations at Tynemouth , Ashington and Alnwick and skirted some
of Northumberlands coastal castles. The first night saw the group
cycle from St Georges TAC in Newcastle 24 miles to Blyth with an overnight
stay at Ashington TAC. On the second day the group rode a further 66 miles
to Bamburgh via Warkworth Castle and Craster Bay with an overnight stay
at Alnwick TAC. The cycle ride finished 24 miles north of Bamburgh at
the old barracks in Berwick on Sunday 23rd August.
At the Start: L to R: Fus Okoronkwo, WO2 (CSM) Graham, Lt Evans, Fus Brown, Sgt Douglass, WO2 (SPSI) Noble, Sgt Smith, Sgt Alexander
Those who completed the route all commented on how
much they enjoyed it and how challenging it was. Five out of 8 completed
the 114 miles ride in 2 days with technical problems preventing the others
finishing the entire course. This was a testing and rewarding weekend
and something which will be repeated next year.
Old Barracks, Berwick. (114 mile point) : L to R: WO2 (CSM) Graham, Sgt Douglass, Lt Evans, Fus Brown, Sgt Smith,WO2 (SPSI) Noble, MIA: Sgt Alexander, Fus Okoronkwo
September is a key month for the Battalion to carry out its preparation for deployment as OPFOR for 2 RANGLIAN in Kenya on Ex GRAND PRIX. There will be two Battalion level exercises in Catterick including the use of Helicopters to practice Air Manoeuvre. The Battalion is looking forward to working closely with Minden Platoon, Northumberland ACF, who will be providing enemy for both exercises.
The following numbers of soldiers are in training or within the recruiting process:
Phase 1 Training 42
Awaiting CIC (TA) 30
A notable success.
AREA HQ NORTHUMBERLAND
The thoughts and sympathy of all members of The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland go to the families in the Midlands and Manchester of those Fusiliers who were killed on operations in Afghanistan . The thoughts of the North East are also with those members of the 2nd Battalion who have been injured on operations during the month of August
The Regimental Area Headquarters offers its very best wishes to Mrs Amanda Gilby,
the E2 in Fenham Barracks who is moving across to D Squadron, Queens own Yeomanry on full time employment. (Its only 50 yards away so the HQ will know where to go when the IT systems go wrong!) Amanda has been with the HQ for 5 years and has been an excellent team member. She will be missed.
AREA HO WARWICKSHIRE
Area Headquarters and the Regimental Association in
Warwickshire and the West Midlands send their heartfelt condolences to
the families of Sgt Valentine, LCpl Fullarton, Fus Carter, Fus Bush and
Fus Annis. There has been tremendous support for the families in Warwickshire
which has included the Civic Community and Police, the Regimental Association
and of course the Casualty Visiting Officers from the Regiment. The recent
funeral of Fusilier Louis Carter in Nuneaton was a most moving and highly
appropriate send off for a brave young Fusilier from Warwickshire.
Regimental Association. August has been quiet on the Association front, but this did not stop the Nuneaton Branch organising the Annual Bowls Competition on Saturday 22 August at the Ambleside Sports Club. Neil Gregory has declared that
Sheldon Branch A Team were the winners, closely followed
by Sheldon Branch B Team. Thanks go to Coventry and Sheldon Branches for
supporting the event.
Central Branch visited Kingsbury Water Park on 15/16 August for a fun on the water and overnight camping for those who were brave enough to break out the sleeping bags once again!
Thankfully the weather was kind which allowed those that took to the water to dry out in the sun! The BBQ was fired up at 7pm which was followed by a night under a 9 x 9 tent for those that wished to remind themselves of Army weekends!
Sheldon Branch also enjoyed a weekend in Edinburgh which included visiting the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. A fuller report will appear in the next Fusilier News.
Warwickshire Museum. The Museum is celebrating having gained Accreditation. This means that the museum has attained a set of nationally agreed standards for museums devised by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The scheme helps museums plan for the future by identifying further areas for work and development to support continuous improvement. The award proves that the museum measures up to meeting the guidelines on how to run and look after the collections and the services provided to visitors.
The museum is one of over 1800 museums participating in the scheme which was introduced in 2004. Accreditation also includes Governance and visitor standards. Accreditation can benefit the museum in a number of ways. It is a useful tool for the museum to assess its performance. Some funding and grant making bodies stipulate that museums either have or are working towards Accreditation. It can foster public confidence in museums as institutions able to manage collections effectively and gives the museum a sense of achievement. It also increases credibility and raises the profile.
Thanks go to Stephanie Bennett, the Museum Curatorial Officer for project managing the application and the subsequent hard work in ensuring the museum gained accreditation.
Friends of the Museum Antique Road Show St Johns House Sat 3 Oct 09
Regimental Service, March Past & Tea Party Warwick Sun 11 Oct 09
Sheldon Branch Annual Dinner Sat 24 Oct 09
Festival of Remembrance Birmingham Town Hall Sun 1 Nov 09
Remembrance Parade Hall of Memory Birmingham Sun 8 Nov 09
Remembrance Parade Bedworth Wed 11 Nov 09
2RRF Welcome Home Parade Warwick Fri 27 Nov 09
AREA HQ LANCASHIRE
Fusilier Simon Annis. It is with great sadness that all Fusiliers from Lancashire said farewell to Fusilier Simon Annis who died on operations with the 2nd Battalion in Afghanistan . The Regimental Family in Lancashire extends its deepest sympathy to the family of Fusilier Annis and to the other Fusilier families suffering an equally devastating loss. Sincere thanks must go to all those who attended the funeral in Irlam where a strong mix of primrose and red and white hackles were there to give Fusilier Annis a good and appropriate Lancashire send off.
Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force - New Headquarters.
The ground breaking ceremony took place on Holcombe Moor for the new Headquarters
and Training Centre of Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force. This new facility
including accommodation for 200, kitchens, classrooms, stores and offices
will replace both the dilapidated training Centre in Ramsbottom and the
current Headquarters in the centre of Manchester .
The new build will take twelve months to complete and will have Holcombe Moor as a back door training area. During the week the accommodation will be used by the Regular Army including the Army Foundation College at Harrogate and courses run by the Army Recruiting Team based on Holcombe Moor. This new HQ is only 5 miles from the Fusilier Museum and 100 metres from the Fusilier Recruiting Team!
Minden Club Dinner. The Minden Club held its annual
dinner at the Army and Navy Club in London . The Club was formed by former
officers of the Lancashire Fusiliers, who have been particularly supportive
in fund raising for the new museum. The guest of honour was the Regimental
Secretary, Brigadier Ian Liles who enjoyed the evening and despite claiming
that he wanted an early night kept the Area Secretary up until the early
hours of the morning. (Ed: Col Cartwright must accept full responsibility!)
Homecoming Parades. Looking ahead, the Homecoming Parades in Lancashire are being planned for Monday 30 November 09 and Tuesday 1 December 09. The intention is to parade through Rochdale during the morning of Monday the 30 November, followed by Bury in the afternoon. On the morning of 1 December the Battalion will parade through Salford .
Fusilier Monument. The Fusilier Monument has now been
erected in Gallipoli Garden . The next phase involves restoration and
conservation with a view to completion ready for the opening of the Museum
on Friday 25 September. The Monument itself will be unveiled on Sunday
27 September as part of the Fusilier Gathering. Lutyens design for
the monument included two Regimental Colours
Created in stone. Originally each was emblazoned in full colour and would have looked like the real thing. In preparation for the restoration a detailed examination of the surface has taken place. This has revealed that much of the original finish, including a great deal of gold leaf, had subsequently been covered with Dulux. Once restored, it will be displayed in its original full glory, something not seen for 50 years. It should not be forgotten that this monument is the Fusiliers Memorial in Lancashire for all Fusiliers.
Fusilier Museum. The Museum has now been opening for
five days a week for 10 weeks and during this time has attracted approaching
5,000 visitors. This includes some 250 children involved in workshops.
For those who are still nostalgic about Wellington Barracks this is equivalent
to the total number of visitors there for 2006 and 2007. Visitors have
paid some £4,500 in entrance fees and spent nearly £4,000
in the shop. The Tourist Information Centre staff report that their visitor
numbers are up and their shop sales have tripled over the same period.
New material continues to arrive. A particularly interesting recent donation
has been a large decorated memorial board from Rochdale .
The memorial was originally located in the Two Ships Hotel, Queen Street, Rochdale and commemorated all those who used to frequent the pub and went on to serve. It also records those who gave their lives. The memorial remained in the Two Ships from the end of the First World War till 2003 when the pub closed and was in danger of becoming derelict. The memorial was saved by Captain the Lord Havering who purchased the pub in order to secure the future of this impressive memorial. In the short term there was nowhere to display it in Rochdale and it consequently went into storage in Yorkshire ! The board will now be displayed in the Normandy Room adjacent to the Rochdale Honours Board.
Bury Recruiting Office. The Recruiting Office is now settling down. Since it opened on the 27 June it has had 112 walk ins which have been converted to 54 applications of which 15 are medically cleared so far. Of the applications, 27 are for the Fusiliers.
Fusilier Smith GM. Along with his many jobs in Bury, Fusilier Smith took time to take part in an indoor bike ride sponsored by Subway to raise money for charity. Finally to end on some good news a baby boy of 6lb 14oz has been born to Fusilier Danny Smith GM and Joanne. The baby is called Kaiden Daniel Smith.
This is another reminder that the Annual Regimental Dinner will be held on the evening of the 29 October 2009 in the New Armouries in HM The Tower of London. Tickets are available from the Assistant Regimental Secretary, tel: 02031666906. As a high attendance is expected from the 1st and 2nd Battalions this is, in recent years, a unique opportunity to dine and catch up on the Battalions experiences and to meet old friends and colleagues.
I R Liles OBE
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 5th August 2009
2 RRF OPERATIONAL CASUALTIES
As you should all be aware, July 2009 witnessed further casualties in Afghanistan for the Regiment. Corporal Joseph Etchells, A Company 2 RRF, attached to the Rifles Battlegroup, was tragically killed on operations in Sangin following an enemy IED attack. His funeral will be held on 11 August 2009 in Mossley, Lancashire. Three further personnel were wounded in the attack; Lance Corporal Hurley, who dislocated his shoulder and is an out-patient at Selly Oak awaiting further surgery, Fusilier White, who lost a finger and received numerous fragmentation wounds, he remains in Selly Oak following surgery and Fus Hughes who is now back to work on light duties with the Rear Party in Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow. The Colonel of the Regiment has asked that I relay that all of our casualties and their families remain in the Regiments thoughts and prayers, as do all 2nd Battalion Fusiliers that continue to be committed on operations in Afghanistan.
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As June turned to July all members of the Battalion have embraced the Unit Move with open arms, scrubbing, polishing and accounting for stores ready for inspections and handovers. Members of 3 MERCIAN have begun trickling slowly through the Lumsden Barrack gates, and as a result the Fusiliers' morale has lifted steadily in direct relation to the number of 3 MERCIAN soldiers wandering about open jawed in awe at the space, tropical climate and sheer isolation!
OC JAVELIN Platoon, Capt Mark Milne, has been assembling a team which will shortly deploy to join 2 RRF for the tail-end of their Op HERRICK tour. These 7 men aim to build vital corporate knowledge within the 1st Battalion as they move to Tidworth and begin preparing other units for operations in Afghanistan. On their return in the autumn they will be expected to brief the Battalion on their short tour, providing a glimpse of what's to come after the LWC BG role.
The Harts Medals Inter-Company boxing competition was
staged at the start of the month as the culmination of the Commanding
Officer's Competition. All of the boxers had clearly trained extremely
hard under the guidance of their coaches, and worked tirelessly to perfect
their techniques and improve fitness in the build-up to the Finals. After
many hard-fought bouts and impressive displays of physical courage and
skill, Z Company were pronounced winners. The result meant that W Company
narrowly claimed this year's overall title of 'Champion Company'. Capt
Tony Hall will now train the Battalion squad, building upon this success
for a number of fixtures already on the cards in the UK.
Z Coy boxers celebrate their victory
Cpl Rourke vs Fus Dalton
In a rare break from cleaning and packing Y Company managed to find time to say goodbye to Germany by 'burning rubber' at 'Schumacher's Go-karting'. LCpl Phil Keay now holds the track all time lap record thanks to some extremely dubious corner-cutting whilst the marshals were dealing with one of the frequent multi-kart pile-ups! The Company's Officers, SNCOs and Cpls also participated in some friendly ten-pin bowling, with the Coy 2IC, Capt Tom Atkinson, reigning supreme. The last laugh, however, was had by Cpl Andrew Chappel and Sgt 'Andy' Andrews when they demonstrated exactly what they spent their teenage years doing, by fleecing both Platoon Commanders for €20 at pool! (Ed: gambling is of course contrary to Queen's Regulations so I can only assume this is a misprint!)
The Battalion says fond farewells to a number of celebrities as it departs Germany. Maj Craig Taylor leaves to start work with Col Nanson in 1 Div, whilst Maj Paul Morris leaves to become OC Junior Division at the Infantry Battle School, Brecon. Sgt Cairne will hopefully move to 2PWRR in Padeborn (interview dependant!), Cpl Jackson is transferring to stay in Germany with 3 MERCIAN and Cpl Ebling and Fus Gardner 26 move to the Poachers in Celle. Cpl Lee Smith, Fus Scott Wilde and Fus Richie Norris leave the Battalion after serving well, and will certainly be missed - although apparently Fus Norris' Platoon Commander wouldn't admit that to him!
With the Rear Party firmly in place at Mooltan Barracks,
Tidworth, the remainder of the Battalion are beginning their Summer Leave.
They will return to work on 24 August to familiarise themselves with their
new surroundings before beginning a 2 week exercise in preparation for
their first Land Warfare Centre tasking.
D/Maj Ken Whyley ably supervising Fus "Johnny" Varte as he puts the finishing touches to the Coy Offices
RSM Robinson lowers the Regimental flag in Fallingbostel for the final time, watched by Maj Alex Beart, Bn 2IC
The 2 RRF monthly operational update is attached to this Newsletter. (Ed: I had a long chat with the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Battalion last week who confirmed that morale is high and that the Fusiliers remain fully committed to their mission in Afghanistan and immensely proud of their achievements to date. Being just over half way through the tour everyone appreciates that there is still a great deal to do and that difficult and challenging times remain ahead, but there also is no doubt that the Fusiliers are 'up for it' and, up to it.
There have been some memorable events in a month that has ended with a deal of doom and gloom caused by the announcement that there will be considerable savings measures taken against TA Main Training Days (MTDs). The Visit to the Delta Platoon in Kabul by the Commanding Officer and Regimental Sergeant Major, the Attendance of a 5th Battalion marching contingent at the 250th Anniversary at Minden, two demanding Field Training Exercises at Catterick and Otterburn and a combined officer's and Sergeant's Mess dinner to celebrate Minden day are but some of the highlights. The RIFLES contingents of the Battalion have also taken part in a freedom parade in Leeds, marching with 2 RIFLES as part of their home coming events.
HQLF directed in year savings measures are about to
have a significant impact on Regional Forces. This will lead to MTD restrictions
and limitations on the type and frequency of training. The positive news
for 5 RRF is that there will be no restrictions imposed until the task
to provide OPFOR for Exercise GRAND PRIX is complete. Also, reallocation
of funding within 15 NE Bde has ensured that 5 RRF will be able to maintain
a regular and productive Training programme, albeit reduced, for the remainder
of the year. So, they should be well placed to meet the OCP commitment
for Op HERRICK 14. One message for all TA Infantry Battalions is; the
more that can be done to support the Operational Training Burden, as well
as providing operational reinforcement, the stronger the case will be
to retain a bigger share of scarce RF resources. If it cannot be demonstrated
that the training effort and commitment is going towards support of OP
ENTIRETY, then funding is likely to be reduced or even removed. Further
details of the scale and impact of the savings measures will be published
in the coming weeks.
Commanding Officer and RSM Visit 5 RRF Personnel in Afghanistan
After a great deal of 'on the bus off the bus', staff
clearance to visit Delta Platoon in Kabul finally came through for the
Commanding Officer and RSM. A blanket email previously issued from LAND
cancelling all visits to theatre by; Regtl Cols, members of RHQs and Regional
Bde HQs had some how been misinterpreted to include Commanding Officers.
After numerous emails, phone calls and very clear and open threats, clearance
was finally granted allowing the commanding Officer to visit his soldiers
CO and RSM with Mr Dunn and Delta Platoon .in Afghanistan
Then came another RAF waiting area, another important brief by another important RAF corporal who started every sentence with "gents excuse rank" (ed: glad to see some things never change!). After a 40 min flight the Commanding Officer and RSM were out of the hands of the RAF and delivered into the care LT Dunn and Delta Pl. After a short brief they were ushered into the back of some Snatch Land rovers (yes they are still out there and in use) and taken to HQ ISAF and the final destination. The next day Lt Dunn organised a quick tour of ISAF before meeting his multiple who were on QRF duties. The number of different nationalities present at HQ ISAF was truly staggering, and made for interesting C3. As Lt Dunn explained; he has 15 Italians merged into his Platoon , His OC is RLC, the CO of the force protection is a US Col (National Guard) with an Australian 2 IC, and there is a Macedonian company with its own command structure and HQ element.
It soon became apparent that Delta Platoon are performing magnificently, as all those encountered in the Chain of Command had nothing but high praise for the men and their professional ability. It also became clear after talking in depth to the 5 RRF soldiers that they were all more confident, mature and a closer team than the Delta Platoon that departed Northumberland at the start of the year. It was good to see how far they had come, a fact they were keen to show off by the repeated question to the Commanding Officer and RSM of "Sirs, when are you coming on patrol with us?" There could only be one answer to that, so the rest of the day was spent with the Commanding Officer and RSM being issued Osprey, ammunition, first aid kits and the zeroing of weapons.
The next morning the Commanding Officer and RSM were
sitting in the briefing room listing to Lt Dunn give his patrol orders
for a Veh/foot patrol to the rear of swimming pool hill. Once deployed
on foot a very cheerful Fus Mackenzie pointed to the top of swimming pool
hill, which dominates central Kabul and said with glee "10B have
a foot patrol tomorrow and they are going up there I am sure they will
want you to go with them". The next day was spent obliging Fus Mackenzie
as the photograph below proves.
CO and RSM on top of Swimming Pool Hill, Kabul
All too quickly the visit was over and it was time
for the Commanding Officer and RSM to return home but not before a 3 day
flight delay in Kandahar! All of the 5 RRF soldiers were genuinely pleased
to see the CO and RSM and justifiably proud of all they have achieved
and that they could hold their own against their Regular Army colleagues.
This trip took a lot of time and effort to arrange but was more than worth
it. The RSM left with the impression that visits of this nature are not
only important but vital to the deployed soldiers.
As would be expected this year's Minden celebrations were special. At home, a combined Officer's and Sergeant's Mess dinner night at St George's occurred where the traditional rose eating was upheld extremely well by 2Lt Evans, a newly commissioned platoon commander from X Coy. The Battalion also sent a marching contingent of 15 Fusiliers to take part in the 250th Anniversary celebrations at Minden in Germany. The members of 5RRF, lead by WO2 Graham (CSM X Coy) represented the Regiment admirably (ed: I have received several letters and phone calls from PWRR officers remarking on how well the Fusiliers from 5 RRF performed on the day) The following report on the Minden gathering was written by WO2 Graham.
Minden Parade 30th July - 3rd August 2009
'We all reported to ST George's TAC At 1200hrs on Thursday 30 July 2009 for a road move to Paderborn, Germany via Dover and Calais. Those who participated were; WO2 Graham, WO2 Andrews, SGT Long, CPL Maitland, CPL Currey, L/CPL Morris, FUS Berry, FUS Carr, FUS Coulthard, FUS Jackson, FUS Reddall, FUS Visenga, and FUS White.
On arrival at Paderborn Barracks we were hosted by
1 PWRR at Barker barracks. We administered ourselves and prepared our
kit ready for the parades the following day. 1PWRR were also holding a
families event which we were invited to and attended for a short while
in camp. We had an early start on Saturday in order to be in Minden for
0815hrs dressed in No2's in readiness for a memorial parade held at the
Todtenhausen Memorial. We had 5 members of our group on parade for the
memorial service, during which Wreaths were laid and Minden roses were
presented to those on parade by the relevant OC of each unit. Following
the parade a police escort took us to the Prussian museum on Simeonsplatz
square for a major memorial festival event. At 1425hrs we formed up in
the town centre of Minden along with other marching contingents from British
and German units.
5RRF Contingent Cross the River Weser accompanied by
the Minden Band of the Queens Division.
We stepped off at 1430 hrs and the route took us through
Minden town centre and down to the bank of the river Weser where we were
halted whilst National anthems were played by the Minden band of the Queens
Division. A bridge was established over the river Weser by the Bundeswehr
(supported by 412 AMPH Tp, RE). Once the bridge had been established each
unit marched over the bridge in turn whilst their respective Regimental
Marches were played. This completed the formal events and parades for
The next morning we made an early start following breakfast
for the return journey home. We arrived home in the early hours of Monday
3 August. The whole experience was enjoyed by everyone on parade and the
presence of the Hackle was noted and complimented on by a number of high
Fus Coulthard, LCpl Morris, WO2 CSM Graham, Cpl Currie,
Fus Jackson at Minden Memorial on Minden day.
The 5RRF shooting team had considerable success at TA SAAM. Included in the haul of silver was:
1st Para Cup
The team consisted of the following pwersonnel; Maj Blaney HQ Coy, Sgt Fenwick HQ Coy, LCpl McKimm HQ Coy, Fus Arthur HQ Coy, Rfn Fenwick HQ Coy, LCpl Wood D Coy, Rfn Greenhald D Coy, Rfn Brown D Coy, Fus Morris X Coy. Reserves were Fus Berry, Fus Taylor and Fus Hayden X Coy.
Annual Camp 2009
Planning and preparation for 5RRF's OPFOR commitment for Ex GRAND PRIX are in an advanced stage. While all other OTX for TA have been cancelled, 5RRF and 4 YORKS (BATUS OPFOR) have been confirmed as high priority training support tasks that reinforce the Army's operational main effort and reduce the Training Support Burden for Regular Troops. The QM has produced outstanding work and 10 of the battalions CLANSMAN FFR Land Rovers departed on a ship to Kenya last week. Hopefully they will be seen again in Kenya! The remainder of the freight departs in a couple of weeks and the advance party deploys on the 4th October. The main body is set to depart on 22 Oct for 2 weeks. 5RRF will deploy with some 200 personnel with support from QOY and medics from 4 Lancs.
Soldiers In Training
The Battalion has the following numbers of soldiers in training or within the recruiting process:
Phase 1 Training 41
Highly commendable figures and a reflection of the amount of recruiting work put in by all.
On Tuesday 28 July a detachment from The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland paraded in Wooten Bassett along with many other Fusiliers to pay their respects to the late Corporal Joseph Etchells. The thoughts and sympathy of all Association members in the North East go to his family, and, best wishes for the speedy recovery to the wounded of 2 RRF. Mr Sandy Lowrie from the Kirton Lindsey Branch is thanked for organising the representation on the day.
The Fusilier Association of Northumberland (Kirton Lindsey Branch) recently visited ex-Sgt John Sharkey who is a resident in a care home in Worksop. John was a very well known member of 2RRF and was for a time the Provost Sgt. John was found in good spirits and excellent accommodation. Should any of the Lancashire members of the Association wish to visit John they are asked to contact: Champion Unit, Victoria Care Home, Memorial Avenue in Worksop prior to travelling. Any visitor is asked to take any photographs or Fusilier memorabilia as this will help raise his morale.
The late Captain John Latimer Smith's funeral took place on Tuesday 28 July at Islington Crematorium with many of his friends in attendance. John was a National Service officer in 1RNF in the late 50's and in the TA for a number of years afterwards.
Many Fusiliers in 1RNF and 1RRF in the 60's & 70's will be saddened to hear of the death of Gordon Napier. Gordon was at one time the Provost Sgt of 1 RRF who had the duty (he always said pleasure) of locking up the Regimental Secretary when he was serving as a Fusilier in 1 RRF for "conduct unbecoming". His funeral took place at the West Road Crematorium on Thursday 30th July. He will be deeply missed.
AREA HQ WARWICKSHIRE
Community Engagement (CE) has been the Main Effort
in July culminating with a Civic Luncheon at St John's House on 27 July
hosted by Brigadier David Paterson. Guests included; The Lord Lieutenant
of Warwickshire, The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, some seven Town Mayors,
three CEOs of Borough Councils and representatives of the education and
business community. The event was also an excuse to launch the new St
John's House Wine which must have gone down well with the civic community
as two Mayors announced their intent to grant the Regiment Freedom of
Entry to their towns in 2010.
July has been a quiet time for the Association in Warwickshire and the West Midlands although Sheldon Branch made their annual visit to the Severn Valley Railway in Bewdley over the weekend of 4/5 July, which Mr Neil Gregory reports as a great success. There was a strong turnout from Sheldon and Central Branches at Wootton Bassett on Tuesday 28 July to pay their respects at the repatriation of Cpl Joseph Etchells.
Planning is well advanced to host meetings at St John's House in August between the Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and relatives of those soldiers from 2/6 and 2/7 Battalions of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment who lost their lives at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916. Readers will be aware that in May 2008, after several years of painstaking research and investigation, a number of burial pits were identified at Pheasant Wood, near Fromelles in Northern France. The pits, which have lain undisturbed for more than 90 years, contain the remains of between 250 and 300 British and Australian soldiers, buried behind the German Lines after the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916. The British and Australian governments have asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to oversee the operation to recover the remains and create a new military cemetery at Fromelles for their reburial. The work began in May 2009 and should be completed by July 2010.
The Museum saw the return of "The Seek Glorry"
silver snuff box which was stolen from St John's House some 14 years ago.
The box gets its name from the words "Seek Glorry" scratched
on it with a fork, alongside an original inscription of "the gift
of Lt Col Hedges 48th Regt to the 6th Regt, 28 Jan 1785. The snuff box
was probably traded among collectors, and had it not been seen in an auction
catalogue by Jock Craven, Deputy Chairman of the Museum Trustees Committee
who immediately recognised its unique inscriptions, it might have been
lost forever. After protracted negotiations between the Auctioneers and
representatives of the vendor the snuff box was eventually returned to
its rightful home.
Ian Lappin, the Office Manager at Area HQ, and Colonel Joe Hordern visited the three Royal Warwickshire Regiment 'In Pensioners' at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 22 July which included an informative tour of the new infirmary and the excellent facilities afforded to the 'In Pensioners'. Gifts to the Royal Warwick 'In Pensioners' included "Antelope" chocolate mints and Brigadier Harry Illing's book "No Better Soldier".
AREA HQ LONDON
July has been an extremely busy month although the building works continue to irritate (Ed: particularly me!!). Now we are approaching the end of the project, the contractor is doing a final hose down of the exterior, regardless of windows ajar or visitors braving a mud waterfall whilst trying to enter the museum! This, together with the security lock failing when Lt Col Peter Cross attempted to enter the building to stay in the Regimental bedroom has not helped day to day work. Paul Collins, the steward was less than amused to be crashed out to help, as he thought, another officer unable to put a key in a lock. However, his key failed too. All was resolved after Paul scaled the scaffolding to find an open window and was able to open up from the inside. The following day the lock had to be changed and 17 keys cut to enable RHQ to function.
The number of functions accelerated during the month with a good few of the Public Duties incremental companies holding dinners to commemorate their stint in London. Other dinners have included Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy and his staff to dine him out at the end of his tenure.
The Area Colonel, Nigel Easton, and the Area Secretary attended a most enjoyable BBQ supper with 134 Detachment ACF where they were able to meet cadets and their families. The detachment has recently lost its four senior cadets but, to their credit, they have retained one as a potential cadet instructor, one went to C Company at Balham, one went regular RRF and the last one joined the Coldstream Guards. 100% back into the system. Well done.
Once or twice a year the Tower hosts the traditional Ceremony of the Dues. This Ceremony involves visiting warships paying dues to the Constable of the Tower. It is a formal ceremony where the ships officers and crew ceremonially enter the Tower and duly present a barrel of port to the Constable. This year, for the first time, a ship from the US Navy had the honour. At the last moment, however, their band had to be elsewhere and AHQ was asked if they could provide musical accompaniment. The Area Secretary contacted 103 Detachment at St Mary's Cray who were delighted to provide their drums platoon. This RRF cadet corps is a first class outfit and on the day put in an outstanding performance. The accolades just kept coming in. They are now firmly on the Towers radar. Incidentally, they had played at Buckingham Palace only two days earlier. They are also due to perform at Balham for the 250th Anniversary of the Battle of Minden Dinner on 1 August.
AHQ was delighted to host a group of International cadets on 24 July. They were in the UK on an exchange visit and came to the Tower to observe and see a British Infantry HQ. The Area Secretary gave them a full tour and historical brief including the twelve Victorian Crosses held by the Museum.
Finally, the Regiment was honoured that the farewell dinner for the outgoing Constable, General Sir Roger Wheeler, took place in the Regimental Mess. Colonel Nigel Easton. Brigadier Ian Liles and Major Colin Bowes-Crick together with their wives represented the Regiment at this excellent occasion. General Sir Roger has been a terrific friend to the Regiment and will be sadly missed in his appointment as Constable. It is hoped, however, that he will continue to visit both RHQ and AHQ.
AREA HQ LANCASHIRE
This month has witnessed both the joy of the new Museum and Headquarters opening and the sadness at the loss of Corporal Joseph Etchells from Mossley. Both events illustrate the reality of Regimental life but the sad loss of Joe Etchells more than anything else puts some of the current disputes regarding the museum into perspective. Sincere commiserations are offered to the family of Corporal Joe Etchells by the Headquarters staff and all Fusiliers in Lancashire.
The Museum has now been open for five weeks. It is still a novelty and undoubtedly this affects the statistics but to date just over 3,000 visitors have been recorded, including many families with young children. At Wellington Barracks the Museum would receive on average just over 2,000 visitors a year! Early days but things are moving in the right direction.
Linsay Walsh the long-suffering Chief Clerk has now left on maternity leave. She has done much to turn the Headquarters around and will be missed not least by the Area Secretary. She is wished all the very best.
The Careers Office is open for business and is now manned by Staff Sergeant Slater RLC, Sergeant Monaghan and Fusilier Smith GM, who since his transfer to Moss Street from Holcombe Moor, has done an invaluable job in support of the Careers Office, Museum and Headquarters. To date the office has had 57 walk-ins of who 30 have applied and sat the BARB Test.
In support of recruiting in Bury 1RRF committed to a surge at the end of July, swamping the town centre with hackles. This layering of activity involving, Museum, Association, TA and the Regular Battalions is having a positive effect and Bury is reinforcing its position as a Fusilier Town. The same now needs to be achieved in Salford.
The renamed Gallipoli Garden adjacent to the Museum
is a riot of colour as Bury Council once again prepare for the Britain
in Bloom competition. On behalf of the Regiment the AHQ wish them well
and judging by the view from the museum café Bury deserve to win.
Linked to this, the concrete base for the Fusilier Monument has been laid
in the garden and is now covered by a flowerbed. Work is currently taking
place on the Monument at Wellington Barracks to prepare it for the move
and once the Britain in Bloom judges move out of Gallipoli Garden the
masons will move in
Within the Museum, child activities are proving popular and on one day alone sixty children were involved in filling comfort boxes for the 2nd Battalion. It is hoped that when the Fusiliers open their boxes in Afghanistan that they don't think that the Area Secretary Lancashire writes all his notes with a crayon.
One of the highlights of August was the Regimental
Association commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the Battle of Minden
on Minden Sunday. This year, under the command of John O'Grady, the Association
took the opportunity to commemorate not only the glorious victory but
also the move of the Area Headquarters from Wellington Barracks to Moss
Street. The Sunday culminated in a drumhead service in Gallipoli Garden
attended by over 100 Fusiliers including the Territorial Army from the
Castle Armoury. The sun shone, which is unusual for Bury and the event
concluded with a tour of the museum for the veterans.
The Regimental Dinner
As a reminder to all, the Regimental dinner will be held on 29 October 09. This later date was arrived at in order to allow the 2nd Battalion officers to attend on their return from Afghanistan. Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions Officers' Messes will be attending in strength for the first time in many years. Tickets for all serving and retired officers can be purchased through the Asst Regtl Sec.
The Regimental Journal
RHQ will be putting together the Dec 09 Regimental Journal in Oct. This is a plea for articles, letters and photographs to go into the Journal. All contributions will be gratefully received and should be sent to; firstname.lastname@example.org arriving by 29 Sep 09. Remember, this is your Journal so please contribute to it.
I R Liles OBE
Click here for all the latest news on 2RRF in Afganistan
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Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 9 July 2009
OPERATIONAL CASUALTIES AFGHANISTAN
Captain Anthony Harris has returned to Selly Oak for further surgery after his left foot became infected. He is likely to be there for another 3 weeks. Fusilier Keegans remains at home on sick leave.
The Colonel and all members of the Regiment wish them a speedy recovery.
Colonel R J Carruthers OBE.
Major MCR Thorp MBE.
Captain A J Hall - CinC Certificate for Meritorious Service.
WO2 W Miller CinC Certificate for Meritorious Service.
The Battalions focus during June has been the Board of Officers and final preparation for the Unit Move. This has all run smoothly thanks to the hard work and application of all sub-units. The Pre-Advanced Party are now beginning their takeover of equipment and accounts in Tidworth.
Simultaneously, the Rifle Companies have been finishing final maintenance work on the Warrior fleet and garages, which will be handed-over to 3 MERCIAN in July. As usual a variety of cadres have continued apace in the background, and everyone has been working away at their MATTs to remove another requirement from the already busy training programme at LWC.
W Company completed an enjoyable exercise in Haltern which encompassed both blank and live firing, complete with an integrated Coy attack. Their Bravo, Mullah Rocky Kahn, was successfully captured and bore a striking resemblance to Sgt Wright, their boxing coach!
WCoy advances during
the final attack
(Above) The newly reformed Javelin Pl after completing their exercise in Haltern.
The gaunt, malnourished soldiers running around camp has nothing to do with Pay As You Dine, but are a product of the hard training which has been taking place for months in preparation for the Harts Medals. Next months SITREP will include details of what promises to be an excellent, hard-fought competition.
The Battalion Rugby Squad entered two rugby 7s competitions in June, winning a runners-up trophy from the Hamburg Exiles a tough international competition. The Battalion also entered two teams in the Kiel 7s with a weaker A Team due to spreading utility players to cover both teams in case of injury. The teams did extremely well in the heats but unfortunately lost in the semi-finals.
Tuesday 23 June saw the much-anticipated Commanding Officers Challenge. This event was the only part of the Inter-Company Competition that was a complete secret to everyone, other than the CO and the APTCI, SSgt Foley. Having assembled his normal Command Group at 0800, it soon became clear that this event was to be a Warrior pulling competition.
The Companies were to field 20 men with four reserves each, with the combined team weight being capped at 1700kg it was to be a game for the young and thin as well as the old and bold.
After a couple of false starts, the sheer difficulty of the task was evident. With all 20 men on the rope, however the 26 Tons of Warrior AFV were being swiftly hauled across the cobbles of the tank park as the remainder of the companies cheered enthusiastically.
Z Company failed to win a single race and therefore finished 5th. Y Company were certainly determined, but finished 4th. X Company seemed to struggle with the conditions and finished 3rd whilst HQ Company proved to be the dark horses of the day, their experience and determination bagging them a much-deserved 2nd place.
But the day belonged to W Company, who seemed untouchable in their four wins out of four. With only the Inter-Company boxing to come, it looks like the men of Support Company will indeed be holding the Inter-Company shield aloft in days few.
The ugly but happy faces of W Coy after winning
The COs Challenge.
Z Coy take the strainduring the Warrior
pull, encouraged by their OC
The monthly 2 RRF operational report from Afghanistan is an attachment to this News Letter.
The Rear Party report that the past few months have been very busy, with the ladies going out on organised trips to the West End to see We Will Rock You and also a Night at The Dogs. The regular Sunday lunches have been a great success with upwards of 200 people attending. The Last lunch was attended by the Mayor of Hounslow and a few Local Councillors. Last weekend witnessed the annual TW4 carnival where the welfare team dressed up as super heroes with the UWO as Ali G (ed: not much dressing up needed there!).
The families are looking forward to the halfway Sunday lunch this weekend and the occasion is being marked with a fete and fair. Hounslow Council will attend to present the children with a cheque for £500 for a day trip to Thorpe Park later this month. Emma Suesue is back from Fiji and will be joining presenting a cheque for £1315 for Help the Heroes, this was the money collected at and after the memorial service for her Husband, Fusiliers Pat Suesue. The children will be presenting a Cheque to The Defence Medical Welfare Services, Selly Oak hospital for the money they raised for the Bouncy-athon.
Last month BHQ embarked on a sailing trip on the Fusilier yacht across the Channel from Portsmouth to Normandy and visited some of the D-Day battlefields. During the crossing rough conditions forced an unscheduled stop over in Alderney , all concerned were glad to reach land as not everyone had found their sea legs and the sea sickness was becoming debilitating to say the least. Maj Hallam, Maj Inglis-Jones, Capt Preston-Pacey, 2Lt Forrest and RSM Goldsmith made up the crew of landlubbers who allegedly had to be forced back into the yacht for the final dash to France.
The Officers' Mess held a Ladies Dinner Night in the grand setting of Durham Town Hall and took the opportunity to dine out Capt Barker (who retires after 44 years service), Capt McConnell and Capt Howe. The night was superbly supported by the Band and a Northumberland Piper, who played to an excellent standard.
The Battalion was represented at flag raising ceremonies in Durham and Alnwick as part of the Armed Forces Day celebrations. The opportunity was used to carry out recruiting at Bents Park in South Shields . Other events that showcased 5 RRF included an event at the DLI museum, Durham .
The Battalion shooting team had their two week shooting camp culminating with a strong performance at Bisley with the team coming third overall; a commendable result.
A (FUSILIER) COMPANY 4 MERCIAN
The focus for June has been on honing patrol skills in preparation for the Battalion patrols competition in July. However, with large numbers of recruits about to go away on Midlands Challenge (combined phase 1 & 2 training) and recent budget cuts to man training days, patrols have taken a back seat.
The Company was represented on Armed Forces Day by Cpl Matthews at Alcester and eleven Fusiliers on parade, and at a church service in Birmingham . Again the heavens opened although this time only the OC got drenched, much to the amusement of the rest of the Coy.
Finally, 2Lt whittle is congratulated for passing PCBC as top student.
NORMANDY COMPANY OP HERICK 10
The following is a report from Captain J K M Lam RRF (V, Normandy Company, 4 MERCIAN:
Normandy Company, consisting of 17 Fusiliers from the West Midlands, assumed the role of Force Protection (FP) Company for Camp Bastion for Op HERRICK 10 on 30 March 2009. Over 15% of the company strength is made up of Fusiliers and include; Major Chris Carter (OC), Capt Adam Comery (Ops Offr), WO2 Lewis (MTWO), CSgt Penny (CQMS), Sgt Hutchison (Stores Sgt), CSgt Kavaz (AIO) and not the least Capt Lam (IO) in the Coy HQ. The Company, OPCOM the RAF Regt Force Protection Wing, became a company group in early May 09 with the Support Weapons Flight of 15 Sqn RAF Regt and the RAF Police.
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) took over the force protection role at the beginning of June. However, the internal protection for Camp Bastion remains the responsibility of the FP Wing. Normandy Company has now reorganised with 1 and 2 Platoons, under command of Major Carter, deployed forward to LASHKAR GAR. This, in turn, released IX Coy the Welsh Guards for planned operations which are ongoing. 3 Platoon together with the RAF flight and Police remain in Bastion to continue with the FP duties, less the GDA patrol, as the AO outside Bastion is now the sole responsibly of the USMC.
Normandy Company is functioning very well and morale is high with some 15 soldiers away every week on R&R. Every member of the Company is keen to ensure that this operational tour is successfully accomplished. The Fusiliers are also looking forward to returning home in early October and attending the Regimental Day at Warwick on Sunday 11th October in particular.
MACHINE GUN PLATOON THE DUKE OF LANCASTER S REGIMENT
During June WO2 Gilks and Fusiliers Patten, Phillips, Clarke and Wain returned from Op Tosca. They had an enjoyable tour from all reports. In addition, the Platoon had several men who, on learning 2RRF were due to deploy on Op Herrick, promptly volunteered for Full Time Reserve Service to do their part in supporting the Regiment. These included; WO2 Gilks who obviously has no home to go to as he has only just returned from Op Tosca, Sgt Brady, Cpl Shambayati, his younger brother Fus Shambayati, Fus Matthews and Fus Power.
For Armed Forces Day on 27 June 09 the Platoons supplied
gun teams to Manchester and Bury raising the profile of the Fusiliers,
and the Platoon was honoured to be invited to the opening day of the new
Regimental Museum and set up a recruiting stand throughout the day. The
Platoon also took part in the Bury Show on 28 June 09.
The Platoon is looking forward to the Annual camp at sunny Okehampton and ongoing MG training.
AREA HQ (NORTHUMBERLAND)
On Saturday 27 June 09 a dedication parade took place in Kirton Lindsey to commemorate the service of 1RRF and 1RNF 1966-71. More than 90 former Fusiliers were on parade with their respective standards to see a new road opposite the town secondary school named Fusilier Way . A time capsule was buried with a large number of regimental artefacts that had been donated by members of The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland. Both the Town Mayor and the Chairman of the Kirton Lindsey Branch, Major Charles Jackson, spoke about the 5 years the Battalion had been stationed in the former RAF camp at the edge of the town and how both the towns people and the Geordies had taken each other to their hearts. A minutes silence was also observed during the dedication ceremony to allow respects to be paid to those Fusiliers who had lost their lives on active service during the time of the Battalions posting in the town.
On Sunday 5 July 09 more than 30 members of The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland paraded at St Cuthberts Church in Bedlington to take part in a rededication service for both the colour of the 2nd Battalion Tyneside Scottish (Northumberland Fusiliers) and the memorial chapel where this refurbished colour will now take pride of place next to a book containing the roll of honour with the names of those miners who together marched from a night shift, to Newcastle to enlist with the Fighting Fifth. The 2nd Battalion Tyneside Scottish (Northumberland Fusiliers) were one of the many Battalions who were decimated during the Battle of the Somme and it was appropriate that this dedication service took place on the Sunday closest to the start of the anniversary of that terrible battle.
The Regimental Area Headquarters was very pleased to be informed that the new Unitary Authority, Northumberland County Council, has invited The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers to accept the freedom of the County by marching through the County town of, Morpeth, with colours flying, bayonets fixed and drums playing on Saturday 24 April 2010. It has been confirmed that the Fusiliers will be the first Regiment to have the freedom of a County granted in the UK . Many Regiments have been granted the freedom of cities, towns and royal boroughs and in Scotland certain districts have granted the freedom to individual regiments but it is a sign of the respect Northumberland has for all members of our Regiment that the honour of the freedom of the County will now be granted to all Fusiliers.
AREA HQ WARWICKSHIRE
A strong turnout of 45 members and their families from the Central Branch were present at The Colonels Review of the Queens Birthday Parade on Saturday 6 June 09 which was thoroughly enjoyed by all regardless of the occasional shower. The Association shooting competition, despite horrendous weather conditions, went ahead as planned at Swynnerton Training Area on 7 June 09 with Sheldon Branch beating Central Branch by just one point. The two best shots were Carl Pocock (Sheldon) and Kevin Rose (Central). Branches that attended the competition were, Sheldon, Central, Leamington and Nuneaton . The Association is grateful to WO2 Eammon Gannon and WO2 Murray Richards for running the event.
The Swynnerton shotists
Normandy Day was celebrated on 6 Jun 09 in Nuneaton
and was attended by the Nuneaton and Sheldon Branches. This was followed
by the Nuneaton Branch Normandy Day Dinner on Saturday 13 June with Colonel
James Denny as the principle guest. Association members, A (Fusilier)
Company 4 MERCIAN and ACF Fusiliers took part in the Armed Forces Day
celebration in Birmingham on Saturday 27 June 09. The salute was taken
by Commander 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, Brigadier Mark Burnham who was
accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham , Councillor Michael Wilkes.
Area Headquarters celebrated the occasion by holding a re-enactment display
kindly given by the Birmingham Pals living history group enacting the
Royal Warwickshire Regiment during the Great War.
The Birmingham Branch organised the annual Somme Sunday Service at Aston Church on 5 July and attracted 50 members and their families, standard bearers from the other veterans organisations attended which was followed by an excellent lunch in the Parson and Clerk Hotel.
Within the HQ the team have been busy organising various committee meetings, visiting the Second Battalion casualties in Selly Oak Hospital and making a start on the arrangements for the Fusiliers Gathering 2010 in Warwickshire, which is now confirmed as taking place over the period 18/19 September 2010. Amongst the visitors to St Johns House were Captain John Lam on R & R from Afghanistan who joined us for lunch with Colonel Warwickshire and his committee on Monday 27 June 09. Planning is now well advanced for the Warwickshire Regimental Sunday on 11 October 09.
AREA HEADQUARTERS LONDON
At long last there is now a date for the final completion of the external refurbishment. All scaffolding and offending items will be gone by 25 Aug 09 and, of course, the cheque is in the post.
There have been several notable events during the month. On 8 June 09 the Red Cross held their annual Jailed & Bailed fundraising event. This entails senior people from the City of London joining the Lord Mayor for refreshments at Mansion House, which is then raided by the City Police. The assembled VIPs are then charged with various crimes and carted off to the Tower of London . On arrival they are fitted with balls and chains and marched to Area Headquarters. Over lunch they have to use their mobiles to raise funds to obtain their release. The Red Cross raised £25k from this event.
A most lucrative Museum Appeal Dinner was held on 18 June and there are plans to hold another one in December, hopefully with a famous Fusilier guest. The Fletchers Company held their annual shoot in the moat against the Bowyers Company on 1 July 09 followed by dinner in the Mess. 657 Sqn AAC held a dinner in the Mess on 2 July 09. The Resident Governor kindly agreed to this outside unit as it is currently commanded by Major Michael Keating son of Captain Bob Keating. Michael was selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on the latest Pink List (ed: Bob, why didnt he join the Fusiliers?)
Recruiting in London continues apace although the lack of bed spaces at ITC is starting to have a detrimental affect. The recruiters endeavour to bring all potential recruits to the Tower where the Area Secretary gives a short talk and shows them round the HQ and museum. It has been a busy month for cadets with a number of inspections and dinners taking place. Haberdashers Askes Federation CCF at Lewisham held their annual inspection on 19 June 09 where the Area Secretary accompanied the inspecting officer Colonel D E King OBE, Colonel Cadets from HQ London District. Captain Matt Clark, together with the RST from Hounslow provided excellent regimental support. The Area Secretary was also able to visit the contingent at their annual camp at Wathgill Camp near Catterick on 2 July 09. Their namesake, Haberdashers Askes School CCF at Elstree sent a large number of Cadets to visit the Tower on 2 July 09 to look around the Museum and receive their hackles from the Area Colonel, Colonel Nigel Easton. Colonel Easton attended the contingent dinner later that evening at the RAF Club in Piccadilly where he was the guest speaker. The Area Secretary attended the St Dunstans College CCF contingent dinner in Catford on 27 June 09. At this dinner, the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Alderman Sir Paul Judge, was delighted to invite the Master of Marketors Company to formally sign the scroll to link the contingent with the Company. The Chairman was himself an ex cadet at the school and also a Past Master of the Marketors.
The Association continues to hold Branch reunions in the Mess, which are very well attended. The City of London Branch also organised an extremely good dinner at Balham Drill Hall on 27 June 09 to commemorate Veterans Day.
Finally Prince William visited the Tower and the Headquarters on 6 July in his capacity of Patron of Skillforce. Skillforce is an educational charity which helps disengaged youths 14-16 years in secondary school and its CEO is Lieutenant Colonel Peter Cross. To continue the Fusiliers interest Brigadier David Biggart is the Assistant Fundraising Director who was responsible for all the arrangements for the visit.
AREA HQ LANCASHIRE
After five years hard work and a spend of £4.2 million the Fusilier Museum opened its doors to the public on Saturday 27 June 09, Armed Forces Day. There was considerable media interest and just under 1,000 people turned up on the day to explore the new museum.
Col Gorski & team
Technically this was a soft opening as the formal opening will take place on Friday 25 Sept 09, preceding the Fusilier gathering. Friday the 25 Sep will also witness the unveiling of the refurbished Fusilier Monument by Lord Ridley the grandson of the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Saturday was a full and fun day. It was given grand
support by the Regimental family with several events taking place in and
around the museum. The first event was a presentation by Stagecoach Metrolink
of a replica nameplate off the Lancashire Fusilier tram. The official
opening of the Tourist Information Centre by Councillor Sheila Magnall
the Mayor of Bury followed this. Not to be missed out the staff of the
new Bury ACIO completed their first three attestations.
In the newly christened Normandy Room there were displays by the Regimental Recruiting Team, the Fusilier Platoon from the Castle Armoury, the Fusilier Band Lancashire, Friends of the Museum, the ABF, SSAFA and LF web site in the Internet cafe.
Both the new shop and café were operating. The best selling items from the shop were chocolate hand grenades, bullet key rings and cuddly meerkats! The Friends also produced a WWII Willys Jeep, a six-pounder anti-tank gun and a 2 ½ ton GMC Truck which were parked on the pavement outside the museum much to the confusion of the local traffic wardens who decided not to get involved as they were out gunned. In addition to the RRF and LF Galleries the museum opened with two temporary displays. One is portraits from hand painted miniatures to happy snaps, while the other was on the Regiment in Northern Ireland . This was particularly well received with the general comment that it is frightening to think that this is now history! An exhibition focusing on 2RRF in Afghanistan will replace this.
There is still a great deal to do. The next few months will see displays completed, staff trained and the museum moving to operate on a fully commercial basis. Finally, sincere thanks must go to all those in RHQ, the other AHQs/Museums and the Battalions for giving this project their full support and cooperation. Without you it would not have been possible.
FUSILIER AID SOCIETY
In the quarter April to June 2009 the following amounts have been paid out in grants to both discharged and serving members of the Regimental family and their dependents:
58 Aid Society Grants: £19,827
On behalf of the Lancashire Fusiliers: £2,998
On behalf of the Army Benevolent Fund: £1,058
In these demanding times any member of the Regiment, serving or retired, who is taking part in charitable fund raising, might want to think about including a percentage of their donations to the Fusiliers Aid Society. In the same vein bequests to the Aid Society will be put to good use.
CATT 500 FUNDRAISER LT COL MARTIN TRAVERS AND MAJOR TONY GAWTHORPE
Lt Col Martin Travers and Maj Tony Gawthorpe (SO1 and SO2 Infantry respectively at CATT (G)) have committed themselves to a series of endurance events over the next year or so. Their aim is to accumulate in excess of 500 miles by foot, bike, ski and boat and raise £20 for every mile they cover. Any money raised will be split equally between the Fusilier Aid Society, Cancer Research UK and BLESMA. So far they have completed 98 miles, and have raised a total of £3500. They have set the bar quite high with a target of £10000, and would therefore welcome any donation, however small. The easiest way to make a donation is on-line, at the following link: https://www.bmycharity.com/V2/MartinTravers The web page describes the CATT 500 events, its aims and the supported charities. Note that they are hoping that some of you will join them for some of the events (in fact rumour has it that the Regtl Sec has expressed an interest in the Scotland coast to coast event (ed; he has clearly heard a false rumour!)
THE OFFICERS ANNUAL REGIMENTAL DINNER
Attendance at the Regimental Dinner is open to all serving Regular, TA and Cadet Force officers of the Regiment, and to retired Regimental officers whether they are members of the Dinner Club or not. In addition, officers of other Arms and Regiments currently serving with our battalions are welcome to attend.
In addition to the official Regimental guests, officers may invite private guests. The cost for private guests will be £60.00 per head.
Black Tie with miniatures.
The cost of the Reception and Dinner (including wines) to those officers attending will be:
a. Dinner Club members: £40.00.
b. Non-Dinner Club members and private guests: £60.00.
No overnight accommodation is available within HM Tower of London . Members of the Dinner Club who intend to stay at the Army and Navy Club will be provided with transport from and back to the Rag. Officers who do intend to stay overnight at the Rag and would like transport are requested to inform the Assistant Regimental Secretary.
The application for attendance is by individual return of the tear-off proforma which immediately follows this article. It should be sent to RHQ by no later than Friday 16 October 2009. Application must be accompanied by a cheque for the appropriate amount made payable to THE FUSILIERS FUND
THE OFFICERS ANNUAL REGIMENTAL DINNER APPLICATION FORM
Post Code .
e mail address ..
Landline .. Mobile ...
To: Assistant Regimental Secretary
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
HM Tower of London
LONDON EC3N 4AB
I would like to attend the Annual Regimental Dinner at HM Tower of London on Thursday 29 October 2009.
I enclose a personal cheque for £ payable to THE FUSILIERS FUND in respect of:
a. .. x Dinner Club Member(s) @ £40.00 each
b. .. x Non-Dinner Club Member(s) @ £60.00 each
Returns to RHQ by no later than Friday 16 October 2009 please.
I R Liles OBE
Click here for all the latest news on 2RRF in Afganistan
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Date: 01 Jul 09 Released by: PR(A)
THE ELIZABETH CROSS AND MEMORIAL SCROLL
1. On 01 Jul 09 the Secretary of State for Defence
announced in Parliament Her Majesty
4. The Elizabeth Cross and a Memorial Scroll will be
presented to the deceased's Next
5. In a message to her Armed Forces, Her Majesty The Queen said:
"This seems to me a right and proper way of showing our enduring debt to those who are killed while actively protecting what is most dear to us all. The solemn dignity which we attach to the names of those who have fallen is deeply engrained in our national character. As a people, we accord this ultimate sacrifice the highest honour and respect."
6. The Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:
"We owe so much to those who have died to protect our country and our way of life. The Elizabeth Cross was recommended by the military Chiefs to Her Majesty to recognise the huge debt this country owes to the families those brave individuals have left behind."
7. The Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, said:
"I know that the families of those who have given their lives will wear the Elizabeth Cross with immense pride. It is a reminder not just of the ultimate price their loved ones have paid while safeguarding our security and freedom; it is also a lasting symbol of the nation's recognition of and gratitude for their sacrifice."
8. The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said:
"Nothing can replace a loved one who has died on operations, but I welcome the institution of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll as symbols that the nation recognises their sacrifice and shares in their loss. With the passing of time I hope that the families of soldiers who have given their lives in the service of Queen and Country will be able to draw a measure of pride and comfort from this tangible expression of our debt to them."
10. The Elizabeth Cross, recommended by the Chiefs
of Staff, has been welcomed by
11. The Elizabeth Cross is made of hallmarked silver
and is in the form of a cross with a
12. The Memorial Scroll is on parchment style paper,
headed with the Royal Coat of
13. Eligible personnel to be remembered in this way
are those who were serving with,
" Those who died from whatever cause whilst serving on a medal earning operation.
" Medal earning operations are those in which deployed personnel received a Campaign Medal, General Service Medal or Operational Service Medal which demonstrated the risk and rigour involved. Operations where a UN, NATO or other international body or other nations' campaign medal was accepted for wear, in the absence of a UK medal also qualify.
" Those who died as a result of an act of terrorism where the available evidence suggests that the Service person, whether on or off duty, was targeted because of his or her membership of the UK Armed Forces.
" Those who died on a non-medal earning operational task where death has been caused by the inherent high risk of the task.
" Those who died a subsequent and premature death as a result of an injury or illness attributed to the circumstances outlined above.
" Deaths that occurred after 1 January 1948, or as a result of service in Palestine since 27 September 1945 will be recognised retrospectively. These dates reflect the fact that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission attributed deaths up to 1 January 1948 to World War II service (with the exception of Palestine).
14. This is just a summary of the details and more
information can be found in DIN
POINTS OF CONTACT
ADDITIONAL RECOGNITION FOR THE FAMILIES OF SERVICE PERSONNEL WHO DIE ON OPERATIONS
The then Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Des Browne, informed the House on 10 June 2008 of plans to introduce a new national form of recognition for the families of those Armed Forces personnel who die on operations or as a result of terrorist activity whilst on duty. These plans were based on the recommendations of the military Chiefs of Staff. The Secretary of State said that the recognition would be in the form of an emblem for wear and a memorial scroll similar in concept to those that were issued to the families of those who died in the two World Wars and in Korea in the early 1950s.
Much detailed work has been undertaken since that announcement. We had hoped to provide more details before now but there were sensitive and complex issues involved which required much time to work through.
I am pleased to be able to announce further details of this recognition to the House today. These details, recommended by the Chiefs of Staff, have been welcomed by MOD Ministers, endorsed by the cross-Government Committee on Honours and Awards and approved by Her Majesty The Queen. In particular, I am delighted to inform the House that Her Majesty has asked that the emblem should be known as the Elizabeth Cross.
The Elizabeth Cross is made of hallmarked silver and
is in the form of a cross with laurel wreath passing between the arms.
The arms of the cross bear floral symbols representing England (Rose),
Scotland (Thistle), Ireland (Shamrock) and Wales (Daffodil). The centre
of the Cross bears the crowned Cypher of Her Majesty The Queen. The reverse
of the Cross will be engraved with the name of the Service person in whose
memory it is granted. A miniature version of the Elizabeth Cross will
also be granted. Both will be presented in a black leather style presentation
box with the Royal Cypher on the lid and the Royal Coat of Arms on the
inner silk lining.
The Elizabeth Cross and Scroll will be granted in national
recognition of their loss and sacrifice to the Next of Kin of UK Armed
Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act
of terrorism. Eligible personnel to be remembered in this way are those
who were serving with, or former members of, the Regular and Reserve Armed
Forces or the Royal Fleet Auxiliary when deployed in direct support of
a designated operation. It is important to make the distinction that this
is not a posthumous medal for the fallen but national recognition for
the family for their loss.
" Those who died from whatever cause whilst serving
on a medal earning operation. Medal earning operations are those in which
deployed personnel received a Campaign Medal, General Service Medal or
Operational Service Medal which demonstrated the risk and rigour involved.
Operations where a UN, NATO or other international body or other nations'
campaign medal was accepted for wear, in the absence of a UK medal, also
In addition to recognising future operational deaths in this way, deaths in the circumstances outlined above that occurred after 1 January 1948, or as a result of service in Palestine since 27 September 1945, will be recognised retrospectively. These dates reflect the fact that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission attributed deaths up to 1 January 1948 to World War II service (with the exception of Palestine).
The Next of Kin will receive both the Elizabeth Cross and the Memorial Scroll. For retrospective claims and when the Next of Kin is deceased, their legal successor may apply.
Only one Elizabeth Cross is to be granted for each death recognised but an additional Scroll will be available to the following (or their legal successors) where they are not the Next of Kin:
" The parents of the deceased.
" The spouse/partner of the deceased or someone who had a substantive relationship with the deceased.
As a Memorial Scroll was issued at the time to those who died in the Korean War, the Elizabeth Cross only (and not the new Scroll) will be issued in remembrance of those who died during that war.
As with all forms of recognition, there will be those who fall outside the qualifying criteria. There is a risk involved in much of what the Armed Forces does routinely. Some members of the Armed Forces sadly die, for example, in training incidents or in road accidents in the United Kingdom. While any death is a tragic loss to the family concerned and to the Armed Forces, the Chiefs of Staff recommended this new recognition for the special circumstances of operational duty. In addition they considered that the terrible circumstances where an individual was targeted by terrorists because of their membership of the Armed Forces should be similarly recognised.
The first Elizabeth Crosses and Memorial Scrolls will
be granted from one month today on 1 August 2009. From today, families
of those who died in qualifying circumstances are invited to apply for
the Elizabeth Cross and Scroll to the MOD Medal Office, who will administer
the scheme. It is simply not possible to contact the families of all those
who may be eligible going back over 50 years as address details held for
Next of Kin are likely to be out of date.
Full details of how to apply, including an application form, can be found via the MOD website at www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/defencefor/veterans/medals/, while those without access to the internet may call 0800 085 3600 and ask for details to be sent to them.
For new qualifying deaths after 1 August 2009, it is intended that, in most cases, the Next of Kin will be offered the opportunity for the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll to be presented privately and in an appropriate way at the time of the funeral if they so wish.
For retrospective cases, Next of Kin who are resident in the UK will be offered the opportunity to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll at a formal presentation ceremony in the region where they live. Such presentations may be made by a Lord Lieutenant or a senior military representative. It is likely to be some months before these events are arranged as locations will very much depend on the number of recipients living in a particular region and we cannot establish this until applications are received.
If they prefer, families may choose to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll by recorded delivery. Next of Kin living overseas will normally receive the Cross and Scroll in this way.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and who have done so in the past. That debt extends to the families who support them and who bear the burden whilst loved ones are deployed away from home. I am delighted that the families of those who sadly die in the circumstances that I have described are now to receive some tangible evidence of the nation's gratitude in the form of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll.
Members will be able to view the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll from this afternoon in the Library of the House.
THE ELIZABETH CROSS AND MEMORIAL SCROLL
Q1. What recognition will the families receive?
The Next of Kin will be granted the Elizabeth Cross (and miniature) to wear and a Memorial Scroll.
Q2. Why is it called the Elizabeth Cross?
Her Majesty The Queen felt that this new recognition was a right and proper way of demonstrating our enduring debt to those who are killed while actively protecting what is most dear to us all and asked that the emblem should be known as the Elizabeth Cross.
Q3. Who will receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll?
As a mark of national recognition, the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are to be granted to the Next of Kin of UK Armed Forces personnel who have died on a medal earning operation, or as a result of an act of terrorism, since 1 Jan 48. For retrospective claims, when the Next of Kin is deceased, their legal successors may apply. Only one Elizabeth Cross (and miniature) will be granted but an additional Memorial Scroll may be available, for example to the parents when the Elizabeth Cross and Scroll have been granted to the spouse/partner.
Q4. Which deaths will be eligible to be recognised in this way?
The Elizabeth Cross and a Memorial Scroll will be presented to the next of Kin (NOK) of Armed Forces personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice. Eligible personnel to be remembered in this way are those who were serving with or former members of:
a. The Regular and Reserve Armed Forces.
b. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) .
As a Memorial Scroll was issued at the time to the NOK of those who died in the Korean War, the Elizabeth Cross only (and not the new Scroll) will be issued in remembrance of those who died during that war.
Q5. What are the qualifying circumstances?
The Next of Kin of eligible personnel whose deaths fall into the following categories will qualify:
a. Death from whatever cause while serving on a medal earning operation. Medal earning operations are those in which deployed personnel received a Campaign Medal, General Service Medal or Operational Service Medal which recognised the risk and rigour involved. Operations where a UN, NATO, other international body or other nations' campaign medal was given formal permission to be accepted for wear, in the absence of a UK medal, also qualify.
b. Death as a result of an act of terrorism where the available evidence suggests that the Service person, whether on or off duty, was targeted because of his or her membership of the UK Armed Forces.
c. Death on a non-medal earning operational task where the death has been caused by the inherent high risk of the task .
d. Subsequent and premature death as a result of injury or illness attributed to the circumstances outlined in paragraphs a to c above.
e. Death in the circumstances outlined in sub-paragraphs a to d as a result of an incident that occurred after 1 Jan 48, or as a result of service in Palestine between 27 Sep 45 and 31 Dec 47 .
Q6. Will more than one family member be entitled to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll? What about separated families?
The registered Next of Kin will be granted a Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll. An additional Memorial Scroll will be available to the following:
a. The parents of the deceased, or;
b. The spouse or partner of the deceased or someone who had a 'substantive' relationship with the deceased, where one exists.
For example, the parents may apply for a Memorial Scroll when the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll have been granted to the spouse or partner, and vice versa. Normally only a total of two Memorial Scrolls will be issued, including that granted to the Next of Kin.
Q7. What about those who die on training in preparation for operations?
Deaths on training will not be eligible unless they take place during a medal earning operation.
Q8. What will the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll look like?
The Elizabeth Cross is made of hallmarked silver and is in the form of a cross with a laurel wreath passing between the arms. The arms of the cross bear floral symbols of England (Rose), Scotland (Thistle), Ireland (Shamrock) and Wales (Daffodil). The centre of the Cross bears the crowned Cypher of Her Majesty The Queen. The reverse of the Cross will be engraved with the name of the Service person in whose memory it is granted. A miniature version of the Elizabeth Cross will also be granted. Both will be presented in a black leather style presentation box with the Royal Cypher on the lid and the Royal Coat of Arms on the inner silk lining.
(Click on the Cross or Scroll to see them enlarged)
This Scroll Commemorates
The Scroll will bear the signature of Her Majesty The Queen in the upper left hand corner.
We are inviting applications for the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll from today and the first will be available from 1 Aug 09. From that date, the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll will be available to be presented to the families of any new personnel who subsequently die in qualifying circumstances. In addition, the MOD Medal Office will begin writing to the Next of Kin of those who have died in qualifying circumstances since Jan 00 to inform them of their eligibility, where up-to-date contact details are available.
Q10. Will the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll be formally presented to families?
For all qualifying deaths the Next of Kin who are resident in the UK will be offered the choice of whether they wish to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll via Recorded Delivery post or whether they would prefer to attend a formal presentation ceremony attended by a senior military representative and the appropriate Lord Lieutenant. It is too early to give any further details of these events. It may be some months before an event is arranged in any particular region. Next of Kin living overseas will normally expect to receive the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll by Registered Post, although it may be possible and appropriate in some locations for Defence Attachés to be involved.
For new qualifying deaths after 1 Aug 09, Next of Kin will, in most cases, be offered the opportunity to have the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll presented privately at the time of the funeral if they wish.
Q11. Will recognition extend to those wounded or injured on operations?
Those who are injured deserve our greatest support and the best way that we can do this is by providing them with the proper medical and other care they need. After much deliberation, which included consultation within their Services, the Chiefs of Staff decided not to recommend additional recognition for those wounded or injured on operations. There is no evidence of a widespread desire for such an award within the Armed Forces.
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 8 May 2009
END OF OPERATIONS IN IRAQ
As 2 RRF deployed and assumed OPCON in Helmund Province, Afghanistan, CGS wrote to the Chain of Command announcing the cessation of operations in Iraq. His letter is attached. (letter at bottom of of this news sheet )
BATTALION AND AREA UPDATES
Having returned well-rested from three weeks of Easter Leave the First Battalion has settled into another period of cadres, designed to maximise the number of qualified vehicle crews for the upcoming LWC role. Simultaneously W Company have begun Support Weapons cadres, with 2 weeks on exercise to look forward to during what promises to be a damp German Spring!
The Battalion, however, was fortunate to have an extremely warm St Georges Day, which saw all ranks wives, children and dogs included - making the most of the free BBQ and beer. W Company narrowly triumphed over Y Company in the Newcastle Cup, with some excellent skills displayed by all of the teams involved. The Officers vs Sergeants Mess Tug-of-War proved equally hard fought, though the RSMs team emerged victorious thanks to their well practiced techniques.
Subsequently, 150 members of 1 RRF travelled over to
Swynnerton Camp, Staffordshire, for a week of Freedom Parades and Welcome
Home Parades throughout Warwickshire. Although the 18 hour coach
journeys were rather painful, the week itself was extremely successful.
Fusiliers from the local area and other Satisfied Soldiers
worked alongside the Regimental Recruiting Team and Careers Offices in
order to capitalise on the occasion, whilst the remainder of the troops
honed their drill under the Sgt Majors watchful eyes. The parades
in Coventry, Rugby, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa and Stratford Upon Avon were
all exceptionally well supported by the local population, with Police
estimating that 10,000 people lined the streets in both Stratford and
Leamington. These events received a great deal of media coverage, and
were very gratifying for all involved. The Battalion was very well hosted
by the various Local Councils, all of whom were grateful for the Regiments
Operational service and equally supportive of 2 RRFs current deployment
to Afghanistan. The Right Honourable Bob Ainsworth, the Armed Forces Minister,
attended the Freedom Parade in Coventry.
The Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess have also recently dined-out Capt Jim Dear, who has now been replaced by RSM Robinson, whilst the Officers Mess hosted the new 7 Brigade Commander, Brigadier Welch OBE, at a Ladies Dinner Night.
In the coming weeks Z Company will be training in CATT (G) whilst the Battalion undergoes various inspections and prepares for the Brigade and British Army (Germany) Skill At Arms Meetings, which it is hosting at Sennelager.
A comprehensive report from Afghanistan is attached. Monthly updates will be included in all Fusilier News editions until October 09. Below is an extract from in Theatre Press describing how 2 RRF celebrated St Georges Day:
Troops on the front line in Afghanistan have
celebrated St George's Day in their traditional fashion - and taken the
fight to the Taliban the same day.
Ever since the four County Fusilier battalions amalgamated
in 1968 to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, all ranks on 23 April
have worn red and white roses behind their cap badge. And this year, even
though the 2nd Battalion has just begun a six month tour of Afghanistan,
the troops maintained that tradition on the frontline in Helmund Province.
2 RRF, which is based in Hounslow, has just taken over as the Battle Group
North West, responsible for the area around the strategically important
town of Musa Qaleh in the north of Helmund Province.
The last month has seen 5RRF involved in a variety of activities. The main training effort remains focused on preparing for Annual Camp as OPFOR on Ex GRAND PRIX 3 in Kenya for 2 RANGLIAN Battle Group.
The Delta Platoon in Kabul, commanded by Lt Dunn X Coy, has been reinforced with 2 SNCOs from Z Company, CSgt Smith and CSgt Thompson, and 2 Riflemen from D Coy. They are now fully manned and have settled in well to their role as the ISAF FP Pl. CSgt Gallagher, the continuity PSI, returns home at the end of April which allows the TA Chain of Command to get on with business without a mentor. The Platoon has been very busy with over 60 patrols under their belt in the first 3 months and several difficult incidents to deal with. Rifleman Jonny Gwynne, D Company 5RRF, continues writing a blog which can be found at the following website:
Maj David Snaith remains deployed as a Liaison Officer to the US HQ in Basra, and 3 Soldiers from the Mortar Platoon have deployed with 2RRF to Afghanistan.
The Main Recce for Annual Camp took part in the beginning of April. The Recce party was made up of; the TM, QM, Sigs PSI (CSgt Coakley) and SPSI D Company (WO2 Jones). The 2 weeks were spent on exercise as observer controllers for 1 GREN GDS. Although extremely hard work in the main, there was time to relax and a recce was carried out for the R&R package for the main body that deploys in Oct 09.
Unfortunately the Battalion were unable to celebrate St Georges day with a parade this year as all the town councils north of the Tyne are now part of one large Unitary Council of Northumberland, and were unable to find the funding to pay for the security of a Public event (next years parade is already in the diary and funding has been agreed by the Council). To ensure the traditions of the day were not forgotten by the Battalion, St Georges Weekend was marked by a combined Officers and WOs dinner at D Company Drill Hall. There was also an all ranks and families ramble across part of Hadrians Wall, followed by an all ranks and families afternoon social at Z Company in Ashington. The usual Regimental Functions were enjoyed by all at X Company in the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle.
Next month sees the Battalion taking the lead role in the Brigade Skill at Arms Meeting at Catterick and it is hoped that the shooting team, under Sgt Fenwick, will bring back plenty of silver to restock the display cabinets. The TM and QM travel to Germany for the next planning round for Kenya and the Battalion begins ramping up its Collective Training Programme for 2009.
A (Fusilier) Company 4 MERCIAN
The Company remains busy with the highlight of training in April being a live firing exercise in Warcop which witnessed the OC and CQMS team up on pair fire and manoeuvre. Both were highly impressed with themselves for still being fast across the ground and deadly accurate with their fire (Ed: their words not mine!). The weekend culminated with an assault course and abseil, which blew away any remaining cobwebs, and a pistol shoot at which 2Lt Middleton won best shot. Highly satisfying to see a Fusilier being presented the prize amongst a far greater number of Mercians.
In recognition of the fact that A (Fusilier) Company are the only company in 4 Mercian to reach or exceed its manning levels, the Coy has been given permission to form an additional Rifle Platoon. Until now additional Fusiliers had been held against other Company LSNs. One of the major advantages will be that deserving Fusiliers and JNCOs can now be promoted once they have completed the obligatory 2 week cadre in Brecon; every silver lining has a cloud!
Reports from Maj Carter on HERRICK are that Normandy Company are performing well, operating at half company level out on the ground. They have received 30 RAF Regiment personnel and additional vehicles to increase capability. With poppy harvesting coming to a close they will soon become increasingly busy.
4 MERCIAN are forming a Corps of Drums and it is the intention of A (Fusilier) Company to form the back bone. To maintain the Fusilier presence and prevent Fusilier drummers being dressed as Mercians the Company needs any spare drums, uniforms or other kit that is currently not in use. All donations will be very gratefully received (Ed: RHQ will lead on the drums issue).
Machine Gun Platoon 4th Battalion The Duke of Lancasters Regiment
TA soldiers from Bury have been taking part in a wide range of operations in recent months, in support of Regular Army counterparts and as formed units.
Seven Fusiliers recently returned from Op HERRICK, where they formed part of the 4 LANCS Force Protection Platoon in Kabul. Sgt Brady, LCpl Day, Fusiliers Tse, Worseley, Shambayati, Taylor, and Axon were all involved in securing the ISAF HQ, along with 35 other TA soldiers from the Battalion.
As soon as the Fusiliers got back from Kabul, another wave of Fusiliers deployed on Op TOSCA, this time as part of the 2 Div formed regiment, based in Nicosia.
They have all just returned to the UK, and are currently enjoying their POTL before returning to normal life. Those not wanting to return to normal life are currently deploying with 2RRF to Afghanistan. Nine Fusiliers are currently going through the process of engagement under an FTRS (Full Time Reserve Service) arrangement and are all looking forward to deploying with their Regular Army brothers in the 2nd Battalion.
In spite, or because of, all the operational deployments, the Fusiliers Machine Gun Platoon continues to grow, with Cpl Simpson, LCpl Carroll, LCpl Ledger, and the rest of the team building it up through intense recruiting and training. The new Platoon Commander, Lt Pete Donaldson has joined from one of the Kings Companies, to provide essential leadership for the forthcoming busy period.
Freedom and Homecoming Parades. The month of April has been dominated by the planning for the Freedom of Coventry Parade and the four Homecoming Parades in Warwickshire. Support from the public on all occasions was superb, with full press coverage including ITV Central News in Nuneaton and local radio interviews with the Colonel and Fusiliers from the West Midlands. The weather was kind which certainly helped to bring out the very large crowds to all the events.
The Freedom of Coventry commanded by Lt Col Jim Landon attracted the attention of The Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mr Bob Ainsworth MP who inspected No 2 Guard whilst the Colonel accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Coventry inspected No 1 Guard. Members of Parliament attended Nuneaton and Leamington Parades commanded by Major Paul Morris and certainly enjoyed the opportunity to take part in the inspection. The Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire and Colonel Richard Cariss as Deputy Lieutenant carried out the inspections at Rugby and Nuneaton with Colonel James Denny and civic heads. Colonel Warwickshire was accompanied by the Vice Lord Lieutenant, Chief Constable and High Sheriff at Leamington and the Deputy Lieutenant in Stratford Upon Avon. The most generous hospitality given by all civic heads at the receptions was appreciated by all the Fusiliers and guests.
The Fusiliers on parade supported by the Drums Platoon & Minden Band made a tremendous impact on all who witnessed the parades along with meeting guests and well wishers after the events at the various civic receptions. Help for Heroes conducted bucket collections in Rugby, Nuneaton and Leamington Spa which attracted excellent support from the spectators. Branches of the Regimental Association formed No 3 Guard in Coventry and provided route liners at the Homecoming Parades, they and representatives of the many other service organisations and the Army Cadet Force all helped to reinforce the strong connections with the Regiment in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Regimental Association in Warwickshire. The Annual General Meeting attended by 28 members of the Association was held in St Johns House on Saturday 25th April which was followed by lunch in the Bowling Green Public House. The meeting was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel Keith Whiteman having taken over from Colonel Martin Jones last November. The Branches continue to meet regularly. Dates to remember are:
6 June 2009 Friends of the Museum Normandy Day BBQ St Johns House.
6 June 2009 Nuneaton Branch Normandy Day Dinner
5 July 2009 Birmingham Branch Somme Sunday Service Aston Church
4/5 July 2009 Sheldon Branch trip to Severn Valley Railway
15 August 2009 Nuneaton Branch Skittles Night
Regimental Museum. An excellent museum fund raising
concert was held at St Marys Church Warwick on Saturday 25 April
followed by a dinner and auction. The Minden Band provided the guests,
as always, with a most memorable evening, which significantly helped to
achieve our target of raising £5000.
AREA HQ LONDON
The external refurbishment of the Headquarters continues apace and is due to be finished in July with the scaffolding being removed by September. It cannot come to soon as the noise and dust is at times unbearable and with no natural light it is like living in a submarine (Ed: or being a mushroom!).
The Museum has achieved the first round pass for a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant and the HQ is now able to initiate an activity plan and prepare design and development proposals. The Chief Clerk, Mr Kelleher has refurbished two Drum Major Maces to a very high standard one of which is a narwhal tusk. It is planned to display them in the dining room.
Recruiting is going extremely well and a number of potential recruits have visited the headquarters with their recruiting Sergeants.
As a result of the meeting held in January for all London ACF/CCF detachments, the 2nd Battalion have developed a matrix that picks up all the points and requests made. This has ensured that a very high level of support now takes place for all affiliated detachments. At the same meeting it was suggested that a cadet branch of the Association be formed and this was enthusiastically agreed upon. The HQ is canvassing to see what level of support the idea will achieve. Col James Denny accompanied by Maj Colin Bowes-Crick attended the Mill Hill School CCF annual inspection on 29 April and were treated to a fine display of drill and other skills. The school Corps of Drums led the parade at the Cenotaph the previous week on St Georges Day. The 103 Detachment Corps of Drums goes from strength to strength and are able to produce extremely good displays. They have received excellent support from the 2nd Battalion Corps of Drums and have had a number of jam sessions with them.
London Area has an extremely good group of buglers, which will expand into a full corps of drums under the auspices of the Association. There are a number of volunteers already from the TA and cadets as well as some retired Fusiliers; we look forward to this Corps being on parade for Minden Day.
AREA HQ LANCASHIRE
Gallipoli Weekend. The Regiment celebrated the 94th
anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing in fine style over the weekend of
the 25/26 April. The commemoration coincided with the move of the Lancashire
Headquarters and the Museum. The weekend went exceedingly well and saw
the largest parade in Bury on Gallipoli Sunday for many years. The weekend
commenced with a meeting of the Directors of the Fusilier Museum, followed
by the Regimental Council for Lancashire. The meetings took place in the
new Regimental Council Chamber and Mrs Glover needs a special mention
for spending all of the previous weekend cleaning the new Headquarters
in preparation. The Sunday commenced with a parade and inspection in the
Castle Armoury. There were over 300 on parade composed of the Association,
the TA Fusilier Platoon, the CCF from Bury Grammar School, the Sea Cadet
Corps including cadets from the Training Ship Euryalus, who had travelled
all the way from Oxford for the day, and a particularly fine turnout from
the Army Cadet Force.
The parade was inspected by, Colonel Brian Gorski, ably assisted by the Regimental Secretary Brigadier Ian Liles, Commander 42 North West Brigade, Brigadier Bill Aldridge, Colonel London, Colonel Nigel Easton and Colonel Jim Martlew. The parade concluded with a presentation of the Regimental Certificate to Tom Bailey of the Rochdale Branch.
Following the Church service and March Past the Association and regimental guests retired to the Elizabethan Suite of Bury Town Hall for lunch. The day concluded with a guided tour of the new museum and Headquarters.
New Museum and Headquarters. The start of the month witnessed the move of the Lancashire Headquarters and the contents of the Museum to the new site on Moss Street from Wellington Barracks. In all some 1,500 boxes and packages including furniture had to be prepared, catalogued and transported to the new site. It was a complex and difficult move that would have been impossible without the assistance of volunteers and long hours of extra work by the permanent staff. Although everything has moved, both the Headquarters and Museum are a way from being complete as the building still requires a considerable amount of work, boxes remain to be unpacked, offices established and new working procedures implemented. It will take several weeks to get back to the routine and efficiency experienced at Wellington Barracks. Since the move Area HQ has hosted nearly 500 people in group visits, which is nearly a quarter of the annual visitor numbers experienced at Wellington Barracks. The programme now is to open to the public on Saturday 27 June 2009, Armed Forces Day, with the official opening on Friday 25 September as part of the 2009 Fusilier Gathering in Bury.
New contact details for Lancashire HQ are:
Lancashire HQ RRF
Bury BL9 0DF
e mail: email@example.com
Fusilier Beer Festival. The Headquarters is moving on from raising funds for the Museum Appeal to gathering funds to sustain the Museum. The week following the Gallipoli Weekend saw a beer festival in the Elizabethan Suite of the Town Hall. The aim was to promote the Museum Project and raise funds and it achieved success on both counts. There were several beers brewed especially for the event including RRF Bitter. An overall success it has paved the way to repeat the exercise next year. Neville Crompton and the volunteers from the Campaign for Real Ale deserve praise for their hard work and support to the Regiment.
Gallipoli Garden. The bid to rename Sparrow Park in Bury to Gallipoli Garden has had Council approval and has now gone to public consultation. It is appropriate to state that without the support of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council the Fusilier Museum Project would not have got off the ground and on behalf of Colonel Brian Gorski and all members of the Steering Group warm and sincere thanks go to the Council and the People of Bury.
Cocktail Party. This is another reminder that the Regimental Cocktail Party will be held on 25 June at 1800 hours in the Tower of London. The Minden Band and Lancashire Association Corps of Drums will perform and the evening will conclude with a full beating of retreat. Tickets are available through John Davis at RHQ. Order early, you know it makes sense!
Regimental PRI. As a reminder, the Regimental PRI outlet
is now run by 5 RRF. They hold a varied stock of all Regimental items,
a full list of which will be published in the next Fusilier News.
I R Liles OBE
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 0203-166-6909 Fax: 0203-166-6920 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
RHQ/RRF/1363 8 April 2009
With Post Operational Leave a distant memory, First Fusiliers have settled into their 'Recuperation Phase.' The highlight of March was the 3 Rifle Companies deploying to Sennelager Training Centre for 2 weeks of low-level Company training. With the advent of Whole Fleet Management it required the 3 Companies to share a Companies worth of vehicles between them for 4 days each - for the remainder of the time it was back to basics with section and platoon level attacks and patrolling. The weather in Sennelager lived up to its reputation and it was suitably cold and wet as the Fusiliers re-introduced themselves to alternative forms of transport and life without the ubiquitous 'BV'. As ever, it wasn't all work and the training was interspersed with a Survival weekend for Z Company (not many Wichity grubs in Northern Germany) and parachuting for X Company. The 2 weeks were also notable for the plethora of potential officers who descended upon the Companies; keen and enthusiastic to a man, they provided some much needed manpower to the Rifle Platoons!
Other notable events for March have included a lunch in the Officers' Mess to say farewell to Commander 7 Brigade, Brigadier Sandy Storrie OBE. The farewell to the Commander also included a Charity Boxing Night in Hohne, for which 1 RRF provided three boxers, all of whom acquitted themselves admirably and certainly whetted the appetite for the forthcoming Hart's Medals.
The 1 RRF tour of major sporting events continued with
First Fusiliers providing 3 soldiers as well as 10 Drummers for the Calcutta
Cup Rugby Union match on the 21 March at Twickenham. They were hosted
by the England Rugby Football Union and given a fantastic reception by
an appreciative crowd. HRH The Princess Royal presented TELIC medals to
the Fusiliers who attended.
Although not quite as sporting, the 1 RRF Young Officers have also been on a tour of the Regimental Recruiting Areas, as well as visiting ITC Catterick.
1 RRF's Main effort remains recruiting and manning the Battalion. To that end the activities after Easter Leave will focus on Warwickshire Week and providing satisfied soldiers to ACIOs and AFCOs, as well as providing manpower to RSTs. In the margins W Company have been conducting re-roling cadres and more than half an eye is being kept on the upcoming Unit Move. The Battalion stood down for 3 weeks of Easter leave on 27 March.
Following a busy period of training in preparation for Op HERRICK 10 the Battalion returned to Hounslow and embarked on a number of community initiatives in the local Hounslow area. This involved the Battalion running a Junior Leadership Programme; three days of military led activities for thirty 14-16 year old children from the local schools. They were split down into four syndicates and took part in command tasks, discussion groups on current affairs and received a number of lectures from outside speakers in the community. The three day package, a joint initiative with Hounslow Borough Council proved to be a great success for all those that took part and more are planned for when the Battalion returns from Afghanistan.
Following the Junior Leadership Package and prior to
a period of two weeks leave the Battalion took part in a Farewell parade
through Hounslow in recognition of the links established between the Battalion
and the Council. The parade proved a success with the Battalion receiving
a warm welcome as they marched through the streets of Hounslow with over
a thousand people lining the streets. The parade finished with an inspection
from the Mayor of Hounslow and a reception in the Council Chamber for
all the soldiers and families. Brigadier Paterson represented The Colonel
of the Regiment and Colonel Easton attended in his capacity as Area Colonel
After a well earned rest the Battalion's final official event was the visit of the Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Duke of Kent who met Fusiliers conducting Op BARMA drills and training on weapons to be used out in theatre. The visit proved a great success with the Colonel-in-Chief enjoying his afternoon and the Fusiliers and families appreciating greatly a visit from the Colonel-in-Chief prior to deployment on Op HERRICK 10 (photographs will be published in the next Fusilier News).
During March 09 the Battalion has carried out MATTs training and testing on Catterick Training Area to qualify members of the Battalion for their Annual Bounty. Other training events were Company level weekends emphasising section and platoon skills at Spadeadam, Otterburn and Warcop. Over the weekend of 27-29 Mar two teams from the Battalion competed in the Brigade Military Skills competition.
On 14 March the Battalion celebrated the Freedom of
Berwick-upon-Tweed in a concert in the Parish Church and in Berwick Barracks.
The Band of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers performed a selection of music
including an Abba medley and show tunes from the musical Chicago. The
event raised over £600 for the parish church organ restoration fund
and was well received by the Mayor of Berwick who holds the military,
and The Fusiliers in particular, in high regard. Colonel Northumberland
and the Area Secretary were also at the event as was the Deputy Lord Lieutenant
The Training Major, Quartermaster, Signals PSI and SPSI D Company are currently in Kenya carrying out a recce for EX GRAND PRIX 3. They are combining this with being exercise controllers for an ongoing British Army exercise in Kenya. The Battalion will go to EX GP3 in October as part of a trial for the TA Infantry to support Regular Overseas Training Exercises.
Soldiers from 4 MERCIAN Normandy Company departed for
Op HERRICK during March. On Tuesday 3 March, Fifteen of the thirty one
Fusiliers based in Sheldon, who are deploying, came in to say goodbye
to A "Fusiliers" Company. They took part in potted sports, alongside
the Fusiliers who are not deploying this time, and a number of new recruits.
After training, friends and families joined the Fusiliers in the bar for
a farewell drink. This was accompanied by a meal prepared by the Company
admin staff (the regular chef works for social services and was delayed
on a case!). This was a bit of a surprise for Captain Hopkinson the PSAO
who we understand has been signed up for the next episode of Master Chef.
In total there were 60 Fusiliers on parade including recruits. Taking
into account those who were already mobilised and, therefore, could not
attend the Company effectively had more than 100% of its established strength
on duty on a Tuesday drill night.
Area Headquarters Northumberland
On the evening of Thursday 26 March the Fusiliers Association of Northumberland held its Spring Council Meeting in the Ashington TA Centre. The Association President, Colonel Simon Marr attended his first meeting which was chaired by the outgoing Chairman, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Turnbull who had been in post for 14 years. At the end of the meeting Colonel Marr presented Lieutenant Colonel Turnbull with a silver plated rose bowl and a hip flask and thanked him for the many years of service to the Association in the North East. The Colonel of the Regiment has asked that his and the Regiment's thanks are offered to Lieutenant Colonel Turnbull for his many years of excellent service to the Association. The new Chairman is Major Chester Potts who saw service in the Gulf in 1991 and served with both 3RRF and 6RRF. His day job is with Northumbria Police CID and he is wished every success in his new role.
On Tuesday 24 March, young Officers of 1RRF arrived in Newcastle as part of their "Grand Tour" of the regimental areas. They visited Osbourne Road, a well known cultural centre in the city. As a result of this exhausting intellectual effort they needed a little encouragement to attend a recruiting briefing on Wednesday morning in St George's TA Centre! The Area Secretary then met the group and entertained them to lunch with Fish and Chips and liquid refreshment in the Ridley Arms Public House in Stannington Village. From there they visited The Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland in Alnwick Castle (where they failed to purchase any shop stock which would help the museum, CO 1RRF please note.)
Area Headquarters Warwickshire
Area Headquarters Warwickshire is very busy planning and preparing for the Freedom and Welcome Home Parades in the West Midlands and Warwickshire for the First Battalion. There has been considerable media coverage which we anticipate will attract the public and of course the membership of the Regimental Association in Warwickshire. Dates are:
Wed 29 April 2009 - Freedom of Coventry in the Broadgate
at 1045 hrs
The Association Branches have been busy with the Central Branch holding their Founding Dinner at the Britannia Hotel in Coventry on Saturday 4 April; this was a most excellent evening which attracted around 80 members and guests. It was good to see so many former members of the Regiment particularly from 3RRF and 5RRF. Sheldon Branch under the leadership of Mr Neil Gregory attended the Regimental Church Service at H M Tower of London on Sunday 5 April, and once again had a wonderful day. All eight branches in the West Midlands are preparing themselves to enter the annual bowls and shooting competitions in the summer. Sheldon Branch has already booked their accommodation for the Fusilier Gathering in September; we hope to field a strong marching contingent from Warwickshire for the parade on the Sunday.
The membership of the Fusilier Officers' Club in Warwickshire
dined at Bramcote Barracks on Friday 6 March. It was attended by 40 officers,
a good turnout. Amongst the guests were HM Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire,
COS HQ 143 (WM) Brigade, the Mayor of Rugby and Mr David Muldoon JP.
The Regimental Secretary visited St John's House in
March and lunched with Trustees of the Regimental Museum and the Charitable
Funds along with members of the Association, Dinner Clubs, the ACF and
Area Headquaters Lancashire
The relocation of the museum and headquarters from
Wellington Barracks has started. The eagle hasn't quite landed but it
is certainly skidding down the road with a box under each wing. Although
AHQ and the museum are only moving about a mile down the road it will
be a major operation made complicated by a commitment to maintain "
normal service" over the Gallipoli Weekend including on Saturday
25 April the Lancashire Area Council Meeting followed by an evening a
reception in the new museum. Gallipoli Sunday will now include a parade
and inspection in Castle Armoury followed by a Church Service, march past
and regimental luncheon in the Elizabethan Suite of the Town Hall. The
day will end with a "behind the scenes" guided tour of the new
museum and headquarters.
Future Museum Staff visit the
Museum in Bury
Of the other organisations that will use the building, the Tourist Information Centre will be operating in the next few days and the Army Careers information Office will be operational from 27 June. On Minden Sunday there will be an official farewell to Wellington Barracks and lowering of the Fusilier Flag, although the Association Club will probably be open for a few more months.
The official opening of the Fusilier Museum will take place on Friday 25 September the day before the Fusilier Gathering. It will be a busy day, as the Minden Club are looking forward to holding their annual dinner in the new Regimental Council Chamber that evening. The end of the year will see the Inkerman Dinner taking place for the first time in the new museum on Friday 6 November.
The grand finale of the year will be the Home Coming Parades of the 2nd Battalion probably over the period 8/9 December and a temporary museum display on the 2nd Battalion's experience in Afghanistan.
The following letter below was received at RHQ:
'Last Saturday evening I attended the inaugural dinner of the RRF Association Central Branch Dinner in Coventry. As an ex-Adjutant and Training Major of 5 RRF(V) and latterly the 5th (Warwickshire) Bn RRF I was fortunate to find myself on the invitation list. Organised, to his distinct credit, by Lee Bott (ex-5RRF), I am delighted to report that the evening was a great success. In the region of 80 all ranks and wives/girlfriends attended, amongst them some of the real stalwarts from both the Officers' and WOs' and Sgts' Messes from my 1& 5 RRF days! In addition to the normal trappings of an event such as this, Lee had organised an auction to which people contributed very generously raising a total of £2000 for Help for Heroes. As the only serving officer at the dinner, I was encouraged to see a combination of both ex-TA and ex-Regular Fusiliers gathered under the same roof for a really good Regimental event'.
Lt Col Guy Moncur 6 April 2009
To Lee Bott and all members of the Coventry Association Branch well done and keep the Hackle prominent in your Area.
On 23 March Cadet Sergeant James Morgan (16) of Kitchener Road N17 was presented with BTEC First Diploma in Public Services from Mr John White, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Playing Card Makers at the Cadet Sector Headquarters in Hammersmith. The awards are organised by the Cadet Vocational Qualifications Office (CVQO) and are equivalent to 4 GCSEs (A*-C). He has been a cadet at 212 Haringey Detachment (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) for the past 4 years and attends the College of North East London. He said " I've not decided what to do when I leave school but I'd like either to join the Army or do a plumbing apprenticeship- whichever I do , this BTEC will help as its worth 4 GSCEs."
In the first 3 months of 2009 the following amounts have been paid out in grants to both former and some serving members of the Regimental family and their dependents:
52 Aid Society Grants: £22,007
On behalf of the Lancashire Fusiliers: £3,276
On behalf of the Army Benevolent Fund: £7,600
A total of £32,883 with a predicted spend for 2009 of well in excess of £100,000.
We can all be justifiably proud of the scope and depth of benevolence of the Fusilier Aid Society. It will continue to provide support for all Fusiliers, including those from the antecedent Regiments that are in need.
At the regimental Council Meeting in March 09 the decision was taken to produce one Journal a year with immediate effect. The Journal will be issued in early December each year, will be in colour and contain many more photographs than at present. The journal will be supplemented by a more detailed, monthly, Fusilier News also with more photographs. RHQ is also investigating the possibility of producing a newspaper type periodical which will be photograph based.
Some, may not agree with moving to an annual Journal but the decision has been taken against a background of rising costs, a reduction in advertising revenue, a decrease in liquid funds due to the economic downturn, and enforced staff cuts within RHQ and AHQs. This decision will of course be reviewed annually and may, in the future, be reversed. In the meantime I look for support not complaints!
To make the Journal and other publications a success it is reliant upon contributions received from you. All comment, letters and articles will be greatly received and, where appropriate, published. I also encourage JNCOs and Fusiliers to write with their views and to send in articles and photographs.
" Congratulations go to Captain Jon Hall and Captain Georges Heyes who were married to Angela and Olivia on 7 March and 14 March 09 (both respectively) in the Regimental Chapel, St Peter's at HM The Tower of London.
" Mr Paul Ormesher (ex 3RRF) and Agnieszka Zgoralska have moved from SE London to rural Northamptonshire to the lovely village of Clipston near Market Harborough and the Naseby battlefield. They have taken over "The Bull's Head" a smashing country inn/restaurant. It also has three B&B rooms with ensuite shower (one double and two twin rooms) so if anyone fancies a relaxing weekend in the heart of the English countryside please get in touch with Paul. You are guaranteed good food, real ale (Everards, Tiger, Beacon and Sleighbell) and great company.
The Bull's Head
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 2nd February 2009
The Battalion returned to Fallingbostel from well earned Post Operational Tour Leave on 26 January. They have hit the ground running as they prepare for various exercises at Sennelager, freedom parades and marches in the Midlands as part of their welcome back from Iraq, take over the Regiments lead on recruiting and start preparation for their move back to the UK in Jul/Aug this year.
The Battalion will receive the Freedom of Coventry on 29 April where The Colonel of The Regiment will take the salute. Welcome home parades are scheduled to take place as follows:
" Morning of 1 May - Rugby.
If you are in the area go and support the 1st Battalion.
On returning from Christmas leave the Battalion moved straight into preparation for their impending, short notice tour to Afghanistan. Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow is a hive of activity as the Commanding Officer reconfigures his battalion and receives attached units and personnel as a result of an operationally focused task reorganisation. Pre-deployment training will continue apace throughout February and March.
On 5 March the Battalion will be given the Freedom of Hounslow and will march through the Borough. If you are free on that day the message is; go and support the 2nd Battalion at Hounslow before they depart for Afghanistan.
C (City of London Fusiliers Company.
The Company opened a new location for a Platoon outstation at the Blackheath drill hall on Wed 28 January. Brigadier Paterson attended an impressive opening. Fourteen potential recruits signed on that evening. It is expected that this new location will be a rich source of recruits for TA Fusiliers
Soldier recruiting is starting to show an upward trend due to an incredible amount of good work by the Regimental Recruiting Team and the battalions. We are now manning all of our Area Recruiting Offices and the Regimental Recruiting Teams are better equipped and extremely busy. There is, however, no room for complacency and we must keep our foot hard on the pedal. Now is also the time to remember that we all have a part to play in recruiting and keeping The Fusilier name to the fore in our towns and cities, in commerce, in schools, universities and affiliated Cadet Forces.
Last month CO 1 RRF completed a tour of our Areas, meeting all Fusiliers involved in recruiting and training and CRR personnel. There is a firm plan in place for recruiting in 2009/10 and there is no doubt that recruiting will continue to improve.
M 62 Bombing Memorial
A rededication ceremony will take place at 1100 hrs at the Hartshead Moor Service Area on Wednesday 4 February. This is the 35th Anniversary remembering those that were killed and injured in the M62 coach bombing.
The existing memorial will move from its present location, to a more suitable location outside the services. After consultation with the Regiment and the families involved, a new memorial (cylindrical Yorkshire stone angled and polished, with a bronze plaque) will be sited near the flagpoles area. A small memorial garden, containing a bed of snowdrops, will surround the area. This is to commemorate the children killed. Nearby a tree will be planted by 'Life for a life', with a commemorative plaque.
Lancashire Fusilier Monument.
Despite some local objections the Regiment has been granted the right to move the Fusilier Monument from its current site at Wellington Barracks to a new site in the centre of Bury. The Monument has always been associated with the Headquarters and will therefore move when the AHQ moves in a few months time. It has also been suggested by a local councillor that the park in which the Monument will reside should be renamed Gallipoli Park.
The anniversary of the battle of Spion Kop was commemorated on Saturday 24 January at the Boer War Memorial in Whitehead Park, Bury. Lt Col (Retd) Mike Glover laid a wreath on behalf of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Roy Woods, a museum volunteer and former Lancashire Fusilier laid a wreath on behalf of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Roy's father fought at Spion Kop with the Lancashire Fusiliers.
As part of a Lancashire Brigade, the Lancashire Fusiliers captured the hill at night only to find it lay open to enemy guns by day. Three hundred British soldiers died. Although the human cost was high, the battle led to the subsequent relief of the town of Ladysmith.
The Area Colonel Lancashire and Area Secretary have asked that the following notice be included in Fusilier News:
The Fusilier Museum Bury
Five years of hard work and £4.08million will see the Fusilier Museum open in 2009. The Project has included major conservation work on a listed building, the redisplay of the Lancashire Fusilier Collection, establishing a Royal Regiment of Fusiliers collection and display, the move of the Area Headquarters and the creation of an Army Careers Information Office.
The intention of this note is to explain the logic behind the dates associated with various celebrations during the year, such as Gallipoli, Minden Day and the Fusilier gathering. With so much on this year the intention is to spread the financial load to be fair to all and ensure we have maximum attendance.
It was hoped to formally open on Gallipoli weekend. Unfortunately, delays to the build and power installations and the non availability of our VIP guest have forced us to delay the opening. We are still awaiting a confirmation of availability and this is causing a degree of complication in announcing and organising the formal opening.
For those in Lancashire we have also reduced the scale of the dinner usually held on the Saturday of the Gallipoli weekend. I know this has disappointed a number of people but the decision was taken in order to reduce the overall cost this year. In its place will be a drinks party with a number of guests with the car draw held at the new museum.
The official opening date depends to a large extent on the availability of ourVIP guest. There are two possibilities; the first is to coincide the Official Opening with the Fusilier Gathering in September, the second to tie in with our VIP guests availability outside of the Gathering. This could be any time from July to end September. I hope everyone can now see that with the possibility of three possible events this year in Lancashire we where trying to reduce the cost and travelling of everyone involved.
" Opening of the Tourist Information Centre
Commencing on Saturday 27 June, Armed Forces day, the Museum will open to the public for five days a week. Following, the Official Opening this will expand to a full seven days.
The outline programme is:
" Saturday 25 April, Gallipoli Day. Evening function
in Museum and draw of Car Raffle. Invitation only.
There are many other activities taking place including evening presentations and daytime talks. This is a full but graduated programme and I hope you will all come and see this excellent facility designed to ensure the Regiments past is remembered alongside the development of its future.
It is with much sadness that the following deaths are reported:
Williams: On the weekend 10/11 January 09 Fusilier
Tony (Nah Chin) Williams ex 1st Bn who
Marriot: On 23 December 2008, Band Corporal Norman (Chunky) Marriott passed away aged 80. Norman served with the 1st Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt Corps of Drums in Palestine and on his return to the UK in 1948 transferred to the Regimental Band. He also served in BTA (Austria) 1951-53
Whateley: On 26 December 2008, Bill Whateley aged 73. Bill served with the 1st Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt and was a Corporal in The Corps of Drums.
King: On 1st January 2009, Bandsman Allan King. He saw service in the UK 1950 and in BTA (Austria) 1951/2 with the 1stBn The Royal Warwickshire Regt. He was one of the band members taken ill in Austria with TB.
Withers: On 16 January 2009, Stanley Withers aged 85. Enlisted in February 1941and joined the 70th (Young Soldiers) Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt and transferred to the 9Th Bn when the 70th was disbanded in 1943. Stanley was Padre to the 70th Bn Old Comrades Association.
I would ask that anyone who hears of a Fusilier death inform RHQ or Area HQs in order that all deaths can be properly and rightly recorded, and families and friends contacted. It is also important that all Associations are kept informed and that they, in turn, inform RHQ.
I R Liles OBE
The Latest News from RHQ
2. WO1 PROMOTIONS.
Congratulations go to the following on their selection for promotion to WO1
WO2 L Grant, 2RRF to be WO1 (RSM) Northumbrian University Officer Training Corps in 2010
WO2 R P Greaves 2RRF to be WO1(RSM)of 5RRF in Apr 2010
WO2 D Robinson 1RRF to be WO1(RSM)of 1RRF in Apr 2009
WO2 S Snowdon 1RRF to be WO1 RSM at the DRAC Gunnery School at Bovington in 2009
First Fusiliers handed over command of the Strike Battle Group in Basra to 5 RIFLES BG on Monday 1 December. The CO and Adjt should be back in their rather colder North Germany offices in Lumsden Barracks on Thursday. Thursday is also the day that the last Fusilier from 1RRF should be clear of Iraq.
Lt Col Paul Nanson has asked that I pass on his thanks to the wider Regimental family for all its support over the last 6 months. Thankfully we have not had to test the compassionate system too much.
They look forward to the Colonel of the Regiment visiting them for
their Medals Parade on Thursday11 December.
Display of the Fusiliers in Northern Ireland in our new Museum
Please either send documents to Lt Col Mike Glover, AHQ RRF Lancashire, Wellington Barracks, Bury, BL8 2PL,
or, Phone him on 0161764 2208 to arrange for someone to collect what you might have to offer
or fax or email to 0161763 9512 or firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate what you might have.
W J WILLANS
The Latest News from RHQ
1. New Website and Recruiting Video.
There have been significant new improvements to our new Regimental Pages on the MoD Website. You can see several videos including the Regiment's new recruiting video.
Look under the Ready for a Challenge button on left hand side on http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/3476.aspx,
Be aware that the "old" website http://www2.army.mod.uk/fusiliers/index.html will cease before 14 December. (The MOD are disconnecting it then and it will not be possible for us to update it.) Instead the Regimental Page on the MoD website will be that Web Address already given, namely http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/3476.aspx which you should be able to access now. I will arrange for the link from our web site www.thefusiliers.org to switch to the new page at the end of November.
2. Intermediate Regular Commissions
The following are congratulated on successfully converting their Short Service Commissions to Intermediate Regular Commissions:
Capt DG Alloway 559511 RRF 1 RRF, Fallingbostel
3. Captain Barry (Robbo) Robinson (late RF and 3RRF) who died Sunday 23 November 2008
His funeral details are:
The Colonel of the Regiment,
I met Robbo in September 1973 as a brand new Second Lieutenant in 3RRF. He was my first Platoon Sergeant in 5 Platoon, B Company. He closely resembled Sergeant Hurricane in the Victor comic: Big man, boxer, athlete and everything you thought a platoon sergeant might be. On day one we went on a platoon run, which he said was routine. After I do not know how many miles there were only 5 of us left - and I realised it was me being put through my paces! He did just what they said in the manual and graciously handed over command to the newly arrived officer but was there to support, advise, cover up and deal with many issues which I never knew about. In Cyprus in 1973 he took the Platoon on a horse riding expedition in the Troodos Mountains but omitted to tell the owner about the loan of his horses. I spent many hours in the local police station bailing the troops out of custody - and showing that officers did have some uses.
Through all the years since we maintained a warm friendship on meeting at Regimental events. He was one of the great characters of the Regiment and the Regiment was his life. He was immensely loyal, brave, honest and hard working and would have charged down anyone challenging the Regiment's honour. The latter years have been tough for him and he remained in modest circumstances battling illness alone. Everyone who knew him has a "Robbo" story and we have lost a great friend and proud Fusilier.
4. Lt Col Robin Leith-MacGregor MC DFC
The Latest News from RHQ
1. First Fusiliers
The latest Sitrep from 1RRF in Iraq
19th September 2008
from RHQ the Tower London
Bill Etches is home again after 3 days in hospital with pneumonia. He would welcome
visitors.For those who know him they might be amused by the attached (suitably
expurgated) email from Col,Patrick Shervington.
Video footage used on local TV of the two Freedom Parades in London and Birmingham can be seen http://www.army.mod.uk/infantry/regiments/5453.aspx
Some 300 people attended the Thanks Giving service for Col Patrick Robinson.
Also attached (See Above) is the most recent CONTACT newsletter from our Fusiliers in Basra, who incidentally were visited by the Colonel-in-Chief and by the Colonel of the Regiment this weekend.
It was a humbling experience for them to witness the spirit, competence, self-assurance and professionalism that was so apparent in everyone they met on their whistle-stop tour.They both thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see 1RRF on operations in Iraq..
W J Willans
Battlefield Tour 2009
Sorry now cancelled
RHQ/RRF/1363 17 June 2008
ANOTHER WEEK ANOTHER FUSILIER NEWS!
1. HER MAJESTY THE QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST
Many congratulations go to the following who have received awards;
Col W N (Bill) Aldridge CBE who has been appointed as a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. This was in recognition of his leadership and example in Afghanistan where he was Chief CJ5 International Security Assistance Force and the Assistant Chief of Staff of Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps. He is now attending The Royal College Defence Studies and his address is C/o RCDS, Seaford House, 37 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8NF.
Maj J W (Jim) Taylor MBE who has been appointed a Member of the same Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. This is in recognition of his specific and unique contribution to operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq over a 9 month period while serving with 2RRF. Furthermore he was instrumental in the design and delivery of a programme of improvement for command and control system for the Iraqi Security Forces in Basra.
Lt Col (Retd) E W Davidson MBE DL was also appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The award recognises Erics significant contribution to Charity and in particular his Citation included reference to his work for our Regimental Charities in Lancashire. He has only very recently handed over his responsibilities as Chairman of the Lancashire Area of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Association and he remains the President of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Lancashire Association Band and Corps of Drums which incidentally is at this moment in Canada playing alongside the Pipes and Drums of the Lorne Scots.
Major B R (Brian) Young MBE of the Fusiliers Army Cadet Force has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He is the Company Commander of the Warwickshire Army Cadet Force and over the last 8 years has converted a struggling detachment in an under privileged area of Coventry into a highly successful unit, doubling the attendance figures and has proved to be extremely successful in recruiting for the ethnic minority communities. (Maj Young is a former TA Quartermaster of the old 5RRF).
Finally congratulations also go to Sir Alan Beith MP on his Knighthood. Sir Alan is the MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and has for many years been a most loyal supporter of The Fusiliers.
2. FUNERAL SERVICE FOR THE LATE COLONEL PATRICK ROBINSON
The funeral service for Colonel Patrick Robinson whose death was recorded in the last Fusilier News will take place at Perth Crematorium, Crieff Road, Perth PH1 2PE at 2pm on Friday 20 June. The family will be delighted to see anybody who can make it to the service but readers should note that they intend to have a Thanks Giving Service later in the year, perhaps in September or October, in the Midlands.
3. SENIOR OFFICERS POSTINGS
Col Simon Marr MBE is very shortly taking up a new appointment as the military officer, in the Afghan Cross Whitehall Unit of the Ministry of Defence. This appointment is for three years and is a new post.
Col Philip Stack MBE currently on the Defence Planning Staff at Headquarters SHAPE has been selected for a Defence Attaché post in October, for which Language Training is starting very shortly. (Incidentally both these officers will be attending the annual Cocktail Party held outside RHQ on the 26 June) just to remind any late applicants).
4. 2ND FUSILIERS ON PUBLIC DUTIES
Yesterday, Monday 16 June 2nd Fusiliers were on parade
outside Buckingham Palace mounting Her Majestys Guard for the first time.
The parade was commanded by the Commanding Officer himself and the Queens
Colour was carried by Maj Jon Swift. Also on parade was Maj Jeremy Lamb MC and
the Battalion Adjutant. As the Regimental Secretary writes this Fusiliers News
he can see behind him the Fusilier sentry on guard outside the Jewel House at
the Tower of London. Attached is a photograph taken of the parade and by linking
onto the following website you can see a summary as it appeared on the Army Website;
5. FUSILIERS GOLFING TRIUMPH AGAIN !
The Regimental Team consisting of Col Jo Gunnell, Lt Col John Hunt, Capt David Williams and Maj Roger Antolik carried the day on 12 June 2008 at Royal St Georges, Sandwich to win the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Bowl by beating both the Royal Irish Regiment and, in the final, the Royal Scots. This is the infantry and cavalry inter regimental trophy, which the Fusiliers have now won for seven years, since 2002.
Death of Col P J C Robinson OBE TD DL
am very sad to report the death last night of Colonel Patrick Robinson who
Dinner on St George's Day he was expecting to be able to do such
Deputy Colonel, lives in Berkshire.
The latest Sitrep from 1RRF in Iraq
8th June 2008
Click on the page to see it enlarged
RHQ/RRF/1363 28th April 2008
OF THE GENERAL STAFFS LETTER TO THE ARMY ON THE SITUATION
The Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Richard Dannatt, visited Iraq last week and wants to ensure that All Ranks are aware of the current situation in theatre.
CGS unclassified letter follows below and is self-explanatory, outlining the conclusions of his visit to Iraq last week but set in the context of the Campaign as a whole over the last 5 years so that no one should be in any doubt as to the current situation. Although addressed to CinC Land Forces it is for general release.
25th Apr 08
CinC Land Forces
1. I have just come back from one of my regular visits to Iraq and given the recent developments, I thought that it was important to give you my views about the situation and I would ask you to pass on this perspective to the chain of command and our families so that everyone is clear as to what is going on.
2. The first point to make is that as far back as 2003, the Campaign Plan envisaged a progressive handing over of responsibility to the Iraqis, both in governance and security. This is what we have achieved in Dhi Qar, Al Muthanna and Maysan and was what occurred last year in Basra when we handed over the last remaining base in the city, and then, in December 2007, the Province itself, to Iraqi control. Having set the conditions in Basra, the concept of moving into an overwatch posture at the Contingency Operating Base at Basra Airport was the next logical step and has allowed the Iraqi Security Forces to assume responsibility for the security of the Province. We always assumed that overwatch involved the possibility of having to re-intervene in security matters if deemed appropriate by both the Iraqis and the Multinational Force that our troops come under. The idea that overwatch simply involved our soldiers merely sitting around waiting to be called was always inaccurate, since the strategy has always been dependent on capacity building of the Iraqi Security Forces both in numbers and capabilities and that has kept us pretty busy.
3. When I visited Iraq last week, I met soldiers of every rank who were positive about their role and committed to the task. I cannot deny that there are many who said that they would rather be at the forefront of the operations (as CGS, I think that I would be worried if I headed an Army that did not express such views) but those same individuals were all mature enough to understand it is right that the Iraqis that are now taking the lead. Indeed, these are exactly the nature of operations that we have been pressing for for some months an Iraqi solution to an Iraqi problem. The Iraqis have called their surge into Basra Operation Charge of the Knights and the Iraqi Prime Minister took the decision to take personal charge of it. To us in the military, that is a clear sign as to where the Iraq Main Effort has shifted and as a consequence, where the support of the Multinational Force must follow. The deployment of additional Multinational Corps headquarters staff (mostly from the US) to Multinational Division (South East) Basra is therefore an entirely logical military move which we can understand and support.
4. Following the principles of overwatch, we have provided support to the Iraqis where it is appropriate and within our rules of engagement. The capabilities that the Iraqis have requested from us and which we have provided include intelligence, aerial surveillance (manned and unmanned), force protection (including CHALLENGER 2 and WARRIOR), support helicopters, logistic and medical support. In addition, we have continued to mentor the Iraqi Security Forces and that is where most of our effort is now directed, principally with the Iraqi 14th Division. However, the Iraqis have supported their main effort by moving additional formations into the Basra area and these have come from areas in Iraq where they have been mentored by US troops. Just as it makes sense for UK advisors to accompany the Iraqi troops that we mentor, it makes equal sense that US advisors should operate alongside the Iraqi units they have been working with as they are brought in from other parts of the country for Operation Charge of the Knights.
5. Some commentators have been critical of the way that the Iraqi operation has been carried out. Having visited Iraq and talked to many of those involved, I have concluded that this is unreasonable and ignores the complexity of dealing with determined adversaries in challenging counter-insurgency operations. Just as Multinational Forces have challenges in operating in a foreign country, the Iraqi Security Forces face different challenges in operating in their own country. It is also worth bearing in mind that a year or so ago, 14 Division did not exist. Nor was it at full operating capability when operations in Basra started. Therefore to expect it to perform to a standard that has taken other nations (including our own) decades to reach is patently unrealistic. No one would deny that aspects of the Iraqi operation could have gone better at the outset. But there is no doubt that each phase (the Iraqis are now on the fourth phase ) has gone from strength to strength and is now showing some significant results the Iraqi plan is working and is delivering what we sought. Indeed Basrawis are now being reported as optimistic about the future for the first time in many years.
6. My conclusion from my visit is that the campaign remains on its broad track but as everyone in the Army who has either served in Iraq or been involved in supporting the operation knows, it has, and will continue, to take time. We have quite properly reduced our force numbers over the last couple of years, but there will still be many more challenges to overcome and at no stage will it be easy. When faced with these situations, we must steel ourselves to see it through; this is what we have done for the past 5 years and we will continue to do so as long as a Land Forces contingent is required in Southern Iraq. I returned from my visit buoyed by the courage, sense of purpose and determination of our soldiers. I would like everyone to know this, lest anyone think that somehow this is not the case and our families can continue to take great pride in how their loved ones are carrying out their duty as professional soldiers serving their country.
2. BFBS TV CLIPS
It is well worth watching these clips with interviews with several RRF personalities. They show 1RRF training in Bavaria using US Army training facilities and 2RRF celbrating St Georges Day.
I was sent this poem and thougth it should go on the site