Fusilier News from the Tower
14th April 2010
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 14th April 2010
The funeral of Captain Jon Allen, 1 RRF took place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on 12 April 2010. The Colonel of the Regiment and Mrs Minter attended with over 700 Fusiliers, other military colleagues, family and friends. The combined Corps of drums from the 1st and 2nd Battalions and a Northumbrian Piper played at the service. A fitting send off for a first class officer and brilliant young man. The Regiment's thoughts and prayers are with Jon's mother, father and family and with Rosie Curling his girlfriend.
Captain Tony Harris
Captain Tony Harris, who received serious injuries when the vehicle he was in struck a mine in Afghanistan last May, had his left leg removed below the knee 2 weeks ago. Since then Tony has undergone 2 further operations. Despite being operated on the night before, Tony attended Jon Allen's funeral, where he was in good spirits albeit a little tired. He is now back in East Grinstead Hospital for an unspecified period. The Colonel of the Regiment and all Fusiliers wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to work in the not too distant future.
Tony and Liz Harris recently enjoyed a weekend break at a top hotel in London courtesy of the enormous generosity of John Madill a retired RNF officer who now lives in Albuquerque, USA. John will be coming to England for the Freedom Parade and the annual RNF St George's Day dinner. Once a Fusilier always a Fusilier.
Brig David Paterson will relinquish his appointment
as Area Colonel Warwickshire on St George's Day and pass responsibility
to Col Peter Merriman. Her Majesty The Queen has approved the change
in appointments. Brig Paterson has been posted to Afghanistan for a
year as the officer responsible for Afghan National Army Training. The
Colonel of the Regiment, on behalf of all Fusiliers thanks Brig Paterson
for the time, limitless energy and all that he achieved in Warwickshire
and, indeed, for the whole Regiment and warmly welcomes Col Peter Merriman
who is of course a 'Warwickshire lad'.
At work March has been a month with two key
tasks - the Equipment Care Inspection (ECI) and the BCIP 5.4 Bowman
upgrade. All members of the Bn have worked hard to ensure that equipment
care processes and procedures were at 100%, and their efforts were rewarded
with a suitably praiseworthy report. Alongside this work everyone has
been trained on the latest version of the Bowman communications hardware
and software - a large organisational task in itself. The officers and
SNCOs led by example, with many taxing hours spent scratching heads
whilst puzzling over their laptop screens. Capt Tom Atkinson - never
known as the Bill Gates of 1RRF at the best of times - particularly
enjoyed his training!
Y and X Coys also deployed to Castlemartin ranges to conduct their Annual Crew Tests (ACTs) on Warrior and for the dismounted Fusiliers to conduct some Live Firing Tactical Training (LFTT). The Warrior ranges went well, with all crews achieving good scores with a large number of level 6 passes. The 'Top Gun' award went to LCpl Dan Hart (Y Coy) for a particularly outstanding battle run. The ATk Platoon 2IC, Sgt 'Raymondo' Rose blitzed down the attack lane, scoring highly and putting the Platoon Commander's crew to shame. The dismounted ranges were just as successful with all involved managing
to achieve live Fire Team Attacks, and the Bn were also visited in the field by the Veterans Minister and CINC LAND.
Congratulations go to the nineteen Fusiliers who have successfully completed their Fire Team Commander's Course this month. They are all now wearing their hard-earned first stripe having enjoyed a challenging six weeks in Brecon.
The Bn football team played the Black Watch in the final of the Infantry Cup on 24 March in Tidworth and were beaten 2-1 after some pretty dubious referring decisions!
Z Coy decided to let off a bit of steam and go paint balling instead of taking a sports afternoon. It soon became abundantly clear that the Fusiliers welcomed the opportunity to 'shoot' the Coy 2IC and CSM. Everyone had a good time, less the bruising, and it was good to have the Coy together in one place for a relaxed, fun afternoon.
Some members of the Battalion are enjoying a skiing trip to the French Alps and now that everyone has returned from a well earned Easter break the Battalion is looking forward in particular to St George's Day and exercising the Freedom of the County of Northumberland.
Major Generals Inspection. Before the Battalion started conducting Guard Duties at the Palaces and Castles across London they were inspected by the GOC London District, Maj Gen W G Cubitt CBE on the 24 Mar. The whole Battalion was inspected in full 'Blues' rather than Great Coats. This is a serious inspection that can result in a 'show again' order cascading down from the GOC. The Battalion passed with flying Colours with the GOC most impressed by the overall standard. There followed a short reception for the Maj Gen in the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess, and lunch with the Officer's in the Mess in Calvary Barracks. The Corps of Drums of the Battalion have been ordered by HQ London District to take their place amongst the Bands and Drums of the Brigade of Guards on the annual Horse Guards summer Beating Retreat on 9 and 10 Jun in recognition of their outstanding ability and performances whilst on Public Duties; a major coup!
TRANSGLOBE Crew Returns. For those who can remember back to the start of the year you may recall that 7 members of the Battalion embarked on a Sailing Expedition, Ex TRANSGLOBE. This was a Tri-Service expedition where each Service sails its own yacht around the world, one leg at a time. The Fusiliers on the Army yacht 'Challenger' were given the infamous Southern Ocean leg; Cape Horn and all. They had an incredibly eventful time. Not only did they lose the track on the mast that holds the sail in place as previously reported but once this had been repaired back in New Zealand they set off again, now considerably behind the other boats. They subsequently hit some atrocious weather; big winds with a big sea to match that the other crews had missed. This caused extensive damage to the boat and Challenger was knocked down no less then 4 times (knocked down means lying flat in the water, from the top of the mast to the keel) on the worst knock down it was estimated that the boat turned through 130°. The boat performed as designed to do and righted itself, but the damage was too much to finish the leg. Some of the damage was cosmetic (gas locker and top box covers gone), but other damage was more serious and included an irreparable stub mast, stanchions and jackstays but more significantly, the binnacle had sheered. Throughout this period the yacht's Emergency Signal Transmitter (EPIRB) was activated and it took 22 hours, 4 countries, 2 fishing vessels, and the second of two spotter planes to find them. Luckily there were no major injuries however a few suspected broken ribs and numerous cuts and bruises were looked at when they eventually landed safely in the Falkland Islands, which was not the intended finishing point of the leg! The boat is in for repair and the Fusilier crew landed back in the UK on 24 March, with a few stories of daring do to tell. The full description of this truly amazing journey can be found at: http://www.exercisetransglobe.com/
March and the beginning of April has been a relatively quiet period for the Battalion. The budgetary restrictions of the last year are still impacting on training resulting in only one training weekend in March. In order to get away from the usual flurry of completing bounty qualification activity, the Companies requested field training in order to begin the low level tactical team building in preparation for Annual Camp. As a result D and HQ Coy went to Feldom Training Area and X & Z Coy went to Otterburn to carry out Coy planned and conducted Sect level Tactics. Both exercises proved valuable for the Fusiliers and Riflemen and the junior command element. The Coy chain of command also enjoyed the freedom to plan and conduct training without input from Bn HQ.
The Mortar Pl also had a chance to complete
its annual Live Firing Numbers Cadre. Unfortunately, due to budgetary
restraint again from HQ Regional Forces and 2 Div, the amount of ammunition
was reduced to the bare minimum and only qualifying shoots could be
conducted rather than the more complex tactical engagements and more
advanced Fire Planning. The application of mortar fire is a key skill
that has been retained within TA Battalions as part of Op ENTIRETY as
the deployment of individual mortar sects to reinforce regular bns on
It is interesting to note that Capt Martin Hedley, currently Adjt 5 RRF, was OC Mortars with 2 RRF on HERRICK 10 and had 3 Mortar men from 5 RRF in his Platoon at ROSHAN Tower where they fired a total 997 rounds in anger.
The last training event saw the Bn deploy to Warcop for a Skill at Arms weekend where the shooting team spent most of the time coaching the remainder of those present on the marksmanship principles and application of fire. The aim was to get as many through the new ACMT as possible in preparation for the Bn IFFC in Sennelager in June. RSM Goldsmith also took the rare opportunity to have an afternoon of drill in preparation for the Freedom of Northumberland in Morpeth on 24 April 2010.
On recruiting, much credit should go to Capt Preston-Pacey and his team who have managed to guide and mentor the recruits though Phase One training and have managed to get 25 recruits ready to attend CIC in the coming weeks. The Bn has also managed to prepare seven JNCOs for SCBC and it is hoped there will be 7 potential Section Commanders ready to go the Infantry Battle School at the end of May.
17 April - Band play at Newcastle Falcons
The Bn has the following personnel deployed on Ops and International Trg Tasks.
Op HERRICK 12 - 1 LANCS BG
Cpl Christopher Unwin Burma Coy
CSgt Richard Redpath
Capt Ben Clare D Coy
From 6 - 13 March nine members of the Battalion deployed on Ex NORTHERN BAVARIAN HACKLE to conduct a Basic Ski Proficiency (Alpine) Course in Germany. The exercise aim was to formally qualify members of the permanent staff and TA hierarchy in order to produce ski instructors for larger, future AT exercises. The exercise was conducted at minimal cost and comprised of an 18 hour minibus drive from Durham to the REME Hotel in Wertach (Bavaria), and 6 days of skiing in the Obersjoch and Felhorn Ski areas, before returning by minibus. All members of the group passed the course and showed steady improvement throughout the week in some glorious skiing conditions.
The exercise proved a great success and is now firmly in the programme for next winter, with as many of those who attended this course hoping to attempt their next progression; the Advanced Ski Proficiency Course.
Area HQ Northumberland
March has continued to be a period where the Area Headquarters has focused on the Freedom Parade in Morpeth on Saturday 24 April where the Regiment will be granted the Freedom of the County of Northumberland, the first Infantry Regiment to be honoured in this way.
The day's events will begin at 1100 hrs with a Drumhead Service at County Hall and will be followed by a Freedom Parade through Morpeth Town Centre starting at 12 noon. There will then be a Civic Reception for the marching troops and ticket holders in the Riverside Leisure Centre. There will be a Fusiliers Officers Club black tie St George's Ball held in The Assembly Rooms that evening.
There will be parking at County Hall and buses to transport people into Morpeth Town Centre where parking will be very tight. These buses will leave the Riverside Leisure Centre at approximately 2.00pm to return people to their cars at County Hall.
As a long look forward to next year, Sunday 23 April 2011 will be the 60th anniversary of the battle of Imjin and will be celebrated as such.
Once again Sheldon, Birmingham and Nuneaton Branches of the Regimental Association had a thoroughly good time at RHQ at HM Tower of London. On Sunday 28 March, some 49 members made the pilgrimage to the Annual Regimental Service which was followed by an excellent lunch at RHQ. Murray Richards presented a cheque of £285 to the Fusilier Aid Society, money he raised for his exploits on Skiddaw over Christmas.
Sheldon Branch organised a battlefield tour of the Normandy Beaches in early March, they were accompanied by Mr Jimmy Pounds of the Birmingham Branch who went ashore with D Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment on D Day, 6 June 1944. He provided a vivid and emotional account of the landings at Sword Beach.
Central Branch held their second Annual Fund Raising Dinner at the Royal Court Hotel in Keresley, Coventry on 20 March. 134 members and guests enjoyed a superb dinner which was preceded by the Drums of First Fusiliers providing an excellent "Stick Beat". Regimental guests included Brigadier & Mrs David Paterson and Brigadier (Retd) & Mrs Ian Liles. Recent fund raising initiatives by the Central Branch for the Fusilier Aid Society has totalled £8,200, a cheque for £4,200 was presented to the Regimental Secretary by Mr Bob Holmes, President of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) who kindly sponsored FAS at the recent MTA Annual Dinner, along with a cheque of £4,000 by Major Lee Bott, Chairman of the Central Branch. Mr David Owen, Chairman of the Trustees of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum (Royal Warwickshire) was also presented with a cheque of £1000 towards the Fusilier museum in Warwick.
Brigadier David Paterson presided at the 62nd reunion of the Fusiliers Officers' Club Warwickshire which was held at Gamecock Barracks on 5 March attracting 52 Officers and guests which included Brigadier Ian Liles, Colonel Peter Merriman, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Landon and the Mayor of Kenilworth.
" 6th Foot Dinner Club at the Shire Hall
Warwick on 9 April 2010
Area HQ London
On 1 April the HQ was delighted to see the removal of the entrance kiosk in the museum along with the need to charge a separate fee. The running and organisation of the museum remains unchanged but the manning of the museum is now undertaken by the Tower Warding Staff. The downside could be that having been accustomed to 100000 visitors we could well expect all 2½ million visitors to the Tower to walk through the museum! It remains to be seen how this will need to be managed and how the floor covering holds up.
The refurbishment of the museum project is moving steadily ahead and fundraising results are most encouraging although we still need to raise another £300k. In the meantime, advertising for the new Museum Officer is on the streets with a closing date for applications of 12 April. The interviews for the appointment will take place on 27 April.
Although the external works finished before Christmas, the craftsmen have returned to replace stonework in the front entrance. Ironically, due to the increased footfall through the museum over Easter, they have had to stop until after the school holidays!
On the cadet front, Haberdasher's Aske's CCF at Elstree had a most successful Field Day with the 1st Bn at Tidworth. They also had a very good annual inspection on 5 March which was taken by Brigadier David Paterson. At the Greater London (GL) RFCA AGM on 11 March, 103 Detachment (St Mary Cray) received the Glaziers GL ACF Citizenship award 2009 and Lt Dionne Konstantioious received the award as the most outstanding ACF Detachment Commander in South East Sector.
Finally, Major Colin Bowes-Crick has been elected as Chairman of the Harben Armoury Trust replacing the late Rear Admiral Sam Salt. The Trust is administered by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and dispenses grants to RRF ACF detachments in London.
Area HQ Lancashire
Following on from the Homecoming Parade, the Mayor of Salford, Councillor Roger Lightup and the Mayoress, Valarie Fleet expressed an interest in a visit to the new Headquarters and Museum. They had in fact been to Moss Street before. This was, however, for the opening of the Museum by the Colonel in Chief. As is the nature of these things it transpired that the Mayor was also due to meet HRH later that day in Salford. Thus, for the sake of protocol, the Mayor and Mayoress were not introduced to HRH. Needless to say they didn't see much of the displays or the museum facilities. Therefore, at the beginning of March the opportunity was taken to rectify the situation and on this occasion the Mayor and Mayoress were able to spend a leisurely two hours touring the museum and soaking up what is, after all, an important part of Salford's history.
The Fusilier Museum has recently been awarded a "Highly Commended" grading by the 'Visit England Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS)'. This is the benchmark for all visitor attractions in England and the award of this status so early in the life of the museum is a credit to all those that have made, and continue to make, the museum such a success.
In the run up to Gallipoli Weekend the Friends of the Fusilier Museum volunteered to put together a presentation on the campaign. The talk was given by Mark Hone, Head of History and Politics from Bury Grammar School and officer in the CCF and Steve Douthwaite, formerly a major in the REME who has recently retired to live in Bury and volunteered to become Secretary of the Friends. The presentation was well received and will no doubt be the first of many. It is of note that there are more non-Fusiliers in the 'Friends' than Fusiliers; something which needs rectifying.
The Fusilier Museum Afghanistan exhibition
opened to the Public on Friday 26 March. This has been an interesting
and worthwhile project following so closely upon the operational tour.
The stars of the exhibition are undoubtedly the Officers and Fusiliers
of 2 RRF who deserve thanks and congratulation for their time and input.
The unsung heroes are the museum staff and volunteers who have worked
long hours to put the exhibition together. Locally it has been a joint
effort with assistance and materiel provided by the Fusilier Platoon
from the Castle Armoury. There will be more on the exhibition in the
Amy Warburton;, a museum assistant with attitude!
Hero's Café in the museum ran a special Mother's Day lunch. The event was well attended and generated good publicity. The café has developed a good reputation and much support locally as letters in the Bury Times have shown.
An important part of the Museum's education
programme is a package that deals with the Home Front during the Second
World War. One of the lessons in the package covers drill for Home Guard
recruits. In order for the museum staff to fine tune the lesson, the
Fusilier Cadet Detachment from the Castle Armoury volunteered to assist
with the rehearsal. As cadets know more about drill than most of us
they took part in good humour and made a very positive contribution.
Following the rehearsal they stayed on for a guided tour of the displays.
Cadets drill display for museum staff
Gallipoli Weekend. Details for Gallipoli Weekend are:
Friday 23 April (St George's Day).
Saturday 24 April
Sunday 25 April (Gallipoli Day)
1030-1130hrs: Regimental Parade and Inspection,
Regimental Summer Ball
Attached are details and an application form for the Regimental Summer Ball, which replaces the annual Regimental Dinner. It is for all serving and retired officers and their ladies and is being organised by 1 RRF at Tedworth House, Tidworth on 3 July 2010. The last time the Regiment held such an event was at Dover Castle when the Colonel of the Regiment was commanding 2 Bde. The aim is to make this event as equally spectacular and enjoyable.
Regimental Cocktail Party
Another reminder that the annual cocktail Party at the Tower of London will take place on 24 Jun 2010. The combined Corps of Drums of the 1st and 2nd Battalions will Beat Retreat on the evening. Tickets are available through John Davies on 0203 166 6906. After the excellent turnout and highly enjoyable evening last year you know it makes sense to come in 2010!
To celebrate St George's Day there will be a curry lunch for officers (serving and retired) plus accompanying wives and ladies on Fri 23 April starting at 1230 hours. The charge per head will be £12.50 (£25.00 for a double ticket) and a cash bar will operate. Bookings by telephone (0203-166-6906) or e mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and cheques payable to "The Fusiliers Fund" to Captain Davis at RHQ. The last booking will be accepted at 1230 hours on Monday 19 April 2010.
Aden Veterans Society
Below is the new emblem for the RNF Aden Veterans
Society sent to RHQ by Jonty Batey (sniper) who many of you will remember
from both the RNF and 1 RRF ((Ed; Jonty was my first Pl Sgt). The emblem
was designed by John Crawford.
The Fusiliers Aid Society - Charity Event
Capt Chris Dixon and Capt James Fern have
been stupid enough to enter the 2010 Bala 70 wild miles on 3 July. This
is an endurance event consisting of a back-to-back 47 mile cycle, 10
mile canoe and finally a 1/2 marathon.