Bob Davies writes:
First we report the crossing of the bar on 4 November of Kenneth Rollings aged 79. Ken was a former musician who had spent many years in the Corps and who had served time on several ships. Although he was a former member of the Branch, he served as our steward in the club for some years in the past and I’m sure he will be remembered by many. We send our condolences to Val and all the family. ‘Rest in Peace Royal, your duty’s done’.
The RMA Cycle Club started their 100 mile Corps Birthday ride here in Deal on 27 October, laying a wreath at the Memorial Bandstand before setting off to Pembroke House in Chatham, where they were welcomed by the Deputy Mayor, and then returning to enjoy a curry and a few ‘wets’ in the Club.
Our Branch and Club AGMs took place on the 29th with all management and committee positions filled. Once again we have very strong teams who will lead us forward to even greater success. We are especially pleased to report that the Branch membership continues to increase.
A few days later, on Thursday 1 November we held our black tie dinner to celebrate the 354th birthday of our Corps. The dinner was preceded by a spot lit drum display on Walmer Green given by the Sea Cadets of TS Lynx. Forty-eight members enjoyed another fine four-course meal prepared by our hard working stewardess Sue and her team of young ladies. Our Guest of Honour was Brigadier Richard Spencer OBE, the CE of the RMA. Joining him on the top table was our President and his lady, our Chairman, and Cllr Alan Marsh from KCC. Among the many toasts was the toast to ‘The Royal Marines’ proposed by CSgt Andy Cornish who also acted as our MC. An excellent occasion enjoyed by all.
Remembrance has been a large part of our activities in November with our Standard and members at Dover Cruise Terminal on the 8th to remember all those railwaymen who worked on the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, and who were killed serving their country during both World Wars. A wreath was laid by Gerry Bowers.
‘Dusty’ once again paraded our Standard on the 10th at the Cross of Sacrifice in Hamilton Road Cemetery, not as an Armistice Day service as usual, as that day this year fell on Remembrance Sunday, but a service to commemorate the ‘Falling of the Silence’ to mark the end of WW1. Our President Col David Storrie OBE laid a wreath on behalf of the Branch and Ben Stones laid a wreath for the GBA.
The following day the main Act of Remembrance, which included Armistice Day, was held at the Memorial Cross in the grounds of the Deal & Walmer War Memorial Hospital. A dry and bright day saw a large crowd of approximately 500 attending this important service which included our town Mayor and our MP. Our Chairman Paul Richardson laid the Branch wreath and Gerry with Ben Stones laid a wreath for the GBA. A march took place on completion with the salute taken by Rt Hon Sir Hugh Roberts KCMG DL, formally of the Life Guards. It was especially good to see Allister Parkes wearing his green beret and medal. He is a patient in the hospital and was brought out in a wheelchair by a nurse to lay a wreath.
Earlier that morning Mike Baxter and Don Gale travelled to Herne to attend the service there, invited and organised by Cllr Alan Marsh. Mike laid a wreath and former musician Nigel Bogue sounded the bugle calls.
A welcome return visit of the Royal British Legion Concert Band conducted by Captain David Cole MVO took place on Saturday 8 December when they held their Christmas concert in St George’s Church here in Deal. Amongst the many former servicemen in the band was Branch member Ian Clarkson and also Mike Tellick, now a member of Canterbury Branch of the RBL. Also from the same Branch it was good to see in the audience former RM Albert Tweedle. A packed church thoroughly enjoyed this festive musical treat.
December has been a very busy time for our stewardess Sue with Christmas dinners being served on selected days, the children’s Christmas party, with more children attending than ever before, the Grand Christmas Draw with lots of lovely prizes being won, and the New Year’s Eve party with a ‘Best of Britain’ theme, which meant plenty of singing.
Finally, we send our congratulations to Bill Butler who has recently been awarded the ‘Douglas Morris Award’ by the RM Historical Society and which was presented to him by Maj Gen Julian Thompson CB OBE for his drive and determination in conceiving the RM Heritage Trail here in Deal.