Bob Davies writes:
It is with sadness that we report yet another one of our members has crossed the bar. Syd Rose passed away on 20 January aged 85 after a long illness bravely borne. Syd was a former musician and later Bandmaster, who after retiring was a Professor of Trumpet at the former School of Music here in Deal. He was a well- respected and generous man who was liked by all. A large turnout at his funeral in March is expected.
Prior to this loss, our Standard and members were present at the funeral of Keith William Brettell, who had been a SNCO and was a former member of this Branch. He crossed the bar on 9 December 2017 aged 74.
Our secretary, Archie Houston and Bob represented the Branch at the funeral of another former Marine, Malgwyn ‘Taff’ Davies who crossed the bar on 18 January aged 83. He was not a member of the Branch, but he had spent many years in the Corps serving in a variety of different units at home and overseas.
We say to all three, ‘Rest in Peace Royal, your duty’s done’.
Our club was packed to capacity on Saturday 20 January when almost £15,000 was handed out to thirty nine local good causes from the money raised from this year’s Sgts’ Mess Pantomime, ‘Wonky Willy’. On the last night of the ten- day run of shows, our Chairman Paul Richardson, who played ‘Grandad’ in the production, presented to Maj Gen R A Magowan CBE a cheque for £10,000 for the RM Charity. Well done once again to all involved.
The following day a lunch was held in the club to celebrate the life and poetry of ‘Rabbie’ Burns. Members and friends enjoyed the traditional meal of haggis, neaps and tatties prepared by our stewardess Sue. Graham Dear, dressed in full Scottish regalia, once again carried out the duty of addressing the haggis in his usual brilliant way and we were entertained by Alex, our regular piper. A lovely afternoon was enjoyed by all, and we thank Sue and her team of helpers.
January has been the month for ‘Turning the Page’ in the Book of Remembrance in Deal War Memorial Hospital. Bob carried out this important duty, but more Branch support is needed, so please contact Bob if you feel you can spare a few minutes of your time when this duty comes around again in July.
Our Standard was paraded by ‘Dusty’ on 12 February at the memorial on the seafront in Dover to remember the sacrifice of those lost on this day in 1942 on Operation ‘Fuller’. There were seven other Standards on parade, including the Isle of Thanet RMA Branch Standard carried by Ron Williams. This Tri-Service Operation, better known as the ‘Channel Dash’ was intended to stop a German battle fleet trying to return to their home ports in Germany by making a ‘Dash’ through the Channel. It was unsuccessful and Included in the 147 lives lost that day were thirteen of the eighteen aircrew of 825 Squadron Fleet Air Arm who flew into the face of overwhelming odds in six Fairey Swordfish aircraft commonly known as ‘Stringbags’. They were all shot down, and their leader was granted a posthumous Victoria Cross.
We now look forward to the Centenary Commemorations of the Zeebrugge Raid on 23 April in Dover, followed in the afternoon by the launch of the Royal Marines Heritage Trails at Deal Castle. At both events a RM Band will be present, and will be exercising their Freedom of Deal right to march through the town centre.