May/Jun 2015

Bob Davies writes:

We report first of all the loss on 13 March of Robert ‘Bob’ Spindler, not a former Royal, but a long time social and committee member of our club. Bob was a well liked, and respected man, a local councillor and one of our volunteer bar staff, and being a former ‘bookie’ was always ready to give the days ‘hot tip’ to anyone who asked. He was also for many years our ‘scribe’ for this magazine. A packed Chapel was testament to his popularity, and he will be missed by all our Branch and Club members. Our thoughts are with Marion and the family.

We also send our condolences to Emily and the family of Ken Brotherston, a Branch and former committee member who passed away recently. Our Standard and a Bugler were present at the service to send him on his way – Rest in Peace Royal.

On 6 March, our Branch, Green Beret and Royal Naval Standards, carried by ‘Dusty’ Miller, Jimmy Greene and Bob Davies, were present at our local Baptist Church to take part in a very moving ceremony to plant 9 trees in memory of the nine members of the Church who fell in WWI. This living memorial will be known as the ‘WWI Memorial Orchard’. Of the nine who were remembered, two were Royal Marines.

The short, but important yearly ceremony to raise the Union Flag on the flagpole inside the South Barracks housing estate traditionally takes place on the first day of ‘British Summer Time’, which this year was on Sunday 29 March. Bob, Peter Hall, John Elms and Mike Conn paraded in front of the former Officers Mess, whilst former Royal Navy members, Devrow Jennings and John Hardy raised the flag. Bryan ‘Billy’ Walker once again sounded the bugle calls, and the occasion was watched by a large group of residents. On completion a buffet reception was held in the foyer of Ramsey House, previously used as the Wren’s Quarters. Our thanks go to Anny Elms and Sue Conn for all their hard work.

The service to commemorate and remember the WW1 Raid on Zeebrugge took place as usual on St George’s Day on 23 April. The Branch was represented by our two Standards, paraded by Dusty and Jimmy, and also attending were Timber Woods and Gerry Bowers. Bob laid the Branch wreath on behalf of the Chairman and members. The service took place in St James’ Cemetery in Dover near the Cross of Sacrifice, where 61 members of the Royal Marines Light Infantry and Royal Navy personal who were killed in the raid, and returned to England, are buried. Following this service a parade of the nine Standards took place outside the town hall where the Mayor sounded ‘Eight Bells’ on the commemorative bell installed on the Balcony, and which was a gift from the King of Belgium as a memorial to the sacrifice of so many.

Finally, we send our best wishes to our only ‘blue beret’ Marine, Peter Hall, who recently has had some heart problems, but i am pleased to report that he has made a good recovery, and it’s great to see him out and about now with his lovely wife Jo.

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