May/Jun 2016

Bob Davies writes;
First we say farewell to Mike Conn, a loyal supporter and Branch committee member who has moved to Norfolk with his lovely wife Sue. Mike arranged many of our trips, including those to The National Memorial Arboretum, WW1 and WW2 Battlefield tours and Remembrance events. Thanks Mike for your commitment to the Branch, you will be missed.

This year’s short, but important ceremony to raise the Union Flag on the flagpole inside the South Barracks housing estate took place at 1100hrs on the first day of ‘British Summer Time’ on Sunday 30 March. Present again this year was former Royal Navy member, Devrow Jennings who raised the flag in very windy and difficult conditions, and on parade were Bryan ‘Billy’ Walker, who once again sounded the bugle calls, John Elms and Bob Davies. Many residents attended this occasion as they do every year, and on completion a buffet reception was held in the foyer of Ramsey House.

On the morning of 21 April our Branch Standards were paraded by Jimmy Greene and Bob Davies at a return visit to the local school, where in September last year the Stone Globe and Laurel was dedicated, but this time for the dedication service of 100 tree saplings planted to mark the 100 years since the beginning of WW1. The school had also carried out a project to research the names, ranks and units of all those that had attended the original school and had been killed in the conflict. A plaque was unveiled which contained all that information and the year in which they lost their lives in the cause of freedom. The list contains the names of three Royal Marines and two Royal Marine Light Infantry personnel. On completion of the service all were invited into the school for a tea and cake reception.

Later on that evening a celebration of our Queen’s 90th Birthday was held by having a black tie ladies night in the club. Twenty-five members and their partners sat down to a fine four course meal, prepared by our stewardess Sue and served by her happy band of helpers. Our President, Lt Col David Storrie OBE RM and his lady were in attendance on the top table and our guest of honour was WOI Paula Trewin RN MBE, who gave a very interesting and amusing talk on her time in the Royal Navy. Our president proposed the toast to ‘Her Majesty the Queen’ and the toast to ‘Our ladies’ was proposed by our club secretary and organiser of the evening, Bob Guest. Our MC was C/Sgt Andy Cornish. An excellent occasion to mark this important birthday of our Queen. Our thanks go to all involved.

This year’s service to commemorate and remember the WW1 Raid on Zeebrugge took place as usual on St George’s Day on 23 April. Our two Standards were paraded by ‘Dusty’ Miller and Jimmy Greene, and also attending were Ben Stones, ‘Timber’ Wood and Bob Davies, who laid a wreath on behalf of our President and members. This service takes place in St James’ Cemetery in Dover at the Cross of Sacrifice, where so many of the Royal Marine Light Infantry and Royal Navy personnel who were killed are buried. A Band consisting of over 80 former and present members of the Royal Scout Harmony Band of Zeebrugge attended, along with our MP, many dignitaries and members of the Belgium Armed Forces. On completion of this service a parade of the sixteen Standards present took place outside the town hall where a further short service took place with the town Mayor sounding ‘Eight Bells’ on the commemorative bell. We were pleased to see John Farlie, with the City of London Standard at both events and we thank him for his attendance.

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