Bob Davies writes:
Mike Baxter, the secretary of our Branch for more years than anyone can remember has now stood down from that task and handed over the reins to ‘Pastie’ Cornish. Mike has played a pivotal role as secretary and over the years has seen the Branch and Club through some very difficult and stormy times. Without his leadership, commitment and foresight we would not be in the strong and successful place that we are in today, with a bright future to look forward to. We place on record our sincere thanks to Mike for his unstinting work during his long time in office and wish him good health for many years to come. We know that having Pastie as his replacement, the Branch and Club will continue to thrive.
Gerry Bowers carried our Standard, alongside eleven other Association Standards, on 15 March for the funeral of 97 year old Burma Star veteran, Sid Gibbons. Sid was not a member of the Branch, but their Association held their monthly meetings in the Club, and he was a popular and well respected man, who up until the age of 94, carried their Standard at the many parades and services held in Deal and elsewhere. Rest In Peace Sid.
Many members were in the Albert Hall on Saturday 25 March for the Mountbatten Festival of Music and witnessed another fantastic concert from our massed Bands.
On Sunday 26 March, the first day of British Summer Time, the annual act of raising the Union Flag on the mast outside the former Officers’ Mess in the South Barracks housing estate took place and was attended by Peter Hall, John Elms and Bob Davies. Many residents came out to watch, as they do every year, and afterwards a finger buffet was held in the foyer of Ramsey House, formally the Wrens’ Quarters.
The Branch held a Ladies Night on Thursday 20 April to celebrate the 91st birthday of HM The Queen. Forty- six members and guests enjoyed another fine meal, prepared and cooked by our stewardess Sue, and served by her excellent team of helpers. Our President Col David Storrie OBE RM and his wife Linda were in attendance and he proposed the Loyal Toast, with Bob Guest proposing the toast to ‘Our Ladies’. The guest speaker was Rihan Potts, a former Wren who was among the very first group of Wrens to serve at sea in HMS Brilliant, and who gave a very interesting and amusing talk about that time and later on when she became a Magistrate.
This year marked the 99th Anniversary of the WW1 Raid on Zeebrugge in Belgium on St. George’s Day in 1918. The Branch was represented with ‘Dusty’ Miller parading our Standard alongside thirteen others at St James’ Cemetery in Dover at the Cross of Sacrifice, where so many RMLI and RN personnel who lost their lives are buried. Bob laid a wreath on behalf of our President and Branch. Following this service we returned to the town hall where once again the Standards formed up and another short service took place with the town Mayor sounding ‘Eight Bells’ on the commemorative bell which used to hang at the end of the Mole, and was a gift to Dover from the people of Zeebrugge as a memorial to those lost.
We are eagerly awaiting news on whether there will be another Sgts’ Mess Pantomime next year, and if so what will it be? More news I hope in the next issue.