Bob Davies writes;
We begin this report as we seem to have done so many times recently on the passing of yet another of our members. Raymond John Walters, known to all as ‘Wally’ crossed the bar aged 76 on 6 March after a long illness bravely borne. Wally was a former musician who joined the band service for training at the age of 14. Amongst the many highlights of his full life was serving on the Royal Yacht Britannia and playing with the band at Wembley for the 1966 World Cup final. He retired as a CSgt in 1982. Never one to miss a good ‘do’ he held a party to say goodbye to his friends and family just a couple of weeks before he died. Wally was one of life’s great characters and a full to capacity chapel at his funeral showed how liked he was. We send our condolences to Irene, Eileen, Graham and all the family. ‘Rest in peace Royal, your duty’s done’
The raising of the Union Flag on the mast outside the former Officer’s Mess in the South Barracks housing estate took place as usual on the first day of British Summer time Sunday 25 March at 1100hrs. The raising was carried out by former Royal Navy man, Devrow Jennings, assisted by John Hardy. The bugle calls were carried out by ‘Pastie’ Cornish and the saluting Colour Party consisted of Bob, Peter Hall and John Elms. A large group of residents, friends, club and Branch members cheered and clapped when the flag had been raised, and we thank them all for their support.
On Saturday 14 April a charitable Quiz Night was held in the club. This first event of this type was extremely popular and tested to the full the brain cells of all who took part. At the end of the evening over £300 had been raised for the RM Charity. More of this type of quiz will be held in the future.
A Ladies Night dinner to celebrate the 92nd birthday of HM The Queen was held on Thursday 19 April. Forty-five members and guests enjoyed a three course meal prepared by our stewardess Sue. The evening toasts included The Loyal Toast proposed by Bob, with Mark Simpson proposing the toast to ‘The Ladies’.
A Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918 took place at the Cross of Sacrifice in St James’ Cemetery in Dover on 23 April, St George’s Day. Present on this very special occasion were the CGRM Maj Gen C R Stickland OBE and Admiral of the Fleet Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL. Members from the Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood provided the music and Bugler. Included amongst the many wreaths laid were wreaths from our MP Charlie Elphicke, town Mayors, local dignitaries and representatives from Belgium. The Branch wreath was laid by Bob and the Standard was carried by ‘Dusty.’
On completion of the service the full band and a company of serving Royal Naval personnel from HMS Somerset, and River Class Boats, Trumpeter, Scimitar and Ranger marched from the Market Square in Dover to the town hall where a further service was held, and ‘Eight Bells’ were sounded on the Commemorative Bell. This event was followed by a reception in the town hall.
On the afternoon of same day the Band marched from the old South Barracks, leading a company of serving RMs from 42 Cdo RM through the Jubilee Gates to Deal Castle where a parade was formed up which included some fifty former Royal Marines, a party of former Wrens, and Sea and RM Cadets, and where the CGRM officially opened the RM Heritage Trails. The Royal Marines then ‘Fixed Bayonets’ and exercised their Freedom of the Borough of Deal awarded in 1945 to march through the town centre. An excellent occasion which was enjoyed on a lovely sunny day by all those who took part, the many thousands who watched, which included hundreds of schoolchildren who had been let out of school early.
Bob and our regular Standard Bearer, ‘Dusty,’ represented the Branch at a service in Sandwich on 26 April when a bronze plague was unveiled to Lt Col Augustus Charles Newman VC OBE TD DL who died on 26 April 1972. On 28 March 1942 at the age of 37, he was a Lt Col in the Essex Regiment (TA) attached to No. 2 Commando. He was in charge of the military forces and led his men ashore on Operation Chariot, the attack on the dry dock in St Nazaire, France, which is known in history as ‘The Greatest Raid of All’. After fierce fighting, in which he had inspired his men, and out of ammunition, he and what was left of his men were captured and taken prisoner. His was one of five VCs awarded that day, two posthumously. The plague is in the garden of St Peter’s Church.
Caroline West writes;
On 23 April the Collingwood Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and a guard from 42 Commando Royal Marines marched through Deal exercising their right to the Freedom of the Borough with “Colours Flying and Bayonets Fixed”. This event was to celebrate the launch of the Royal Marines Heritage Trail, a walking trail celebrating 350 years of rich history of the Royal Marines in Deal and Walmer.
The Deal Wrens were invited to join in this very special occasion.
The weather was very kind, bright and dry but not too hot, as we formed up on Monday afternoon in front of Deal Castle.
17 of us proudly marched to the unique sound of The Royal Marine Band; proceeding through the streets that were lined with thousands of people cheering and applauding the parade. Wrens tartan scarves were also visible in the crowds.
The Deal Wrens group began last year to bring together ladies who had served with the Royal Marines in Deal or now lived in the town. Members travel from all over the country to attend parades and social functions.
On Saturday 28 April there was a 5Km run/walk around the Trail. 100 people took part, including 3 of the Deal Wrens group!