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PLEASE VIEW FLYERS AT BOTTOM OF `ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTERS 1. PAGE.  THANKYOU

Association Newsletters.  2.

If you are not in receipt of the WFRA ENewsletter and have internet connection,please contact

RHQ Mercian Nottingham (rhqmercian.notts@btconnect.com) and we will send you the ENews update.

THE WORCESTERSHIRE AND SHERWOOD FORESTERS REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION

Patron: HRH The Princess Royal
President: Brig P Dennis

.................................................

 10 June 2022     WFRA NEWSLETTER      Volume 13 Issue 25

OBITUARY
We regret to inform you that Suzanne Gabb, widow of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Gabb OBE, died on 3rd June 2022. Married in 1953, she supported Michael throughout his career with the Worcestershire Regiment particularly when he commanded the 1st Battalion in Gibraltar and Bulford 1966-69, and latterly when he was at Regimental Headquarters the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment at Norton Barracks 1986-1990. Her funeral will be in Surrey and details will be promulgated when known.
Condolences can  be sent to her son, Anthony Gabb, at anthonygabb@gmail.com

001 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF GHELUVELT PARK - 18TH JUNE 2022

After the Great War Worcester City and Worcestershire decided that they wished to create and open a Public Park in the city as a permanent and living memorial to all who had fallen in World War I. Included along one side were a number of new homes built by the Haig Fund specifically for disabled veterans. In honour of the extraordinary actions of the 2nd Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment on the 31st October 1914 it was decided to name it Gheluvelt Park. It was opened by the 1st Earl of Ypres, Lord French, on the 17th June 1922. Since then it has become a memorial to all who have fallen in subsequent conflicts. The Haig Homes continue to be used by veterans, the Worcestershire Regimental Stone and the WFR  Memorial Bench have been added. In 2010 HLF funds were obtained to create the Gheluvelt Memorial (formerly the Interpretative Feature) at which the annual memorial service is held on the Sunday nearest to 31st October.

In order to mark the 100th Anniversary of the opening of Gheluvelt Park the Mayor of Worcester wishes to hold an event on 18th June 2022 at the Gheluvelt Memorial and around the Park. In outline the event will consist of:

10:30 (Approx) Assembly, with VIPs seated at the Memorial.

A presentation on the Battle of Gheluvelt explaining its importance in the early stages of WW1 by Lt Col (Retd) Mark Jackson OBE, Chair of Trustees of the Mercian Regiment Museum (Worcestershire) and President of Worcester Branch WFRA.

A talk by a representative from the City Council on the opening of the park, its history and its future.

A short service conducted by clergy from Worcester Cathedral with the Roll of Honour read out, wreath laying, Exhortation, Last Post, 1 minute silence, Reveille and Kohima Epitaph.

 (Only wreaths laid during service will be by Lord Lieutenant and Lady French. others after service as space will be limited)

A tree planting.

Lady French, has confirmed her attendance. Other invitees will include the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, MPs and Civic Dignitaries, Standards, veterans, cadets and members of the public.
In the east end of the park where the memorials are situated we are planning military displays / recruiting, with other military and civil based stalls and charities. Past the bandstand and splashpad in a larger area, there will be stalls and attractions and further into the park sports events. This auspicious event will be an all-day commemoration by the City of Worcester .
We have the displays / stalls , Royal Artillery, Police, Regimental Museum and others attending.
Standard Bearers to report to Parade Marshal at 10:00hrs.
Due to space available there will be limited seating for disabled. If people are unable to stand for a period of time they are encouraged to bring a fold up chair as the waiting beforehand, then talks before the service might be too much. People are requested to leave pathways clear at all times
Worcester Branch will be having their branch gazebo near the Worcestershire Regimental Stone, people are welcome to stop by for a chat. Food and drink stalls will be in the park.
At 16:30 hrs  at the flag post near the splashpad Worcester Branch along with other Associations and Cadet Forces will be playing  Last Post - 1 min Silence - Reveille  to mark the end of their involvement in the day.
 002 VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED

There will be a cleaning of the Gheluvelt Memorial and surrounding area (formerly Interpretative Feature) On Wednesday 15th June 2022 at 10:30hrs. If you have the time to spare you will be made very welcome.
 If you would like to offer your volunteer services for Saturday June the 18th please come along to find out how you can help.

003 ARMED FORCES DAY - FLAG RAISING

The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Adrian Gregson would be pleased if Worcester Branch WFRA  would join him to mark Armed Forces Day 2022 and watch the raising of the Armed Forces Day Flag over the Guildhall on Monday 20 June 2022 at 11.00hrs.
The Guildhall, High Street, Worcester WR1 2EY
Attendee to be at The Guildhall by 10.30hrs
Light refreshments will be available.
Please contact Nigel Fish if you wish to attend.

004 WORCESTER REGIMENTAL MUSEUM

The Regimental Musuem in Worcester now has a new website. 

www.worcestershireandmercianregimentmuseum.org.  

005 LOST CONTACT

24117481 Pte Tony Taylor (from Dudley) C Coy, then MT Plt, is trying to contact Titch Byrne. Tony Joined 1st Btt Worc R in Gibraltar about 8 months before Battalion left. Tony also served in Bulford, Warminster, Brecon(Derring Lines), Cyprus, NI and Berlin.
Tony has asked that if anyone who remembers him can contact him on 07921 489 779.

 

006 LOST CONTACT Does anyone have a contact number for 23635914 Pte A Wooley
Please contact newsletter@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk

007 FALKLANDS WAR 4OTH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL SERVICE

A Memorial Service will be held at The Guildhall in Worcester on 11th June at 11:00hrs.  The service will be led by Mayor of Worcester.
Doors open at 10.00hrs there will be a timeline of events and pictures on display and the chance to meet some veterans who served in the Falklands War.

..........................

 03 June 2022        WFRA NEWSLETTER       Volume 13 Issue 24

001 WORCESTER REUNION 2022

The WFRA Reunion took place on Saturday 28th May at the new venue of Worcester RFC in Offerton Lane , near the old venue of the Six Ways Stadium.  The weather was fine and the whole event ran smoothly.


Thank you to Cindy Clark, Asst Regt Sec, Chair, K Jeavons and Sec, B Prophet for organising the event.  Thank you to Brian and John Hewlett, Libby and ladies who helped with the raffle, Standard Bearers and anyone else who helped in setting up, the parade Sergeant Major, Ram Major, Orderly, Pte Derby, of the Mercian Regt, with their BB rifle range and providing security, Cadets, Regt Museum, Chesterfield PRI shop run by Andrew 'Lord' Bullock and Tenbury Band, not forgetting the hosts WRFC and Alan Bray for the photos.

002 THE GLORIOUS FIRST JUNE

A parade was held in Gheluvelt Park to commemorate the 228th anniversary of the sea battle which saw the 29th Regiment of Foot, fighting from the decks of ships in the North Atlantic.

003 MEDALS FOUND

A set of medals have been found in a pile of rubbish from an eviction and eventual house clearance from one of three tower blocks Coniston house, Windermere House and Derwent House on Hurcott Road in Kidderminster.  We can tell from one of the medals that they were issued to 25075796 Pte J Aldridge WFR. It is requested that John, or anyone that knows him, gets in touch with RHQ so that we can reunite him with his medals. Cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk

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27 May 2022      WFRA NEWSLETTER         Volume 13 Issue 22

001 DEFENCE COMMITTEE VETERANS AFFAIRS SURVEY

The Defence Committee wants to hear from veterans and the families of veterans as ahead of the Committee’s evidence session on the Work of the Office for Veterans Affairs.

The Committee has today launched an online survey to seek the views of veterans and their families to inform the Committee’s questions ahead of an evidence hearing on Wednesday 15 June with Leo Docherty, Veterans Minister, and Jessie Owen, Director, Office for Veterans Affairs.

The survey is open until Wednesday 8 June.

Chair of the Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood MP, said:

“The welfare of our Armed Forces is at the top of the Defence Committee’s agenda, and we will continue to explore the range of issues facing our service personnel and our veterans. At our evidence sessions with the Veterans Minister and the Office for Veteran Affairs we have the opportunity to raise questions directly relating to issues of most concern to our veterans. We’re keen to hear from veterans and their families and hope they will take the opportunity to complete our online survey ahead of the evidence session in June.

We want to help veterans’ voices be heard on issues that concern them, whether it’s mental or physical health, transition to civilian life and support in finding a job, or the complaints system. This is a chance to tell Parliament what you think.”
 

002 JUBILEE BEACON LIGHTING AT CRICH. 2 JULY

The beacon at Crich will be lit on Thursday 2nd July at 2145 hours, in line with beacon lighting across the country, to mark the Queens Platinum Jubilee. The site will open at 2030 hours and the tea-room will be open.  Everyone is welcome to visit the site in marking this historic occasion.
 

003 MEDALS FOUND

A set of medals have been found in a pile of rubbish from an eviction and eventual house clearance from one of three tower blocks Coniston house, Windermere House and Derwent House on Hurcott Road in Kidderminster.  We can tell from one of the medals that they were issued to 25075796 Pte J Aldridge WFR. It is requested that John, or anyone that knows him, gets in touch with RHQ so that we can reunite him with his medals.        Cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk
 

004 RAF COSFORD VISIT

Explore the fascinating story of the RAF and of the thousands of ordinary Servicemen and women who have served in it and whose invaluable contribution has shaped the world that we live in today.

Coach departs Croft Road, Worcester at 9.30am, a further pick up is possible at Tesco, Warndon Villages. The coach departs RAF Cosford at 3.30pm.

Friends £16 Non Friends £18 – price is for a minimum of 25 people going on the trip

Currently I have 10 people booked to go on the trip so it would be great if a few more people came along so I do not have to cancel this trip. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to join this trip as I do need to notify both RAF Cosford and the coach company by the 1st week of June.

If you are interested please contact by email:-   friendsoftheworcesters@gmail.com

 

005 VETERANS FOR SWANSDOWN SCHOOL

The event takes place on Monday 27th June between 9 - 2 at Swansdown School (all girls school) with a 10am start for the actual event. There is tea and coffee on arrival and a buffet lunch later. They are looking for veterans who would either be happy to take part in a short parade within the school grounds or are happy to chat with/take questions from small groups of girls. There is free parking at the school. There are also going to be small 'workstations' for the girls to go round in small groups, the theme being military in some way.

The contact is Doug Smith: douglas.smith216@btinternet.com  01562 777 828.

 

006 ANNUAL WFR BAND REUNION

Over the past Ten years or more I have been organising the Reunions. Recently we have incorporated members of the Sherwood Foresters Band and have had a few from the Sherwood Foresters Band have joined us already.

Today I would like to invite other Sherwood Foresters Band Members to join us and meet up with "Old Friends"

Other WFR Band Members who have not yet attended a Reunion are also welcome.

This year the Reunion is taking place on Saturday 22nd October 2022. The Venue is the "Coopers Brooke" in Daybrook, Nottingham. There is a Premier Inn right next door.

We tend to meet up in the Bar from 14.00hrs to "Catch up and Chat" as well Lubricating our Vocal chords. Because I'm sure there will be a lot of catching up to do.

We have a Three course Sit down Dinner at 19.00hrs. A full Menu Selection can be sent to anyone wishing to attend. Payment in advance for the meal. is required. Each member may have a guest of their choice to join them for the meal.

It is important to Book and Pay for your  meal in advance so we know exactly how many people we can Cater for.

Plus Seating Arrangements are massively important. We usually have around 30 people attend. But the Venue will only allow upto 50.

The Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Band Members. But should you wish to participate in the evenings Entertainment then please let Ken Bradshaw know. He will allocate a spot on the program for you. But if you just wish to attend and enjoy the Event, then that is OK!

Anyone wishing to attend should contact Ken Bradshaw by email at " ken.bradshaw18@ntlworld.com."

007 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families.

Details are as follows

Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc…

Set up before 08:15

Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free.

Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45

Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00

Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45

Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30

Dress:

civilian wear: casual

military wear:  (cadets) MTP

Car parking is available :

Free – event field, clearly signposted

Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day.

If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or                                            neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk

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20 May 2022      WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 13 Issue 21

001 ALBERT BALL VC MEMORIAL PARADE

Members of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Association and the Royal Air Force gathered in the grounds of Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May for an act of remembrance on the 105th Anniversary of the death of Captain Albert Ball VC, DSO, & Two Bars, MC who was killed in action on May 7 1917.

Sir John Peace Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Councillor David Trimble The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Merlita Bryan The Sheriff of Nottingham and representatives from the WFR Association, The Robin Hood Rifles and Royal Air Force.

The Robin Hood Rifles Buglers

WFR Association members Richard Froggatt, Damian Cowlishaw, Gary Crosby, John Sansom & Mark Dack

002 WFRA REUNION – 28 MAY 2022

The WFRA Reunion 2022 will take place on Saturday 28 May in the new location of the Worcester Rugby Football Club (WRFC), Offerton Lane, Hindlip, Worcester WR3 8TR. 

Details as follows: The event opens at 1200 hours (we ask that you do not arrive earlier to allow set up of the event) and closes at 1730 hours although the WRFC will remain open for anyone that wishes to remain afterwards.

Entrance is £2 (cash) per adult and all costs will go towards the cost of the event.

All veterans and serving members are asked to sign in and check their personal logs or complete a new one.  The logs are entirely voluntary but do allow RHQ to keep in touch with you and the museums to update their records.

There will be a raffle (cash for the tickets) on the day and anyone who wishes to contribute (alcohol seems be the preferred prize) are asked to drop them off at RHQ Nottingham or bring them on the day.  The draw will take place after the Service and any prizes not collected will be kept by the Worcester Branch for future use.

There will be food and drink outlets at the Club at normal rugby club prices (they are cheaper than Sixways) and attendees are kindly asked not to bring their own picnics.

In attendance will be 1 Mercian, RHQ including the IET and the Regimental Mascot, Hereford & Worcestershire Cadets, the Worcestershire Museum, a PRI stand, local clergy and SJA.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Tenbury Town Band.

There will be a Drumhead Service at 1500 hours at which time the refreshment outlets will close.  Attendees are asked to give due respect to the service.  Following the Address, members who wish to march will be directed by CSM 1 Mercian to form up, to parade.

Complimentary transport is provided from Silver Street, Worcester WR1 2SG to the event, at 1200 hours. 1245 hours and 1315 hours.  There will be return transport at 1700 hours and 1800 hours.  The transport is available on a first come, first served basis although it is hoped that priority will be given to the older veteran community and branch members.

There is plenty of car parking on site including Blue Badge Holder parking closer to the club.  If anyone anticipates difficulties with parking, they are asked to contact the Assistant Regimental Secretary. Please do not drink and drive.

The event is a private event for association members and their families and anyone connected to the Mercian Regiment and its antecedents.  The police have been informed of the event and there are no known security risks but all attendees are asked to remain vigilant on the day.

Please note that cash is required for entry and the raffle and may be required for the stands

Any questions should be directed to the Assistant Regimental Secretary, Nottingham cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk

003 2 MERCIAN FREEDOM PARADES

2 Mercian will be conducting Freedom Parades in Worcester and Derby and invite all Association Members and their families to join them on the day. Although more details will follow, members are asked to put the date in their diary.

Worcester City: Saturday 25 June.  The parade will commence at 1130 hours from Cornmarket Square and march to the Guildhall.  Those that wish to march can join the end of the parade.  All others are asked to line the route or join Standard Bearers by the Dias outside of the Guildhall.

Derby City: Tuesday 28 June.  The event will start with a church service in the Cathedral at 1100 hours (approx.) for which all, including Standard Bearers, are invited.  This will be followed by a parade to the Town Hall and an inspection.  Everyone is invited to line the route or join the Standard Bearers by the Dias outside of the Council House.

The parade will then resume back to the Cathedral. 

For security purposes, it is requested that this information is not shared at this stage, to the wider public (i.e. open social media pages)

004 LOST CONTACT

Andrew Jeffcock is a former TAVR Sherwood Forester and 3WFR. He Joined at Buxton in 1972 then finally served with C Company 3WFR at Boythorpe Rd at Chesterfield & Derby. He finished as a LCpl On Batt Level Signals finishing  in 1978 after a car accident.
Andrew would like to make contact with Simon Weigold if possible.
Andrew can be contacted by email at andrew@jeffcock.net

005 AGE UK VETERANS WALKS

Join us for a leisurely stroll around Kingsmill Reservoir in the company of other veterans for a walk and chat.  Enjoy the camaraderie of being with ex service personnel, followed by a coffee at the cafe.  The walk will take approximately 1 hour.  The only cost is the price of your refreshments.

Date Tuesday 14th June 2022.
Time 1200 hrs outside the cafe at Kingsmill Reservoir.
For more information call 07872 839 605 or email activeveteransservice@ageuknotts.org.uk

006 WAR GRAVES WEEK IS COMING TO NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Nottinghamshire and offering free tours at Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham on Saturday May 28th.

War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Nottinghamshire and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The free guided tours will take place on Saturday 28th May at 9.30am and 12.30pm at Wilford Hill and will give people in Nottinghamshire the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried or commemorated in their community. War Graves Week provides a unique chance for the people of Nottingham to reconnect with their local history.

More than 200 casualties from Nottinghamshire are buried or commemorated at Wilford Hill.

On the tours, Nottinghamshire residents will learn about the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project – the focus of this year’s War Graves Week. Alongside the front-line armed forces, the CWGC will be celebrating the value those who served during the World Wars brought to key sectors such as health care, logistics, infrastructure and communications. To learn more about specific stories of those who served, and the parallels with today’s global Britain which they helped to create, please click here

Hear the stories of Nottingham air raid victims killed during the local blitz on May 9th 1941. Learn about local VCs John Joseph Caffrey, Charles Ernest Garforth and Harry Nichols.  Salute the sacrifices of local fighter pilot Arthur Roy Watson and bomber pilot Norman Powell.  Learn about the loss of HMS Curacoa tragically sunk in collision with the Queen Mary

The tours will be led by local resident, David Nunn, who is a (volunteer/public engagement coordinator) for the CWGC.  David Nunn said: “We’re delighted that Nottinghamshire will be taking part in CWGC’s War Graves Week. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Nottinghamshire is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I’d encourage everyone in Nottinghamshire to join one of the tours to reconnect with their local history to learn about the courageous ordinary people from our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The CWGC is encouraging the people of Nottinghamshire to seek out the stories in their local area and book onto a free tour this War Graves Week. To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/tours

007 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families.

Details are as follows Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc…Set up before 08:15

Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free.

Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45

Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00

Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45

Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30

Dress:

civilian wear: casual

military wear:  (cadets) MTP

Car parking is available :

Free – event field, clearly signposted

Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day.

If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk
 

008 VETERANS TRIP TO THE NMA ON SATURDAY 16 JULY 2022

Nottingham Forest are planning a second trip to National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 16 July 2022: This complimentary trip (including lunch) is open to all Veterans and their partners / carers are welcome to join them.

Details as follows:

Leave Nottingham Forest: 09:30

Arrive Arboretum: 10:00 – 10:30

Lunch: 13:00 (2 courses choice of food on the day)

Depart Arboretum: 15:15 TBC

Arrive Nottingham Forest: 16:30

Please follow the link below to book your places.  Priority will be given for those unable to go on the last trip.  

https://bookwhen.com/forestforces/e/ev-sron-20220716090000

.................................................................

13 May 2022       WFRA NEWSLETTER        Volume 13 Issue 20

OBITUARY

Major Anthony 'Butch' Marshall

It is with great sadness that we inform you that 517616 Major Anthony ‘Butch’ MARSHALL passed away recently aged 61.  Butch joined 3 WFR and served with E Company as an Officer Cadet and became 2Lt on 21 Nov 1983 and was promoted to Lt on 21 Nov 1985.  He served with A, B & HQ Companies and was promoted to Capt on 1 Aug 1989 and Maj on 29 June 1993 as OC of C Company. 
He was a very loyal officer who lead by example.  He had an excellent sense of humour and was respected and liked by the men under his command and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Further details will be published, once known.

001 WFRA REUNION – 28 MAY 2022

The WFRA Reunion 2022 will take place on Saturday 28 May in the new location of the Worcester Rugby Football Club (WRFC), Offerton Lane, Hindlip, Worcester WR3 8TR. 

Details as follows:

The event opens at 1200 hours (we ask that you do not arrive earlier to allow set up of the event) and closes at 1730 hours although the WRFC will remain open for anyone that wishes to remain afterwards.

Entrance is £2 (cash) per adult and all costs will go towards the cost of the event.

All veterans and serving members are asked to sign in and check their personal logs or complete a new one.  The logs are entirely voluntary but do allow RHQ to keep in touch with you and the museums to update their records.

There will be a raffle (cash for the tickets) on the day and anyone who wishes to contribute (alcohol seems be the preferred prize) are asked to drop them off at RHQ Nottingham or bring them on the day.  The draw will take place after the Service and any prizes not collected will be kept by the Worcester Branch for future use.

There will be food and drink outlets at the Club at normal rugby club prices (they are cheaper than Sixways) and attendees are kindly asked not to bring their own picnics.

In attendance will be 1 Mercian, RHQ including the IET and the Regimental Mascot, Hereford & Worcestershire Cadets, the Worcestershire Museum, a PRI stand, local clergy and SJA.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Tenbury Town Band.

There will be a Drumhead Service at 1500 hours at which time the refreshment outlets will close.  Attendees are asked to give due respect to the service.  Following the Address, members who wish to march will be directed by CSM 1 Mercian to form up, to parade.

Complimentary transport is provided from Silver Street, Worcester WR1 2SG to the event, at 1200 hours. 1245 hours and 1315 hours.  There will be return transport at 1700 hours and 1800 hours.  The transport is available on a first come, first served basis although it is hoped that priority will be given to the older veteran community and branch members.

There is plenty of car parking on site including Blue Badge Holder parking closer to the club.  If anyone anticipates difficulties with parking, they are asked to contact the Assistant Regimental Secretary. Please do not drink and drive.

The event is a private event for association members and their families and anyone connected to the Mercian Regiment and its antecedents.  The police have been informed of the event and there are no known security risks but all attendees are asked to remain vigilant on the day.

Please note that cash is required for entry and the raffle and may be required for the stands

Any questions should be directed to the Assistant Regimental Secretary, Nottingham cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk

002 JOB VACANCY

As part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration of the Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens we have an existing opportunity to recruit a new Team Leader for the entire Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This post holder  will have strong leadership skills and  an experience in delivering and coordinating the grounds maintenance operations needed to maintain the site to Green Flag Standards. The new Team leader will lead a small team of Gardeners and will also be responsible for recruiting and training 2 paid work placements per year. The post holder will also support a programme of volunteering opportunities and deliver a programme of activities and events in line with the Lottery Funded Audience development plan. As the Memorial Gardens have a strong military association we are very keen to hear from people who may have served in the Armed Forces  or have a strong passion and understanding of Nottingham’s military history and the contribution our citizens have made to conflicts around the world throughout history.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity in more details please contact  Jane Barton on 07903 841511  or go to: https://jobs.emss.org.uk/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=19053

 

003 WFRA SOUTHERN AREA MEETING

The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association Southern Area Meeting will be held in the Lounge at Barbourne Ex Services Club, The Moors, Worcester. WR1 3ED on Saturday 14th May 2022

At 11:15 for 11:30 start.

This is your chance as Association members to channel any points or comments towards the Association Exec Committee which will meet in October before the Association AGM in October 2022.

 

004 AGE UK VETERANS WALKS

Join us for a leisurely stroll around Kingsmill Reservoir in the company of other veterans for a walk and chat.  Enjoy the camaraderie of being with ex service personnel, followed by a coffee at the cafe.  The walk will take approximately 1 hour.  The only cost is the price of your refreshments.
Date Tuesday 17th May 2022 and 14th June 2022.

Time 1200 hrs outside the cafe at Kingsmill Reservoir.

For more information call 07872 839 605 or email activeveteransservice@ageuknotts.org.uk

 

005 WAR GRAVES WEEK IS COMING TO NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Nottinghamshire and offering free tours at Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham on Saturday May 28th.

War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Nottinghamshire and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The free guided tours will take place on Saturday 28th May at 9.30am and 12.30pm at Wilford Hill and will give people in Nottinghamshire the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried or commemorated in their community. War Graves Week provides a unique chance for the people of Nottingham to reconnect with their local history.

More than 200 casualties from Nottinghamshire are buried or commemorated at Wilford Hill.

On the tours, Nottinghamshire residents will learn about the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project – the focus of this year’s War Graves Week. Alongside the front-line armed forces, the CWGC will be celebrating the value those who served during the World Wars brought to key sectors such as health care, logistics, infrastructure and communications. To learn more about specific stories of those who served, and the parallels with today’s global Britain which they helped to create, please click here

Hear the stories of Nottingham air raid victims killed during the local blitz on May 9th 1941. Learn about local VCs John Joseph Caffrey, Charles Ernest Garforth and Harry Nichols.  Salute the sacrifices of local fighter pilot Arthur Roy Watson and bomber pilot Norman Powell.  Learn about the loss of HMS Curacoa tragically sunk in collision with the Queen Mary

The tours will be led by local resident, David Nunn, who is a (volunteer/public engagement coordinator) for the CWGC.  David Nunn said: “We’re delighted that Nottinghamshire will be taking part in CWGC’s War Graves Week. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Nottinghamshire is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I’d encourage everyone in Nottinghamshire to join one of the tours to reconnect with their local history to learn about the courageous ordinary people from our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The CWGC is encouraging the people of Nottinghamshire to seek out the stories in their local area and book onto a free tour this War Graves Week. To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/tours

006 WFR FLAG DONATION TO MUSEUM

Someone has donated an A Coy WFR flag to the museum.  However they did not put any details in as to who they are, in the package.  Would the kind donor, please contact the museum as this will enable them to process the item on the computer system as well as saying thank you. curator@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk
 

007 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families.

Details are as follows

Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc…

Set up before 08:15

Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free.

Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45

Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00

Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45

Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30

Dress:

civilian wear: casual

military wear:  (cadets) MTP

Car parking is available :

Free – event field, clearly signposted

Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day.

If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk
 

008 VETERANS TRIP TO THE NMA ON SATURDAY 16 JULY 2022

Nottingham Forest are planning a second trip to National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 16 July 2022: This complimentary trip (including lunch) is open to all Veterans and their partners / carers are welcome to join them.

Details as follows:

Leave Nottingham Forest: 09:30

Arrive Arboretum: 10:00 – 10:30

Lunch: 13:00 (2 courses choice of food on the day)

Depart Arboretum: 15:15 TBC

Arrive Nottingham Forest: 16:30

Please follow the link below to book your places.  Priority will be given for those unable to go on the last trip.  

https://bookwhen.com/forestforces/e/ev-sron-20220716090000

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 06 May 2022    WFRA NEWSLETTER       Volume 13 Issue 19

001 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE
The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance. The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs. Service starts 18:00hrs.
The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade. 
The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.
Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

 

002 JOB VACANCY As part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration of the Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens we have an existing opportunity to recruit a new Team Leader for the entire Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This post holder  will have strong leadership skills and  an experience in delivering and coordinating the grounds maintenance operations needed to maintain the site to Green Flag Standards. The new Team leader will lead a small team of Gardeners and will also be responsible for recruiting and training 2 paid work placements per year. The post holder will also support a programme of volunteering opportunities and deliver a programme of activities and events in line with the Lottery Funded Audience development plan. As the Memorial Gardens have a strong military association we are very keen to hear from people who may have served in the Armed Forces  or have a strong passion and understanding of Nottingham’s military history and the contribution our citizens have made to conflicts around the world throughout history.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity in more details please contact  Jane Barton on 07903 841511  or go to: https://jobs.emss.org.uk/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=19053

003 FOREST FORCES Suppoorting Nottinghamshire Veterans.  SOCIAL EVENTS - COFFEE MORNINGS - PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES - SUPPORT HUBFor more info contact:- community@nottinghamforrest.co.uk   0115 984444

004 WFR FLAG DONATION TO MUSEUM Someone has donated an A Coy WFR flag to the museum.  However they did not put any details in as to who they are, in the package.  Would the kind donor, please contact the museum as this will enable them to process the item on the computer system as well as saying thank you. curator@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk


005 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022 To celebrate the Queen’s  Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families. Details are as follows Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc… Set up before 08:15 Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free. Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45 Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00 Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45 Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30 Dress: civilian wear: casual military wear:  (cadets) MTP Car parking is available : Free – event field, clearly signposted Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day. If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk

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 29 April 2022     WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 13 Issue 18

OBITUARY 23491392 Pte Brian 'Adge' Harrison

It is with great sadness that we inform you that 23491392 Pte Brian ‘Adge’ HARRISON, of Hull, died on 8 March 2022, aged 83.  Adge joined The Sherwood Foresters on 2 October 1956 and served in the UK, BAOR and Malaya.  He was discharged from the army on 1 October 1967.  Following his discharge, Adge worked as a Council grounds keeper.  His funeral took place on 22 March at Hull Crematorium

OBITUARY 24653623 Pte Mark Anthony Johnson

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of 24653623 Pte Mark Anthony Johnson who passed away on 28 March 2022.
Mark enlisted in 1989 and served with B Company 3WFR at Sutton in Ashfield and HQ Company Chilwell with the Signals Platoon, he was discharged in 1999.  Mark's funeral was held on 26 April 2022.       

SERVICE OF THANKSGIVING A Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration for the life of Helen Waters, the wife of Colonel Robin Waters, is to be held at The Church of St Mary The Virgin’s Church, Upavon, Wilts on Thursday 5 May 2022 at 14.30 pm and afterwards for refreshments at The Ship Inn Upavon.
Donations in memory of Helen may be sent to Salisbury Hospice Charity, Odstock Road, Salisbury SP2 8BJ Tel 01722 416 353.

001 JOB VACANCY As part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration of the Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens we have an existing opportunity to recruit a new Team Leader for the entire Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This post holder  will have strong leadership skills and  an experience in delivering and coordinating the grounds maintenance operations needed to maintain the site to Green Flag Standards. The new Team leader will lead a small team of Gardeners and will also be responsible for recruiting and training 2 paid work placements per year. The post holder will also support a programme of volunteering opportunities and deliver a programme of activities and events in line with the Lottery Funded Audience development plan. As the Memorial Gardens have a strong military association we are very keen to hear from people who may have served in the Armed Forces  or have a strong passion and understanding of Nottingham’s military history and the contribution our citizens have made to conflicts around the world throughout history.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity in more details please contact  Jane Barton on 07903 841511  or go to: https://jobs.emss.org.uk/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=19053

002 WFRA SOUTHERN AREA MEETING
The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association Southern Area Meeting.
Will be held in the Lounge at Barbourne Ex Services Club, The Moors, Worcester. WR1 3ED.
Saturday 14th May 2022 at 11:15 for 11:30 start. Saturday 14th May 2022 This is your chance as Association members to channel any points or comments towards the Association Exec Committee which will meet in October before the Association AGM in October 2022.

003 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE
The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance.
The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs. Service starts 18:00hrs.
The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade. 
The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.
Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

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22 April 2022      WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 13 Issue 17

OBITUARY

457180 CAPTAIN ROBIN HITCHCOCK

Captain Robin Anthony Hitchcock died on 8th April 2022 in Ipswich Hospital aged 83. He had been ill for several weeks following an operation in the same hospital.

Robin Hitchcock was born on 25 May 1938 and after leaving school he joined the Hampshire Regiment  and then was selected for officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned into The Sherwood Foresters in August 1958, joining the 1st Bn in Malaya as a Platoon Commander in the last years of the Malay Emergency. He held the GSM clasp Malaya and the Pingat Jasa Medal.

He stayed with the battalion on its return to Crookham as an Anti-Tank Platoon Commander and then moved with the battalion on its posting to Holywood, Belfast. During this tour  Robin transferred to the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) in Muscat, Oman serving as a temporary Major in Suwayhan, a desert outpost between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

He returned to the 1st Bn in Colchester in 1965 as a Company 2i/c then, when the 1st Bn moved to Munster in Germany in their role as a Mechanised Infantry Battalion, he became Adjutant. The Battalion re-equipped with new AFV432 Mk II's as part of 6 Mechanised Brigade.

During this period Robin was remembered as a colourful character and those who knew him well will have many tales to tell.

On leaving the Army in 1968 prior to amalgamation he joined the Abu Dhabi Defence Force.

After this he joined  Brinkmann Tobacco, the German part of Rothmans Group in Hamburg before joining Carreras Rothmans in Bahrein in 1972.  He then moved to Saudi Arabia as the Country Manager based in Jeddah, before working directly for Ali Zaid Al Quraishi, the Carreras Saudi Distributor.

On retirement he moved to East Suffolk and lived in Iken and then Boyton where he was a British Legion representative doing much for the Suffolk Branch of the British Legion with General Sir Pat Howard-Dobson.

Robin's funeral takes place in St Andrews' Church, Boyton, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3LQ. on Friday 29 April 2022 at 2pm.

Letters of condolence should be sent to Robin's step-son:

Mr Toby Berridge, Richmond House, Gedgrave, Suffolk IP12 2BU or 07932 725133 or fionaberridge@btinternet.com

The family has also asked that people intending to attend the funeral contact Toby and Fiona so they have an idea of numbers for attendance at the church and for catering at a wake to be held afterwards at Richmond House.

FUNERAL DETAILS

The funeral of Mrs Margaret Leman, wife of Colonel Richard Leman the first Commanding Officer of 1WFR, will be at Semington Crematorium Devizes Road, Trowbridge BA14 6HL at 12.15 on Thursday 12th May, and afterwards for a Buffet Lunch at The Milk Churn Commerce Way, Melksham SN12 6AD (approx. 1 mile from The Crematorium). 

Condolences can be sent to James Leman at james@springgroundsfarm.com

001 MARTIN ROBINSON 50TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE

April marks the 50th anniversary of the death of 24163752 Pte Martin Robinson aged 21.  Martin was killed during an attack on Brandywell Army Base, Londonderry on 16th April 1972.

On Sunday 24th April at 10:30hrs there will be a service at St Clements Church, Hufttoft Road, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire which will be followed by a service at Martin's graveside at 12:00hrs.

There will also be a small remembrance service in Canada with Dave King at 08:00.

 

002 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE

The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance.
The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs.
Service starts 18:00hrs.

The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade.  The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.

Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

 

003 VETERANS IN SHEDS
 

Veterans in Sheds is an opportunity for veterans to meet like minded men aged 40+ who are ‘handy’ with tools, enjoy practical projects, and would benefit from some social activity. It’s also a great opportunity to learn new skills or help others learn something new. 

The group meets in Daybrook, Nottingham and new recruits are always welcome. Tools, materials, and refreshments are supplied and there is a small charge to cover costs.

The maximum group size is 6 per session. Booking is essential.

To find out more, please email activeveteransservice@ageuknotts.org.uk or call 07872 839 605.

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 15 April 2022    WFRA NEWSLETTER           Volume 13 Issue 16

OBITUARY

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ian Maule (Tim) Ffinch TD

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Ffinch TD at the Presentation of Colours to 3 WFR by The Colonel in Chief April 1977It is with great sadness that we inform you that 465087 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ian Maule (Tim) Ffinch TD died on Thursday 14th April 2022.  Born on 22nd October 1939, he started at Mons Officer Training School in November 1959 and was commissioned into 2nd East Anglian Regiment as a Second Lieutenant in May 1960; after commanding a platoon, he became Lieutenant Training BAOR in October 1961.  He was transferred to 5/8th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (TA) on 12th June 1963 as Platoon Commander from DSSC 2nd East Anglian Regiment (Reserve of Officers), transferring to The Mercian Volunteers in April 1967.  Promoted Captain on 1st April 1967, he assumed the appointment of 2i/c of a Rifle Company and, upon promotion to Major in April 1970, he took command of a Rifle Company.  He transferred to 3rd Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in April 1973 and, in May 1979, he took over as Battalion Second in Command.  Upon promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on 10th October 1980, he took over command of East Midlands University Officer Training Corps.  He became Sponsor Officer of D Company The Mercian Volunteers from April 1984 and of D Company 4th Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment from April 1988.  He was awarded the Territorial Distinction.
 Details of Tim's funeral are not yet known but anyone who wishes to write in condolence to his widow should write to Mrs Ingrid Ffinch, 7 John's Road, Radcliffe on Trent, Nottingham  NG12 2GW.

OBITUARY CAPTAIN ROBIN HITCHCOCK

We regret to announce the death of Captain Robin Hitchcock, late the Sherwood Foresters, in Ipswich Hospital on 8th April 2022. His funeral is to be held on Friday 29th April at 14:00hrs in Boyton, East Suffolk. An obituary and further detail will be in next week's Newsletter. Letters of condolence should be sent to Robin's step daughter: Mrs Fiona Berridge, Richmond House, Gedgrave, Suffolk IP12 2BU or 07932 725133 

OBITUARY Pte John Allan Platt It is with great sadness that we inform you that 4985623 Pte John Allan PLATT of Beeston, Nottingham died on 6 April 2022 aged 99. John enlisted into the Army on 3 March 1941 , initially joining The Sherwood Foresters until his transfer to The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 13 March 1943.  He served in North Africa from 1941-1942 and in Italy from 1942-1944  where on 23 November 1944 he was seriously wounded, believed to be when heading toward Bologna. He was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp, Italy Star, Defence Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal and was medically discharged from the Army on 17 August 1946.   Following discharge, John worked at Chilwell Depot (Chetwynd Barracks) and then as a messenger at Erricsons factory, Beeston.  He had been a member of RBL Beeston for 50 years. John’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 4 May at 1530 hours at Bramcote Crematorium, Coventry Lane, Beeston, NG9 3GJ. This will be followed by a wake at RBL Beeston, 16 Hall Croft, Beeston NG9 1EL. All Association members are invited to attend both and Standard Bearers are requested. 

OBITUARY
We regret to report that Mrs Margaret Leman, widow of Col RGA Leman the first CO of 1 WFR, died on 8 April 2022.  Letters of condolence may be sent to her younger son James@springgroundsfarm.com
 

OBITUARY Edward Claude HAWKINS (Eddie) At rest on 31st March at his home in Burslem, aged 84 years. The dearly beloved husband of the late Betty, formerly of Middleport, much loved dad of James, loved father-in-law of Deborah, treasured grandad of Gemma and Michael (Tiger), a dear brother, brother-in-law, uncle and friend.
Funeral cortege from Birch House for a service at Swan Bank Methodist Church, Burslem on Tuesday 26th April at 12:30pm.  Followed by interment in Carmountside Lawn Cemetery.
Will relatives and friends please accept this invitation and kindly meet at the church.
Family flowers only please, donations preferred for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. Donations and enquiries to Williamson Brothers Family Funeral Directors, Birch House, Birches Head Road, Hanley, ST1 6LH. Tel. 01782 212880.

 

001 THE MERCIAN REGIMENT QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
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THE MERCIAN REGIMENT
QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER Q1 2022

VIEW OUR NEWSLETTER ONLINE

PRINT-FRIENDLY NEWSLETTER

The next edition of the Mercian Regimental Quarterly Newsletter is now available for viewing.
 Our newsletter covers recent events over a three month period, with a look ahead on what is coming up within the regiment; including the battalions, the museums & associations.
 The newsletter is hosted online, which means that you can view it on your smartphone or tablet while on-the-go. A print-friendly version is also available above.
 We would like to extend a thank you to all who are involved with the MERCIAN regiment for your continued support.
Stand Firm, Strike Hard.
Kind regards,
RHQ Mercian

 

002 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE
The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance.
The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs.
Service starts 18:00hrs.
The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade.  The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.
Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

003 MALTA - 80th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GEORGE CROSS PRESENTATION

The Grand Harbour, Valetta
 On 15 April 1942, King George VI awarded the people of Malta the George Cross in recognition of their continuing and heroic struggle against repeated and continuous attacks during World War 2.

Malta was the first British Commonwealth country to receive the bravery award, which is usually given to individuals, and is second only in rank to the Victoria Cross. The George Cross was 'intended primarily for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted.
 Why was Malta so important to the Allies and Axis Forces?
Malta was of vital strategic importance as it is situated between North Africa and Italy, from there the Allies were able to sustain their North African campaign, The Navy’s Force K was based at Malta, from where ships and RAF aircraft could attack Axis convoys trying to supply their forces in North Africa. 
Since 1940, Malta had been under almost constant attack from German and Italian aircraft, day and night. Field Marshal Kesselring made his plans for Malta quite public that he wanted the island to be taken, and that his 2nd Air Corps (Fliegerkorps II) was capable of achieving this. An invasion in 1941 was foiled when coast defenders spotted Italian torpedo boats.  
In early 1942, Hitler ordered Malta to be ‘neutralised’ in preparation for a German invasion. The Luftwaffe carried out hundreds of air raids on the island, and from January to July 1942, there was only one 24 hour period when no bombs fell on the island.
Malta holds the record for suffering the heaviest, sustained bombing attack of WW2 of 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs. During the entire time, the island’s population of 270,000 were unerring in their refusal to capitulate.
How did this affect the people of Malta?
Food was in extremely short supply, fuel was restricted to military use, and ammunition was running so low that only a few rounds could be fired each day from anti aircraft guns.
The people of Malta were on the brink of starvation, and spent so much time in underground shelters that health standards declined, and malnutrition and scabies became widespread. Medical supplies were also scarce. Whole families dug their way into the sandstone, and made homes in stifling underground shelters.
The war left the island devastated, with over 10,000 buildings damaged or destroyed, and the docks at Valetta heavily damaged. Thousands were injured, and it took several decades to rebuild the economy.
 The George Cross
The George Cross was instituted by King George VI in September 1940 as a replacement for the Empire Gallantry Medal, and as a civilian equivalent of the Victoria Cross. It was awarded for ‘acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger’ and ‘which we desired should be highly prized and eagerly sought after’.
The award for the island of Malta was announced by Buckingham Palace with the publication of a citation written in the King’s hand in a letter to General Sir William Dobbie GCMG, KCB, DSO, the Governor of Malta. The award was not, however, formally gazetted.
In his message to the island's Governor, King George VI said: “To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history.”
Dobbie accepted the award with these words: "By God's help Malta will not weaken but will endure until victory is won." 
The George Cross was formally presented to the people and garrison at a ceremony on the Palace Square in Valletta on Sunday 13 September. The delay was due to the need to wait for the raids to have declined in intensity. Dobbie had been replaced due to ill health by John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort VC, KCB, DSO, MC, who took the George Cross to the island. 

The end of the siege
In May 1942, Germany prematurely declared that Malta had been ‘neutralised’ and diverted the Luftwaffe elsewhere. In the brief lull that followed, over 60 RAF Spitfires arrived on the island, together with other reinforcements. 
Conditions started to steadily improve for the people of Malta, as supplies began to get through. On 15 August 1942, a British convoy, Operation Pedestal, fought it's way to the Grand Harbour to bring 32,000 tons of supplies to the islanders. It became known as the Santa Marija Convoy, after the national religious festival. There were heavy casualties and much damage to the escorted convoy due to constant aircraft and submarine attacks; of the 14 merchant ships that set out, only 5 survived, and 4 warships were also sunk. So vital was an oil tanker carrying fuel for submarines and aircraft based at Malta it was lashed between two Royal Navy destroyers, after its engine room was destroyed, so it could complete the journey.
For his actions during Operation Pedestal, Vice Admiral Edward Syfret was knighted for his 'bravery and dauntless resolution in fighting an important Convoy through to Malta in the face of relentless attacks by day and night from enemy submarines, aircraft, and surface forces.' 
The George Cross was awarded to Captain Dudley William Mason, master of the fuel carrying tanker Ohio: ‘The violence of the enemy could not deter the Master from his purpose. Throughout he showed skill and courage of the highest order and it was due to his determination that, in spite of the most persistent enemy opposition, the vessel, with her valuable cargo, eventually reached Malta and was safely berthed.’
Other awards, from the Distinguished Service Order to Mentions in Depatches, to mark the bravery of those who were part of the convoy, were gazetted on 6 November 1942.
Germany launched another all out offensive to take the island in October 1942, which failed. The siege of Malta was finally lifted in May 1943, when the Axis forces were faced with defeat in North Africa.

The George Cross is woven into Malta’s flag on the upper left hand corner, clearly visible when the flag is flown.King George VI’s message and the cross are on display in the War Museum in Fort Saint Elmo, Valletta.

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 VETERANS SUPPORT
The following are available to support veterans and their families who may be experiencing mental health difficulties;

Forcesline Tel: 0800 731 4880 (between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday)
Combat Stress (24 hours)
Veterans and their families; Tel: 0800 138 1619
Serving personnel and their families; Tel: 0800 323 4444
Samaritans (24 hours); Tel: 116 123


M A DACK
for Executive Committee



 

 

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