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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

18 September 2020      WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 11 Issue 40

OBITUARY

It is with sadness that I report the death of 23700992 LCpl John Desmond Harper of Chesterfield who died on 25 August 2020 aged 81.  Des enlisted into the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters on 28 February 1959 and served in Malaya and Singapore with MMG Platoon, then with Recce Platoon in NI, Libya, and Cyprus before leaving on 27 February 1965.  His funeral has taken place.

OBITUARY

It is with sadness that I inform you of the death of Mo Jones the wife of Arthur.  Mo Passed away at home.
Mo will be remembered for her support of the branch and for her baking, especially the mince pies at Christmas. Mo and Arthur held garden parties raising funds for the branch and other charities. She will be missed by all.

Letters of condolence can be sent to :-
Mr Arthur Jones
29 Oldbury Rd,
St Johns.
Worcester.
WR2 6AA

001 THE 95TH (DERBYSHIRE) REGIMENT OF FOOT

History

General Sir Colin Halkett, founder of the regiment, by William Salter

Formation

The regiment was raised by General Sir Colin Halkett as the 95th Regiment of Foot in response to the threat posed by the French intervention in Spain, on 1 December 1823. It embarked for Malta in March 1824 and was given a territorial designation as the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot in December 1825. It then sailed on to the Ionian Islands in January 1830; the headquarters was initially established in Corfu but moved to Vido in December 1831. The headquarters went back to Corfu in May 1832, to Cephalonia in April 1833 and back to Corfu again in June 1834. The regiment embarked for home in December 1834.
 
The regiment embarked for Ceylon in October 1838; the headquarters was initially established at Colombo but moved to Kandy in September 1841 and reverted to Colombo in January 1844. While in Colombo the regiment suffered from a serious epidemic of cholera: at least 63 soldiers died. The regiment transferred to Hong Kong in March 1847. In autumn 1848 the regiment lost nearly 40% of its strength to fever: representatives of Jardine Matheson provided extensive support in the form of the loan of boats and trips for convalescents. The regiment embarked for home in March 1850.

Crimea
The regiment embarked for Turkey in March 1854 for service in the Crimean War. It sailed on to Kalamita Bay in September 1854 and advanced under heavy Russian fire at the Battle of Alma on 20 September. Due to the heavy casualties suffered in this attack the Regimental colours, normally carried by an ensign, were seized by Private James Keenan: he planted them triumphantly on the earthwork of the Great Redoubt. The regiment lost some 20 officers and some 180 other ranks in the battle.

The regiment sustained further losses at the Battle of Inkerman in November 1854 and Major John Champion, who commanded the regiment during the battle, was killed in action. The regiment was also present at the Sevastopol in winter 1854, the regiment continued to sustain losses caused by the extreme cold and rampant disease. This led to the comment that: "there may be few of the 95th left but those few are as hard as nails." The regiment embarked for home in June 1856.
Indian Rebellion
The regiment embarked for the Cape of Good Hope in June 1857 but, within days of arriving in September 1857, it was sent on to India to help suppress the Indian Rebellion. The regiment took part in the capture of the entrenched town of Rowa in January 1858.  During the assault Private Bernard McQuirt became the first soldier of the Regiment to be awarded the Victoria Cross.  He was involved in hand to hand combat with three men. He fought valiantly, killing one and wounding another. In the midst of this combat, he was wounded six times, five by sabre cuts and the other by a musket shot.  Due to the severity of his wounds, he was returned to the UK and medically discharged. His Victoria Cross was gazetted on 11th November 1859, and he would receive his medal in person from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 4th January 1860, almost two years after his action. Following his investiture, he returned to Ireland, where he lived in obscurity, until his death on 5th October 1888, at his home, Urney Street in Belfast. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Belfast City Cemetery.  His grave was later marked with a headstone. 
 
The Regiment went on to take part in a skirmish at Kotah-ke-Serai in June 1858 during which the rebel leader, Rani of Jhansi, was killed. It also took part in the recapture of Gwalior later that month as well as several other actions during the Central Indian campaign.

The regiment remained in India until October 1870 when it sailed for England.
As part of the Cardwell Reforms of the 1870s, where single-battalion regiments were linked together to share a single depot and recruiting district in the United Kingdom, the 95th was linked with the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, and assigned to District No. 26 at Normanton Barracks in Derby. On 1 July 1881 the Childers Reforms came into effect and the regiment amalgamated with the 45th Nottinghamshire Regiment of Foot to form the Sherwood Foresters.
 
Battle honours
 
Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol & Central India
 
Colonels of the Regiment
 
The 95th Regiment of Foot
1823–1829: Gen. Sir Colin Halkett
 
The 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot
1829–1834: Lt-Gen. Sir Archibald Campbell, 1st Baronet GCB (of Ava)
1834–1838: Lt-Gen. Sir Charles Pratt KCB
 
The 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment
1838–1843: Lt-Gen. Sir John Buchan KCB
1843–1848: Lt-Gen. George Guy Carleton L'Estrange CB
1848–1850: Lt-Gen. Sir Richard Armstrong KCB
1850–1853: Gen. Sir John Bell GCB
1853–1868: Gen. Sir Francis Cockburn
1868–1869: Gen. John Ffolliott Crofton
1869–1871: Maj-Gen. Frederick Holt Robe CB
1871–1876: Gen. James Pattoun Sparks CB
1876–1881: Gen. John Studholme Brownrigg CB

 

002 ASSOCIATION AGM

The Association AGM 10th October at Lichfield is now cancelled. It is re scheduled for March 2021. 

003 WANTED
Does anyone have a Mercian buff jumper (size large/extra large) and a side hat for sale? 
Please contact Maj Tony Calunniato XO 4 Mercian on tony.calunniato765@mod.gov.uk

004 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

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

11 September 2020          WFRA NEWSLETTER                    Volume 11 Issue 39

001 HRH THE PRINCESS ROYAL
 

002 3WFR BRANCH WFRA - 2020 AGM & ALMA DINNER


This annual event for 3WFR Branch Members and guests has been postponed due to the current COVID-19 situation.  It is normally held on a Saturday evening close to The 20th of September. 
The Stepping Stones Centre has been under orders to stay closed until Monday 28 Sep 20 which has, in itself, reduced our options considerably. As you know the current national and local situation remains very fluid and unpredictable.
It is hoped that we can reconvene in the Spring of 2020 but even that cannot be guaranteed.
As The Branch only meets formally once a year this is extremely disappointing but Members and all 3WFR Veterans, including HSF Veterans, are strongly encouraged to support Regimental events once they recommence, including the planned WFRA Badajoz Dinner, in West Bridgford, rescheduled for April 2020, presuming it can go ahead.
It is hoped that everyone is safe and as well as can be expected. Please, by all means, contact Paul Hallett (contact details available) if you are struggling, or know of somebody who is. Alternatively post your news on the 3WFR Facebook Page.

003 NEW BENCHES AT CRICH

Sunday 6th September saw WFRA Chesterfield Branch hand over 10 benches to Crich . A branch member, Andy Bullock, was instrumental in the fundraising efforts and for this and his other sterling work he does for Crich and The Mercian Regiment, he was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by The Colonel of The Regiment, General Ian Cave CB. Following speeches from the Chair of Chesterfield branch, Mr Johnson, and the Chair of The Crich Trustees, Colonel (Retired) Cullen, the Assistant Regimental Secretary, Ms Clark, presented Andy with his certificate.

The benches have been placed around the grounds and are already proving popular as a rest point for visitors.

004 ASSOCIATION AGM

The Association AGM 10th October at Lichfield is now cancelled. It is re scheduled for March 2021. 

005 VETERANS TALKS

Veterans Talks is a place for like minded veterans to meet up on Zoom for a brew and a chat from the comfort of your own home.
If you are under lockdown, self isolating, struggle to get out or just need a chat please get in touch.

For further details please email comms@veterantalks.co.uk

006 VETERANS HUB

Police in Hucknall are reaching out to former members of the armed forces in a bid to break down barriers, help people in need and reduce crime.

The Hucknall Veterans’ Hub has been established by the Ashfield neighbourhood policing team to have more regular contact with former military personnel.

The drive to improve police links with veterans, including those who may need additional support, is part of the wider Hidden Communities outreach initiative which aims to increase proactive police contact with groups of people who may find it difficult to engage with the force.

The Hub, which is already working with around 20 local members, consists of a network of five locations in the Hucknall area – bars, shops and other high footfall locations. 

Once people are introduced to the scheme ongoing contact is made either in person, over the phone or via social media. Organisers hope in future to be able to hold larger group meetings in person.

PCSO Steve Timperley, who served in the British Army for 22 years, is leading the initiative on behalf of Nottinghamshire Police. 

He explained: “This is a cause really close to my heart as I know hard it can be for people to adjust to life in the civilian word once they leave the armed forces.

“In my experience when things go badly for people and they begin to struggle they become far more likely to come into contact with the police, either as victims or perpetrators of crime. 

“Although the police and armed forced share many things in common – pride in a uniform and service to the public chief among them – relations between the two can sometimes be difficult, either as a result of recent experiences or things that happened before people joined up. 

“I think it’s also fair to say that members of the armed forces are often very different to other members of society – which is probably why they joined in the first place. That means they can react in different ways to other people when they come into contact with the police.

“This initiative is all about breaking down those barriers and working to build better relations between veterans and the police. If that means that we just meet up regularly for a chat together then I think there is a real value in that. But if people do present with particular problems we will do our best to link them into local support before those problems get any worse.”

Mark Francis-Parry, landlord of the Beer Shack micro pub in Derbyshire Lane, Hucknall, is helping to spread the word about the initiative and has offered to host future meetings.

He said: “As a former soldier myself I think it’s a great idea so when Steve approached me about it I was keen to get involved in any way that I could. 

“We get plenty of people in here with both armed forced and police connections so in many ways we are a perfect location. I think this is a great way to reinforce the importance of community and it’s a nice feeling to be a part of it.” 

For more information about the Veterans Hub please email ashfieldcontact@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk

007 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

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

 04 September 2020      WFRA NEWSLETTER    Volume 11 Issue 38
 

001 FIELD OF REMEMBRANCE 2020

 The Field of Remembrance Opening Ceremony will be held on Thursday 5 November 2020 at Westminster Abbey, London.  Anyone wishing to attend and pay their respects at the WFRA Plot of Remembrance are asked to contact Ms Clark, the Assistant Regimental Secretary at RHQ Nottingham: Cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk  by no later than 1st September. 

Please note that due to Covid-19 and some building work at the Abbey, ticket numbers are more limited than normal and there may be some changes to details of the day which will be provided with the ticket. It is also to be noted that this is a ticketed event only with entry by no later than 1030 hours and travel to London is at the individuals cost.

002 MERCIAN REGIMENT 2021 CALENDAR PHOTO COMPETITION

The Mercian Regiment are hosting a photo competition for our 2021 Regimental calendar. We are looking to fill part of next year’s calendar with submissions from our Regimental Family.

If you wish to enter, the requirements are as follows:

Entrants must send their submissions to communications@mercianregiment.co.uk by no later than Wednesday 9th September 2020.

Photo entries MUST have relevance to the Mercian Regiment or its antecedents within the image.

Please include your full name so we can properly attribute yourself as the copyright holder of the image(s) should your image(s) be selected.

Please also include the following information: date the photograph was taken, location, and the name of the event taking place if the photo was taken at an event.

By submitting any photographs to us for this competition, you agree that you are the copyright holder of the image(s) and that you have the rights to allow others to use said image(s). You agree to allow us (The Mercian Regiment) permission to use said image(s) for the 2021 Mercian calendar.

Photos will be judged by a panel from the Regimental Headquarters, and winners will be announced in due course.

Winners whose image(s) successfully make it into the 2021 calendar will receive 5 free calendars!

 

003 GHELUVELT PARK COMMEMORATION & TREE PLANTING CEREMONY

On Wednesday 26 August the Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association held a ceremony in Gheluvelt Park to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the amalgamation of Worcestershire Regiment and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in 1970.  The proceedings started with a tree planting in memory of the late Maurice Smith, former Secretary of Worcester Branch W.F.R.A.

004 VETERANS TALKS

Veterans Talks is a place for like minded veterans to meet up on Zoom for a brew and a chat from the comfort of your own home.
If you are under lockdown, self isolating, struggle to get out or just need a chat please get in touch.

For further details please email comms@veterantalks.co.uk

 

005 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

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

 28 August 2020         WFRA NEWSLETTER     Volume 11 Issue 37
 

OBITUARY

It is with sadness that we report the recent death of Pte Raymond Nicholson who passed away on 25 July 2020 aged 82.  Raymond was born on 2 May 1938 and was a National Service soldier who served with the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters. He served in Malaya, N Ireland and the UK.  His Funeral took place on 10 August at Wilford Hill Crematorium.

Raymond's family have asked if any of our readers can remember him or have any photographs of him during his time with the regiment.  Please forward any photos to the editor, newsletter@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk
 

001 FIELD OF REMEMBRANCE 2020 - Amended Article

 The Field of Remembrance Opening Ceremony will be held on Thursday 5 November 2020 at Westminster Abbey, London.  Anyone wishing to attend and pay their respects at the WFRA Plot of Remembrance are asked to contact Ms Clark, the Assistant Regimental Secretary at RHQ Nottingham: Cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk  by no later than 1st September. 

Please note that due to Covid-19 and some building work at the Abbey, ticket numbers are more limited than normal and there may be some changes to details of the day which will be provided with the ticket. It is also to be noted that this is a ticketed event only with entry by no later than 1030 hours and travel to London is at the individuals cost.

002 MERCIAN REGIMENT 2021 CALENDAR PHOTO COMPETITION

The Mercian Regiment are hosting a photo competition for our 2021 Regimental calendar. We are looking to fill part of next year’s calendar with submissions from our Regimental Family.

If you wish to enter, the requirements are as follows:

Entrants must send their submissions to communications@mercianregiment.co.uk by no later than Wednesday 9th September 2020.

Photo entries MUST have relevance to the Mercian Regiment or its antecedents within the image.

Please include your full name so we can properly attribute yourself as the copyright holder of the image(s) should your image(s) be selected.

Please also include the following information: date the photograph was taken, location, and the name of the event taking place if the photo was taken at an event.

By submitting any photographs to us for this competition, you agree that you are the copyright holder of the image(s) and that you have the rights to allow others to use said image(s). You agree to allow us (The Mercian Regiment) permission to use said image(s) for the 2021 Mercian calendar.

Photos will be judged by a panel from the Regimental Headquarters, and winners will be announced in due course.

Winners whose image(s) successfully make it into the 2021 calendar will receive 5 free calendars!

003 NOTTS & DERBYS AREA MEETING

Due to the continuing Covid-19 situation the Area meeting scheduled for Saturday 5th September has been postponed until February / March 2021.
Further details will follow.
 

004 VETERANS TALKS

Veterans Talks is a place for like minded veterans to meet up on Zoom for a brew and a chat from the comfort of your own home.
If you are under lockdown, self isolating, struggle to get out or just need a chat please get in touch.

For further details please email comms@veterantalks.co.uk
 

005 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

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

 21 August 2020       WFRA NEWSLETTER        Volume 11 Issue 36

OBITUARY

It is with sadness that we report the recent death of 23133037 Pte Lawrence Thirlby. Lawrence was born on 30 September 1936 and was one of the last men to be called for National Service in the early 1960’s where he served for two years with the 1st - Battalion “The Royal Green Jackets”.  During the 1980’s he served for 10 years with the 4th Battalion W.F.R. Home Service Force.  He was discharged on 6 November 1989.  Lawrence became a member of Worcester branch in 1995.  He is survived by Alice, his wife of 47 years, and their three sons.

OBITUARY

It is with sadness that I report the death of Mrs June Bradshaw who passed away on 14 August.  June was a dedicated branch member and always accompanied her husband Derek on all Association events.  Her lively personality will be sorely missed by all who knew her.  June had also been an associate member of the Malay Veterans.

BRIGADIER A P WRIGHT

The family of Brigadier Tony Wright wish to thank all those who wrote letters of condolence to them. They have been very touched by the volume of correspondence and the sentiments that were expressed following Tony’s death. Thank you everybody.

CAPTAIN KEITH WHITTLE

Keith Whittle’s funeral will be a private family ceremony.  A Memorial Service is planned for 2021.  Further details will follow in due course.

001 FORESTERS LOTTERY RESULTS

July 20
1st – 37 Col P R Haslam £30.       
2nd – 4 Mr W J Edwardes £20.       
3rd – 16 Long Eaton WFRA £10. 

Aug 20
1st – 41 Col C N Cullen £30.       
2nd – 48 Brig S Banton £20.       
3rd – 71 Mrs S J Leverton £10.       
 
If you would like to join for a chance to support one of the museums and win?   A ticket costs just £24 for the year, this is payable in advance either by cheque (made payable to The Museum of the Mercian Regiment (WFR Collection) or preferably by bank Standing Order. Those electing to pay by Standing Order are asked to complete a form and return it direct to the Curator.   
 
All profits go to the Museum of the Mercian Regiment (Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Collection).  The lists of winners will be published on the WFRA Newsletter and contacted by the museum.  The prize money can be collected from the Museum Office or will be sent by post.  All members and supporters of the Mercian Regiment are eligible to take part with the exception of anyone involved in the organisation and administration of the lottery including RHQ Nottingham staff and their families. Tickets can be purchased by any eligible individual over the age of 16.  Tickets may also be purchased by a collective i.e. an Association Branch.  There is no limit on the number of tickets an individual or a collective may hold.  Please annotate on the joining form how many tickets you wish to purchase.

To be entered in the draw, please return the form which can be downloaded here,
http://www.stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk/pdf/upload/joining_agreement_2017.pdf
including it with a Standing Order Form or a cheque and send to:  
Museum of the Mercian Regiment (WFR Collection)
Foresters House
Chetwynd Barracks
Chilwell
Nottingham
NG9 5HA   

002 WORCESTER COMMEMORATION SERVICE
Worcester Branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association will be in Gheluvelt Park on the morning of  Wednesday 26th August 2020. Their first time together as a branch, (albeit more spaced out than usual due to the current restrictions on Covid-19) since the end of February 2020, when they celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the amalgamation of Worcestershire Regiment and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in 1970.

There will be a short ceremony to commemorate the Worcestershire Regiment and the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment at 10:50 hrs.

Proceedings will start with a tree planting at approximately 10:00hrs in memory of the late Maurice Smith, former Secretary of Worcester Branch W.F.R.A.  Maurice had a relative that died from wounds sustained in the Battle of Gheluvelt on the 31st October 1914, so Maurice had a special interest in ceremonies held at the Interpretative Feature and was one of the founders in the placing of the Worcestershire Regimental Stone in Gheluvelt Park that was unveiled on the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gheluvelt.  He also represented the branch on the Gheluvelt Park Stakeholders Committee.

The annual service to commemorate Vernon, France. Burma both WW2 and the Malay Emergency 1950. This year we will be taking the opportunity to lay a wreath at the WFR Memorial bench.
Order of Ceremony
Form Up - Standards around Memorial Stone and Members in Ranks facing Stone
Parade to Attention - Stand at Ease - ask Speaker to outline the ceremony and reading of Citation.
Parade -Attention - Standard Bearers – Carry Standards

Wreath Layer Lays wreath – Salutes and returns to Ranks

Speaker Gives Exhortation

Bugler Last Post

One Minute Silence

Bugler Reveille

The Kohima Epitaph

Fall out 
Citation 

Vernon
After the Falaise pocket had been dealt with in Normandy there was a dash by the 43rd Wessex Division in which the Worcestershire Regiment served, for the town of Vernon on the river Seine.

The French Resistance had kept the Germans from crossing the bridge back into Vernon. The Wiltshires had attempted the first crossing by boats on the right of the bridge, they got stuck on a mud bank and the covering smoke cleared they were consequently cut to ribbons from gunfire from the heights overlooking the river. A few troops landed. The Somersets attempted a crossing by boat on the left of the broken bridge and were stuck on a small island, they managed to get a toe hold on the far bank.

The Worcesters were tasked with crossing the broken bridge but were driven back by murderous machine gunfire. Dawn the following morning the Worcesters were tasked with crossing the bridge at 'All Costs'. When they crossed the machine gun post had been abandoned and managed to form a bridgehead. Lt Col. Taylor`s famous order of the day which included the words “…this position WILL be held to the last man and the last round.”  The bridgehead later expanded after passing Vernonette the Worcesters had a hard fought battle on the Tilly road with a German counter attack which included Tiger Tanks. One Tiger had been knocked out with the Battalions small six pounder gun. After the battle the 43rd Wessex Division pressed on north on the liberation of France.

Where the Tilly road battle took place there is a memorial of Malvern stone with brass plaques in the 'Worcesters layby' Dave Plant who is present today took the stone there.

The town of Vernon have their remembrance services on this day, placing flowers on the grave of the Worcesters and other Regiments who lost their lives.

Burma 1944 - 1945

Both the 2nd and 7th Battalions of the Worcestershire Regiment saw service in Burma during the Second World War. The 7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment were the first to see action arriving in April 1944 in the Assam region.

Following the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, who were in India, were then moved to Madras as there was the belief at the time that the Japanese would invade India across the Bay of Bengal. It was not until November 1944 that the 2nd Battalion finally advanced in to Burma.

On 1st April 1944 the 7th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment crossed the Brahmaputra river at Gauhati and entered the operational area of Assam, being the first troops of the Division on this occasion to taste the conditions of the Burma war.

They then moved on to railhead at Dimapur and on 2nd April a perimeter was formed to cover the approaches to Dimapur from the north. From 5th April onwards the Battalion was busy patrolling the Kohima road, working in with the armoured cars. The village of Zubza was reached by “D” Company in Motor Transport. Progress was on foot, the immediate objective being a blown bridge. In the darkness they failed to make their objective by dawn and were caught in an ambush, whereupon they concentrated at Zubza and were joined by the rest of the Battalion.

After the bloody battles at the Naga Village and Kohima the road into Burma became open and the Allies pressed on through Burma on the heels of the Japanese Imperial Army.

Malaya Emergency 1950 -1953

In February, 1942, after the Japanese had overrun Malaya and Singapore, the Malayan Communist Party offered its services to the British Government in organising a resistance movement. In this seemingly innocent offer lay the seeds of the Emergency. The proposal was accepted, and the Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army (M.P.A.J.A.) was formed. Some of its members had received guerrilla training from the British before Singapore fell, and during the war large quantities of arms and equipment were sent to them, although the actual military activities of the M.P.A.J.A. were very limited and largely defensive.

After the Japanese Surrender in 1945, the M.P.A.J.A. was disbanded and over 5,000 arms were handed in. However, a secret branch, about 4,000 strong, remained in being and kept their arms. It was the intention of the Malayan Communist Party (M.C.P.) to gain control of Malaya, using their secret force if other means failed. Their political expedients proved unsuccessful, and in May, 1948, they embarked on an armed insurrection, calling themselves the Malayan Races Liberation Army (M.R.L.A.), the majority of whom were former members of the M.P.A.J.A. They were, and are still, eighty per cent Chinese, the remainder being Malays, Indians, Indonesians and Siamese. Most of the officers had had previous military experience in the M.P.A.J.A.

In Malaya, patrols are usually carried out by platoons, operating independently or in conjunction with other platoons. Battalion operations are not uncommon and even brigade operations are occasionally mounted. Depending on the circumstances an operation might last a few hours or several weeks.

The armament of patrols varies considerably according to the type of operation, but in a section there is always at least one bren gun. Some grenade-firing rifles are carried.

On 27th May, 12 Platoon, “D” Company (2/Lt. W. O. Morris, R.A.O.C. att. 1 Worc. R.) 

In the morning the Platoon Commander, with two sections, set out once more in search of the enemy. They moved due West into the jungle and followed a narrow track, which had jungle on the left and felled jungle on the high ground to the right. The track was used by woodcutters who were engaged in cutting the jungle further back.

Having moved about a quarter of a mile into the jungle, the leading section came under very heavy automatic fire from the front and left flank. The patrol went to ground and returned the fire. In the first few minutes Private Dykes, the leading scout, was killed. The section commander (Corporal Stanton), two more privates (Hughes and Payne), and the Iban tracker (Awang anak Rawang), were wounded. The Platoon Commander shouted several times to Corporal Stanton to withdraw his section, but he received no reply. 2/Lt. Morris then moved back and deployed the rear section to the left; they then engaged the terrorists as best they could. 2/Lt. Morris moved forward again to investigate the state of the leading section. During this time he fired two complete magazines from his carbine. The Platoon Commander was killed shortly afterwards, but the Platoon fought on for about forty minutes, when the terrorists withdrew.

The sound of the firing had been heard back at the Company base, and the Company Commander, with two platoons, moved out and arrived at the scene of the action about an hour later.

During the action Private Hughes fell wounded in the middle of the track, and Awang anak Rawang, the Iban tracker, although wounded himself and lying in an exposed position, dragged Private Hughes under cover of a fallen tree. From behind the tree Awang defended Hughes and continued to engage the terrorists when they tried to approach. For his gallantry Awang anak Rawang was subsequently awarded the George Cross. He was the first, and at the time of writing the only, Iban tracker to receive such an honour.

A total of 21 are on the Roll of Honour who were killed in action or died whilst serving in Malaya. A memorial with the names on is in St Georges Chapel in Worcester Cathedral.

WFR

The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment served with distinction from 1970 - 2007,  in Northern Ireland, B.A.O.R,  Belize and Hurricane Greta, Cyprus, Falkland isles, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Plus numerous postings, training overseas and in the U.K. 

On essential duties, such as providing training for the British Infantry, covering Firemen`s strikes and Royal Duties in London.

On parade remembering their comrades will be former soldiers of WFR, also The Worcestershire Regiment and the Sherwood Foresters Regiment, (some from these two regiments also served in WFR) the Worcestershires and the Sherwood Foresters Regiments amalgamated in February 1970 to form W.F.R. who in turn was re badged into the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment in September 2007 and the Mercians are part of the spear head of today`s modern army.
 

003 ITEMS OF INTEREST
We have been contacted by John Knowles who has some items that may be of interest to the descendants of those noted below.
The first item is a radio programme broadcast on 17 September 1945 on Siam Radio by ex POW's including two ex Sherwood Foresters, by permission of Col H H Lilly, and also conducted by Pte Reg Dixon, 1/5th Sherwood Foresters.
Item two is an account by 4755432 Dmr H E Wilson, of Lewisham, who was a POW in Thailand on the railway and was on a Hell Ship being sent to Japan when it was sunk.  He was one of few survivors and I think dictated his account on the way to the USA after being rescued several days after the sinking by the US Submarine Sealion, which was the sub that sank them.  Dmr Wilson was listed as 1/5th Sherwood Foresters on the survivors list, along with Pte Andrew Wylie.
The original account is in the TBRC Museum in Kanchanaburi.

John can be contacted via email  johnbabsknowles@aol.com

004 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

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

 14 August 2020        WFRA NEWSLETTER       Volume 11 Issue 35

OBITUARY

461518 Captain Keith Brian WHITTLE         

Captain Keith Brian Whittle died on 10th August 2020 after a long and very courageous battle against cancer.

Keith was born in 1939, the son of a Sherwood Forester. His father was made a POW at Tobruk in 1942 returning to the UK in 1945 to be posted to the Depot in Derby. Keith attended school in Derby.

He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion The Sherwood Foresters from RMA Sandhurst in July 1959, thereby entering a regiment in which both his father and his brother served.

He joined the battalion in Malaya towards the end of the Malayan Emergency and was with them when they moved to Singapore as the Garrison Battalion. When the 1st Battalion returned to  be based in Church Crookham in 1963 Keith was seconded to the Sarawak Rangers, recruiting soldiers in Sabah, training them in Malaysia and being on active service with them during the Indonesian Confrontation (Konfrontasi).

He rejoined the battalion in Germany in 1966 when they were in the mechanised role as 2i/c B Company. As both he and his company commander had served in Malaya they were able to talk on the radio net in Malay, which not only confused the Russians but also their higher HQ! Keith also attended the AFV 432 Flotation Course and was skilled at ensuring the battalion’s vehicles could swim across the River Weser.

He left the Army in 1969 prior to amalgamation and served with the Abu Dhabi Defence Force before being employed by Carreras Rothmans as the company representative for the Gulf region. He then moved to work in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia until 1982.

In semi-retirement in Berkshire he was involved in property in London, local politics, including a spell with the local County Council, fund raising for Great Ormond Street and Marlborough College and partnership in family firms in The Netherlands.

He will be remembered as a larger then life character and will be greatly missed by his brother officers.

He is survived by his wife, Margot, who is currently in poor health in hospital, a son Mark and two daughters, Suzanne and Nicola. Letters of condolence should be sent ℅ Malmo, Waingels Road, Twyford, READING, Berkshire RG10 0UA. Details of funeral arrangements to follow.

OBITUARY

It is with sadness that I report the death of 24252201 Private Philip S Jolly aged 68.  Philip was born in 1952 and served with 1 WFR from 1969 until he was discharged 8 August 1975. 
The family have requested representatives from the Association top attend the funeral which will be held in Eastbourne.
Further funeral details to follow.

001 75th ANNIVERSARY VJ DAY

Victory over Japan Day
Victory over Japan Day (also known as V-J Day, Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in World War II, in effect bringing the war to an end. The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan's surrender was made – August 15, 1945, in Japan, and because of time zone differences, August 14, 1945 (when it was announced in the United States and the rest of the Americas and Eastern Pacific Islands) – as well as to September 2, 1945, when the surrender document was signed, officially ending World War II.

August 15 is the official VJ Day for the UK, while the official US commemoration is September 2. The name, VJ Day, had been selected by the Allies after they named VE Day for the victory in Europe.
On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan, aboard the battleship USS Missouri. In Japan, August 15 usually is known as the "memorial day for the end of the war" (Shūsen-kinenbi); the official name for the day, however, is "the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace" (Senbotsusha o tsuitōshi heiwa o kinensuru hi).
This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.
 Events before VJ Day
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. On August 9, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The Japanese government on August 10 communicated its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
The news of the Japanese offer began early celebrations around the world. Allied soldiers in London danced in a conga line on Regent Street. Americans and Frenchmen in Paris paraded on the Champs-Élysées singing "Don't Fence Me In". American soldiers in occupied Berlin shouted "It's over in the Pacific", and hoped that they would now not be transferred there to fight the Japanese. Germans stated that the Japanese were wise enough to—unlike themselves—give up in a hopeless situation, and were grateful that the atomic bomb was not ready in time to be used against them. Moscow newspapers briefly reported on the atomic bombings with no commentary of any kind. While "Russians and foreigners alike could hardly talk about anything else", the Soviet government refused to make any statements on the bombs' implication for politics or science.

In Chungking, Chinese fired firecrackers and "almost buried Americans in gratitude". In Manila, residents sang "God Bless America". On Okinawa, six men were killed and dozens were wounded as American soldiers "took every weapon within reach and started firing into the sky" to celebrate; ships sounded general quarters and fired anti-aircraft guns as their crews believed that a kamikaze attack was occurring. On Tinian island, B-29 crews preparing for their next mission over Japan were told that it was cancelled, but that they could not celebrate because it might be rescheduled.

Japan's acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration
The Potsdam Declaration, or the Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender, was a statement that called for the surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II. On July 26, 1945, United States President Harry S. Truman, United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chairman of China Chiang Kai-shek issued the document, which outlined the terms of surrender for the Empire of Japan, as agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference. The ultimatum stated that, if Japan did not surrender, it would face "prompt and utter destruction.

A little after noon Japan Standard Time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito's announcement of Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that "acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation would be coming soon", and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.  A nationwide broadcast by Truman was aired at seven o'clock p.m. (daylight time in Washington, D.C.) on Tuesday, August 14, announcing the communication and that the formal event was scheduled for September 2. In his announcement of Japan's surrender on August 14, Truman said that "the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan".  Since the European Axis Powers had surrendered three months earlier (V-E Day), V-J Day was the effective end of World War II, although a peace treaty between Japan and most of the Allies was not signed until 1952, and between Japan and the Soviet Union in 1956. In Australia, the name V-P Day was used from the outset. The Canberra Times of August 14, 1945, refers to V-P Day celebrations, and a public holiday for V-P Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial.
 
Public celebrations
After news of the Japanese acceptance and before Truman's announcement, Americans began celebrating "as if joy had been rationed and saved up for the three years, eight months and seven days since Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941" (the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), Life magazine reported. In Washington, D.C. a crowd attempted to break into the White House grounds as they shouted "We want Harry!"

In San Francisco two women jumped naked into a pond at the Civic Center to soldiers' cheers. More seriously, thousands of drunken people, the vast majority of them Navy enlistees who had not served in the war theatre, embarked in what the San Francisco Chronicle summarized in 2015 as "a three-night orgy of vandalism, looting, assault, robbery, rape and murder" and "the deadliest riots in the city's history", with more than 1,000 people injured, 13 killed, and at least six women raped. None of these acts resulted in serious criminal charges, and no civilian or military official was sanctioned, leading the Chronicle to conclude that "the city simply tried to pretend the riots never happened".

The largest crowd in the history of New York City's Times Square gathered to celebrate. The victory itself was announced by a headline on the "zipper" news ticker at One Times Square, which read "*** OFFICIAL TRUMAN ANNOUNCES JAPANESE SURRENDER ***"; the six asterisks represented the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the Garment District, workers threw out cloth scraps and ticker tape, leaving a pile five inches deep on the streets. The news of the war's end sparked a "coast-to-coast frenzy of [servicemen] kissing . . . everyone in skirts that happened along," with Life publishing photographs of such kisses in Washington, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Miami.

          
Celebrations in New York and London

Japanese reaction
On August 15 and 16, some Japanese soldiers, devastated by the surrender, committed suicide. Well over 100 American prisoners of war were also murdered. In addition, many Australian and British prisoners of war were murdered in Borneo, at both Ranau and Sandakan, by the Imperial Japanese Army.  At Batu Lintang camp, also in Borneo, death orders were found which proposed the murder of some 2,000 POWs and civilian internees on September 15, 1945, but the camp was liberated four days before these orders were due to be carried out.  Japanese forces remained in combat with Soviet forces on several fronts for two weeks following VJ-Day.
Ceremony aboard USS Missouri

The formal signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender took place on board the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, and at that time Truman declared September 2 to be the official V-J Day Representatives of the Empire of Japan aboard USS Missouri at the surrender of Japan.

Sherwood Foresters.
The 1/5th (Derbyshire) Battalion was a 1st-Line Territorial Army formation originally serving with the 148th Infantry Brigade, part of the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division. However, in December 1939, the battalion was reassigned to the 25th Infantry Brigade and saw service with the BEF in France and Belgium in 1940 and being evacuated at Dunkirk. In late 1940, it was again reassigned to the 55th Infantry Brigade, 18th Infantry Division. The Battalion, along with the rest of the 18th Division, was posted to Malaya in 1942 to defend the peninsula and the island of Singapore against the Japanese. After Singapore fell to the Imperial Japanese Army, the Battalion's men were among the thousands of Prisoners of war sent to work on the infamous Burma Railway where they suffered horrendous cruelty by their Japanese captors.  Those that survived were either held in Changi Jail or forced suffer inhumane conditions working in labour gangs in Hong Kong and Japan. Over 450 officers and men died in captivity.

Worcester Regiment
The 2nd Battalion was also a Regular Army unit. On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, it was stationed in British India, where it had been since December 1936. However, for most of the early years of the war the battalion remained there on internal security duties until August 1942, several months after the Japanese Empire had entered the war, and there the Battalion became part of the 64th Indian Infantry Brigade, serving alongside the 7th Battalion, 10th Baluch Regiment and 1st Battalion, 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles, both Battalions of the British Indian Army. The brigade was part of the 19th Indian Infantry Division, the "Dagger Division". Two battalions of the regiment fought in South East Asia Command the 2nd and the 7th.  Throughout it was a tale of fight and advance – never once was either Battalion forced back.  One action among many is memorable, it was at Merema near Kohima when the 7th Battalion forced the Japanese to retreat in 36 hours when they had been ordered to hold the position for ten days.

The War Cemetery in Kohima of 1,420 Allied war dead is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery lies on the slopes of Garrison Hill, in what was once the Deputy Commissioner's tennis court.  The epitaph carved on the memorial of the 2nd British Division in the cemetery has become world-famous as the Kohima Epitaph. It reads:
When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, we gave our today
The verse is attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875–1958), and is thought to have been inspired by the epitaph written by Simonides to honour the Spartans who fell at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.
 
In the last two months of 1944 the two Worcestershire Battalions advanced on the enemy taking different directions.  Leaving behind 350 miles of soil and dust once trodden by the Japanese. The 7th Battalion reached and crossed the Chindwind River at Kalewa.  Plumes of dust marked their progress across the sandy plain of Central Burma as the moved towards Shewbo.  Once there the grateful inhabitants presented the Battalion with a lacquered bowl now in the Regimental Museum.  Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion had completed one of the Burma Campaigns forced marches, covering 400 miles in six weeks arriving at Shewbo just after the 7th Battalion, who were there waiting for them with a meal laid out in the open on tables covered with parachutes as tablecloths.  The 7th Battalion moved towards the city of Mandalay for the South West but if would be the 2nd Battalion that would be involved in the fighting against the fanatical Japanese Imperial Army and the final recapture of the city. 
 
Post war
Some Japanese soldiers continued to fight on isolated Pacific islands until at least the 1970s, with the last known Japanese soldier surrendering in 1974.
Commemoration
Australia
In Australia, many use the term "VP Day" in preference to "VJ Day", but in the publication The Sixth Year of War in Pictures published by The Sun News-Pictorial in 1946, the term "VJ Day" is used on pages 250 and 251. Also an Australian Government 50th Anniversary Medal issued in 1995 has "VJ-Day" stamped on it.
China
As the final official surrender of Japan was accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China, which represented China on the Missouri, announced three-day holidays to celebrate V-J Day, starting September 3. Starting from 1946, September 3 was celebrated as "Victory of War of Resistance against Japan Day" September 3 is recognized as V-J Day in mainland China.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong was handed over by the Imperial Japanese Army to the Royal Navy on August 30, 1945, and resumed its pre-war status as a British dependency. Hong Kong celebrated the "Liberation Day" on August 30 (later moved to the Saturday preceding the last Monday in August) annually, which was a public holiday before 1997. After the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, the celebration was moved to the third Monday in August and renamed "Sino-Japanese War Victory Day", the Chinese name of which is literally "Victory of War of Resistance against Japan Day" as in the rest of China, but this day was removed from the list of public holidays in 1999. In 2014, the Chief Executive's Office announced that a commemoration ceremony would be held on September 3, in line with the "Victory Day of the Chinese people's war of resistance against Japanese aggression" in mainland China.
 
Korea
Gwangbokjeol, (meaning "the day the light returned") celebrated annually on August 15, is a public holiday in South Korea. It commemorates Victory over Japan Day, which liberated Korea from Japanese rule. The day is also celebrated as a public holiday, Liberation Day, in North Korea, and is the only public holiday celebrated in both North & South Korea.
 
Mongolia
Victory over Japan Day is celebrated with duality in Mongolia. It also celebrates the victory of Soviet and Mongolian forces in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. The anniversary of the battle was first celebrated in 1969, and was periodically celebrated on a massive scale every 5 years until its 50th anniversary in 1989, after which it dwindled in importance and was reduced to the level of academic debates and lectures. It was only recently that the anniversary made a resurgence in Mongolian history. It is jointly celebrated by the Mongolian Armed Forces with the Russian Armed Forces. During the 70th, 75th and 80th anniversaries in 2009, 2014 and 2019 respectively, the President of Russia has taken part in the celebrations alongside the President of Mongolia as part of the former's state visit to the Mongolian capital.
 
Netherlands
The Netherlands has one national and several regional or local remembrance services on or around August 15. The national service is at the "Indisch monument" (Dutch for "Indies Monument") in The Hague, where the victims of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies are remembered, usually in the presence of the head of state and the government. In total, there are about 20 services, also in the Indies remembrance center in Bronbeek in Arnhem. The Japanese occupation meant the twilight of Dutch colonial rule over Indonesia. Indonesia declared itself independent on August 17, 1945, just two days after the Japanese surrendered. The Indonesian War of Independence lasted until 1949, with the Netherlands recognizing Indonesian sovereignty in late December of that year.
 
North Vietnam
On the day of the surrender of Japan, Hồ Chí Minh declared an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
 
Philippines
In the Philippines, VJ Day is celebrated annually on September 3 and is called the "Surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita Day". The province of Ifugao has observed every September 2 as "Victory Day", commemorating the valor of Philippine war veterans and the informal surrender of General Yamashita to the joint Filipino-American troops led-by Cpt. Grisham in the municipality of Kiangan on September 2, 1945.
 
Russia / Former USSR
It was introduced as a holiday by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on September 3, 1945 (the day after the surrender of Japan). The only celebration that was held in the days that followed was a parade of the Red Army in Harbin. In 1945 and 1946, this day was a national holiday. In subsequent years, it became a working day and no celebrations were held on this occasion. In modern Russia, Victory over Japan Day is considered a memorable date and is celebrated as one of many Days of Military Honour. In recent years such as in 2017, bills in the State Duma have proposed making it a national holiday.

A military parade of the Eastern Military District is annually held in the cities of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk of Khabarovsk, being one of the one of the only parades being held on this day. Parades have also been held on September 2 in the federal subjects of Russia that celebrate the annuversary of the Battles of Khalkhin Gol, such as Buryatia, Yakutia and the Altai Republic. In the breakaway Moldovan-republic of Transnistria, Victory over Japan Day is jointly celebrated with their Republic Day celebrations, which take place on the same day.
 
United States
Although September 2 is the designated "V-J Day" in the entire United States, the event is recognized as an official holiday only in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, where the holiday's official name is "Victory Day", and it is observed on the second Monday of August. There were several attempts in the 1980s and 1990s to eliminate or rename the holiday on the grounds that it is discriminatory. While those all failed, the Rhode Island General Assembly did pass a resolution in 1990 "stating that Victory Day is not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki."
V-J Day was initially commemorated all throughout the rest of the United States every year on September 2, beginning in 1948 and continuing until 1975, when Arkansas became the last state (other than Rhode Island) to drop the holiday. According to WPRI-TV, the reason for abolishing V-J Day in every state other than Rhode Island was economic. There was even a debate over whether or not even Rhode Island would abolish V-J Day. Since then, V-J Day has not been officially commemorated in any other state.

World Peace Day
It was suggested in the 1960s to declare September 2, the anniversary of the end of World War II, as an international holiday to be called World Peace Day. However, when this holiday came to be first celebrated beginning in 1981, it was designated as September 21, the day the General Assembly of the United Nations begins its deliberations each year.002 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
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