THE NATIONAL MALAYA & BORNEO

VETERANS ASSOCIATION

 NEWSLETTER

JULY 2004

 

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL PATRON

General Sir Garry Johnson KCB OBE MC

 National President

Mr David Neil

4thQueens Own Hussars

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOUNDED
1st June 1994
 
NATIONAL CHAIRMAN 2003
Mr Frank Rhodes
Royal Army Ordanance Corps

 


Letter from the Patron

In June I had the privilege and pleasure of accompanying a group of Veterans to the Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of D Day in Normandy.  It was a moving and enjoyable experience for al concerned, but it will also be the last of the big official ceremonies for that event.

 In the next few years the attention of the nation will turn more and more towards the turbulent period which followed the Second World War, as the Veterans of those campaigns reach retirement age and have time to reflect on their past adventures.

 Veterans groups such as ours will be increasingly prominent at this development builds momentum.

 The NMBVA will move into the new era in a most positive way with the installation of our National Memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral next year.  I congratulate all concerned with initiation and pushing forward this great project, and look forward to seeing very many of you at the unveiling ceremony.

 We already have a thriving Association.  What we should do now is build on this sound base and increase our membership.  What could be a better way to celebrate the installation of the Memorial next year than by every existing Member recruiting one additional new member?  That shouldn’t be too difficult a target to meet.  Should it?

 Garry Johnson


 The President’s Summery

 Dear Members

 It is time once more to look back over the past year and reflect on the highs and lows that the Association has experienced.  Sad to say, I feel that the lows have a slight edge overt the highs and the main reason for this I feel, would be the loss of some very prominent personalities.  The loss of any member is in itself a great sadness and in that respect, we are all equal, so when I say ‘prominent’ I mean those that were widely known throughout the Association.  I will not name them all in this summary for their names will stand out in the obituaries.  I am sure that I speak for all in extending to those loved ones our deep sense of sadness.  We Will Remember Them.

 I would also wish to refer to the tragic accident that happened back in June which resulted in dreadful injuries inflicted on the Association Regalia Officer, Mr Peter Randall. MBE. GM.  Those who knew Peter will be well aware of his tenacious and determined character.  Let us all hope and pray that it will bring him through once more.  I hope that I speak for all when I send our good wishes to his wife Rose, son Peter and his devoted Daughter and Son-in-law, also a very big ’Thank you ‘ to Violet and Alan Atkins for the kind and generous support they have unstintingly given to Rose and her family.

 On the plus side, membership has continued to increase and we appear to be developing stronger bonds with our Malay and Gurkha Comrades.  The media seem to be much more interested in our activities and what we stand for.  One hopes that this will be of benefit to the Association.

 I will draw my observations to a close by saying a few ‘thank you’s’.  My first would be to the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer and all the members of the Executive for their work and dedication to bring the Association through another year in which they did with dignity and wisdom.  They are to be commended. There are so many who are deserving of praise for their loyalty and work in the advancement of the Association, most of whom would be embarrassed should I name them.  Therefore, rest assured that I know who they are and my respect for them knows no bounds.

 Last, but no means least, my most deep and sincere thanks to our Patron for his unstinting support to me and in turn, to the whole membership.  His wisdom and leadership is without equal.  We are truly fortunate to have such a leader.

 I will now close and hope that I will be meeting you all again at the Reunion or at St Paul’s but those of you that cannot be there, I wish you all that is good in life.

 Yours in Comradeship

David Neil

Hon National President


THE NATIONAL MALAYA & BORNEO

VETERANS ASSOCIATION

SEPTEMBER 2004

 Over the past few years, I have been proud to associate myself with the National Newsletter.  It was supposed to have been started in 1996, but never got off the ground until I was asked to compile it in 1998.  The first one that was issued came out in 1999 and was so disastrously edited that I refused to do it again unless I had full control of it.  I am pleased to say that it has (I hope) improved much since then.  I have often asked myself, “what happened to all the £2’s that was paid with our subscriptions in the early days for the Newsletter that we never got?

 2004 has been quite turbulent year for many people, including yours truly, but it is very heart warming to know that there are people out there that will offer a helping hand if it is needed, the only trouble being that old warriors such as ourselves are reluctant to ask for it because it may detract from our image of being “hard” and, of course, none of us are if the truth be told, we just like to think we are.

 More of our Comrades have left our parade ground this year, good men and women all, they will be sadly missed I am sure, but it is certain that they will not be forgotten but the rest of us.  As we grow older we tend to forget that the modern population are not schooled in the same history as we were.  The First World War will always have first place in history books for the destruction it caused in human life, (the “War to end all Wars’ that caused the Second World War and all the little ’Wars’ after that) but the rest of them will ultimately be placed in the “forgotten” file along with the men and women that fought in them, all that will be left will be photos and memorabilia that is passed down the family line.

 I don’t know if you realise it, but this year finds us at he 10th Anniversary of the formation of the NMBVA. From the original five Branches that started (Swansea being one of the first) we have now grown to twenty-three with more to come so I am to believe.  The Continental arm of the Association has also expanded a little more and are well set up, Australia has managed to get their Government to recognise the NMBVA and have elicited several good benefits from them.  Alas, our Government doesn’t want to know and wishes we would go away.  I cannot see why, with all our connections, we can’t have some sort of ‘Lobby’ in the Commons on our part, but then perhaps it’s wishful thinking.

 I don’t know if this will be my last Newsletter for the Association. I’d like to think not but the times are changing and there will be new faces on the Committee after the AGM that wish to do if differently.  I am willing to carry on with it if wanted, it will have to be up to the Committee to sanction it or have someone new.  I have, in some ways, enjoyed the experience and it allowed me to get to know how some of the Branches ‘tick’ so to speak.  There is always the chance that some of the information contained will be of benefit to someone.

 I was very sorry to hear about the young serviceman who was brutally killed in Iraq.  I am sure that our hearts go out to his family and that he will not go unsung.  It was said that he has only had three months training for such a perilous job, I wonder what they would have said if it had been less than a month in which to fight jungle hardened troops as we had to do, and who had been trained by the British to boot.  It is very easy for some people to forget, especially the Government.

 It has been reported that a new ‘Veterans Badge’ is to be launched and after the WW1 & WW2 Veterans have been given theirs, and quote, ‘if there is sufficient demand, consideration may be given to extending the eligibility to Veterans of more recent Campaigns’, unquote, which sounds like Korea and Malaya are out of it again in my way of reading it.

 I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed the Newsletter for the past few years, and long may it carry on, but time and age, work so hard against us that we have to relinquish responsibility so that new ideas can be bought out.  If this is to be my last, I want to thank you all for the wonderful support that you have given me and the numerous jokes, letters and memories.  It has been hard at times, but you have all been great in your help and contributions.  I leave you with this thought:-

Felicitas multos habet amicos – Pax Vobiscum

Thank you and God bless you all

The Editor


                                    MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
                                   VETERANS ADVICE UNIT
                                    ROOM 4/4
                                    Metropole Building
                                    Northumberland Avenue
                                    London
                                    WC2N 5BL                                                            Tel:       08456 020 302

 

All Associations


The Veterans Advice Unit (VAU) was formed on 5 October 1998 and, having reached our anniversary, we would like to take the opportunity to reintroduce ourselves.  The Unit is manned by 3 serving Warrant Officers, one from each of the Services, and it is essentially a MOD telephone helpline where callers can seek advice on where and how to obtain expert advice on issues that concern the veteran community.  We are pleased to answer calls from individuals who have served for any period of time in the Armed Forces or from their dependants.

There are many Government departments, Associations and Charities which can play a part in assisting the veterans community, and the main effort of the VAU is to direct people towards the agency that is best placed to help them.  To date, the VAU has answered over 13500 calls from veterans and their dependants.  A high percentage of calls received are queries on pensions, war pensions, medals and tracing family or friends but we receive questions on a diverse range of topics.

 The helpline number is 08456 020 302 and the office is open Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700 hours.  There is an answerphone operating at nights and weekends.  The Unit can also take queries on the internet at the following email address:            veteransadvice@veterans.mod.uk

M Robson

            WO1


September 2004

Due to the unfortunate resignation of Mr Lewis, the elected National Secretary after the Delegates meeting in January, I was again asked to take over the duties of this office.  A great deal of miss-information  was being put about and it seemed that a no-one knew what was happening.  Fortunately, as I have had to jump in the breech twice before and I had a few duplicate files, I was able to make some headway into the upset that had been caused.   I hope that I have managed to answer the questions you have raised and sent you the information that you have asked for, if not, then I offer you my  most respectful apologise.

When I joined, I joined for the comradeship and to make new friends, what I have been subjected to has made my Wife and I very distressed, disillusioned and with little heart to carry on.  This Association began with an idea that was built upon be dedicated men and women who gave time, money and skills to make it work and work it did for several years in as much, that it was taken up all over the World.  Then came the ‘troubles’.  Since then, many members have shown their dissent at the AGM being hi-jacked with arguments and bad feelings that they no longer wish to take part.  Who can blame them?  It was not what they joined for.  If this Association wants to carry on, it needs strong men at the helm who will broke no more of the people that want to wreck it, but these are now hard to find because of the way in which some people are unable to realise that hard and unpalatable decisions have to be made.

The NEC is elected to take care of the Association business and to administer its constitution.  It is not written in stone and can be changed at any time with the consent of the membership at the AGM.  All of its Officers are VOLUNTEERS, not highly paid or re-imbursed for their efforts.  They can make mistakes the same as anyone else and try to correct them, BUT, there are those that will not ask their questions in a sane and confidential manner to get the answers they require, instead they will rely on hearsay and innuendo as well as other means.  No Committee can carry on without full backing of its members and it is the members that make policy not the Committee, they only implement that policy.  The Association is what the members make it and it is up to them, not the NEC, to rid themselves of the trouble-.makers and malcontents.  The 2004 AGM is the make or break time and you will vote in the Committee, so be very sure that it is a Committee that will work for you and with you, you will only have yourselves to blame if you choose unwisely.

There are those that will say that this letter is insulting their intelligence, I assure you, it is not and is not meant to do so.  There are those that will argue that I have singled out individuals, again, I have not and never meant to do so, but if those same people could use the skills and intelligence to work for the Association, it would be the best in the World bar none.  Think about it.

Friends are earned not bought, and I am proud to be associated with you.  For those that have given me encouragement and hope, thank you so much.  For the rest, I hope that you will realise that you have something good, don’t destroy it, it is up to you

John W Martland

National Secretary


The National Membership Secretary’s Report

 Since taking over the responsibility as Membership Secretary 2 years ago I have been trying to get all members into a Branch, unfortunately this has proved more difficult than expected due to lack of Branch’s in some areas.  I have contacted members in Scotland, Liverpool and Exeter areas asking if anyone would be interested in starting a Branch in their area, unfortunately no-one is prepared to take on the responsibility. I have offered to travel to their location and assist them in starting a Branch, but nothing has materialised.

 Now to what we have achieved, since last July we have had 86 new members join.  The membership now stands at 3374 recorded on the database.  There are still a few members coming to light that have paid their joining fee and never received a membership card, and a few that have membership numbers but not on the database.  These have all been rectified.  Of these 86 new members, 38 of them have come directly from the National Website.

 Over the past year I have been notified of 28 Members that have sadly passed away.  I thank all the Branch Secretary’s that have notified me of deaths, and member’s change of address for their Branch.  This is most important so that we can keep an accurate list of membership.

 As some of you are aware my wife Annie runs the National Website, which has proved very popular, over 10,000 visits have been made to the website since last June. As previously mentioned we have enrolled 38 new members through the site.  We have been successful in re-uniting 7 old comrades, so if you are looking for someone email Annie at webmaster@nmbva.co.uk or write to me.

 What else will you find on the website? Stories from members, War Graves, Roll of Honour, list of Branches and contact details, photographs and much more.  The site is there to promote the Association and without the members input would not be the success it is, so thank you to all members that have contributed, and a special thanks to George Tullis who has compiled the complete War Graves list.

 Website address is www.nmbva.co.uk

 Please feel free to contact me at any time should you require my assistance in anyway.  I must point out that I cannot give out other Members contact details without their permission, this is in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

 I also have an e-mail address if there are any members who wish to contact me:

mem.sec@nmbva.co.uk

  Fred Burden

National Membership Secretary


NATIONAL MALAYA AND BORNEO VETERANS

ASSOCIATION

PONTYPRIDD AND DISTRICT BRANCH

NATIONAL REPORT – 2003-2004

Since the Branch’s last National Report of July 2003, there have been developments in its growth and programme of activities.  Membership stands at 38 with an average of 20 attending our monthly meetings.

 The Branch keeps close contact with our neighbouring Branches, especially Bridgend and Swansea, having visited Bridgend for Social Evenings on 3 occasions and Swansea once.  They, in turn have visited us on 2 occasions, one being our successful first Annual concert last November.

 In January we received a Grant from ‘Awards for All Wales’ (Lottery), to purchase administrative equipment and to visit the Military Museums in Winchester.  We now have a Laptop for mobile administration, a digital projector which can be driven by the Laptop to give visual presentations during our meetings, and an all-in-one Printer, Copier and Scanner.

 On the 24th February, 35 members travelled to Winchester to visit the Museums, housed in the old Peninsular Barrack, with an overnight stay in a nearby Hotel.  We had a particularly warm welcome from Major Gerald Davies, the Curator of the Gurkha Museum.  We also had an excellent tour of the Museum led by an enthusiastic Staff, who also provided a tasty buffet and drinks.  There was also an opportunity to visit the Regimental Museums of the Light Infantry, The Royal Green Jackets, the King’s Royal Hussars and the Adjutant General’s Corps, all housed within the barracks.  The visit was unfortunately marred by the sudden death of Bill James, the Swansea Branch Secretary, while in transit to join us for our trip.

 In March, as the Lottery refused to fund a Branch Standard, we purchased a Standard paid for by Branch funds and generous donations from members.  We are in the process of planning to have the Standard Dedicated in St. Marks, Pontypridd on October 7th this year at 18.00hrs.  In order to facilitate our guest’s travel arrangements we are also having our Annual Concert on the same evening starting at 20.00hrs.

 Sadly on of our most stalwart members recently passed away. Keith Johnson, who was big in stature and big in heart, died on April 4th.  Keith served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Malaya in the same Platoon as our Vice-Chair, Brian Vaughan, who recalls Keith carrying the Bren-Gun on his shoulder for hours as though it was a walking stick!  The esteem in which Keith was held was reflected by the large turnout of NMBVA and RWF Association members at his funeral.

 The Branch, now well established, look forward to 2005 to increasing our range so as to offer members more than just a monthly meeting.  We also intend to keep in close touch with our membership – those who cannot attend meetings due to infirmity, and even those who do not wish to attend.

 Brian Roche – Branch Secretary


LEEDS BRANCH REPORT 2003-2004

The Branch is still regularly attended and in the last 12 months we have had several new members;

Ron Philips                                        Paul Kitchin (Postal)

Paul Thompson                                  Arthur Waymouth (Postal)

Keith Pilmoor

The Standard Bearer Malcolm Rudge-Priestly has paraded the Standard at the AGM in Blackpool, the Aboretum, Remembrance Day in Headingley, Combined Services Reunion in Bridlington, Eden Camp and recently Northallerton for the Memorial Dedication organised by Trevor Kershaw.

 Every three months the Branch holds a Social Meeting where all the members bring in some sort of refreshment, be it chicken drumsticks or trifle.  The beer is free on that day and a good time is had by all the members.

 One of our members, John Gregson managed a trip to Gods Little Acre this year in Malaysia and laid a wreath on behalf of the Branch.  He also laid a Wreath in the Gurkha Cemetery.

 The Launceston Branch of the NMBVAA in Tasmania sent us one of their Branch Plaques along with their good wishes.

 The Branch returned the favour by sending them a plaque, plate and an embroidered white shirt to be auctioned off for  their funds.

 We now have set up  a link with the Tasmanian Branch which we hope to continue.

 It is hoped that the AGM this year will be a good  one and all the problems of the past will at long last be sorted out.

 (T.M. Devine)

Secretary

COLCHESTER & DISTRICT BRANCH

Secretary’s Annual Report

 Since this time last year our Branch Membership has increased considerably from 130 members to 166, which include 2 from Canada, 1 from Denmark and 1 from Australia.  We have a good attendance at Branch Meeting with on average between 35 and 40 turning up.  Unfortunately we have lost 4 members, Fred Stacey, William Bramdreth, Alfred Suanders and Raymond Walker. The Social Committee have done an excellent job at organising functions and ways of bringing funds into the Branch.  There latest enterprise is holding boot fairs, which has raised considerable funds for the Branch.

Last October we were lucky with our Lottery application and received £1685 to buy a computer, printer and photocopier. 

 Well what have we been up to? 

 July 03            15 members attended the National AGM/Reunion weekend in Blackpool.

 August 03       Members of the Branch attended the Minden Day Parade at Bury St Edmunds, with an information tent run by Fred, Annie and Dave to promote the Association.  A tombolla was held and raised £139, the money was donated to Special Care Baby Unit at Colchester Hospital.

Members attended the funeral of Fred Stacey.

 October 03      Bought Computer, printer and photocopier with Lotttery Grant

 November 03    4 members attended the Cenotaph Parade in London.

80 members and their wives attended the Annual Branch Dinner at Goojarat Barracks.

December 03    We held our Christmas disc in the Sergeants mess, with a buffet laid on by the mess.  Well attended again and the raffle raised £120. 

 January 04      Fred & Annie attended the Delegates Meeting in Coventry

 February 04    Fred & Annie represented the Branch at the Tri-Service Memorial Dedication Service at Holywood Barracks in Northern Ireland.

 April 04           George Towns, Standard Bearer paraded the Branch Standard at the Suffolks Dedication Service held in Felixstow.

 May 04           The Branch Committee presented the Special Care Baby Unit at Colchester Hospital with a cheque for £250 that had been collected at the Branch meetings.

The Social Committee held their first Boot Fair and raised £186 for Branch funds.

 July 04            The Branch is holding a Social Evening at the Garrison to include an auction, all items have been donated by Colchester based companies.

 August 04       Once again a number of Branch members will be attending the Minden Day Parade.  Information tent with tombolla to raise Branch funds.

30 members attending a day out at the Military Correction Training Centre in Colchester

 September 04 A number of Branch Members will be attending the AGM/Reunion weekend in Coventry.

 Fred Burden

Branch Secretary


SWINDON BRANCH

It has not been a bad year but it could have ended better.  The hard core of loyal members still attended our monthly meetings although actual attendance were down a bit.  However, the comradeship and friendship is still as strong as ever.

Due to personal reasons I have failed dismally at keeping ‘Postal members’ informed – they have not even has a newsletter or any correspondence.  I am red-faced and apologise to all our Postal members who have been left in the dark.  When I accepted the Secretary’s office I was retired with plenty of time on my hands but personal reasons made me return to full employment.  Our Chairman (Ian Hone) gained promotion in his job bit it means he has to commute to London.  Because of our changed circumstances, we both gave notice that we would not stand for re-election at our Branch AGM.

At our AGM, my closing report stated, ‘To refresh my memory I spent time looking back through the Minutes Book.  Let me share some of my observations with you.

Last year’s Branch AGM was delayed slightly and held on Thursday 15th of May.  Branch Officers were re-elected or elected.  It was decided to drop the posts of entertainment and publicity.

June- Members joined the parade during Weymouth Veterans Weekend.   Godfrey carried the Standard at Eden Camp, Yorkshire for the Dedication of the NMBVA Plaque.  Our computer died but thankfully, Godfrey’s son resurrected it.

July – A strong contingent represented the Branch at the National Reunion and AGM Weekend.  Ian Hone was elected as National Vice-Chairman.  Bill Ashby is the International Liaison Officer.  Others attended the Swindon Branch of the British Korean Veterans Association Service and ‘Meet and Greet’

August – Bill and Godfrey met and entertained Stan Gallon who was on a visit to the UK.  Stan runs the NMBVA in South Africa.

September – We were present for the ‘Battle of Britain’ Parade and at the Dedication of the NMBVA Garden of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Major Wan Muhammad of the Royal Malaysian Air Force who is on a JSSC course at Watchfield came to our monthly meeting and addressed us all.  His interest in the NMBVA resulted in him being made an honorary member.

November – Members and our Standard joined the RBL Parade and Service of Remembrance at Swindon Cenotaph.  John Tooze laid the Wreath.

The Festival of Remembrance at he Wyvem Theatre was well supported.

December -  Members of the Bristol Branch joined us for our Christmas Buffet and we went to theirs.

January – Bill Ashby attended a Delegates Meeting.

February – At this meeting the Branch Members unanimously voted to send a donation (£62) to the St Paul’s NNBVA Memorial Plaque fund.

March – Bill James (Swansea Branch) who had recently died was remembered in our ‘Two minutes Silence’.  Bill was so active and will be missed by all who knew him.

A Sunday lunch organised by Val, Barry & Brain Chalk was well attended and enjoyed by all.

In addition , that brings us up to this years Swindon Branch AGM and our present problems.

April The Branch AGM was convened but was abandoned when nobody was prepared to take over the Chairman or Secretary’s posts.

May – The AGM was reconvened but again the vacant posts could not be filled.  It was therefore decided that the Treasurer Ken Arnell would act as a Caretaker Chairman and the Branch would go into suspended animation until further notice.  Members would remain in the NMBVA but revert to being National Members.  However the members did not want to disband so have agreed to continue meeting as usual at the RAFA Club on the 3rd Thursday each month.  The matter is still being discussed and hopefully some volunteers will come forward so that the Branch can be reactivated.  Until that happens sadly, we remain in Limbo that is unless you know someone…………

Bill Ashby- August 2004


Nottingham Branch NMBVA

National Newsletter

 The Nottingham Branch has come along well this past year.  Meetings are generally well attended and the atmosphere is friendly.  This is surely what we all try to achieve and why we create these ex-service organisations.  We hope to generate an organisation based on the Comradeship that is generally apparent through all the armed services.

 There are several areas we have missed our on since our Stalwart Stan Harris died.  He kept us all on our toes arranging social evenings, we have only had one since he died.  We have been active in other ways attending functions etc.  We, along with several other Associations attended the Nottingham War Memorial after it had been restored.  Some members attended Eden Camp and we went to Northallerton.  Our Standard has been displayed at many functions by Harry Gill including the Local St George’s Day Parade.  A social evening for Some Americans stationed here during the war over for the 60th Anniversary Celebrations, it was held at our local British Legion Club who also make us very welcome.  We attended a local Combined Ex-Services Dedication of their Standard on the 1st August. So we keep busy and the spirit of comradeship excellent.

 Where are we going at Nottingham, there are several of us who have to lay down some of the workload because age is catching up.  The problem with Age is that it does not catch up equally some of us get a bit dim before the others.  We at the Branch are going to have a considerable change in the officers of the Branch.  The Chairman, the Treasurer and the Secretary are all standing down at our next AGM.  We will still have some of our Officers, the Vice Chairman, Harry Gill is prepared to stand as Chairman.  The Treasurer, Peter Sharkey is prepared to stand as Vice Chairman.  We still need a Treasurer and a Secretary.  While the current Secretary will stand down he will help whoever takes over till they fell confident.

 We still have not had our Plaque fixed on the Nottingham Memorial but we are hoping that this will be achieved shortly, when we will be extending an invitation out to everyone to come and celebrate with us.

 We do feel that the Authorities at St Paul’s Cathedral are making a mint our of the Plaque that is going up there.

 The one area we feel that as a National Association we need to sort our is to stop the bickering that takes place regularly.  This does not give any indication of Comradeship.  We feel that all the problems that exist are caused by one fact raising its ugly head that persists in its activities.  We must put it behind us.

At the AGM, we must all give our approval to the Association and those members who put so much effort into this organisation.  To those men who have given so much time trying to make this organisation one to be proud of, we all must pay tribute and put petty differences behind us.

 We at the Nottingham Branch extend our good wishes to all other Branch Members and wish them a good new year during the next twelve months.

To all in comradeship

Frank Whitall

Nottingham Branch Secretary


BRISTOL BRANCH

It is with regret that I have to announce that the Bristol Branch President, Brian Kemp died on Saturday 18th July 2004.  Brian served the Association well, he was our Branch Chairman before moving to serve on the National Executive Committee, he then became our Branch President, Brian was a good servant to our Association with a wise head, I know I shall greatly miss not being able to turn to him for advice, our deepest sympathy goes to his wife Edna and family.

The Branch has also lost two other members during the last year, John Michell (Wellesbourne) and John Collins (Bristol) they are also a great loss to our Branch, our sympathies go to their families.

In September 2003 Branch members attended along with other Branches the Dedication Ceremony at the Association plot National Memorial Arboretum.

In June members visited Weymouth to take part in the annual Veterans Parade, also present were members from our Southern and Swindon Branches, although Veterans from WW2 are getting fewer each year, the numbers joining our column (conflicts since WW2) grow each year, Korea War Veterans, Suez Canal Veterans and Aden Veterans, making our column now the largest on parade, this year the parade was lead by the Normandy Veterans Association.

As has been our custom each Christmas over the last few years, members from our Swindon Branch are invited to join our Christmas Social Evening, our Branch members travelling to Swindon to attend their Social the following week.

Jack Spackman

Branch Secretary


NORTH KENT & S.E. LONDON BRANCH

The Branch continues to prosper with 416 members and 200 Honorary Members of the 69th Gurkha Field Engineers who are stationed at Maidstone Barracks in Kent.

 In the last year, members have visited, taken part in, The Queens Own Royal West Kents Regimental Parade at Maidstone, The Gurkha Museum in Winchester and the British Army Museum in Chelsea, London was visited.  The Branch Standard was paraded at the following venues, - The Belgian Parade, the Cenotaph in London, QORWK Parade at Maidstone.  The four days at the Gurkha Welfare Fund collections at Lewisham, the White Ensign Dedication Parade at Sheerness, Southwark Cathedral D Day Parade, London and will be Paraded again in July (2004) back at he London Belgian Cenotaph for the Belgian parade.

 The Branch Secretary and the Standard Bearer, (Bert Godsiff and Dennis Ward) also attended the funeral service for one of our Gurkha comrades, Captain Benuprasad Limbu, who died on a field exercise whilst away from the Maidstone Barracks.  The reason of death was given as a heart attack.

 We continue, through Les Paddon, to make arrangements for the Armistice Day parade a the Cenotaph in London for which we offer him a big ‘Thank you Les’.  We also remain guardians of the Westminster Abbey Garden of Remembrance and the setting our of the plot on behalf of the Association.

 We lost one member, Mr Donald McKay, formally of the Royal Suffolk Regiment.

 The Gurkhas who marched in front of us at the Armistice Day Parade in London will be in Iraq this coming November but will be replaced by the 76th Gurkha Field Engineers.  The collection for the Gurkha Welfare Trust at Lewisham in London, bought in the princely sum of £2,500.00.  Further donations were made to the Arboretum Fund, the St Paul’s Plaque Fund, the Gurkha Welfare Trust and a further donation was made to the Widow and Children fund of Gurkha Captain Limbo which was forwarded to his family in Dhahran Napal. 

This has been a successful year but blighted by the state of our Association as a whole.

 Patrick J Beckwith

Public Relations Officer.


NORTH YORKSHIRE DALES 

There’s very often a light hidden under a bushel and here in our lovely Branch we have discovered such a light.  One of our older members who saw service in Malaya from 1949 to 1953, is an ex-regular soldier who also saw active service in WW2, the D Day landings, ad subsequent battles.  Enlisting as a Boy Entrant at the age of 15 into the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1941, he went on to serve with that Regiment until 1949 when he was posted to the Green Howards to serve in  Malaya.  That man is Mr Dick Bowen.

Of late, he has been much in demand by the News Media, his photograph supporting his story of D Day in the newspapers and you may have also seen him on one of the TV channels.  Not to be outdone by the media, his story can be perused in 3 or 4 book, the latest being a joint publication with Molly Burkett, the author of some 15 or more historical military stories all under the title of “Once upon a Wartime” Volumes 1,2,3, etc, the latest being Volume 14.  The books are a good read.  Dick Bowen’s story in book 14, portrays the part that was played by the EYR during the D Day invasion when the Regiment provided two Battalions to take part in the assult.

The 2nd Battalion of the East Yorks led the assault onto “Sword” beach in  the first wave on shore, sharing this doubtful honour with 1st Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment.   The other Battalion in that Brigade was the 1st Suffolk Regiment.  Dick was with the 5th Battalion EYR which led the assault that stormed ashore on “Gold” beach with the 6th Battalion Green Howards along side them.  The 7th Battalion GH was the other Brigade member.

The landing was no picnic.  Shot and shell saw to the demise of the gallant infantry men on that dreadful day, also in the following battles in Normandy and Dick grew from a petrified scared young man into a mature god-fearing soldier almost overnight.  Those that fell in the cause of freedom were later buried in the War Grave Cemeteries in Normandy.  Those Cemeteries are regularly visited by Dick and a few others who survived that terrible time.  2004 saw them place 204 poppy crosses on to the graves of their fallen comrades.

On that day, the 6th June 1944, as Dick fought his way inland with the East Yorks and Green Howards, he was unaware that in the short space of five years, he would be in the Green Howards fighting another gang of tyrannical bullies in the shape of the Malaya Communist Party (MCP) in the dense Malayan jungle.  The MCP were just as evil as the Nazi thugs had been and good men had given their all to fee Europe from the German oppression, and in Dick’s opinion, freedom was worth fighting for after such a sacrifice.  More good men gave their lives in the struggle to  free Malaya and Dick is being modest when he says” I was just lucky that I got through it”.

We Veterans in the North Yorks & Dales Branch are always eager to hear of news of members of other Branches who may well have a similar story to tell, so I appeal to you, get them written down and send them for publication.  Don’t let your Branch ‘hid its light’ under a bushel.  We want to hear form you.

Quote – “Neither do men light a candle and put it under as bushel, but on a candlestick where it will give light to all that are in the house”

                                                                                                                                        Matthew v 15

David Peacock

Branch Secretary

NY & Dales Branch


 LINCOLN & DISTRICT BRANCH

The last two years has seen the Lincoln Branch grow a little stronger with the help of the members themselves.  We have been lucky in the fact that we have not had any large expenses lately to our normal account, but thanks to the Lottery people, we have been able to pay for and take a coach of members to the 2004 AGM.  We have also been able to purchase much needed spares and stationary that makes a large hole in any bank balance.  We must have a guardian Angel looking after us as this is the second Lottery Grant that we have been awarded and it couldn’t come at a better time.  It will give some of the members the opportunity to see what happens at the AGM and to voice their opinions if need be, on some of the items that will be discussed.

 Our AGM in May (seven years to the day of inauguration) saw the Committee re-elected and have be instrumental in getting the membership to bond so that we now have a regular group of 12 –14 attending each meeting.  We were pleasantly surprised and honoured this year when our Patron, the charming Mrs Beatrice Cracroft-Eley, The Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, suddenly turned up at our AGM.  She said that she had enjoyed herself and would drop in again.

 We now run a Prize Bingo and a Raffle at most of the meetings.  Unfortunately, we are not allowed to play for money, never the less, the members enjoy it and it gives everyone the chance to have a good natter.  There are other things in the offering with a suggested trip to Turners Organs.  I do believe that they have moved premises from their old place in Northampton.  We are also mooting the idea of getting a coach up, to go to the Edinburgh Tattoo, but that will have to wait for a while, but we will get there in the end.

 The Combined Associations of Lincoln have for some considerable time been badgering the Council to re-install the railings and gate that they removed during the War.  They have also been reticent in having the names on the monument re-painted so that people can see them.  We now have their promise to do these and restore the monument to some of its former glory.  It shows what can be done if Associations pull together so that their comrades are always remembered.

Very soon Christmas will be on us again which leads to the merry-go-round of shopping for the various festive items, so from the Lincoln & District Branch, we hope all our Comrades will have a grand old time and that next year will see us all in a better and stronger position.

Yours in Comradeship

David Rigley

Lincoln & District Branch

Secretary


TYNESIDE BRANCH

After the first original AGM/Reunion at the Gateway Hotel in October 1996, it was decided amongst the members from the North East and Northumberland regions to form a Branch for the area.  Quite a lot of toing and forcing with loads of letter writing and postings took place and quiet a lot of enquiries came back to join not only from the local area but from various parts of the country and world-wide.

 Late in 1996 a Committee was formed and the first inaugural meeting took place on Tuesday the 21st January 1997 at the Westholme F Social Club, Mullen Road, in Wallsend, Tyne & Wear.  There were twelve members present who were Messrs Bristow, Brunton, Campbell, Clarke, Dobison, McFarland, Naylor, Neil, Nisbet, Nugent, Power and Sweeney.  There was also one candidate, a Mr J M Gallagher, for membership.  The first twelve names are the Founder Members of the Tyneside Branch.  Our total membership (including Associates) as on our Website is 242, and amongst all these, we have three holders of the BEM!! We have an average of 20 –30 attending our monthly meetings as quite a lot are ‘Postal’ members.

 It was decided by the members present to name the Branch ‘TYNESIDE’ and the Branch motto to be ‘THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD’.  David Neil was appointed as Branch Chairman, John Sweeney as Branch Secretary / Treasurer, Cyril Goodhand as Standard Bearer (no Standard at that time) and Terry Clarke as Membership Secretary.  The Committee members were Alan Dobinson, Bill Campbell and George Mc Farland.  We have come a long way since that first time with a few trials and tribulations both at local and National level.  Our first Branch Chairman, David Neil, went on to become National Chairman and is at present holding the post of Honorary President of the Association.  However, under the auspices of our present Branch Chairman, Mr Terry Clarke, we are well established and will give quite a North Eastern welcome to any Branch member that wishes to visit us.  All the details of meetings and date can be found on our website , so if you are surfing the Net give us a ‘hit’.

 They say that funny things happen in Branches and ours is no exception.  Three members of the Branch who all have, at one time or other, carried out the duties of Standard Bearer, have all suffered Heart attacks!!!  It will be included in the job spec for our next appointee.  We have ‘The Mad Mackem’ Harry Power, who happens to be the Branch Editor, (please don’t mention football and Sunderland, it’s a sore subject).  But he is not thoroughbred Mackem as he was born in Lancashire!!!  We have it in good authority that this is a foreign land on the North-West Coast.  He has lived in the North East for about 37 years but until he can say, “Hoy ya amma ower ‘ere inney” proper like, he will still have refugee status.

 Author unknown


CAN YOU HELP?

If you can help someone below and you do not access to a computer please contact me:-  Annie Burden, 44 Meadgate Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, CM2 7LQ or phone 01245-495238. and I will pass on your information.


I am the son of Stanley Cook Who served with the 11th Hussars 3 Troop 3 Squadron in New Camp Kwalalumpa 1954 to 1957 and would like to now anybody who new him to get in touch with me at Cookandyc99@hotmail.com


 John Williams served with 799 and 55 Coys RASC (AD) 1949-50 at Batu Caves Malaya. He wants to catch up with anyone who remembers him.

john.irene.williams@bromham13.freeserve.co.uk


Bob Cliff served at 55 Coy. Ad., in Malaya from September 1954 to February 1956. I was in Iskander Platoon, and was a Crew Commander full Corporal and would love to hear from anybody who remembers me. Cheers.

RbrtClif@aol.com 


NEVILLE  (NEV) PLAXTON
My father Wesley Richards (Royal Sigs attached Royal West Kents) would like to hear from Nev Plaxton or anyone who knows Nev's contact details. They served together in Malaya circa 1951-53. At the time Nev was ex-Special Air Service having formerly served in a Carbineers unit (I believe). He is related to the Plaxton family (of Plaxton Coaches fame) and his last known whereabouts is the York area. Please contact me with any information on
weslrich@hotmail.com


  My Father is looking to hear from anyone that served in 48 Supply Coy RASC – Borneo and Aden 1962 –1065.  His name is Alec (Taff) A’Hern, Old mates, Paddy Macniez, Ken (Dagp) Wicks, Dave Munslow and Yorky Larking.

Hope you can help
Thank you Brian
Mrahern@aol.com

 11 IND FIELD SQN RE

I am looking for anyone who served in the above unit in Malaya.
My name in Richard [Noby] Clarke and I was in 1st troop from 1957-1960 we have a reunion every year and are looking for more ex member's to come along and join us.
Regards
Noby
richard@clarke9.fsworld.co.uk

Hi my name is Cliff Strobel. Im trying to help my father search for some of his old army buddies. My fathers name is Alf Strobel (still alive and well aged 74). He was in Suffolk regiment 1st Battalion. Served in Malaya, Athens, Egypt, etc around 1948-53. Currently looking for anyone from that time including Tommy Alsop. Thanks would love to hear from anyone. 

clifbel@bigpond.com


Hi All.

 I have been trying to find an ex pal of mine who served in the DLI and was my best man at my wedding. The last time that I saw Dave Toward was when we disbanded in Colchester. He was a bugler and a good one at that. He married a local girl from Colchester called Marion and they had a son called Robbie. Marion used to work in the Robin Hood before she was married to Dave. I heard that they are now divorced and would like to get in touch with Dave. Can anyone please help me.

 Dick Softley            richard261@msn.com


 My grandfather Hugh (ginger) Duffy served in Malaya, 4th Hussars 2 troop in 1948 he would love to hear any news of his ex. army pals Ronnie (pinhead) Pointon and Paddy Harkins... recently while looking through a website guest book, I came across a 4 year old message from Ronnie's daughter-in-law who was searching for my grandfather.  Unfortunately I have been unsuccessful in contacting the Pointon family. Any info. would be appreciated many thanks.

garreth.f@btinternet.com


I am very interested in contacting members of the Royal Signals who served in Malaya 48 - 60.  I am a serving Royal Corps of Signals Officer who is hopefully organising a battlefield tour to Malaysia in May 2005.  I intend to look into the the role of the Signals in Malaya, visit sites of particular interest to the Corps and pay respects at the graves of Royal Signals Soldiers.

It would add to the experience for those Royal Signals soldiers going if some of my research came first hand from experts.  I am particularly interested in meeting anybody who served with Signals during this time.  I am more than willing to travel.

Capt Richard Byfield, HQ 11 Sig Bde

rich1byfield@yahoo.com


Did you serve with the platoon (of volunteers) we formed in \'63 to support the Royal Leicester\'s in Borneo ?
I am trying to get our unit recognised in the list of units in the Confrontation on the \'The war against Sukarno\' web page, and will need more details. Afraid my memory for detail is fading as the years go by.
David McAlister
DaveMcAlister@aol.com

I served with the then Royal Horse Guards,( now Blues and Royals) in the sixties and was attached to various groups such as the Life Guards, Gurkas,  Arygll and Southern Highlanders, & (The 42nd Foot and Mouth Brigade, nickname for a peculiar set of weird and sometime covert operatives!) The less said about them the better.

I am looking for L/Cpl Paul Cusick of the Life Guards, Reg't number I think was 24021416 who was in Borneo in 1966 and Tpr. John Harding of the Blues who served in Cyprus and I think in FARELF in the sixties.

Bill Youngson


yinscol@gil.com.au

   I recently came into possession of a Samurai sword with a small brass presentation plate on the scabbard.  The plate reads; Presented to Captain R. Gray REME By H.Q. BMA Malaya 1945" I am interested in any information regarding Capt. Gray or the presentation of Samurai swords by the bhockley47@aol.com


IN MEMORIUM

Mr GEORGE A BRANDON   Durham   October   1997
Mr ERN WEBBER Bristol  RN    July          1998
Mr REX WRAY Lincoln  RAF   1999
Mr TONY GRAHAM Bristol  RASC January      1999
Mr BASIL SMITH Durham RAMC May             1999
Mr ERN WITNEY Bristol SLI October      1999
Mr B H  NORTON  January      2000
Mrs JUNE WALDRON-BARKER Lincoln QADRANC July 2000
Mr MIKE PHILLIPS February      2001
Mrs PAM PARK Bristol-Assoc May  2001
Mr BOB JOHNSON Durham- Assoc DLI   February  2001
Mr TOM RALPH Donc & S Yorks   PARA  November  2001
Mr PETER TOMPKINS Donc & S Yorks  KDG October       2001
Mr JOHN FISHWICK Durham Chelsea Pensioner  August        2001
Mr JOHN KIDD Durham August         2001 

Mr JOHN ROLLY

Donc & S Yorks RAC                      2001
Mr DENNIS RYAN Durham March          2002
FIELD MARSHALL SIR NIGEL BAGNALL
GCB CVO MC BAR
PATRON   April          2002
Mr STAN HARPER RE April           2002
Lt Col. L OPREN-SMELLIE OBE Colchester May            2002
Mr TOM SUGDEN Durham  August      2002
Mr TOM NESBET Tyneside RN August       2002
Lt Col. G BIDDY Tyneside 4TH Hussars August       2002
Mr STAN HARRIS Nottingham August       2002
 Mr ERIC J PARKER Tyneside                   2002
Mr JOHN HIRSHFIELD Bristol 4th Hussars February   2003
Mr GEORGE HILL Nottingham Royal Signals 2003
Mr RICHARD VAUGHAN Nottingham 4TH Hussars  2003
Mr KENNETH BAGSHAW Nottingham 2003
Mr JAMES BARBER NK/SE London  RE Not Known
Mr RONALD MATTHEWS NK/SE London QORWK Not Known
Mr REGINALD TILDERSLEY NK/SE London RAC Not Known
Mr ALED JONES NK/SE London Not Known
Mr THOMAS CARR NK/SE London  QORWK Not Known
Mr KENNETH HARBOTTLE  NK/SE London REME Not Known
Mr CHRISTOPHER COX NK/SE London Green Howards Not Known
Mr THOMAS DAVIES NK/SE London Airbourne Forces Not Known
Mr DONALD McKAY NK/SE London Royal Suffolks Not Known
Lt Col PHILIP GOODWIN NK/SE London QORWK March        2003
 Mr R RAYNOR Lincoln & District April           2004
Mrs JEAN EAST Lincoln & District February   2004
Mr MICHAEL ABBOTT Birmingham Not Known
Mr EDWARD ALNEY Birmingham Not Known
Mr WILLIAM ATKINS Birmingham Not Known
Mr DEREK BANHAM Birmingham Not Known
Mr RONALD BRADLEY Birmingham Not Known
Mr GEORGE BROOME Birmingham Not Known
Mr JOHN CARPENTER Birmingham Not Known
 Mr HORACE INSTON Birmingham Not Known
Mr PETER KAVANAGH Birmingham Not Known
Mr LEON KITT Birmingham Not Known
Mr CYRIL KNIGHT Birmingham Not Known
Mr RAYMOND LEACH Birmingham Not Known
Mr ROGER MAGUIRE Birmingham Not Known
Mr THOMAS WEST Birmingham Not Known
Mr JOHN COLLINS Bristol Not Known
Mr JOHN MICHEL Bristol Not Known
Mr KENNETH GUNDHILL Leeds Bradford Not Known
Mr CHARLES TRUMAN Leeds Bradford Not Known
Mr ALFRED SAUNDERS Colchester July 2004
Mr RAYMOND WALKER Colchester April           2004 
Mr WILLIAM JAMES Swansea  February   2004
Mr GLENVILLE JAMES Narberth & Dist Not known
Mr LESLEY PRICE North Wales Not known
Mr FRANK ROE Not known
Mr BRIAN KEMP Bristol 4th Hussars July             2004
Mr RICHARD BARDEN NK/SE London RWK July             2004
Mrs JEAN LUFFMAN NK/SE London August       2004
Mr ROY CLEVELY Bristol RAF  August      2004
Mr DONALD McKAY NK/SE London Suffolk Rgt                     2004
Mr GEORGE NEADS NK/SE London  RAF                    2004

             WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

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