Branch & Regional News...


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‘True Douglas Man’ Honoured

On Friday last his Worship the Mayor of Douglas Councillor John Skinner JP presented a commemorative plaque to Mr Willie Kneale BEM at the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Artillery Association IOM.  Willie who describes himself as a ‘True Douglas Man’ retires this year from his position as Secretary to the Association, a post which he has held for twenty-three years.  His faithful service has previously been recognised with the award of a British Empire Medal and the gold medal of the Royal Artillery Association.  Under Willie’s leadership the Association made a unique move by welcoming in Veterans from all the Armed Services, resulting in the Island branch becoming one of the largest in the Association.  Last year saw Willie guiding the Branch through the celebrations for the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, culminating in the visit of ‘The Queen’s Baton’ to the Island.  Each year at Armed Forces Day, Willie has ensured that our serving military visitors both Regular and Reserve were well looked after and entertained in true Manx fashion.

The plaque was made at the Manx Workshop for the Disabled crafted from Manx wood by Steve Marsh, a Veteran and member of the Association.  The inscription read

“..........In recognition of his years of outstanding service to the Association, The Regiment and the Community”

Willie’s work has extended beyond the Association amongst the Veteran Community at large embracing; fighting the Veterans’ corner through a seat on the War Pensions Committee, lobbying MHKs and ensuring older members of our community in Douglas were cared for.

The Mayor thanked Willie for his devotion to both the military and the Douglas community, pointing out that such work was an example to us all.

Veterans Visit the Falklands

Four veterans from the Falklands war revisited the Island from 23 - 29 November 2016.


Ernie Dobson MBE (29 Corunna Bty, 4th Regt RA)
Steve Sproston.      (29 Corunna Bty, 4 th Regt RA)
Joe Walker.             (29 Corunna Bty, 4th Regt RA)
Jimmy Young.        (43 Bty RA Blowpipe Detachment)

We visited all memorials on the Island, and on behalf of the RAA flew the standard of 1st Tynemouth Volunteer Artillery Association also laying wreaths on the main Stanley memorial. Jimmy Young being the standard Bearer, and the chairman of the TVAA , also Ernie Dobson MBE ex chairman last year.

We also had a visit to Governor House and spent a few hours talking to the Governor Mr Colin Roberts.


A very nice coincidence! 

 Recently a 95 year old Gunner, Ray Norwood, asked the General Secretary if I was related to Lt Col HMV Nicoll OBE DSO.  It turned out he was Colonel Henry’s  Artillery Clerk in in the regimental HQ when he was commanding 132 (Welsh) Regiment Royal Artillery in Italy. 


RAA Newbury and District Branch  

 The past year has proved to be an eventful one for members of the Newbury and District Branch of the Royal Artillery Association.  Regularly attended by around 40 members, the branch continues to go from strength to strength.  Whilst there have been far too many highlights to mention them all, the most memorable include the celebrations surrounding RA 300, this year’s Blackpool Assembly, trips to the English Civil War battlefield at Worcester and the National Memorial Arboretum and, most recently, a visit to a local school to talk to pupils about D-Day and the importance of Remembrance.  The Branch’s affiliation with its supporting regular unit, 74 Support Battery (The Battle Axe Company) Royal Artillery, has also gone from strength to strength – and everyone in Newbury wishes the Battery good fortune as it evolves to take on its new front-line role. 

The regular and veteran walking football teams celebrate after their hard-fought match.  No prize for guessing the winning team!  Summer BBQ, 6 July 2016.

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