5th Regiment Royal Artillery, National Memorial Arboretum Pilgrimage

14 July 2018

12:30 - 16:00

The 5th Regiment RA NMA Pilgrimage was set up in 2012 to commemorate the loss of one of our comrades, Simon Hall, who tragically lost his life in Iraq. A fund raising effort was launched via Facebook to generate sufficient funds to have a tree and plaque dedicated in his memory. Such was the response to the appeal that the donations far exceeded expectations and as such enough money was donated to enable a tree for the fallen from 5th Regt RA to also be commissioned. A dedication day was held 13th October 2012, which was very well supported by some 80 serving and former personal and some partners. After the dedication service a BBQ was held at the British Legion Club in Alrewas.

Such was the success of the day, and after many comments it was decided to make this an annual event, naming it the 5th Regt RA NMA Pilgrimage. Since the original service day we have also had added a tree dedicated to Sean Upton who lost his life serving with the Regiment on tour to Afghanistan.

We have also lost one of our founding members whose idea the initial dedication was, Jon Checkley. A bench has been dedicated next to Simon Halls tree, as they were best mates whilst serving in 5th Regt RA, in Jon’s memory.

We make an annual Pilgrimage to the NMA to pay our respects. A short service is held at each tree, and the bench, with wreaths and poppy crosses being laid. A time of reflection is then taken so people may take in the whole experience of the NMA, a truly humbling site to visit. We then retire to the RBL at Alrewas. A BBQ has been made and donated to the club by 5th Regt RA to ensure we always are able to cook our bratwurst and frikadeller! We are hosted by the staff at the RBL who pull out the stops to make us feel welcome. The obligatory raffle is also held just to round the event off!

This year we are meeting on the 14th July at 13.00hrs inside the NMA with the parade stepping off at 13.30hrs.

There is no dress code but the majority wear regimental blazer and tie, getting changed for the BBQ afterwards. An open invitation is made to all currently serving and former members of 5th Regiment RA, their partners and families to join us.

We also have a Facebook page that people can request to join to follow our progress and view the photographs of previous Pilgrimages.

We look forward to seeing you on the day.

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