The Royal Artillery Assembly 2018
Another Memorable Reunion of The Regimental Family
The Royal Artillery Assembly 2018 was again a resounding success. Last weekend we welcomed over 400 Gunners, both serving and retired to join us in Blackpool for the AGM, a weekend of comradeship, entertainment and the Grand Gala Dinner on the Saturday night.
The weekend began with the NEC supper on the Friday evening. The NEC took this opportunity to say thank you and farewell to the Regimental Secretary, Lt Col Ian Vere Nicoll MBE. Col Vere Nicoll has been at the head of the charities and the NEC for the last 12 years and he will be sadly missed. The NEC presented Col Vere Nicoll with an engraved shooting stick so that he can continue his hobby into his retirement and sit comfortably.
The Saturday morning was taken up by the RAA AGM chaired by Maj Gen David Cullen CB OBE, ably assisted by Lt Col Ian Vere Nicoll MBE, each of whom reflected how well the past year has gone and how busy the Branches and our Standards Bearers have been. We also welcomed Brig Mark Pountain CBE and his wife Karin to the AGM. Brig Pountain addressed the AGM, having taken over from Brig Radcliffe OBE as the chairman of the NEC in March this year.
The Assembly began with a presentation from the Regt Col John Catto on the rebasing plan and current building with the Larkhill Garrison. It is clear that Larkhill will become the new ‘Home of The Gunners’ and it was good to hear of the new buildings and accommodation that the single soldiers will have at their disposal.
There was also an operational presentation from Capt B Murphy and Bdr Maybanks from 3 RHA covering their time in Estonia.
The annual awards were this year presented by the Master Gunner St James’s Park. The awards are presented for outstanding service and support to the RA charities. There were many proud winners and Artillery House would like to send its warmest congratulations to all recipients of awards, a full list of which will appear in July’s edition of The Gunner magazine.
The Standard Bearers competition was held on Saturday Afternoon in the Norcalympia. We held the annual competition alongside the Queens Colour Standard Bearer competition and were very proud to award the Queens Colour to Mr Jimmy Young from our 1st Artillery Volunteer Tynemouth Branch. We would like to thank the Judges and the branches for supporting their entrants and we hope to see many of our standards at the NMA in July.
The Sunset Ceremony is always a splendid start to Saturday evening. This year it was performed by the Lancashire Artillery Band, supported by their Pipes and Drums. It is always a real crowd pleaser and with the Standards also on parade it is a proud moment for all.
I simply could not write this report without including a special "Thank You" to all those who helped in the organisation and running of this year’s Royal Artillery Assembly. Without some outside help our small team could not come close to putting on such a marvellous and worthwhile event. Most noticeable this year were 14 Regt RA and103 Regt RA which provided much appreciated support in terms of manpower, transport, equipment, displays and the band.
Also, a thank you to all those regiments who supported us by allowing their representatives to attend; we had over 200 serving soldiers this year and hope that this only grows over time.
I would like to add a special thank you to the RASM, WO1 Bryn Pugh and his team WO2 (RABSM) W Burnett and WO2 Rylance for bringing all the military elements together so seamlessly - without their assistance we could not have achieved yet another high quality event. Thank you also to our small and dedicated team from the North West.
Finally, thank you to all the branches who supported the assembly and to all the standard bearers who, once again, did us and themselves proud.
More photos will follow very soon. You can also catch up with all the videos from the weekend on our Facebook page.
Royal Artillery Association