Regimental Family News and Sport
RAA Office Closure
The RAA office will be closed for the festive period from the 14th December through to the 7th January 2019. We would like to thank you for all your support and assistance over the past year and hope to catch up with you in 2019.
Allan, Sarah and Elly would like to wish you all a very happy and festive Christmas and New Year.
Ayshire Branch Bless Their Standard
So proud today at the blessing of the Standard. Chris Burns, Branch Secretary
From Left to right: Bob Currie, Rev David R Gemmell, Billy Kell (Chairman), Hugh McWilliam (Standard Bearer), William Grant (Deputy Provost), A new member, Chris Burns (Secretary), Bill Grant (MP), Brian Miles (Welfare)
Charitable Fund Latest News
The 80thmeeting of the Welfare Committee of the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund took place, the scope of the Autumn meeting was to brief the Committee on the allocation of awards over the past 6 months. It also gave the Welfare Team the opportunity to put on display the new RACF merchandise. Representatives across the RA gathered including Cos, UWOs and a Gunner spouse (to represent the Gunner family on the ground). The Welfare Secretary highlighted the key areas of most concern and need with mobility, household debts and general needs being the main categories.
"Thank you and the Royal Artillery Charitable fund for the generous contribution towards my mother’s chair…..The provision of the chair has improved her wellbeing 100 times” 89 year old widow of 10 year Gunner
And the Wheels Keep Turning
Albert Einstein once wrote ‘Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving forward’ so to use this simile to describe the year’s Gunner Cycling achievements would be very apt to do so! And what a year we have had too. So much moving forward in all areas of our sport it’s sometimes difficult to put it all together, especially on a one pager for the Gunner! So here we go, deep breath and push on the pedals…We won the Army Cycling Road Race Series for a third consecutive year! Spread over 13 individual criterium style races riders compete in three ability leagues accruing points as they go. Hard, fast and aggressive this is a tough nut to crack and we did it in true Gunner style, this year narrowly beating the REME to lift the overall team trophy for a third year in a row. No mean feat indeed!At Army level we now have four riders racing for the Army Road Team and a couple of riders competing in the Army MTB team too. The Army Cycling Union have even recruited a Gunner to be their road team manager and another Gunner is their media co-ordinator.Two successful training camps held in the Spring, one being in Majorca for our fastest riders and the other being in South Wales for all levels of rider ability.20 riders completed the RideLondon 100 miler this year and in the process raising well over £4500 for the RACF!Gunner Mountain Biking continues to grow in strength, both in numbers and ability, and next year are aiming to take on the rest of the Army in all the MTB discipline competitions. For a second consecutive year, the Great Gunner Ride, which is held annually in September, attracted riders from across the Army to tackle a 50 mile or 100 mile route across the Wiltshire countryside. Challenging hurricane level winds meant only the toughest of riders took on this challenge. Chapeau to you all!So, if you fancy getting involved be it for recreational fitness reasons or fancy having a go at racing then Gunner Cycling is for you. And it doesn’t have to be expensive either as we have bikes and equipment to loan out. With so much knowledge, experience and opportunities you will soon be riding with ease wherever your road may take you.
Bury St Edmunds Latest News
On the 21stof July Bury St Edmunds opened the WW 1 Trail which will remain in place until the 11thof November. The trail has been created to commemorate the Centenary of World War 1 and features 18 pieces of WW1 related art spread around the town.
For more news you can read their latest news letter here
Salisbury Branch host lunch
RAA Salisbury Branch hosted a convivial lunch at the Grasmere Hotel, Salisbury beside the river on a bright Sunday 16th September. Members of RAA Poole Branch together with the Regional Representative were also able to enjoy the occasion at their invitation.
The lunch was notable for the attendance of Mrs Grace Taylor (President Poole Branch) and Mrs Molly Clarke (Salisbury Branch). Both served and saw action with Air Defence Regiments in the Second World War. The conversation was lively as they swapped stories and memories much to the interest and amusement of their fellow diners.
Standard Bearer RAA Salisbury Branch: L/Bdr Tim Aldridge Mrs Grace Taylor (née Clarke) 495 Battery 93 (Mixed Heavy) Air Defence Regiment Mrs Molly Clarke (née Spencer) 455 Battery 129 (Mixed Heavy) Air Defence Regiment – the first of its kind to be formed.
Our Latest Branch - 5 Bry Branch RAA
Saturday 15th September saw the opening of a new branch of the RAA. 5 Battery has long since had an OCA with a good calendar of social events and they have now formally formed as 5 Bty Branch RAA under their President of Maj Sam Abayomi, the current BC of the battery.
On hand on the day was Allan Solly, Secretary of the association who presented their Certificate of Formation to Andy Macdonald the branch chairman.
During the day the branch played 5-a-side football for the Wilkinson Cup, a trophy in memory of Sgt Dave (Pidge) Wilkinson who was tragically killed in Afghanistan on 1st July 2007 age 33.
Also presented on the day was a memorial cross and roll of honour to the men of the battery killed at Bois Des Buttes in 1918. The memorial will remain the property of 5 Bty. Full story on this at our blog.
Elswick (Blyth) All Arms Association
The Duke of Gloucester and the Duchess of Northumberland at the newly renovated Blyth Cenotaph. The guard of honour is provided by the members of the Elswick All Arms branch of the Royal Artillery Association.
The plaques at the rear are those missing from the WW1 & WW2 memorials and the later conflicts, including three RA bandsmen (272 Battery, RA) who were killed in 1965 when their car ran into a stationary wagon at the links road, there was no street lighting at the time. They were returning from playing at a children's hospital concert.
We can now look forward to this year’s Remembrance parade which takes place on the 11th November, the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice 1918. It is very poignant that there are eleven steps to the memorials.
The first part of Cowpen War Memorial is now completed. The Soldier is now in place and the memorial has been cleaned.
The rest of the work, seating, landscaping etc. will be carried out in the next week or so. The Funds for this memorial were raised by the Elswick (Blyth) All Arms Association with donations from various parties, Freemasons of Northumberland, Cowpen RAOB Lodge, collections from public houses in Blyth and Cowpen and donations from individuals.
Complete in all its glory. Well done all who were involved.
Lest We Forget