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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 

 Canterbury Branch's Purple Poppy Day

A ceremony in Canterbury to remember the millions of horses ,mules and donkeys who were killed in the First World War.



On Monday the 27thAugust 2018 at St Peters Church Bridge an anniversary service was held for Gunner Tomas Leadbeatter who gave his life for king and Country on the 27th August 1916, 102 years to the day.

Gunner Leadbeatter's grave was found by Mr John Bishop, the Chairman of Canterbury Branch of the Royal Artillery Association. It is in the old part of the Church Grave Yard, and was in danger of being lost in the undergrowth.

On gaining permission from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Church, Mr Bishop and members from the Canterbury Branch of the Association cleared the site.  We then decided that nearer the date of the Tomas’s death a memorial service would be held.

Tomas Leadbeatter was born in Sussex in 1892 and lived at Ringletts Farm.  He enlisted in Hastings on the 5th September 1915 and joined "A" Battery, 336 Brigade Royal Field Artillery. How he died and came to be buried in Bridge is, at the time of going to press still a mystery but Military records show that on that day 536 soldiers died. However, how and where he died is not important, his final resting place is here in Kent, and he is now in our care.

The Service was conducted by the Reverend Estella at 11.00 am. The last post was sounded and the Standard dipped.  Members of the Royal Artillery and Queens Own Buffs Associations stood in remembrance of Gunner Tomas Leadbeatter. Mr Bishop wishes' to convey  grateful thanks to the Associations members,  Reverend Estella Last and the members of St Peters Church for their assistances and support in our service of remembrance.

Mr P.C.Hughes Secretary Canterbury Branch





Canterbury Branch 

Three of our Standard Bearers on parade, Canterbury,Dover and Kent District. The Service took place at the Methodist Church Hall and Memorial Gardens, Sandgate Road Folkestone.

Bury St Edmunds Re-dedication Ceremony 

On Friday the 11th of May 2018 at 1100hrs the Bury St Edmunds Branch of the Royal Artillery Association (RAA) held a re-dedication ceremony for a new hornbeam memorial tree at its site near the War Memorial on Angel Hill.

The new hornbeam tree commemorates ” those Gunners from West Suffolk who gave their lives in the service of their country”. The original tree and plaque was donated by Brigadier Denis Blomfield Smith who was the Branch President at the time. The tree unfortunately died due to ground contamination. A replacement tree was investigated by Captain Jos Bird the Branch Chairman and with  help from “Bury in Bloom”, the Town and Borough Councils it was obtained and planted on the 30th November 2017 with a promise of a rededication ceremony in the Spring.

Following a few words of welcome to members and guests from Captain Jos Bird, Canon Cedric Catton performed the rededication ceremony and on completion Colonel Roger Bowden the Branch President thanked our guests for their involvement in providing and planting the tree and for the attendance of the Branch members and wives.

Following the ceremony guests and members retired to The Fox inn to further celebrate the rededication ceremony.

Please note the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Royal Artillery Association meets regularly on the 1st Friday of each month at 1100hrs at the Fox Inn on Eastgate Street.The Branch currently has 25 active members and 12 to 14 regularly attend the Friday get togethers. New members would be made most welcome ! 

RA Charitable Fund Visits Veteran's Aid

Sandra and I made our way to East London to see first-hand our Gunners being helped by Veteran’s Aid. Homelessness is something your Regimental charity comes across too often, a roof over your head, a place to call home, is the beginning to opening doors to a brighter future. The hostel is currently being refurbished; it's a warm safe environment with experts on hand to help to get people back on their feet. Having met our Gunners currently living in the hostel it was great to see their lifes being turned around.  One Gunner that we met has since moved out and found housing; we will be able to assist him further with furnishing his new permanent home. A truly humbling trip and very clear the money is spent on the need of the individuals. The RACF is always by your side to assist during times of need.