Royal Marines Association North Devon


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This month branch members attended the WO & SNCO's Mess Christmas Ball - where we joined the Seniors for their annual dinner.  As usual this was an excellent evening, enjoyed by all.

We held our own Chrsitmas Party in the Officers Mess again where 49 members and their guest enjoyed a 4 course carvery dinner, wine on the table and a number of party games which everyone took part in.  Following dinner we retreated to the bar for some more fun and a few more drinks.  The raffle was a great success again and all in all everyone went home happy.

December always see us out and about bucket rattling.  Again we held collections at Tesco's Braunton and Ilfarcombe, Morrison's Bideford a Barnstaple Pannier Market and High Street.  With huge support from our serving colleagues at CLR we managed to raise over £6500 for RM Charities.  Along with the funds already accumulated in our branch charity account we should be passinga cheque to the RMA for over £7000.  We hope to be able to give some of this money to CLR Welfare Fund, BLESMA and the RN Benevolent Trust.


Activities in November included a branch meeting

where 24 members attended dinner, branch business and then a couple of games of bingo and "Who Wants

to be a Millionaire " quiz in the bar. 

As November is Remembrance month the branch attended 2 parades.  20 members attended the parade at Commando Logistics when the Unit were on parade.  The President of the branch laid the RMA wreath and the standard was also on parade.  Following this we were invited back to the Mess for brunch.  On Remembrane Sunday the standard and a group attended the Bideford parade with the President laying the RMA wreath.  Members then marched along the Quay to the chruch service at St Mary's followed by a buffet laid on by the British Legion back at the Conservative Club. We also had representatives laying RMA wreaths at Torrington, Barnstaple and Marwood.  The Rivenbergs and Mulhollands attended the parade at the Cenotaph.

Two other events of importance was the presentation of Bill Baverstocks WW2 campaign medals and the Legion d'Honneur at Joiners and Leavers in the WO &SNCO's Mess. Bill was a little worried about the number of Seniors present but all respected Bill's efforts during the D Day landings.  So it was a fitting venue and audiance for the p;resentation.  Also we had success with the fund raising effort of the Poppy Quilt created by Rita Bevan and donated to Jonathan Ball, The RMC CEO at our dinner in June.  The quilt travelled to Hong Kong and was auctioned off raising £5,500 for the RMC - a great result.


JC's Cdo Challenge

On the 16th October a small group of branch members accomapnied JC Bowden to the Barnstaple Hotel to support his personal Commando Challenge.  At 1115 JC commenced his 5k row in the gym, witness by Jacky Peel.  After 30 minutes JC then eased himself of his seat and moved to the changing area to don his speedos, water wings and goggles.  He did have to expose his "6 pack" in the process.  Due to commence his 400 metres in the indoor pool it was decide to move to the outdoor pool as there were still a number of youngsters use the indoor.  You may think how brave and rugged to swim ouitdoors in October in the near altogether.  Sorry JC, I can't disilluison our readers - the outdoor pool was also heated. Again witnessed by Jacky who counted his lengths JC completed the 400 metres in 15 minutes.  Back to the gym for his final 5k which was successful finished at 1300 (in 33 minutes).  Now you may think the ditsnaces not to be so challenging - however, JC broke his neck twice in the RN, fell down a 200ft cliff, had a near drowning experience and 12 years ago had a heart attack.  JC is registered disable and walks with the aid of crutches.  So doing 2 lots of 5k on a rower and swimming 400 metres "ARMS ONLY" puts this in perspective.  The aim was to raise funds for the RMA and Devon Air Ambulance.  Although as I go to press the final total isn't in around £300 has so far been donated.  Well done JC.


The Barnstaple Marathon

For the 3rd year branch members truned to to marshall at this event.  Under the supervision of 2I/C Col Shearsby a team were dispersed around the airfield at RMB Chivenor to direct the runners on their way.  The Ladies added considerable incentive at the water station.  

70th RMA Reunion at CTC Lympstone

A groups of 14 attended this excellent weekend.  We entered 2 shooting teams and 3 quiz teams.  The Ladies shooting team embarrased the men by beating them and actually coming 2nd overall.  Well done to the Ladies.  Sharp shooter Jacky peel won the Ladies Individual Shooting - well done Jacky and the quiz teams came 2nd and 3rd but unfortunately to Exeter again.  However, the branch did get recognition as one of the principle fund raisers for the RMC Support Appeal this year and Chairman - John peel - picked up the Presidents Award for outstanding service to the RMA.  He was dually humbled and stated if it wasn't for the branches support and effort thsi award would not have happened.  Therefore he considers it a branch award.  A good time was had by all.


Jane McGill's Dartmoor Way 90 miles Nonstop for The Royal Marines Charity.

 On the 15th a motley group RV'd at Okehampton to commence a 36 hour endurance event.  Jane McGill who first came across the branch during Taff Davies's JOGLE decided she wanted to walk the little know Dartmoor Way (90 miles) in 36 hours and requested support from the branch.  JP approached the new RSM at CLR with the first of what will no doubt be many requests during WO1 RSM Tim Jukes's tenure.  Without hesitation Tim committed manpower to this evolution.  So with support from branch member Bob Martin driving his minibus, JP, Harry Allchorn and Derek Sargent (who walked the first leg with Jane) we set off.  CLR provided 5 bodies - 4 walkers and one downgraded to support JP with the admin along the route.  There were 7 check points and 6 RV's.  During the next 36 hours the support team leapfrogged the walkers, providing refreshments at each location.  Jane and harry walked the entire distance and although due to it being poorly marked and difficult to navigate they completed this epic journey in 40 hours.  The RM team never let Jane down and there were always at least 2 walking with her.  Jane launched a Just Giving website and has raised well over £800 forThe RMC.  There was also £100 collected on route.  An outstanding effort by Jane and the walkers.  See the photo gallery for pictures of this event.

North Devon RMA Family Fun Day at the Mariners Arms – Braunton.


The branch was fortunate enough to be invited to run a Family Fun Day at a local pub in Braunton close to Commando Logistic Regiments base at RMB Chivenor.  So on the 6th August 10 branch members, 2 of which are still serving who donated a day of their leave, we moved to the pub to set up the day.  The garden was decked out in Corps Colours and “Mike the Marine” – our mannequin, was standing in the bar directing everyone.

Along with the branch stand and “Gizzits”, displaying what the RMA and particularly North Devon Branch do, we had a “Guess the Weight of a full field pack and fighting order carried by Royal Marines, a “Find the Sniper” competition, Tombola for the kids, Raffle for the grown-ups with 60 prizes and Roli Jones’s Survival Cooking Road Show.  There was also a BBQ and band provided by the pub.

With good weather enjoyed by all; the public were hugely generous with their support.  By 1730 we had raised around £500 for the RMA.

Di and Fred the licensees were so impressed with the day they want to make it an annual Summer event.  So we now have another source of funding raising for Corps Charities.

 1AGRM Honour Landing Craft Association Standard

On the 11th August branch members Clifford and Evelyn Coates and Dennis Small, who were the originals in the Landing Craft Association of the early 1950/60 travelled to 1AGRM with Colion Shearsby and John and Jacky Peel to witness the acceptance of their gift to the Group of their standard which had been lying under one of the members bed for many years.   There they met other members of the LC Association.  All were treated to a tour of this impressive base before having lunch in the San Carlos Room.  Following lunch there was a presnetation given by WO1 Dinger Bell about the modern LC branch before meeting with the CO of 1AGRM who made a short acceptance speech.  The standard had been framed by Brian Mulholland and was now hanging on the wall in The Triumph Building (HQ Block outside the CO'sd office.

Branch Meeting at Bideford Rugby Club.

On the 12th August 30 branch members held their monthly branch meeting at Bideford Rugby Club as the Mess at RMB Chivenor was closed for the summer.  A very good evening started with a buffet, the bar being open for drinks.  The Chairman had is usual brief on branch business before the gathering sat down to a couple of games of bingo and the "Who wants to be a Millionaire" quiz.  Cash prizes for the bingo were deducted from  good raffle takings of £73 and donations to the branch that night were used as prizes for the quiz. 




We have held two well attended branch meetings this period.  In June we had a meal in the Mess and after the obligatory branch business a few very old DVD's were shown on life in SBS.  July' branch meeting was held in the Hoof Inn where we had our Annual BBQ.  This was excellently attended and we employed the services of Sgt Ginge Dudley to not burn the food. We did have a back up in the form of Roli Jones who presented his Survival Cooking Demo with the help of willing volunteers.

In early June we were approached to source some tentage for a Youth Group to have a camping weekend.  With CLR helping out this was achieved and 15/20 yound people had a cracking weekend at Croyde.

The branch dinner also held in June was a huge success with 80 people attending.  Guest speaker was Jonathan Ball, CEO of the RMC who gave a very motivational speech on why we need Royal Marine Charities.  He also expressed his gratitude to the branch for our work.  He was presented with a small quaick, filled naturally and we took the opportunity to pass the Poppy Quilt to him for the purpose of raising funds for the RMC.  The CO took the salute from the Bideford Youth Pipe Band and we took the opportunity to say farewell to the CO and RSM who were both leaving the Unit.  The Corps RSm was also in attendance and WO2 Col Shearsby took great delight in quaicking all 3.

At the back end of June we held Armed Forces Day and also attended the North Devon Vets Armed Forces Expo, attended The Somme Commemorations in Barnstaple and AFD in Exeter.

July  started with a bang with 5 days free phys in Sainsbury's!!!  With massive support from CLR we managed to cycle round the coast of South Georgia, row across to Ajax Bay, and then cycle around East and West Falklands - in total over 6000K.  The main objective was our contribution to the RMC Support Appeal.  As usual sainsbury's and their customers were outstanding and in 5 days (65 hours) we raised £8001.73.

Other events were attendance at the SNCO's summer Ball which was a Wild West Themed evening with copious amounts drunk at the Saloon and yee hahing.  The branch was well represented.

Finally there was the Top Table for the RSM WO1 Rick Angove and CO, Col Bob Baxendale.  The Chairman, and a couple of "Old and Bold" attended along with our serving SNCO's and Honouree Mess members.  A fitting evening for to stalwarts of the Corps and supporters of the branch and RMA.



On the 8th April a few members travelled upto London for the Mountbatten Festival of Music.  Susan and Finaly McCulloch got to enjoy the concert for free as they were bucket collectors for RM Charities. 

At last we held our Legion d'honneur presentation on the 13th April at RMB Chivenor.  The Honoury Consul of te French Government travelled up from Plymouth to present to Clifford Coates, Len Husband and Dennis Small.  This was a great honour and was well supported by branch members, friends and family. 

On the 19th and 20th some members relocated to RHS Rosemoor to set up our stand for the Survivalist Fair.  We had our usual table and display board in the marquee with "Mike the Marine" in a Gilly Suit and a 24 hour ration pack laid out to be viewed.  The main event was in the woods where Roli was showing visitors how to light fires, cook local vegitation and even a salmon which he assures me he caught legitimately from the River Tesco's.  we also had C/Sgt Smudge Smith in his element demonstrating various weapons form WW2 upto the present day.  All in all a good weekend. 

During April and May we have held 2 branch meetings with the AGM in April and a games night inMay.  Both were well attended with approximately 25 enjoying Pay as You Dine food and a good social evening. Joiners and Leavers in the Mess was on the 19th May.

In April Jacko Jackson, Brain Mulholland , Bob Fergusson and Bill Milster and few other branch members support the first 2 days of the Baz Gray Solo630.  The weather was not good but with the support of Piper Mike Harper the branch helped Baz and collected around £260 towards his fund raising.

The standard with a few branch members was at Graspan and Beat Retreat and the branch stand attended Sapper 300 on Chivenor airfield - where the Royal Engineers were celebrating 300 years of service.   

On the 22nd May ex RAF policeman Mike Culley swam 5 miles with branch chair John Peel and then he got on his bike and cycled 110 miles with a team of serving RM's and Army all to celebrate his 75 birthday.  In doing so we raised a considerable amount for Corps Charities - still counting.  A great day.

The branch Chairman and President along with Dave Perkins, TC Davison and Clifford Coates joined barnch members and still serving Mess members Colin Shearsby, Jacko Jackson and Spud Taylor for the Ajax Bay Dinner at Commando Logs.  It is always a privelege to take part in a mess function and this was no exception.  Great hospitality and a great evening.


March has started with a Joiners and Leavers evening at the WO&SNCO's Mess.  A few of the branch attended an excellent evening with our serving colleagues.  Following a extensive Joiners and Leavers quaicking session the Joey Davis and Ginge Dudley Show got under way.  A Raffle, Quiz, Bingo, Catch Phrase and Key in the Box was held all for the princely sum of £10 with many raffle and cash prizes and £50 in the Box.  This wasn't won and rolls over to £75 next month.

We held our usual branch night and following food and business had a couple of old peoples bar games - bingo and a "Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Everyone enjoyed the evening - I think.

 On the 19th and 20th some members relocated to RHS Rosemoor to set up our stand for the Survivalist Fair.  We had our usual table and dispaly board in the marquee with "Mike the Marine" in a Gilly Suit  and a 24 hour ration pack laid out to be viewed.  The main event was in the woods where Roli was showing visitors how to light fires, cook local vegitation and even a salmon which he assures me he caught legitimately from the River Tesco's.  we also had C/Sgt Smudge Smith in his element demonstrating various weapons form WW2 upto the present day.  All in all a good weekend.  There are pictures in the Photo Gallery.


We held our first branch meeting of the year at Commando Logisitc Regiment Sergeant's Mess, RMB Chivenor.  26 members attended and all enjoyed pussers sausage and mash and duff.  Following branch business we had a very interesting talk and DVD show on Rabbie Burns and the Burns Supper by Bob "Mac" Fergusson.  Bob is always very amusing and as usual this was a very entertaining evening.  To help the presentation along and create the right atmosphere JC Bowden provided a bottle of Jura Single Malt whiskey for everyone to have a tot and toast Rabbie Burns. The chairman not wanting to be outdone bought a haggis and asked the chef to prepare it for the members.  When enquiring if the chef had prepared haggis before (assuming he had) the answer was NEVER!!! Not to worry there were instructions.  Just break up the Haggis and microwave for the given time.  What came out was an exploded sheeps stomach lining with crisp over cooked contents.  Undetruned the Chairman passed it round for everyone to sample.  Thank goodness for the wee dram.

 In Februray Kally Thomas, wife of serving RM, Andy Thomas (A Ex CLR rating who is now at 40Cdo) approached the branch to help her with a fund raising endeavour.  She has signed up to the RM Charity Team to take part in Yomping Since 1664 - a walk of 166.4k along the South Downs Way in 36 hours. For the privelege she committed to raise £1000 for RM Charities. She had booked a day in Green Lanes but not having done anything like this before need some help. The RMCTF put her in touch with the branch and the Chairman and 2 I/C Colin Shearsby turn to for the day.  Oh, I forgot "Mike the Marine" came out of retirement again as well.  A very successful day saw us raise £633.01 towards Karly's total.  Photos to go on to the Photo Gallery soon.

20 members attended February's branch meeting which started as usual with some scran.  Branch business followed at 1900 which went quite swiftly until AOB.  This is when a question regarding Homeport Magazine replacing the RMA Magazine was raised.  The heavens opened and the debate started.  You can read the outcome in the branch minutes section.  Following the business meeting we retreated to the bar for a couple of games of bingo and higher and lower all for cash prizes - paid for from the £75 takings from the raffle.