Royal Marines Association North Devon


Activities in 2018 - scroll down to read in each period

October to December

July to September

April to June

Janaury to March

More information about what we do and our fund raising exploits can be found in the Monthly Bulletin and Charitable Donations pages.

October to December

The branch held to meetings this period.  In October we decidsed to hold a Corps Birthday related evening.  However as we are a multi capbaged branch we decided to honour our other cap badge members so had a tri -service evening - in fact we celebrated a 4 services - believing the Corps is a stand alone arm of the military.  Following the usual meal and branch business we moved to the main bar area in the SNCO's Mess and RMB Chivenor for a 4 part concert performed by the Appledore silver Band.  Each segment covered the different services commorating WW1, RAF 100, Trafalgar Day and the Corps Birthday.  Between each section there was a vinyette significant to that service.  We ended with the Conveining Order which has to recited by heart by the most junior serving NCO in the Mess.  As Jacko was our only serving NCO he had the pleasure of being called the youngest and as he was ambushed at short notice was allowed to read the notice rather than recite it by heart.  JC provide the liquid refreshment in the form of genuine Pussers Rum.The branch had a guess for our November meeting - branch member and USMC League veteran - John Bigwood had travelled over from the US for a visit to his Oppo - Bob Martin (also USMCL and branch member).  John was hosted at CTC, CLR and 11 ATTRM and also attended the various Remembrance Commemoration to held this month due to the significance of the event - the ending of hostilities from WW1.  At the meeting John  was presented with a branch plaque and the manual of the History of the Corps. and we showed a DVD of the US Army Assault Traing for WW2 that occered on Braunton Burrows prior to D Day.

Remembrance Parades came think and fast during this period.  The standard attended a village commemoration at Northam where relatives of those fallen from the village were remembered.  The barnch and standard attended Commando Logistic Regiments parade which was held at Crow Point beach on the edge of the Torridge/Taw Estuary.  Following this the branch laid wreaths on behalf of the RMA and USMCL at the Memorial Garden at RMB Chivenor.  On the Sunday parades were held throughout North Devon wher branch represnetatives laid wreaths on behalf of the RMA.  The main branch attedance was at the Bideford Parade and Church service where the standard was paraded and branch members marched.

Following the church service and receiption the day culimated in the "Beacon Lighting" event which was carried out across the country.  In the afternoon the branch took it's stand, a Tombola and book stall to Pollyfields in the run up to the actual ceremony.  This was held at 1900 when the beacon was lite and Last Post sounded off.

December  is the start ofthe festive season and the branch attended to parties.  The SNCO's at RMB Chivenor held their annual Christmas Ball and the branch had a couple of tables of 10 and enjoyed the hospitality of the Mess and then we held our own Chrsitmas Party in the Officers Mess a week later.  A 3 course carvery was enjoyed by all and "Santa's Little Helpers" in the form of elfettes Mr Shearsby and Mr Jackson were on hand to assist - really.  There was the mandatory Presidents Quiz and Irish Bingo and the evening finsihed off with 2 hours entertainment from "Crooner" steve Valentine and we cleared the Mes by 0200.  A fitting end to another successful year in the life of the North devon Branch.

July - September

We held 3 branch gatherings during this period - 2 away from Chivenor and one back there in September.  In July we took over the Hoof Inn which is the Corporals Club outside the camp gate.  Former RM Chef and branch member Stephen Boden and current RM Chef Sgt Richie Bray produced an excellent BBQ while newish branch Member Paul "Jan" Newland provided the bar service.  The evening was free at the request of the late Pauline Winslow who had bequeathed some money to the branch to enjoy and evening on her our heart felt thanks but sadly Pauline was around to hear it.  However a warm summers evening and great to be out doors.

Our next exursion was to Bideford rugby Club in August.  We do this every year and have a Buffet evening with bingo and a quiz.  This year was no different.

September saw us back in the Mess after the return of the Unit from Summer leave.  The usual scra and branch business was followed by a talk from Bruce White on the lead upto the Deal Bombing and what was known and not know - a harrowing event.

Other activity that dominated the period was our annual "Free Phys" at Sainsbury's for 5 days where with hoofing support from the serving Corps and RMA Cycle Branch we pedalled the JOGLE and back and raised over £6500.00 for the Charity.  In July we also enjoyed the hospitality of the SNCO Mess at their Summer Ball where the theme was "All the Fun of the Fair" - complete with dodgums, carousels etc etc.

At the end of July we supported 11 ATTRM Families day at Instow Base where we had our branch stand, Roli's Roadshow and merchandise from the RMA shop.

Two events stand out in August.  The first was our 3rd year at the Mariners Arms in Brauinton for their Family Fun Day in aid of Royal Marine Charities.  We provided a Tombola, a Raffle, the RMA shop, Splat the Rat, The Stocks as well as ration pack sampling and the branch stand.  Just under £300 was raised in total.  The other event was Chairman - John peel - with 2 Ex RAF veterans took to the water in a lake in Braunton and swam a total of 30 miles in relay continuosly a over 12 hours, gain for the Charity.  Around £1400 was raised.

Branch members attended the Mess Beerfest and for the 4th year (I think) we supported the Barnstaple Marathon by providing a water station manned by our Ladies and marshalling on the airfield. The following week we received a cheque for £200 being a donation to the branch for our services.

April to June

April's branch meeting started with the usual PAYD meal and then  we sat down to a brief from the Chair , which was in the new format of asking for comments on points raised at the previous meeting or in the minutes.  Following Branch business we adjourned to the bar and had a very interesting insight to life at CLR and what CLR does given by Jacko.  However, with the rumour mill in full swing the discussion moved towards the future of Chivenor & the Corps. A lively discussion where there was no shortage of suggestions by would be politicians in the room.  May's meeting was our Annual AGm.  The usual format with all officers being voluntold to stay in post, reports by the Cair, the tTeasurer and the President.  Following the meeting we all ajourned to the bar for a social few drinks.

Other events included:

  • Track day for RM Charities:  A very enjoyable day was had at Castle Coombe Circuit where representatives of Branch and CLR, including the new and former CEO’s of the RMA, attended a Petrol Head Day out.  £1200 +£300.00 (Gift Aid) from the drivers fees was donated to RM Charities.

  • RHS Rosemoor – Wilderness Weekend.  The branch had a good weekend at RHS Rosemoor where we had the branch stand, give-aways, RMA shop, Roli’s road Show and a selection of weapons on show.  Although quieter than previous years and not a fundraiser, we still had around £113 in donations and £118 sales with the shop. Thanks to the team who came out on the Saturday and Sunday to make the RM presence a good one.  Rosemoor expressed their thanks for helping make this a success, saying without the RMA presence the event probably wouldn’t happen.

  • Graspan Parade.  A small cntingent includingthe branch standard attended this parade in London.  Following the parade we all reconviened at the UJC for an excellent receiption.

  • Chivenor Garrison Families Day 19th May.  At short notice the branch stand and shop were wheeled out to Chivenor for this event.  The garrison were extremely grateful for our attendance.  This was about raising awareness and interaction with the Garrison.  Not a fundraiser but on the day we raised £35 for RM Charities and sold £168 of merchandise from the shop.  We received a letter of thanks from the Garrison.

  • Ajax Bay Boxing Evening – 23rd May.  This was a change to usual format for this Mess function, which is normally buy invitation only from the RSM.  This year, branch member, Brain Mulholland put on a boxing evening with the event being opened to all.  Sadly as we only found out at very short notice there wasn’t time to publish information.  However we had a table of 10 at the evening.  It is possible this will happen again next year when hopefully we will get better warning.

  • Beat Retreat - 31st May.  The branch standard and 4 members of the branch attended this event in London.  The Massed Bands were excellent and the standard was one of 10 saluting the Royal representative on arrival.  Following we attended the Corps Reception at Lancaster House.

  • Branch Outing to 11 ATT, Instow – 7th June.  The branch was well represented at this “Away Day” where 15 members enjoyed the hospitality of the OC and Squadron at Instow.  The event included an overview of activities and the function of the base, viewing the equipment, a tour of the workshops, a go in the Dip Tank and ride in the BRV and a trip up the “Trot” on a Landing Craft and ORC.  All in all a great day and good to forge stronger relationships with the base.

  • Branch Regimental Dinner – 9th June.  80 members of the branch and their guests enjoyed another excellent evening at the WO&SNCO’s Mess.  Brigadier Richard Spencer took the salute of the Bideford Youth Pipe Band who performed Mess Beatings.  He said in 30’something years in the Corps he had never heard Mess Beatings by a Piep Band and how great it was.  The dinner went well with a number of Port Fines supplementing the purchase of the port, a very successful raffle raising £660 for branch funds, a well-attended disco and a very informative address by Brigadier Spencer.  Dave Rowlands was rewarded for his often-unseen support for the branch; RSM Tim Jukes received half of a farewell gift and presented the Chairman with the first item for the new display cabinet in the Mess.  Brigadier Spencer also made a presentation to the branch of a Commando Dagger in acknowledgment of the work the branch continues to do.  Mr Vice and his good Lady Mrs Sec were quaiched having just left the Corps after 37 years.  All in all a truly great evening.

  • Armed Forces Week Flag Raising Service 25th June.  There was an excellent branch turnout for this event, held annually in Victoria Park Bideford.  It is probably the only event of it’s kind in North Devon, acknowledging the Armed Forces.


January to March

January is a quiet month folowing the expoilts of Dedember.  We had our first meeting of the year and after the usual agenda had a quiz which was won by Richard Martin.  A bottle of Port was his reward. 

February's meeting witness the Chair trying to speed through the notices (see man minutes) so the gathering could get onto the main entertainment of the evening – the Mini Burns Supper.  A warm welcome to Mike Harper, piper was given.  At 1900 everyone moved to the dinning area where a moments silence was observed for the 3 former RM’s who crossed the bar this month. Following this we had an evening with ”Rabbie Burns” well Bob Fergie and Mike Harper.  The haggis was piped in, ceremonially slaughtered and despatched back to the kitchen.  The gathering enjoyed cottage pie and neeps and a spoon full of Haggis on the side, followed by apple crumble and custard.  During and following the meal Bob and Mike provided Rabbie style entertainment with words of the Bard and music from the pipes.  At conclusion, the toast to the ‘Bard’ was proposed by Bob and a ‘wee dram’ of whiskey downed by all.  Our grateful thanks to JC Bowden for providing the fine malt whiskey.  Finally the Chairman mentioned the outstanding support Mike Harper has given the branch over the years in support of RM Charities blowing his pipes in all weathers.  A bottle of port was presented to Bob and Mike in appreciation for an excellent evening’s entertainment.  The evening closed with members returning to the bar. 

March's meeting was highjacked by Mr Vice who's wife Mrs sec was arriving at the grand age of 59+1 which make SIX Zero in anyones language.  So the dining area and Ajax Bay were decked out in Birthday decs and Mr Vice brought ina birthdeay cake.  Dually singing happy brithday we all partook in th cake and then following the meeting retired to the bar for a few.

February also saw the running of the "Oldie" lunch.  The aim of this is to get those who are less able to attend branch meetings and our widows out for a 2 course lunch and a chance to catch up.  There is of course the mandatory raffe which is really well supported.  Time to catch up and excellent food make this a very relaxing afternoon.

Other events this period:

  • Wilkos Cycle Challenge for RM Charities: In 7.5 hours we completed 259Km and raised £817 for Colin Reynolds Marathon pledge.   Colin sends his thanks for all the help we have given to meeting his sponsorship target.  Through our contacts the branch generated over £1500 towards his total. Thanks to the team who helped on the day.

  • Community Youth Group Presentation: The Chairman and Jacko gave a presentation and demo about training to become a Royal Marine to 2 Youth Groups from Bridging the Gap, 1 in Barnstaple and 1 in Ilfracombe.  All the kids seemed to enjoy the experience, tried some rations and handled some personal kit that Royal Marines carry.

  • MFM at the Royal Albert Hall.  This has become an annual pilgrimage for some branch members and this year was no different.  A group of about 12 of us decided on the Tarra Copthorne on the Friday and following a quick turnround headed for the Tower.  A meal at Spoons was followed by another visit to the Tower to be guided through the history of what went on ther by Yeoman Warden Andy.  The usual stories laced with a bit of macabre hunour lead us to the Yeomans Mess for a few liveners prior to the main event - "The Ceremony of the Keys'.  Then it was back to the Mess for a night cap before heading back to the hotel.  Saturday following breakfast we set off for the Shard, a wonder round town and back to change intime for an early dinner at our favourite French Restaurant in Kensiington.  The a short walk to the Albert hall for an excellent concert.  The evening finished off with a few more scoops in the bar at the Copthorne which takes on the form of the SNCO's and Officers Mess for the night.