Royal Marines Association North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

The last 6 months Chairman's letter to the branch published - the latest first.

2019

February

January


2018

December

November

October

September






Chairman’s Letter February 2019.


I hope this missive finds you all as well as …..


  • February’s meeting – our Mini Burns Supper was held on the 8th. The Haggis was ceremonially “Piped” into the Mess at 1900. The evening included Toast to the Haggis by Jimmy Headrick, The Toast to the Lassies (Col Shearsby) and Response from the Lassies (Susan McCulloch). A great evening.


  • CLR’s Freedom of Barnstaple - April 11th. No further information has come out about this but hopefully by the end of this month I will know more. It has been mentioned is that the date might slide.


  • Our Regimental Dinner – June 15th. This date is now confirmed. For those who haven’t attended this function before this is our many celebration of the branch year. Guests always include serving senior officers from CLR and beyond and an interesting and relevant main speaker. I am please to inform you that this year we have the RMA Operations Manager, Richie Puttock, who up until the introduction of a 2nd Ops Manager managed the entire RMA nationwide – an outstanding achievement. Anyway more details will be coming out in the next month or so but rest assured this will be a popular event so put it on your calendar and when invited get your request in quickly. It is open to your friends.


  • South West Regional funded trip to Spean Bridge -June 27th-July 8Th - including a 7 day, 96-mile yomp along the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William. The Regional Chairman, Derek Sargent, is still keen to hear from anyone interested. His details are at the bottom of the main bulletin.


  • Branch Calendar. This month you will have received the new formatted branch calendar. Please put it somewhere safe so you can refer to it, transpose dates to your personal household calendar and read the “What’s Coming Up” section of the branch bulletin for any changes, additions or removals of dates as they occur through the year. If you think you have missed something or are uncertain about details of an event you want to attend, including any branch meeting please ASK.


  • Possible Trip to 1 Assault Group RM. I have been approached that there maybe a day out at 1 AGRM, Devonport, home of the amphibious element of the Royal Marines. Although primarily this outing is for our most senior Normandy Veteran, Cliff Coates, my understanding is the CO at 1 AGRM are keen to involve the branch. As soon as I have more information I will cascade it down to all.


  • RMA and Branch Membership. Sue Shearsby, our Branch Sec, and I have been working through our list of members and those registered on the RMA Central Office Website and have noted a few differences. It appears we have members who aren’t actually members of the RMA. As a branch I have no real issue with this but ask this question – As it is now free to join – why shouldn’t you? I assure you by doing this you will NOT be expected to do anything more than you already do and it will not cost you anymore. There are no hidden charges and no-one will try to encourage you to participate more than you do. What you will benefit from is regular comms from Central Office, access to the RMA website and therefore all events which you may want to attend with preferential ticketing available. In the coming months those Sue and I have identified will receive an individual invitation to join. It is very simple to do so please consider this.


As always, I operate an open door policy, so if you need to get in touch I am here to listen and help, whether it’s for you or someone else. Thanks to all for you’re continued support. My contact details are below and those of key Branch Officers can be found at the end of the monthly bulletin.


JP

[email protected],co.uk Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile - 07845989377

Chairman’s Letter January 2019.


I hope this missive finds you all as well as …..

  • We had a good first branch evening of the year this month with the showing of a DVD on L Company, 42 Cdo Limbang Raid in 1962 at the start of the Borneo Confrontation. Amongst our members we had two former RM’s – John Grebby who was on that raid and name appeared in the credits and Bob Fergie who was with 40 Cdo. during their regular deployments to Borneo during the conflict. Both added relevance to the DVD. Thanks to John and Bob.

  • February’s meeting on the 8th will be a Mini “Burns Night” again. Meet in the Ajax Bay Bar at 1800. We will hold a very brief Branch Business update at 1830 and be ready to be “Piped” into the Mess to “Welcome the Haggis” at 1900. The evening will include Toast to the Haggis, The Lassies and The Laddies. The wearing of Tartan is encouraged. Following the extended meal we will retreat to the bar.

  • Regarding CLR’s Freedom of Barnstaple - April 11th & Our Regimental Dinner May/June – by February’s branch meeting I may have updates. One point to emphasise about the Freedom of Barnstaple is that when 40 Cdo got the freedom of Taunton; RMA Taunton marched in the parade and there were a number who were less mobile and would not have been able to complete the distance so were allowed to use mobility aids. Hopefully the same policy will be adopted for those from our branch who may need that assistance. Even though we all still have the “Can Do” attitude there is no disgrace in saying “I can” but not that far.

  • You will note in this months bulletin that it is planned to have a South West Regional funded trip to Spean Bridge ( June 27th-July 8Th) including a 7 day, 96-mile yomp along the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William. There is some funding being provided by the Region for those wanting to take part. Please read this item and if you want to know more please get in touch.

  • To enhance our communication and news reporting ability we are working to streamline our branch website. I encourage all who have access to the Internet, even if you aren’t a member of the site, to “Google” – www.rmand16641664.webs.com and have a look at the site and various pages we have. You may like to join and you can do this by clicking on Register in the top right hand corner and follow the instructions. It is free and as a member of the site your will get regular emails when we have updated any of the pages.

  • We are also working on this year’s Branch Calendar. In an attempt to reduce work, printer ink and paper we will be providing a single list of key dates of Branch, Region and National events for you to copy to your own calendars. We will also keep the calendar section on the branch website upto date and any changes, new events or updates will appear as normal in the bulletin each month. We can do no more to get this information out to you. If you don’t want to miss out, I would urge you all to ensure, if nothing else, you keep abreast of this information. If you think you have missed something or are uncertain about details of an event you want to attend, including any branch meeting please ASK.

As always, I operate an open door policy, so if you need to get in touch I am here to listen and help, whether it’s for you or someone else. Thanks to all for your continued support and I look forward to another successful year for the North Devon Branch. My contact details are below and those of key Branch Officers can be found at the end of the monthly bulletin.



JP

[email protected],co.uk Tel - 01237477438 or Mobile - 07845989377


 

    Chairman’s Letter December 2018.

 

Festive Greetings to You All.  I hope this finds you all as well as and your Christmas has been a good one.

 

  • Yet again we have had a very successful Christmas Appeal fund raising for RM Associated Charities and should raise over £8300. I will update everyone with the final figure and distribution at the next meeting and January’s Bulletin. We also have made our annual donation of  £150.00 to the RMB Chivenor Children’s Christmas party.

 

  • There were 64 guests at our Christmas Party on Friday 14th in the Officers Mess and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves – I did.  We are hoping to secure a date towards the end on May or the 1st Saturday in June for our Regimental Dinner.

 

  • Our next branch “Get together” is scheduled for Friday the 11th January.  The timings are as usual- 1800 for food and 1900 for branch business. If you intend coming along please let me know by January 7th so I can give the Chef our food orders.  The meal choice will be Chicken Kiev + Chips and a cold dessert.  We will be showing a DVD on L Coy, 42 Cdo. Limbang Raid in 1962 at the start of the Borneo Confrontation with a Q&A by branch member, John Grebby who was a young RM on the raid.

 

  • February’s meeting on the 8th will be a Burns Night Theme again.

 

  • One very important date for your diary: On the 11th April Commando Logisitc Regiment will receive the Freedom of Barnstaple and the CO has personally invited the branch to attend (and possibly march).  I will update you as to our involvement when I have had more information but see this as a one off honour for the branch.

 

  • With the imminent merging of the two charities – the RMA and RMC - it is likely there will be information relevant to us at branch level I will need to get out to you as and when.  But I see it as “Business as Usual” for us. One change is that membership is free.  If you have standing order you need to cancel it immediately.  Direct debits will be cancelled automatically. Don’t worry everyone who is a member, remains a member without having to do anything.

 

  • It only leaves me to thank you all for your support in what has been another busy but successful year for the branch here in North Devon.  We continue to punch well above our weight and hold the spirit of the RMA and Corps family uppermost. A special thanks to our multi cap-badge colleagues, your contribution to our branch, our events and the work we do is outstanding.

 

My Committee, Jacky and I, albeit belated, hope your Christmas was full of Festive Fun and may 2019 bring good fortune, happiness, safety and good health.      

 

  JP

 

Contact Details:

Chairman - John Peel: 01237477438 or Mobile - 07845989377

Vice Chairman - Colin Shearsby: 01271 813821 or Mobile - 07737204646

Support Officer - Bruce White: 01271 346611


Chairman’s Letter November 2018.

 

Dear All, Trust you are all as well as………..

 

  • The Remembrance Events around the area went off very well with representatives at a number laying a wreath on behalf of the branch.  My thanks to all who attended this historic occasion.

 

  • Thanks you for those who have put their names forward to help shake a bucket (or as a reserve) during our annual Christmas Appeal.  I will see you all in the various locations we are covering.

 

  • We have had a good response to this years Christmas Party and to date have around 60 attending including the former Corps RSM and now Operations Manager West Region, Phil Gilby and the CO at CLR Lt Col Alderson.  We also have representatives from Wilko’s, Sainsbury’s and B&M, who support our endeavours so well through the year. Anyone still thinking of attending please get in touch with me as soon as possible.  The final cut off date is the 5th December. I look forward to enjoying a glass or two with those who are coming along – it will be a good evening.

 

  • By the time you read this I will have attended the Regional AGM and will be able to update you on the future of the RMA.  I can tell you that all Chairman have just received a detailed letter from the new Chief Exec regarding how the Association is going to develop in the coming months and years.  As a branch we will not see any great changes to the way we operate. I will update you all at January’s meeting and news bulletin.  But if you want to know more please ask.

 

  • Regarding the ending of membership fees and cancellations of Direct Debits – I can assure all your membership status will not change – you now just get it for free.  Those with Standing Orders should cancel them immediately.  Please consider continuing your support of the work of the Association and Charity by replacing your membership fee with an annual donation.  Need to know how – please ask.

 

  • You may have heard that the Government replaced the Data Protection Act with the General Data Protection Regulation in May this year.  RMA Central Office have looked at this in detail to ensure the Association complies.  There has been a memo sent to branches to ensure everyone responsible for holding data understands their duties.  Our branch officers take their responsibilities very seriously and data such as names and contact details are not abused in any way.  If anyone has concerns and needs to know more please get in touch.  In the coming months we will review our procedures.

 

  • Please consider the item on “Veterans United Against Suicide”.  This is not a request for money but if they get enough votes Aviva will sponser them.

 

There is plenty more information in the branch bulletin, including updates on what’s coming up.  If there is anything you are not sure of, have concerns about or an event you would like to support please get in touch by email or phone. My door is always open.  

 

As always thank you for your support.   JP

Chairman’s Letter October 2018.

Dear All, Trust you are all as well as………..

 

  • The Branch inaugural Corps Birthday Band Concert by the Appledore Silver Band, I think, was a successful.  A very good turnout and all seemed to enjoy themselves.  To that end we are considering making this an annual event for our October meeting.  That is also thoughts on recruiting the Chivenor Wives Choir for a Coral Evening sometime next year.

 

  • As mentioned in the last bulletin and my Chairs letter Chivenor are holding a Remembrance Parade at Crow Point on Braunton Burrows on the 8th.  It has been mentioned to Jacko and I that the Branch are invited to attend and we hope to have the standard there and lay a wreath on behalf of the RMA.  Although we have no further details at present, I am working with Jacko Jackson to put a plan together, hopefully including transport from camp.  What I need from you is email confirmation that you would like to attend before the end of the month.  Obviously although an open-air event - it is unlikely that any shelter will be made available as happens at the Memorial Garden.  If I don’t receive email, text or phone notification from you I will assume you don’t plan to attend.

 

  • On Remembrance Sunday the standard will be parading at Bideford and our President we will be laying a wreath at that event.  As we are the North Devon representatives of the RMA we endeavour to lay wreaths at other services and have a number of members willing to represent the branch at these events.   

 

  • This year see the 100th Anniversary of end of fighting from WW1 and a special Beacon Lighting Ceremony will be taking place in Bideford on the evening of the 11th.  You are warmly invited to attend.  Details in the main bulletin and on line at Bideford Town Council Events.

 

  • Our Christmas Appeal dates are published in the Bulletin - where and when and I am looking a few volunteers to hold a bucket for a couple of hours.

 

  • Our Christmas Party in the Officers Mess is booked for the 14th December starting at 1800.  You should have received a proforma by now.  This is a great festive occasion and is excellent for money.  So if you want a great night out please get your form completed and returned as soon as possible. We hold one of our 2 main annual raffles and have at least 20 excellent prizes. They will be on sale at the November meeting and on the night of the function or contact me and I can arrange for you to be in the draw.

 

  • We don’t carry out fund raising and support work for praise or accolades but it is heartening when this is recognised by the wider Corps Family.  The Commandant General RM, Major General Charlie Stickland OBE has sent words of acknowledgement and congratulations to the branch which I will share with you all at the next branch gathering in November.  You should all be proud of what you do for the wider Corps family and Armed Forces.

 

  • There is plenty more information in the branch bulletin, including updates on branch calendar dates.  If there is anything you are not sure of, have concerns about or an event you would like to support please get in touch by email or phone. My door is always open.  

 

As always thank you for your support.   JP

Chairman’s Letter September 2018.

 

Dear All, Trust you are all as well as………..

 

 

  • We had a number of events in September – The Mess Beerfest, September’s Branch Meeting, The RMA Reunion/Families Day at CTC, supporting the placing of crowd barriers for the Barnstaple Carnival & The Barnstaple Marathon.  These were very well supported by branch members.  My thanks to all.

 

  • At the Reunion our 2 quiz teams were successful with the Inter Unit Quiz coming 1st and 2nd.  However with only 3.5 teams entered and no Exeter Branch the challenge wasn’t as great.  But you have to be “In it to Win It” and we have some silverware to put in the new display cabinet which is situated outside the Ajax Bay Room in the Mess and is due to be completed shortly.

 

  • During the AGM at the Reunion the new CEO, Brigadier Richard Spencer RM Rtd gave a briefing about the RMA, the merger and plans going forward to better integration Units and RMA, something which is well established here in North Devon. There was nothing that should concern us as a branch.  The merger is now planned for December 31st/January 1st and feasibility studies are under way on membership fees.  The Deputy Commandant General gave a briefing on the health of the Corps and that the recent threats to our amphibious capability have, for now, receded.  Although the branch is tri-service; the health of the Corps may have an affect on our Association and therefore the branch.

 

  • We have secured the services of the Appledore Town Band for our October evening and I invite you to extend an invitation to your friends and family to join us for the evening, have a meal and enjoy the 1-hour concert in the Mess.  However, due to the changes in Security and Caterers it is important that I get names by the normal cut-off date of Tuesday 16th.

 

  • November is the month of Remembrance and this year CLR will not be holding a parade on the Sunday.   However, as in previous years we plan to have representatives to lay wreaths at other Remembrance Parades.   This years see the 100th Anniversary of end of fighting from WW1 and a special Beacon Lighting Ceremony will be taking place in Bideford on the evening of the 11th.  You are warmly invited to attend.

 

  • Our Christmas Appeal dates are published in the Monthly Bulletin - where and when.

 

  • Our Christmas Party in the Officers Mess is booked for the 14th December starting at 1800.  You should have received a proforma with this months Bulletin.  This is a great festive occasion and is excellent for money at only £20.  I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.  And for those who haven’t been before it is a very relaxed evening, no formal dress and no military regimental protocol.  We have also secured the services of “Crooner”, Steve Valentine again - who was excellent last year.

 

  • There is plenty more information in the branch bulletin.  A reminder that although you will have had a branch calendar updates, including date changes will always appear in the bulletin. If there is anything you are not sure of; have concerns about or an event you would like to support please get in touch by email or phone. My door is always open.  

 

As always thank you for your support.   JP