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PLEASE VIEW FLYERS AT BOTTOM OF `ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTERS 1. PAGE.  THANKYOU

Association Newsletters.  2.

If you are not in receipt of the WFRA ENewsletter and have internet connection,please contact

RHQ Mercian Nottingham (rhqmercian.notts@btconnect.com) and we will send you the ENews update.

THE WORCESTERSHIRE AND SHERWOOD FORESTERS REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION

Patron: HRH The Princess Royal
President: Brig P Dennis

..........................................

20 May 2022      WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 13 Issue 21

001 ALBERT BALL VC MEMORIAL PARADE

Members of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Association and the Royal Air Force gathered in the grounds of Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May for an act of remembrance on the 105th Anniversary of the death of Captain Albert Ball VC, DSO, & Two Bars, MC who was killed in action on May 7 1917.

Sir John Peace Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Councillor David Trimble The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Merlita Bryan The Sheriff of Nottingham and representatives from the WFR Association, The Robin Hood Rifles and Royal Air Force.

The Robin Hood Rifles Buglers

WFR Association members Richard Froggatt, Damian Cowlishaw, Gary Crosby, John Sansom & Mark Dack

002 WFRA REUNION – 28 MAY 2022

The WFRA Reunion 2022 will take place on Saturday 28 May in the new location of the Worcester Rugby Football Club (WRFC), Offerton Lane, Hindlip, Worcester WR3 8TR. 

Details as follows: The event opens at 1200 hours (we ask that you do not arrive earlier to allow set up of the event) and closes at 1730 hours although the WRFC will remain open for anyone that wishes to remain afterwards.

Entrance is £2 (cash) per adult and all costs will go towards the cost of the event.

All veterans and serving members are asked to sign in and check their personal logs or complete a new one.  The logs are entirely voluntary but do allow RHQ to keep in touch with you and the museums to update their records.

There will be a raffle (cash for the tickets) on the day and anyone who wishes to contribute (alcohol seems be the preferred prize) are asked to drop them off at RHQ Nottingham or bring them on the day.  The draw will take place after the Service and any prizes not collected will be kept by the Worcester Branch for future use.

There will be food and drink outlets at the Club at normal rugby club prices (they are cheaper than Sixways) and attendees are kindly asked not to bring their own picnics.

In attendance will be 1 Mercian, RHQ including the IET and the Regimental Mascot, Hereford & Worcestershire Cadets, the Worcestershire Museum, a PRI stand, local clergy and SJA.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Tenbury Town Band.

There will be a Drumhead Service at 1500 hours at which time the refreshment outlets will close.  Attendees are asked to give due respect to the service.  Following the Address, members who wish to march will be directed by CSM 1 Mercian to form up, to parade.

Complimentary transport is provided from Silver Street, Worcester WR1 2SG to the event, at 1200 hours. 1245 hours and 1315 hours.  There will be return transport at 1700 hours and 1800 hours.  The transport is available on a first come, first served basis although it is hoped that priority will be given to the older veteran community and branch members.

There is plenty of car parking on site including Blue Badge Holder parking closer to the club.  If anyone anticipates difficulties with parking, they are asked to contact the Assistant Regimental Secretary. Please do not drink and drive.

The event is a private event for association members and their families and anyone connected to the Mercian Regiment and its antecedents.  The police have been informed of the event and there are no known security risks but all attendees are asked to remain vigilant on the day.

Please note that cash is required for entry and the raffle and may be required for the stands

Any questions should be directed to the Assistant Regimental Secretary, Nottingham cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk

003 2 MERCIAN FREEDOM PARADES

2 Mercian will be conducting Freedom Parades in Worcester and Derby and invite all Association Members and their families to join them on the day. Although more details will follow, members are asked to put the date in their diary.

Worcester City: Saturday 25 June.  The parade will commence at 1130 hours from Cornmarket Square and march to the Guildhall.  Those that wish to march can join the end of the parade.  All others are asked to line the route or join Standard Bearers by the Dias outside of the Guildhall.

Derby City: Tuesday 28 June.  The event will start with a church service in the Cathedral at 1100 hours (approx.) for which all, including Standard Bearers, are invited.  This will be followed by a parade to the Town Hall and an inspection.  Everyone is invited to line the route or join the Standard Bearers by the Dias outside of the Council House.

The parade will then resume back to the Cathedral. 

For security purposes, it is requested that this information is not shared at this stage, to the wider public (i.e. open social media pages)

004 LOST CONTACT

Andrew Jeffcock is a former TAVR Sherwood Forester and 3WFR. He Joined at Buxton in 1972 then finally served with C Company 3WFR at Boythorpe Rd at Chesterfield & Derby. He finished as a LCpl On Batt Level Signals finishing  in 1978 after a car accident.
Andrew would like to make contact with Simon Weigold if possible.
Andrew can be contacted by email at andrew@jeffcock.net

005 AGE UK VETERANS WALKS

Join us for a leisurely stroll around Kingsmill Reservoir in the company of other veterans for a walk and chat.  Enjoy the camaraderie of being with ex service personnel, followed by a coffee at the cafe.  The walk will take approximately 1 hour.  The only cost is the price of your refreshments.

Date Tuesday 14th June 2022.
Time 1200 hrs outside the cafe at Kingsmill Reservoir.
For more information call 07872 839 605 or email activeveteransservice@ageuknotts.org.uk

006 WAR GRAVES WEEK IS COMING TO NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Nottinghamshire and offering free tours at Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham on Saturday May 28th.

War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Nottinghamshire and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The free guided tours will take place on Saturday 28th May at 9.30am and 12.30pm at Wilford Hill and will give people in Nottinghamshire the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried or commemorated in their community. War Graves Week provides a unique chance for the people of Nottingham to reconnect with their local history.

More than 200 casualties from Nottinghamshire are buried or commemorated at Wilford Hill.

On the tours, Nottinghamshire residents will learn about the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project – the focus of this year’s War Graves Week. Alongside the front-line armed forces, the CWGC will be celebrating the value those who served during the World Wars brought to key sectors such as health care, logistics, infrastructure and communications. To learn more about specific stories of those who served, and the parallels with today’s global Britain which they helped to create, please click here

Hear the stories of Nottingham air raid victims killed during the local blitz on May 9th 1941. Learn about local VCs John Joseph Caffrey, Charles Ernest Garforth and Harry Nichols.  Salute the sacrifices of local fighter pilot Arthur Roy Watson and bomber pilot Norman Powell.  Learn about the loss of HMS Curacoa tragically sunk in collision with the Queen Mary

The tours will be led by local resident, David Nunn, who is a (volunteer/public engagement coordinator) for the CWGC.  David Nunn said: “We’re delighted that Nottinghamshire will be taking part in CWGC’s War Graves Week. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Nottinghamshire is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I’d encourage everyone in Nottinghamshire to join one of the tours to reconnect with their local history to learn about the courageous ordinary people from our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The CWGC is encouraging the people of Nottinghamshire to seek out the stories in their local area and book onto a free tour this War Graves Week. To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/tours

007 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families.

Details are as follows Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc…Set up before 08:15

Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free.

Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45

Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00

Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45

Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30

Dress:

civilian wear: casual

military wear:  (cadets) MTP

Car parking is available :

Free – event field, clearly signposted

Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day.

If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk
 

008 VETERANS TRIP TO THE NMA ON SATURDAY 16 JULY 2022

Nottingham Forest are planning a second trip to National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 16 July 2022: This complimentary trip (including lunch) is open to all Veterans and their partners / carers are welcome to join them.

Details as follows:

Leave Nottingham Forest: 09:30

Arrive Arboretum: 10:00 – 10:30

Lunch: 13:00 (2 courses choice of food on the day)

Depart Arboretum: 15:15 TBC

Arrive Nottingham Forest: 16:30

Please follow the link below to book your places.  Priority will be given for those unable to go on the last trip.  

https://bookwhen.com/forestforces/e/ev-sron-20220716090000

.................................................................

13 May 2022       WFRA NEWSLETTER        Volume 13 Issue 20

OBITUARY

Major Anthony 'Butch' Marshall

It is with great sadness that we inform you that 517616 Major Anthony ‘Butch’ MARSHALL passed away recently aged 61.  Butch joined 3 WFR and served with E Company as an Officer Cadet and became 2Lt on 21 Nov 1983 and was promoted to Lt on 21 Nov 1985.  He served with A, B & HQ Companies and was promoted to Capt on 1 Aug 1989 and Maj on 29 June 1993 as OC of C Company. 
He was a very loyal officer who lead by example.  He had an excellent sense of humour and was respected and liked by the men under his command and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Further details will be published, once known.

001 WFRA REUNION – 28 MAY 2022

The WFRA Reunion 2022 will take place on Saturday 28 May in the new location of the Worcester Rugby Football Club (WRFC), Offerton Lane, Hindlip, Worcester WR3 8TR. 

Details as follows:

The event opens at 1200 hours (we ask that you do not arrive earlier to allow set up of the event) and closes at 1730 hours although the WRFC will remain open for anyone that wishes to remain afterwards.

Entrance is £2 (cash) per adult and all costs will go towards the cost of the event.

All veterans and serving members are asked to sign in and check their personal logs or complete a new one.  The logs are entirely voluntary but do allow RHQ to keep in touch with you and the museums to update their records.

There will be a raffle (cash for the tickets) on the day and anyone who wishes to contribute (alcohol seems be the preferred prize) are asked to drop them off at RHQ Nottingham or bring them on the day.  The draw will take place after the Service and any prizes not collected will be kept by the Worcester Branch for future use.

There will be food and drink outlets at the Club at normal rugby club prices (they are cheaper than Sixways) and attendees are kindly asked not to bring their own picnics.

In attendance will be 1 Mercian, RHQ including the IET and the Regimental Mascot, Hereford & Worcestershire Cadets, the Worcestershire Museum, a PRI stand, local clergy and SJA.  Musical entertainment will be provided by the Tenbury Town Band.

There will be a Drumhead Service at 1500 hours at which time the refreshment outlets will close.  Attendees are asked to give due respect to the service.  Following the Address, members who wish to march will be directed by CSM 1 Mercian to form up, to parade.

Complimentary transport is provided from Silver Street, Worcester WR1 2SG to the event, at 1200 hours. 1245 hours and 1315 hours.  There will be return transport at 1700 hours and 1800 hours.  The transport is available on a first come, first served basis although it is hoped that priority will be given to the older veteran community and branch members.

There is plenty of car parking on site including Blue Badge Holder parking closer to the club.  If anyone anticipates difficulties with parking, they are asked to contact the Assistant Regimental Secretary. Please do not drink and drive.

The event is a private event for association members and their families and anyone connected to the Mercian Regiment and its antecedents.  The police have been informed of the event and there are no known security risks but all attendees are asked to remain vigilant on the day.

Please note that cash is required for entry and the raffle and may be required for the stands

Any questions should be directed to the Assistant Regimental Secretary, Nottingham cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk

002 JOB VACANCY

As part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration of the Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens we have an existing opportunity to recruit a new Team Leader for the entire Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This post holder  will have strong leadership skills and  an experience in delivering and coordinating the grounds maintenance operations needed to maintain the site to Green Flag Standards. The new Team leader will lead a small team of Gardeners and will also be responsible for recruiting and training 2 paid work placements per year. The post holder will also support a programme of volunteering opportunities and deliver a programme of activities and events in line with the Lottery Funded Audience development plan. As the Memorial Gardens have a strong military association we are very keen to hear from people who may have served in the Armed Forces  or have a strong passion and understanding of Nottingham’s military history and the contribution our citizens have made to conflicts around the world throughout history.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity in more details please contact  Jane Barton on 07903 841511  or go to: https://jobs.emss.org.uk/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=19053

 

003 WFRA SOUTHERN AREA MEETING

The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association Southern Area Meeting will be held in the Lounge at Barbourne Ex Services Club, The Moors, Worcester. WR1 3ED on Saturday 14th May 2022

At 11:15 for 11:30 start.

This is your chance as Association members to channel any points or comments towards the Association Exec Committee which will meet in October before the Association AGM in October 2022.

 

004 AGE UK VETERANS WALKS

Join us for a leisurely stroll around Kingsmill Reservoir in the company of other veterans for a walk and chat.  Enjoy the camaraderie of being with ex service personnel, followed by a coffee at the cafe.  The walk will take approximately 1 hour.  The only cost is the price of your refreshments.
Date Tuesday 17th May 2022 and 14th June 2022.

Time 1200 hrs outside the cafe at Kingsmill Reservoir.

For more information call 07872 839 605 or email activeveteransservice@ageuknotts.org.uk

 

005 WAR GRAVES WEEK IS COMING TO NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Nottinghamshire and offering free tours at Wilford Hill Cemetery, Nottingham on Saturday May 28th.

War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Nottinghamshire and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The free guided tours will take place on Saturday 28th May at 9.30am and 12.30pm at Wilford Hill and will give people in Nottinghamshire the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried or commemorated in their community. War Graves Week provides a unique chance for the people of Nottingham to reconnect with their local history.

More than 200 casualties from Nottinghamshire are buried or commemorated at Wilford Hill.

On the tours, Nottinghamshire residents will learn about the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project – the focus of this year’s War Graves Week. Alongside the front-line armed forces, the CWGC will be celebrating the value those who served during the World Wars brought to key sectors such as health care, logistics, infrastructure and communications. To learn more about specific stories of those who served, and the parallels with today’s global Britain which they helped to create, please click here

Hear the stories of Nottingham air raid victims killed during the local blitz on May 9th 1941. Learn about local VCs John Joseph Caffrey, Charles Ernest Garforth and Harry Nichols.  Salute the sacrifices of local fighter pilot Arthur Roy Watson and bomber pilot Norman Powell.  Learn about the loss of HMS Curacoa tragically sunk in collision with the Queen Mary

The tours will be led by local resident, David Nunn, who is a (volunteer/public engagement coordinator) for the CWGC.  David Nunn said: “We’re delighted that Nottinghamshire will be taking part in CWGC’s War Graves Week. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Nottinghamshire is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

“I’d encourage everyone in Nottinghamshire to join one of the tours to reconnect with their local history to learn about the courageous ordinary people from our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The CWGC is encouraging the people of Nottinghamshire to seek out the stories in their local area and book onto a free tour this War Graves Week. To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/tours

006 WFR FLAG DONATION TO MUSEUM

Someone has donated an A Coy WFR flag to the museum.  However they did not put any details in as to who they are, in the package.  Would the kind donor, please contact the museum as this will enable them to process the item on the computer system as well as saying thank you. curator@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk
 

007 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families.

Details are as follows

Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc…

Set up before 08:15

Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free.

Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45

Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00

Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45

Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30

Dress:

civilian wear: casual

military wear:  (cadets) MTP

Car parking is available :

Free – event field, clearly signposted

Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day.

If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk
 

008 VETERANS TRIP TO THE NMA ON SATURDAY 16 JULY 2022

Nottingham Forest are planning a second trip to National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 16 July 2022: This complimentary trip (including lunch) is open to all Veterans and their partners / carers are welcome to join them.

Details as follows:

Leave Nottingham Forest: 09:30

Arrive Arboretum: 10:00 – 10:30

Lunch: 13:00 (2 courses choice of food on the day)

Depart Arboretum: 15:15 TBC

Arrive Nottingham Forest: 16:30

Please follow the link below to book your places.  Priority will be given for those unable to go on the last trip.  

https://bookwhen.com/forestforces/e/ev-sron-20220716090000

......................................................

 06 May 2022    WFRA NEWSLETTER       Volume 13 Issue 19

001 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE
The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance. The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs. Service starts 18:00hrs.
The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade. 
The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.
Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

 

002 JOB VACANCY As part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration of the Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens we have an existing opportunity to recruit a new Team Leader for the entire Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This post holder  will have strong leadership skills and  an experience in delivering and coordinating the grounds maintenance operations needed to maintain the site to Green Flag Standards. The new Team leader will lead a small team of Gardeners and will also be responsible for recruiting and training 2 paid work placements per year. The post holder will also support a programme of volunteering opportunities and deliver a programme of activities and events in line with the Lottery Funded Audience development plan. As the Memorial Gardens have a strong military association we are very keen to hear from people who may have served in the Armed Forces  or have a strong passion and understanding of Nottingham’s military history and the contribution our citizens have made to conflicts around the world throughout history.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity in more details please contact  Jane Barton on 07903 841511  or go to: https://jobs.emss.org.uk/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=19053

003 FOREST FORCES Suppoorting Nottinghamshire Veterans.  SOCIAL EVENTS - COFFEE MORNINGS - PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES - SUPPORT HUBFor more info contact:- community@nottinghamforrest.co.uk   0115 984444

004 WFR FLAG DONATION TO MUSEUM Someone has donated an A Coy WFR flag to the museum.  However they did not put any details in as to who they are, in the package.  Would the kind donor, please contact the museum as this will enable them to process the item on the computer system as well as saying thank you. curator@stand-firm-strike-hard.org.uk


005 VETERANS BIG BREAKFAST – 2 JUNE 2022 To celebrate the Queen’s  Platinum Jubilee, Nottingham County Council will be hosting a Veteran’s Big Breakfast event which is open to all veterans, the military community and their families. Details are as follows Thursday 2 June 200 at Thorseby Court Yard (not Thoresby Hall).  It is a Picnic Style, bring your own chairs and blankets etc… Set up before 08:15 Breakfast: 08:30 – 0945 (sausage and bacon rolls – veggie options, teas and coffee) Free. Pipes and Drums: 09:15 – 09:45 Live screening: 10:00 – 12:00 Daisy Belles: 12:15 – 12:45 & 13:15 – 13:45 Information stands open: 08:30 – 14:30 Dress: civilian wear: casual military wear:  (cadets) MTP Car parking is available : Free – event field, clearly signposted Pay – Thorseby Court Yard £3 all day. If any further details are required, please contact the organiser direct: Neil Bettison on 0115 977 2051 or 07834 928 499 or neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk

.............................

 29 April 2022     WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 13 Issue 18

OBITUARY 23491392 Pte Brian 'Adge' Harrison

It is with great sadness that we inform you that 23491392 Pte Brian ‘Adge’ HARRISON, of Hull, died on 8 March 2022, aged 83.  Adge joined The Sherwood Foresters on 2 October 1956 and served in the UK, BAOR and Malaya.  He was discharged from the army on 1 October 1967.  Following his discharge, Adge worked as a Council grounds keeper.  His funeral took place on 22 March at Hull Crematorium

OBITUARY 24653623 Pte Mark Anthony Johnson

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of 24653623 Pte Mark Anthony Johnson who passed away on 28 March 2022.
Mark enlisted in 1989 and served with B Company 3WFR at Sutton in Ashfield and HQ Company Chilwell with the Signals Platoon, he was discharged in 1999.  Mark's funeral was held on 26 April 2022.       

SERVICE OF THANKSGIVING A Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration for the life of Helen Waters, the wife of Colonel Robin Waters, is to be held at The Church of St Mary The Virgin’s Church, Upavon, Wilts on Thursday 5 May 2022 at 14.30 pm and afterwards for refreshments at The Ship Inn Upavon.
Donations in memory of Helen may be sent to Salisbury Hospice Charity, Odstock Road, Salisbury SP2 8BJ Tel 01722 416 353.

001 JOB VACANCY As part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded restoration of the Victoria Embankment Memorial Gardens we have an existing opportunity to recruit a new Team Leader for the entire Embankment and Memorial Gardens. This post holder  will have strong leadership skills and  an experience in delivering and coordinating the grounds maintenance operations needed to maintain the site to Green Flag Standards. The new Team leader will lead a small team of Gardeners and will also be responsible for recruiting and training 2 paid work placements per year. The post holder will also support a programme of volunteering opportunities and deliver a programme of activities and events in line with the Lottery Funded Audience development plan. As the Memorial Gardens have a strong military association we are very keen to hear from people who may have served in the Armed Forces  or have a strong passion and understanding of Nottingham’s military history and the contribution our citizens have made to conflicts around the world throughout history.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity in more details please contact  Jane Barton on 07903 841511  or go to: https://jobs.emss.org.uk/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=19053

002 WFRA SOUTHERN AREA MEETING
The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association Southern Area Meeting.
Will be held in the Lounge at Barbourne Ex Services Club, The Moors, Worcester. WR1 3ED.
Saturday 14th May 2022 at 11:15 for 11:30 start. Saturday 14th May 2022 This is your chance as Association members to channel any points or comments towards the Association Exec Committee which will meet in October before the Association AGM in October 2022.

003 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE
The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance.
The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs. Service starts 18:00hrs.
The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade. 
The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.
Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

.................................................................

22 April 2022      WFRA NEWSLETTER   Volume 13 Issue 17

OBITUARY

457180 CAPTAIN ROBIN HITCHCOCK

Captain Robin Anthony Hitchcock died on 8th April 2022 in Ipswich Hospital aged 83. He had been ill for several weeks following an operation in the same hospital.

Robin Hitchcock was born on 25 May 1938 and after leaving school he joined the Hampshire Regiment  and then was selected for officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned into The Sherwood Foresters in August 1958, joining the 1st Bn in Malaya as a Platoon Commander in the last years of the Malay Emergency. He held the GSM clasp Malaya and the Pingat Jasa Medal.

He stayed with the battalion on its return to Crookham as an Anti-Tank Platoon Commander and then moved with the battalion on its posting to Holywood, Belfast. During this tour  Robin transferred to the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) in Muscat, Oman serving as a temporary Major in Suwayhan, a desert outpost between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

He returned to the 1st Bn in Colchester in 1965 as a Company 2i/c then, when the 1st Bn moved to Munster in Germany in their role as a Mechanised Infantry Battalion, he became Adjutant. The Battalion re-equipped with new AFV432 Mk II's as part of 6 Mechanised Brigade.

During this period Robin was remembered as a colourful character and those who knew him well will have many tales to tell.

On leaving the Army in 1968 prior to amalgamation he joined the Abu Dhabi Defence Force.

After this he joined  Brinkmann Tobacco, the German part of Rothmans Group in Hamburg before joining Carreras Rothmans in Bahrein in 1972.  He then moved to Saudi Arabia as the Country Manager based in Jeddah, before working directly for Ali Zaid Al Quraishi, the Carreras Saudi Distributor.

On retirement he moved to East Suffolk and lived in Iken and then Boyton where he was a British Legion representative doing much for the Suffolk Branch of the British Legion with General Sir Pat Howard-Dobson.

Robin's funeral takes place in St Andrews' Church, Boyton, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3LQ. on Friday 29 April 2022 at 2pm.

Letters of condolence should be sent to Robin's step-son:

Mr Toby Berridge, Richmond House, Gedgrave, Suffolk IP12 2BU or 07932 725133 or fionaberridge@btinternet.com

The family has also asked that people intending to attend the funeral contact Toby and Fiona so they have an idea of numbers for attendance at the church and for catering at a wake to be held afterwards at Richmond House.

FUNERAL DETAILS

The funeral of Mrs Margaret Leman, wife of Colonel Richard Leman the first Commanding Officer of 1WFR, will be at Semington Crematorium Devizes Road, Trowbridge BA14 6HL at 12.15 on Thursday 12th May, and afterwards for a Buffet Lunch at The Milk Churn Commerce Way, Melksham SN12 6AD (approx. 1 mile from The Crematorium). 

Condolences can be sent to James Leman at james@springgroundsfarm.com

001 MARTIN ROBINSON 50TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE

April marks the 50th anniversary of the death of 24163752 Pte Martin Robinson aged 21.  Martin was killed during an attack on Brandywell Army Base, Londonderry on 16th April 1972.

On Sunday 24th April at 10:30hrs there will be a service at St Clements Church, Hufttoft Road, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire which will be followed by a service at Martin's graveside at 12:00hrs.

There will also be a small remembrance service in Canada with Dave King at 08:00.

 

002 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE

The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance.
The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs.
Service starts 18:00hrs.

The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade.  The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.

Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

 

003 VETERANS IN SHEDS
 

Veterans in Sheds is an opportunity for veterans to meet like minded men aged 40+ who are ‘handy’ with tools, enjoy practical projects, and would benefit from some social activity. It’s also a great opportunity to learn new skills or help others learn something new. 

The group meets in Daybrook, Nottingham and new recruits are always welcome. Tools, materials, and refreshments are supplied and there is a small charge to cover costs.

The maximum group size is 6 per session. Booking is essential.

To find out more, please email activeveteransservice@ageuknotts.org.uk or call 07872 839 605.

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 15 April 2022    WFRA NEWSLETTER           Volume 13 Issue 16

OBITUARY

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ian Maule (Tim) Ffinch TD

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Ffinch TD at the Presentation of Colours to 3 WFR by The Colonel in Chief April 1977It is with great sadness that we inform you that 465087 Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ian Maule (Tim) Ffinch TD died on Thursday 14th April 2022.  Born on 22nd October 1939, he started at Mons Officer Training School in November 1959 and was commissioned into 2nd East Anglian Regiment as a Second Lieutenant in May 1960; after commanding a platoon, he became Lieutenant Training BAOR in October 1961.  He was transferred to 5/8th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (TA) on 12th June 1963 as Platoon Commander from DSSC 2nd East Anglian Regiment (Reserve of Officers), transferring to The Mercian Volunteers in April 1967.  Promoted Captain on 1st April 1967, he assumed the appointment of 2i/c of a Rifle Company and, upon promotion to Major in April 1970, he took command of a Rifle Company.  He transferred to 3rd Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in April 1973 and, in May 1979, he took over as Battalion Second in Command.  Upon promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on 10th October 1980, he took over command of East Midlands University Officer Training Corps.  He became Sponsor Officer of D Company The Mercian Volunteers from April 1984 and of D Company 4th Battalion The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment from April 1988.  He was awarded the Territorial Distinction.
 Details of Tim's funeral are not yet known but anyone who wishes to write in condolence to his widow should write to Mrs Ingrid Ffinch, 7 John's Road, Radcliffe on Trent, Nottingham  NG12 2GW.

OBITUARY CAPTAIN ROBIN HITCHCOCK

We regret to announce the death of Captain Robin Hitchcock, late the Sherwood Foresters, in Ipswich Hospital on 8th April 2022. His funeral is to be held on Friday 29th April at 14:00hrs in Boyton, East Suffolk. An obituary and further detail will be in next week's Newsletter. Letters of condolence should be sent to Robin's step daughter: Mrs Fiona Berridge, Richmond House, Gedgrave, Suffolk IP12 2BU or 07932 725133 

OBITUARY Pte John Allan Platt It is with great sadness that we inform you that 4985623 Pte John Allan PLATT of Beeston, Nottingham died on 6 April 2022 aged 99. John enlisted into the Army on 3 March 1941 , initially joining The Sherwood Foresters until his transfer to The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry on 13 March 1943.  He served in North Africa from 1941-1942 and in Italy from 1942-1944  where on 23 November 1944 he was seriously wounded, believed to be when heading toward Bologna. He was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp, Italy Star, Defence Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal and was medically discharged from the Army on 17 August 1946.   Following discharge, John worked at Chilwell Depot (Chetwynd Barracks) and then as a messenger at Erricsons factory, Beeston.  He had been a member of RBL Beeston for 50 years. John’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 4 May at 1530 hours at Bramcote Crematorium, Coventry Lane, Beeston, NG9 3GJ. This will be followed by a wake at RBL Beeston, 16 Hall Croft, Beeston NG9 1EL. All Association members are invited to attend both and Standard Bearers are requested. 

OBITUARY
We regret to report that Mrs Margaret Leman, widow of Col RGA Leman the first CO of 1 WFR, died on 8 April 2022.  Letters of condolence may be sent to her younger son James@springgroundsfarm.com
 

OBITUARY Edward Claude HAWKINS (Eddie) At rest on 31st March at his home in Burslem, aged 84 years. The dearly beloved husband of the late Betty, formerly of Middleport, much loved dad of James, loved father-in-law of Deborah, treasured grandad of Gemma and Michael (Tiger), a dear brother, brother-in-law, uncle and friend.
Funeral cortege from Birch House for a service at Swan Bank Methodist Church, Burslem on Tuesday 26th April at 12:30pm.  Followed by interment in Carmountside Lawn Cemetery.
Will relatives and friends please accept this invitation and kindly meet at the church.
Family flowers only please, donations preferred for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. Donations and enquiries to Williamson Brothers Family Funeral Directors, Birch House, Birches Head Road, Hanley, ST1 6LH. Tel. 01782 212880.

 

001 THE MERCIAN REGIMENT QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
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THE MERCIAN REGIMENT
QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER Q1 2022

VIEW OUR NEWSLETTER ONLINE

PRINT-FRIENDLY NEWSLETTER

The next edition of the Mercian Regimental Quarterly Newsletter is now available for viewing.
 Our newsletter covers recent events over a three month period, with a look ahead on what is coming up within the regiment; including the battalions, the museums & associations.
 The newsletter is hosted online, which means that you can view it on your smartphone or tablet while on-the-go. A print-friendly version is also available above.
 We would like to extend a thank you to all who are involved with the MERCIAN regiment for your continued support.
Stand Firm, Strike Hard.
Kind regards,
RHQ Mercian

 

002 CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL VC PARADE
The Captain Albert Ball VC Parade will take place at Nottingham Castle on Saturday 7 May 2022.  Hopefully Albert's Great Niece will be in attendance.
The castle grounds will be open at 17.30hrs
VIP's arrive 17:45hrs.
Service starts 18:00hrs.
The RAF Association have invited everyone back to the Royal Naval Association Club 22 Church St, Lenton, Nottingham NG7 1SJ following the parade.  The Robin Hood Rifles Old NCO's Club will also be open after the parade for those that are able to negotiate the stairs.
Association Standard Bearers and Buglers are most welcome.

003 MALTA - 80th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GEORGE CROSS PRESENTATION

The Grand Harbour, Valetta
 On 15 April 1942, King George VI awarded the people of Malta the George Cross in recognition of their continuing and heroic struggle against repeated and continuous attacks during World War 2.

Malta was the first British Commonwealth country to receive the bravery award, which is usually given to individuals, and is second only in rank to the Victoria Cross. The George Cross was 'intended primarily for civilians and award in Our military services is to be confined to actions for which purely military Honours are not normally granted.
 Why was Malta so important to the Allies and Axis Forces?
Malta was of vital strategic importance as it is situated between North Africa and Italy, from there the Allies were able to sustain their North African campaign, The Navy’s Force K was based at Malta, from where ships and RAF aircraft could attack Axis convoys trying to supply their forces in North Africa. 
Since 1940, Malta had been under almost constant attack from German and Italian aircraft, day and night. Field Marshal Kesselring made his plans for Malta quite public that he wanted the island to be taken, and that his 2nd Air Corps (Fliegerkorps II) was capable of achieving this. An invasion in 1941 was foiled when coast defenders spotted Italian torpedo boats.  
In early 1942, Hitler ordered Malta to be ‘neutralised’ in preparation for a German invasion. The Luftwaffe carried out hundreds of air raids on the island, and from January to July 1942, there was only one 24 hour period when no bombs fell on the island.
Malta holds the record for suffering the heaviest, sustained bombing attack of WW2 of 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs. During the entire time, the island’s population of 270,000 were unerring in their refusal to capitulate.
How did this affect the people of Malta?
Food was in extremely short supply, fuel was restricted to military use, and ammunition was running so low that only a few rounds could be fired each day from anti aircraft guns.
The people of Malta were on the brink of starvation, and spent so much time in underground shelters that health standards declined, and malnutrition and scabies became widespread. Medical supplies were also scarce. Whole families dug their way into the sandstone, and made homes in stifling underground shelters.
The war left the island devastated, with over 10,000 buildings damaged or destroyed, and the docks at Valetta heavily damaged. Thousands were injured, and it took several decades to rebuild the economy.
 The George Cross
The George Cross was instituted by King George VI in September 1940 as a replacement for the Empire Gallantry Medal, and as a civilian equivalent of the Victoria Cross. It was awarded for ‘acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger’ and ‘which we desired should be highly prized and eagerly sought after’.
The award for the island of Malta was announced by Buckingham Palace with the publication of a citation written in the King’s hand in a letter to General Sir William Dobbie GCMG, KCB, DSO, the Governor of Malta. The award was not, however, formally gazetted.
In his message to the island's Governor, King George VI said: “To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history.”
Dobbie accepted the award with these words: "By God's help Malta will not weaken but will endure until victory is won." 
The George Cross was formally presented to the people and garrison at a ceremony on the Palace Square in Valletta on Sunday 13 September. The delay was due to the need to wait for the raids to have declined in intensity. Dobbie had been replaced due to ill health by John Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort VC, KCB, DSO, MC, who took the George Cross to the island. 

The end of the siege
In May 1942, Germany prematurely declared that Malta had been ‘neutralised’ and diverted the Luftwaffe elsewhere. In the brief lull that followed, over 60 RAF Spitfires arrived on the island, together with other reinforcements. 
Conditions started to steadily improve for the people of Malta, as supplies began to get through. On 15 August 1942, a British convoy, Operation Pedestal, fought it's way to the Grand Harbour to bring 32,000 tons of supplies to the islanders. It became known as the Santa Marija Convoy, after the national religious festival. There were heavy casualties and much damage to the escorted convoy due to constant aircraft and submarine attacks; of the 14 merchant ships that set out, only 5 survived, and 4 warships were also sunk. So vital was an oil tanker carrying fuel for submarines and aircraft based at Malta it was lashed between two Royal Navy destroyers, after its engine room was destroyed, so it could complete the journey.
For his actions during Operation Pedestal, Vice Admiral Edward Syfret was knighted for his 'bravery and dauntless resolution in fighting an important Convoy through to Malta in the face of relentless attacks by day and night from enemy submarines, aircraft, and surface forces.' 
The George Cross was awarded to Captain Dudley William Mason, master of the fuel carrying tanker Ohio: ‘The violence of the enemy could not deter the Master from his purpose. Throughout he showed skill and courage of the highest order and it was due to his determination that, in spite of the most persistent enemy opposition, the vessel, with her valuable cargo, eventually reached Malta and was safely berthed.’
Other awards, from the Distinguished Service Order to Mentions in Depatches, to mark the bravery of those who were part of the convoy, were gazetted on 6 November 1942.
Germany launched another all out offensive to take the island in October 1942, which failed. The siege of Malta was finally lifted in May 1943, when the Axis forces were faced with defeat in North Africa.

The George Cross is woven into Malta’s flag on the upper left hand corner, clearly visible when the flag is flown.King George VI’s message and the cross are on display in the War Museum in Fort Saint Elmo, Valletta.

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08 April 2022     WFRA NEWSLETTER      Volume 13 Issue 15

OBITUARY

Pte Bernard 'Blaggy' William Blagdon

It is with great sadness that we inform you that 14901563 Pte Bernard ‘Blaggy’ William BLAGDON of Nottingham, died on 29 March 2022 aged 95. Blaggy joined the General Service Corps, with his twin brother George in 1943 and both then transferred to the Sherwood Foresters where they served under Montgomery in the Eighth Army.  Bernard was discharged from the Army on 9 August 1946.  In civilian life, he and his twin first worked for Adam & Co Dye House before joining British Gas until their retirement.

Bernard’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 19 April 2022 at Northern Cemetery, Bulwell, 282 Hempshill Lane, Nottingham NG6 8PF at 1100 hours.  All Association Members and Standard Bearers are invited to attend. Flowers or donations for DMWS (hospital project Nottingham). 

Any further details can be obtained from the Assistant Regimental Secretary cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk

OBITUARY
Cpl Edward Hawkins
It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of 23746755 Cpl Edward Hawkins on 3 April 2022. Edward served with 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters in Malaya and Northern Ireland. Edward was a long standing member of WFRA Derby Branch.

Funeral details to follow.001 COMPLIMENTARY TRIP TO THE NMA.  22 APRIL 2022

The County Council, Nottingham Forest and Newark and Sherwood District Council are putting on a coach trip to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) on Friday 22 April. The coaches leave The City Ground, Brian Clough Stand at 0900 hours, arriving at the NMA just after 1000 hours.  The trip also includes a two course lunch at 1300 hours. There is no cost for the coach or the lunch.  Those wishing to attend are asked to contact Neil Bettison , the Programme Officer for the County Council’s Armed Forces Communities Team, directly on either neil.bettison@nottscc.gov.uk or 01159 772 051 / 07834 928 499.

002 THE GURKHAS IN BURMA

Anyone standing outside 10 Downing Street in August, 1995, might have witnessed an unusual sight the 6’0’’ foot tall Prime Minister John Major presenting an award to 4’11’’ Gurkha Lachhiman Gurung.
Along with this award, Gurung had also been provided with a house in Chitwan, Nepal, though he later chose to settle in the UK.

Many of you will remember Joanna Lumley campaigning on behalf of the Gurkhas in 2008 and 2009 so that they could be allowed to settle in Britain. It was this change in the law that enabled Gurung to do so, and as it happens, Joanna’s own Gurkha backstory and that of Lachhiman Gurung, who died in 2010, have some other overlaps. 

Joanna’s father, Major James Lumley, served in the 6th Gurkha Rifles and fought against the Japanese in Burma during the Second World War. So too did Gurung, who fought in that campaign as a member of the 8th Gurkha Rifles.

While Major Lumley fought at the Battle of Mogaung in 1944 alongside Victoria Cross winner Tul Bahadur Pun, Gurung likewise won the VC in May, 1945, at the village of Taungdaw.  By virtue of the award itself, the backstory to any VC features great bravery, but Lachhiman Gurung’s story is unique even by the standards of the Victoria Cross.

To begin with, at 4’11”, he was short even by the standards of a Gurkha, and was slightly older aged 24 than the normal age at which Gurkha recruits were taken in. Thus, under peacetime conditions, he would not ordinarily have been allowed into the British Indian Army*, though the exigencies of wartime meant he was accepted in December, 1940.
 
(*The Gurkhas formed part of Britain’s larger military and imperial presence in the region which was centred on India).

He then served as part of the 4th Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles, through 1945 and beyond, which is itself surprising given the injuries he sustained during the Second World War.

During the night of May 12-13, 1945, Gurung’s unit had been part of an effort to cross the Irrawaddy River and to take the fight to the enemy. He was at the tip of the spear, manning a post with two other Gurkhas at his unit’s furthest point when a Japanese assault of 200 troops came on.

Hearing the enemy and just trying to pick them out and shoot them down amongst the dark jungle conditions would no doubt have been frightening. On top of this, Gurung noticed the enemy throwing grenades at his position.  He reached out, picked up the first grenade and threw it back. It exploded right after he had done so.  A lucky escape.

Then a second grenade came in and Gurung courageously did the same, grabbing and throwing it back with seconds to spare before it too went off.  When a third grenade was thrown at Gurung’s position, he again reached out and grabbed it.  This time, though, it exploded before he could throw it away.  His injuries, of course, were catastrophic the grenade blew the fingers off his right hand and wounded him in several other places, including blinding him in one eye.

Once again, in a war full of heroic acts, many of which were performed by Gurkhas, Gurung’s willingness to risk his life multiple times in this way to help protect his comrades is particularly impressive. Though martial prowess and bravery was something the British saw in the Gurkhas from the beginning. 

These Nepalese troops had been welcomed into Britain’s imperial armed forces following the 1814 – 1816 Anglo-Nepalese War. Expansionism led by the British East India Company in fact led to the incorporation of India and Burma into the British Empire as well, and the war with the Nepalese came out of these wider imperial activities.

What was perhaps unique about the conflict is that both sides came away liking each other, and it was soon arranged for young Nepalese men to be recruited into Britain’s imperial forces. They were known as Gurkhas after the Gorkha Kingdom. This was established by the Shah dynasty, which laid the foundations for modern Nepal and, as John Parker explains in the ‘The Gurkhas’, the modern Gurkha tradition. 
Parker further likens the creation of Britain’s Gurkha units to that of the French Foreign Legion. While the latter was pulled together from across Europe into a mercenary force under French control, the former were seen by the British as useful allies against resistance to the East India Company’s continued expansion in the region.
 
At first, the region around Nepal was where they served. It wasn’t until the outbreak of the First World War that Gurkha units joined British ones further afield.  Adjusted for the scale of Nepal, the Gurkha contribution to World War I was immense. Parker points out that their population base in 1914 was less than five million people, as compared to 45 million for Great Britain and Ireland.  From those five million, 200,000 Nepalese men joined Gurkha units. This amounted to almost the whole of the demographic that the British would normally have recruited from (i.e. very young men.) 

HISTORY
They served on the Western Front, in Mesopotamia (Iraq), Salonika (Greece), Palestine and in Gallipoli, where their propensity for being deft fighters on inclined terrain came in great use. Over the course of the war, they sustained 10 percent casualties overall (20,000 men.)

There had been a height requirement for British officers joining the Gurkhas a requirement that there be a limit on an officer’s height, that is.  The rationale for this was that, being much shorter than regular troops, and having a tradition of being led from the front, the Gurkha’s officers were bound to get noticed and picked off easily by an enemy during combat. Furthermore, the experience of trench warfare had shown that being too tall could be a serious danger (i.e. it could lead to being shot more easily by a sniper while walking along a trench.) This danger was increased for an officer if their troops were much shorter than they were and required shallower trenches.

However, this height standard was abandoned before the Second World War and one of those who went on to join the Gurkhas during the interwar years was Lieutenant William (‘Bill’) Slim.  He had served alongside them in Gallipoli and had been impressed by the bravery, prowess and ferocity they showed against the Turks. The Gurkhas had used their iconic kukris, the machetes with curved blades they carry, to terrifying effect against the enemy.

In the Second World War, over 40 Gurkha battalions and other elements of the British and Indian armies were filled by close to 250,000 men. This time they sustained over 30,000 casualties, close to 9,000 of which were fatalities. They served in India, North Africa, the Middle East, Italy and Greece, Singapore and Burma.  This was where many of them were led by Bill Slim. He rose to the rank of General and became commander of Fourteenth Army, which would engage the Japanese in Burma.

As part of this effort, so too would the Chindits, Brigadier Orde Wingate’s jungle raiding group that pulled in some of the best British, African and Gurka units involved in the Burma campaign, much to Slim’s annoyance as General Slim came to have some control over the Chindits, as well as American and Chinese troops in Burma, in early 1944.

Brigadier Wingate’s plan for his Chindits, was to use Gurkhas as the lead elements in his raiding force. Unfortunately, and presumably unlike General Slim who had served with and knew them, Brigadier Wingate broke up and recombined the various Ghurkha units, placing them with inexperienced commanders with no knowledge of their customs or their language (Gurkhali). The result, was that many Gurkhas ended up being used as just muleteers.  In the tough conditions presented by the Burmese environment, this was obviously a complete waste of troops who might otherwise fight remarkably well there.

Now modern day Myanmar, Burma was invaded by the Japanese after they had expanded around the Pacific region. Its proximity to Thailand, which had become absorbed into the Japanese orbit**, made Burma the target of further Japanese expansion.

 

Burma shown circled in red, with Thailand on its right and India on its left (image: Google)

 
The Japanese had invaded Thailand in 1941 and thereafter the two governments formed a military alliance.  Japan was to help Thailand take back territory formerly lost to Britain and France; Thailand also declared war on the US and UK. Japan would later place troops inside the country and use allied prisoners to build the infamous Burma railway through it to keep the Burma campaign supplied. Burma had previously been under British control and served as a buffer between British India and the new Japanese empire. Taking it would have allowed the Japanese to close this gap and to have a buffer of their own. Additionally, doing so would simultaneously interdict Allied supply routes to China. The Chinese were allied with the British and Americans and lead to the acquisition of important resources, namely oil and rice.

Fighting there was intense, not least because of the conditions. One veteran quoted in 1973 described the monsoon weather this way: “If you can imagine the heaviest rain you’d ever get in the UK going on for six to eight weeks without a break this was the monsoon period.”  The entire monsoon season in fact went on for five months of the year.

There were also the leeches, snakes, the heat, disease, tough, inclined terrain and thick, steaming jungles. The Gurkhas were in many ways well suited to some of these challenges. As previously noted, they excelled at running up and down mountainsides, having done it their whole lives.  Furthermore, the Gurkhas probably thought of snakes as a bit of fun:

One of the favourite pastimes of the Gurkha soldier when they find evidence of snake holes in the ground is to close up the holes, leaving one open. They push burning rags down one of the closed holes and wait for the snakes to come out of the remaining open hole. They then chase them with their kukris making much noise and thoroughly enjoy themselves in cutting them up.

Soldiers who did this presumably went on to cook and eat the snakes they had cut up. The Japanese certainly did.  In fact, troops under British command learned during training to forage for not just snakes but also lizards, frogs, roots, fish, leaves and pigeons. Leaving aside these adaptable attitudes and practices, though, the fighting was still hard going. 

In 1943, when Brigadier Wingate’s first expedition got broken up and lost on the way back, many soldiers starved and got lost amongst the claustrophobia of surrounding jungle some were ambushed or got ill, and morale plummeted, and twelve young Gurkha soldiers broke down, with one howling like a dog.

There were also the successes battles won against the Japanese, and numerous acts of heroism. The tip of this very large ice berg is the 13 Victoria Crosses won by Gurkhas during the two World Wars and 13 more by their officers.

 

An illustration of Gurkhas operating in Burma


As noted, one of these from the Burma campaign was Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun the soldier mentioned earlier who served alongside Joanna Lumley’s father. Crossing a railway bridge at Mogaung, his unit had come under heavy fire from a strongpoint called the Red House. With his section virtually wiped out, Pun grabbed the Bren Gun and fired it from his hip as he ran at the position. His citation notes that he was perfectly silhouetted by the sun coming up behind him, but this didn’t deter him nor did the Japanese manage to hit what should have been an easy target.

In fact, he not only reached the enemy position, but killed three of its occupants and drove off the remaining five before covering his comrades so that they too could continue their advance.
Lachhiman Gurung’s story too is a prominent example of Gurkha bravery in the campaign against the Japanese in Burma.  After the fingers on his right hand were blown off by that enemy grenade, Gurung’s two comrades in the trench along with him were also wounded.

This left Gurung as the only one in the trench to resist the imminent oncoming Japanese onslaught.  
Despite having the use of only his left hand, Gurung somehow managed to repeatedly fire, recycle the bolt on the right side of his Lee Enfield rifle and to continuously reload it. This went on for four hours as wave after wave of suicidal, fanatical Japanese attacks bore down on his position. 

Yet, Gurung just kept shooting down one Japanese soldier after another as they approached him.
By the time the battle had ended, 87 Japanese soldiers lay dead, 31 one of whom appear to have been killed by Gurung himself, since they lay right in front of his trench.

The citation explains that, had his trench fallen, the entire reverse slope position behind him that was held by his unit would have been taken too. As it was, Gurung’s example inspired his comrades to resist for three days, despite having been cut off by the enemy.  Even by the standards of heroism commonly displayed during the Second World War, Gurung’s actions are remarkable. 

Some historians say that the Burma Campaign was not that significant in the grand scheme of things, after all the, Japanese were primarily defeated through other events in the wider Pacific theatre. The victory in the campaign did help restore British imperial boundaries and pride, even while failing in its primary, American driven objective of forcing an overland route to China. The goal was to turn the Chinese into a major player against the Japanese. The Americans also lost post war influence in China when the Nationalist side they backed was beaten by the Communists in the Chinese Civil War. Though the campaign in Burma was not necessarily all for naught. General Bill Slim’s command of Fourteenth Army was superb.  Out of the 606,000 Commonwealth soldiers in the British and Indian Armies serving under General Slim between 1942 and 1945, only 27,000 died, compared to almost 74,000 Japanese, though they were fighting the Chinese and Americans as well as the British. 

Furthermore, the Fourteenth Army inflicted the greatest single defeat of the war on the Japanese Army when they successfully defended the Indian cities of Inphal and Kohima against them. Brigadier Orde Wingate was a more controversial figure, and there was in fact much antipathy between him and the Gurkhas, as there was between him a lot of other people. General Bill Slim, by contrast, had been a Gurkha officer and got on very well with them.   Although personality issues aside, Brigadier Wingate performed very effectively in the campaign and his Chindits did manage to strike effectively at the Japanese.  Indeed, Japanese Lieutenant General Renya Mutaguchi pointed out that the Chindits played an important role in frustrating the Japanese attempt to take Kohima and Imphal and by raiding Burma and drawing Japanese forces away, the Chindits helped facilitate the British victory in India.

There were large numbers of Gurkhas in both the Chindits and Fourteenth Army at this time who all  played a role in Operation THURSDAY, the 1944 Chindit raid meant to hamper Japanese forces advancing on Imphal and Kohima. The Battle of Mogaung, which involved Tul Bahadur Pun and Major Lumley, was a part of this operation. Thus, they in turn can be said to have contributed greatly to the Japanese defeats and the overall British and Allied victory in Burma, and with stories like those of Gurung and Pun serving as prominent reminders of the heroism and the important role played by the Gurkhas in the fight against the Empire of Japan.

For more on the history, culture and training of the Gurkhas, read John Parker’s ‘The Gurkhas: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Feared Soldiers.’  

The use of the illustrations has been kindly permitted by Hornby Hobbies Ltd © 2022

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02 April 2022        WFRA NEWSLETTER        Volume 13 Issue 14

001 THE FALKLANDS WAR - 40th ANNIVERSARY

Today is is 40 years since the Falklands War started, and it is remembered by those who were there as if it were yesterday.  The following article is a day by day account of the key events of the war from accounts by those that were there.


The Falkland Islands had originally been claimed by Britain in 1765 and, and they had been safely in British hands since 1833, one of many remnants of the British Empire.
Argentina had disputed British control, being only 400 miles away, as opposed to 8,000. As with Gibraltar today, the British government had considered giving the islands back to Argentina but decided not to when residents expressed an overwhelming desire to remain British.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, events in Argentina were in political flux. A 1976 coup d’etet had seen President Isabel Peron replaced by a military junta and a man named Leopoldo Galtieri ended up as President at the end of 1981.

A number of right wing coups had occurred in the Americas during the 1970’s and this one contained the usual ingredients: The disappearance, arrest, torture and murder of thousands of leftists (or even suspected leftists). According to the press one policy of the junta was to spare pregnant women until they had given birth before then killing them and giving their babies to a military family.

It was also revealed how Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, advised the junta to eliminate their opponents quickly before human rights protests could gain momentum. Things did not go according to plan, and by April 1982 Galtieri was beset by problems a restless and angry populace struggling in an economy that was suffering 600 percent inflation.

If Galtieri could unite his people around a common cause, perhaps he could increase his popularity and hang onto power. What he needed was a good war centred around something that fired Argentinian pride. He settled on the Malvinas, otherwise known as the Falklands.

The invasion, though, would not occur straight away. Seeking to establish a precedent, Galtieri first sent his forces to take another British colony: South Georgia, also in the South Atlantic.

A map showing the British route first to Ascension island and then to both South Georgia and the Falklands

 Constantino Davidoff, an Argentine businessman, had agreed with a Scottish company, Christian Salvesen, to put workers on the island to remove scrap metal left behind from the days of whaling in the region. When the workers arrived, they were instructed to raise the Argentinian flag, thus laying claim to the territory for Galtieri. Troops were sent in to support them.  Argentinian sovereignty had been established just like that. Now it was time to make the next move.
April 2, 1982
The attack came with surprise and overwhelming force. About 100 Argentinian marines landed on the Falklands. Their objective was to capture the capital, Stanley. They were the advance party, there were 2,000 more men on the way, but the job of these marines was to seize the town and force the British governor of the islands to surrender.

Rex Hunt, the British governor of the islands, remained defiant within Government House and said “They’ve got us well and truly pinned down, but they’re not trying to attack. I’m not surrendering to the bloody Argies, certainly not.”
Sixty nine Royal Marines, members of two detachments used for NP (Naval Party) 8901, were all that stood between the invaders and Stanley. There were two of them because one was being relieved by the other on the very day of the Argentine attack. Still, the extra numbers were not enough and Hunt knew it. He eventually gave in and ordered them to surrender.

Port Stanley
It was not long before the story broke in the international media and the BBC Radio News reported it as follows:  “The Falkland Islands, the British colony in the South Atlantic, has fallen, that’s what Argentina is saying. It claims its marines went ashore as a spearhead this morning to capture key targets including the capital, Port Stanley.”
April 3
The next day the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, addressed the House of Commons.
“We are here because for the first time for many years British sovereign territory has been invaded by a foreign power. After several days of rising tension in our relations with Argentina that country’s armed forces attacked the Falklands yesterday and established military control of the islands. By late afternoon yesterday it became clear that an Argentine invasion had taken place and that the lawful British government of the islands had been usurped.

She declared that there was “not a shred of justification and not a scrap of legality” to the invasion, that the weeping islanders wished fervently to remain British and that “the Falkland islands and their dependencies remain British territory no aggression and no invasion can alter that simple fact. It is the government’s objective to see that the islands are freed from occupation and are returned to British administration at the earliest possible moment”. 
April 5
Across the Atlantic, the Reagan Administration was ambivalent about the coming war. President Reagan explained why to reporters:

“It’s a very difficult situation for the United States because we’re friends with both of the countries engaged in this dispute, and we stand ready to do anything we can to help them and what we hope for and would like to help in doing is have a peaceful resolution of this with no forceful action and no bloodshed.”
However, in Britain things were moving towards war. Operation Corporate, the mission to retake British possessions in the South Atlantic, was being launched. A task force hastily assembled that weekend set off from Plymouth. Troops consisted largely of Royal Marines and PARAs as well as sailors aboard the flotilla’s multiple ships. Someone who was there was an 18 year old sailor aboard HMS Fearless, Kevin J Porter.
In his book about the war, 'Fearless: The Diary of an 18 Year Old at War in the Falklands', Porter describes how the crew formed human chains to get all the equipment and supplies they needed aboard the ship, which proved to make conditions inside very cramped indeed. He says of some who came aboard:
“It was later discovered, that the embarked Royal Marines had supplemented the reduced normal meals the chefs were serving up, by opening up some of the tins (of food) from the bottom, eating the contents of the tins and replacing the tins the right way up so that they looked intact”
The greedy marines may have regretted scoffing rations because according to Porter conditions at sea over the next few days made keeping food down difficult:
“The sea was rough, with waves breaking over the bough, HMS Fearless, being a flat bottomed ship, lurched and rolled a lot in heavy weather. Much to the merriment of the ‘Old Sea Dogs’ on board, many of the crew suffered from sea sickness due to the motion of the ship.”
 April 12
Britain established a 200 mile Maritime Exclusion Zone (MEZ) around the Falklands. 
April 21 - 22
The mission to retake South Georgia was known as Operation Paraquet and involved dropping SAS teams near Leith and SBS units south of Grytviken so they could conduct reconnaissance. Many SAS soldiers ended up in near-Antarctic conditions on Fortuna Glacier and had to be evacuated amidst great difficulty the next day.
April 23
42 Commando’s M Company was dropped on South Georgia from HMS Tidespring, dodging the Argentine submarine Santa Fe in the process.
April 25
The Santa Fe was spotted again on the morning of April 25 and engaged by HMS Endurance and Plymouth and by helicopters, all of which damaged it with the fire they unleashed, forcing it into harbour at Grytviken.
With many men in M Company still aboard HMS Tidespring, those already ashore formed a 75-man composite unit from the SAS, SBS and Royal Marines available. 
April 27 - 28
The attack was commenced on April 27 with supporting fire from the 4.5 inch guns on HMS Antrim and HMS Plymouth out at sea, the men then attacking the 140 man garrison at King Edward Point. Moving through the old whaling station at Grytviken and a minefield, their advance was duly noted by the garrison who promptly surrendered.
HMS Endurance and HMS Plymouth moved into Leith the next day and their presence also provoked the Argentine troops there to surrender. South Georgia was Britain’s again, and M company would now garrison it.
April 26
Lieutenant Commander Alfredo Astiz surrendered the Argentine forces on South Georgia.
May 2
By now most of the British ships had reached the TEZ, or Total Exclusion Zone, the circular area surrounding the Falkland islands that the British had declared should not be crossed.
The Argentine ship the General Belgrano was also inching closer to the TEZ. Although it didn’t get into the zone, the British were so concerned that this cruiser would sink one of Britain’s two aircraft carriers, which would have lost the war for Britain the decision was made to attack it anyway.  The British submarine HMS Conqueror torpedoed it before it could be allowed to get any closer to the rest of the British task force. 323 sailors were killed. 

The sinking of the General Belgrano
May 4
An Argentine pilot fired as Exocet missile from a Naval Aviation Lockheed SP-2H Neptune at HMS Sheffield, a Type 42 destroyer. 20 sailors were killed.  The ship was later scuttled.

HMS Sheffield
May 7
The main body of the Amphibious Task Group set off for the Falklands from Ascension.
 May 12
The QE 2 set off from Southampton with 5 Infantry Brigade.
May 14
While much of the fighting would take place on the main eastern island of the Falklands, an obscure north west corner would be the focus of the action on May 14.
Known as Pebble Island, the site was attacked because it contained an airfield. Planes were stationed here, and it was feared they might attack the main British force when it landed at San Carlos. So that night a contingent of SAS troops was dropped by helicopter five miles from their target. They marched over the rugged terrain to reach their target upon which they would launch a surprise attack in the darkness.

In the book ‘Pebble Island’ by Francis MacKay he describes what Argentinian troops saw when they were alerted by sounds of gunfire and explosions:
“They witnessed a number of shadowy figures running towards and around the parked aircraft, pausing only to fire weapons or throw hand grenades.”
They next saw star shell, mortar rounds, flares and high explosive blasts:  “These explosions were succeeded by streams of GPMG tracer rounds, LAW shoulder mounted rocket launchers were used along with standard assault rifles to riddle the planes with fire. Explosive charges were also deposited with timed fuses, blowing apart planes as they went off. The fuel spilling onto the airfield then caught fire, and the enormous fire, along with the continued shell and tracer rounds, that lit up the night sky as the SAS made their escape. It was a mission very much in the spirit of the original SAS operations, which began as night time raids on Nazi airfields during World War 2.”
May 20
However, the coast still was not clear. The night before the amphibious landings were due to commence at San Carlos, a number of Argentine soldiers at Fanning Head were overlooking the landing site. They were thought to be armed with anti tank and other weapons that might threaten the landing craft due to come to shore the following morning. 25 heavily armed SBS soldiers were dispatched and they quickly neutralised the group.
May 21
In the early hours of the morning, 3 Commando Brigade landed at San Carlos, with 40 Commando and 2 PARA in the lead followed by 3 PARA and 45 Commando. They were soon ensconced at various sites around San Carlos Waters: Ajax Bay, Blue Beach and Green Beach.
Despite the work done by the SAS and SBS, Argentine soldiers on the ground shot down a two Gazelle helicopters, killing three aircrew from the Marines, and the troops in the bay were attacked by aircraft at 9am. The attacks continued for the next several days; HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope were sunk, but despite this, supplies still made it ashore to the men clinging on in the bay.
Meanwhile, at sea, HMS Coventry and the SS Atlantic Conveyor, an enormous transport ship, were struck by more Exocet missiles. 19 men were killed aboard HMS Coventry and 12 aboard the Conveyor.
These sinkings had a direct impact on the men now ashore: Transport helicopters meant to rapidly ferry them over to Port Stanley were now at the bottom of the South Atlantic. A four-day trek now lay ahead.

SS Atlantic Conveyor
HMS Coventry

May 26 - 29
After the Atlantic Conveyor sinking political pressure mounted for action and a victory. Argentinians were known to be garrisoned at Goose Green and Darwin to the south of San Carlos, and intelligence believed that three companies occupied the area with two 105mm howitzers and some anti-aircraft guns. 
The attack was assigned to 2 PARA, whose commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel H Jones, spent several days arranging to bring up artillery and helicopters in support and getting into position. Everything seemed to go to plan, with two Harrier Jump Jets softening up the targets with a prior attack. Argentinian air support also swooped in, but an SAS soldier sprung out of hiding and shot down one of the Pucara jets with a stinger missile.
Unfortunately, despite this success, Jones turned on the radio to discover that the BBC news were reporting a PARA battalion was getting ready to mount an attack in the area. He was furious at such specific information having been given away to the enemy, but concluded the attack must go ahead anyway. (As it happened, the Argentinians decided to dismiss the report, believing it to be, essentially, ‘fake news’).
  As 3 PARA and 45 Commando continued their advance across East Falkland, 2 PARA began their attack in the early hours of May 28. Lieutenant Clive Chapman of 6 Platoon, B Company, 2 PARA, recalled the attack well. In 'The Falklands 1982' by Gregory Fremont-Barnes, he is quoted as saying:  “Just about every trench encountered was grenade.  There was a continuous momentum throughout the attack and it was very swiftly executed. The Argentinian resistance was pretty weak. A lot of them were, I believe, trying to hide in the bottom of their trenches and ignore the fight. They were a scared bunch, and a lot of them were non participants. The success of the attack had an electrifying impact on the platoon. I think we believed from there on in that we were invincible. I am a great believer in the force of ‘will’ in battle, and the fact that we had imposed our will so well and so early, made us a better platoon.”

As they struggled forward, Argentine resistance got stiffer. It turned out that the enemy were a lot more numerous than had been previously estimated. Even worse, as the sun rose, Lt Col Jones knew his men below would be out in the open and exposed to enemy fire. He charged an isolated position up the hill in front of him but was shot dead. Col Jones would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroic action. 

Lt Col H Jones VC OBE
Lt Col H Jones citation reads.On 28th May 1982 Lieutenant Colonel Jones was commanding 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment on operations on the Falkland Islands. The Battalion was ordered to attack enemy positions in and around the settlements of Darwin and Goose Green. During the attack against an enemy who was well dug in with mutually supporting positions sited in depth, the Battalion was held up just South of Darwin by a particularly well-prepared and resilient enemy position of at least eleven trenches on an important ridge. A number of casualties were received. In order to read the battle fully and to ensure that the momentum of his attack was not lost, Colonel Jones took forward his reconnaissance party to the foot of a re-entrant which a section of his Battalion had just secured. Despite persistent, heavy and accurate fire the reconnaissance party gained the top of the re-entrant, at approximately the same height as the enemy positions. From here Colonel Jones encouraged the direction of his Battalion mortar fire, in an effort to neutralise the enemy positions. However, these had been well prepared and continued to pour effective fire onto the Battalion advance, which, by now held up for over an hour and under increasingly heavy artillery fire, was in danger of faltering. In his effort to gain a good viewpoint, Colonel Jones was now at the very front of his Battalion. It was clear to him that desperate measures were needed in order to overcome the enemy position and rekindle the attack, and that unless these measures were taken promptly the Battalion would sustain increasing casualties and the attack perhaps even fail. It was time for personal leadership and action. Colonel Jones immediately seized a sub-machine gun, and, calling on those around him and with total disregard for his own safety, charged the nearest enemy position. This action exposed him to fire from a number of trenches. As he charged up a short slope at the enemy position he was seen to fall and roll backward downhill. He immediately picked himself up, and again charged the enemy trench, firing his sub-machine gun and seemingly oblivious to the intense fire directed at him. He was hit by fire from another trench which he outflanked, and fell dying only a few feet from the enemy he had assaulted. A short time later a company of the Battalion attacked the enemy, who quickly surrendered. The devastating display of courage by Colonel Jones had completely undermined their will to fight further. Thereafter the momentum of the attack was rapidly regained, Darwin and Goose Green were liberated, and the Battalion released the local inhabitants unharmed and forced the surrender of some 1,200 of the enemy. The achievements of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Darwin and Goose Green set the tone for the subsequent land victory on the Falklands. They achieved such a moral superiority over the enemy in this first battle that, despite the advantages of numbers and selection of battle-ground, they never thereafter doubted either the superior fighting qualities of the British troops, or their own inevitable defeat. This was an action of the utmost gallantry by a Commanding Officer whose dashing leadership and courage throughout the battle were an inspiration to all about him. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 8 October 1982. 11 October 1982, Numb. 49134, p. 12831
 

One of two Scout helicopters bringing up ammunition and evacuating casualties was also shot down by an Argentine jet.  Thankfully for the PARAs, one helicopter not shot down was that ferrying Major Chris Keeble from battalion HQ in the rear. He had been second in command and would now take over from Jones.

2 PARA was struggling because the position they were attacking was so easily defensible, layered with multiple trenches and bunkers situated across a narrow isthmus that made flanking difficult or impossible. Still, if some key positions were taken out with heavy fire, it might free up more space for manoeuvre, as B Company Commander Major John Crosland recalled: “I thought, if we can bust them with the Milans, we can probably get round their flank, get down to Darwin, knock that off and then worry about Goose Green. The Milan was an unorthodox choice, but it was the only powerful weapon we had. Much to our relief, the first round fired was a perfect bull’s eye. It went straight through the bunker window and blew it out completely, and the second one did the same. Four more rounds and that was Boca House cleared out. Everyone stood on their feet and cheered!”

Argentinian Skyhawks soon swooped in to attack the attacking British, but they themselves were attacked by Harriers with sidewinder missiles. Cluster bombs were also dropped on the Argentinians and Darwin was soon taken, the garrison at Goose Green surrounded.  
But rather than fighting on, Keeble had another idea.  That night Keeble decided on a cunning ploy to try and bluff the Argentinians into an early surrender. He sent a letter to the Argentinian commander. In a highly confident tone, he demanded an Argentinian surrender and warned them that he would bombard them heavily and hold them responsible for any civilian casualties if they went on fighting. Amazingly the gamble worked the Argentinians agreed to surrender.

It’s a good thing they did. 2 PARA had already suffered 16 killed and 36 seriously wounded and almost certainly would have taken more, and possibly even lost the battle. This is because when the Argentinians did come out there were almost 900 of them, twice as many men as the PARAS had left, and three times more enemy troops than they’d anticipated. 
 May 31
Meanwhile, the Marines and 3 PARA had encountered pockets of resistance as they’d continued the tough march across the unforgiving boggy terrain of East Falkland toward Stanley.

One of these battles took place at Top Malo House, an isolated sheperd’s house and grounds. On the evening of May 30, Argentine Special Forces were spotted being dropped into the area by helicopter and the following morning an attack was mounted. The assault force consisted of 19 men from the Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre. Captain Boswell was present at the battle and gave his impression of the enemy on the TV program ‘Greatest Raids’:

“Their professionalism left a little bit to be desired. They shouldn’t have been in an isolated farm house, most certainly not inside it anyway. If they were, they should have had sentries well clear of the building to cover the approaches, but they made up for their lack of professionalism by their courage they certainly did not lack courage.”

That bravery was on full display when the Royal Marines launched a rocket at the house, sending the Argentinian troops spilling out and ready to fight, crouched defensively in front of a stream. Using smoke cover from the fire now raging in the house, the Marines dashed forward and engaged their opponents. Very soon, the battle was almost over, except for one thing:

“There was one other building, the outhouse, that had to be cleared and the nearest man to it was Corporal MacGregor. So I shouted down to MacGregor ‘Clear the outhouse’.”
MacGregor also remembered the incident well:

“Captain Boswell shouted to me to ‘clear that toilet,’ and I think what he expected me to do was to go over and knock on the door and say ‘Excuse me, would you like to come out and join us? We’ve had a little fight here but as it was, I turned round and I thought ‘There’s no way I’m going over there just in case one of them happened to be in there’. So I let off the whole magazine in the toilet and the methane that was in the little bucket exploded and blew the toilet completely up and that was the end of Tat Malo really, when the toilet disappeared.” 

The Marines had suffered four wounded compared to five Argentinians killed and 12 taken prisoner. The following day, 14 more enemy troops who’d witnessed this assault would surrender to the nearby 3 PARA.
June 8
At this point, other infantry units were being brought into the war to reinforce the PARAS and Marines. Unfortunately, many would be killed before even entering battle.

On the morning of June 8, the RFA Sir Galahad and the RFA Sir Tristram were unloading troops at Port Pleasant when they were attacked by A-4 Skyhawks. Two men were killed aboard the RFA Sir Tristram while bombs dropped on the RFA Sir Galahad caused huge fires because they ignited ammunition and fuel. 48 men were killed, 32 of them Welsh Guards. 115 men were wounded, many burnt. One of these men was Simon Weston CBE. 

RFA Sir Galahad
RFA Sir Tristram

June 9
Despite the attack on the Welsh Guards, the British were closing in on the Argentinian forces holding out at Port Stanley. Many on both sides must have welcomed the end. The Argentine troops were often demoralised their food supplies hadn’t been properly organised and many went looking for extra, begging or stealing from the locals. They also hadn’t been relieved by a rotating draft of fresh troops from home, as had been promised. 

Just as with the 1967 Six Day War, the Argentinian government in Buenos Aires did not let its population know any of this. Instead, it lied to them about having blunted and then repelled the British task force.
Morale was getting difficult to keep up in the British ranks too. Marine Nigel Rees of 42 Commando was quoted as saying.

“It boiled down to personal survival. I was very cold; sometimes we were in the clouds. The wind was horrific, always whipping across the top of that mountain. We could not dig in; we only had makeshift bivvies. The main problem was staying dry. We tried desperately to keep our feet dry. The feet are your main thing; it doesn’t matter what happens to the rest of you. We had Cairngorm boots which were very good but, when wet, they retained the water and became thick and heavy and got very cold. You would take your boots off, then the socks off, put the wet socks inside your shirt next to the body and try to dry them out while you were asleep. While you were asleep, you kept your feet dry in your sleeping bag if that wasn’t wet; if it was wet tough. Then, in the morning, you put your spare socks on and your wet boots back on and you were ready for another day. For rations we had to go back down the mountain to the helicopter landing zone and carry the rations up in boxes. It was only a kilometre’s yomp but it developed into a right pain in the you know what. That kilometre took up to two hours to do over rock screes and steep ground. One party lost its way in the fog and took four hours.”

The race was now on to beat the weather. Major General Moore, commander of ground forces in the Falklands, would have to take Stanley within the next two weeks lest the South Atlantic winter come on in full. Once it did, conditions would be too cold to operate.

He assembled an attack force consisting of 42 Commando, 45 Commando, 2 and 3 PARA, 1 Welsh Guards (those that hadn’t been killed or wounded on the Sir Galahad), 2 Scots Guards and 1/7 Gurkhas. They had 30 105mm guns from 29 Commando Regiment and 4 Field Regiment in support. The two Paratrooper and two marine battalions would take the lead in the coming assaults.

June 11 – 12
The western approach to Stanley was dominated by several mountains, each overlooking open plains and each occupied by Argentine forces that would utilise mutually supporting fire. Advancing in daylight would be suicide, and so night attacks were chosen. 

As 3 PARA advanced towards its objective, the summit of Mount Longden, Company Sergeant Major John Weeks of B Company, took note of the atmosphere and said.
“It was a very eerie, very quiet, cold night. We were going quite well towards the hill and were 500 metres short of the rock formation, when Corporal Milne trod on a mine. That was the end of our silent night attack. It then became like Guy Fawkes night; I’ve never seen so many illuminations. I think most of the Argies must have been asleep. But what came at us was bad enough, so if they’d all been awake, they’d have wiped our two platoons off the face of the mountain.”
Weeks was right, the Argentinians were asleep, as Cabo (Corporal) Oscar Carrizo from the 7th Regiment remembered:

“I stood and looked down towards the western slope. Then I heard a clunk click, then many clunk clicks. I knew that sound. It was bayonets being fixed. Panic surged through my body. I ran to the other bunkers to rouse the men. Many were sound asleep men were scrambling out of their bunkers, within seconds the whole place was alive with tracer bullets. They whizzed past my head and whacked into the rocks and the ground. Everyone was in a panic. I ran for cover and crawled into a bunker with a Sargento. It was impossible to fire my mortar now. Outside, the English were running past, screaming to each other and firing into tents and bunkers. I could hear my men being killed. They had only just woken up and now they were dying.”

The fighting raged for eight hours, with the PARAS ejecting the Argentinians only to find the sun coming up. They had to hug the reverse slope of the mountain they’d just captured to avoid becoming artillery targets that day.

The attack by 42 Commando upon Mount Harriet went similarly wrong, with the marines suddenly finding themselves under Argentinian artillery fire, 105 mm shells landing four or five feet from them, lifting huge chunks of rock out of the ground as they scrambled for cover. Many curled up behind nearby rocks and prayed that a shell would not find them.

Despite this, the attack on Mount Harriet succeeded, partly because of support from anti-tank MILANs, shoulder mounted rocket launchers that were fired at the Argentinian positions in the rocks.
Their comrades in 45 Commando, meanwhile, were nearby taking two mountains next to each other named Two Sisters. 

They’d come under fire from machine guns, being fired by enemy soldiers hiding in makeshift bunkers made of holes in the rocks. Sergeant George Matthews remembers a particularly lively part of the battle:
“Everywhere we tried to go, the rock channelled you towards these machine guns.  Young Dave O’Connor suddenly leapt forward with his machine gun, screaming, ‘You Argie bastards!’ He went over the rocks, totally exposed, yet followed by his number two who carried the ammunition. They dived down on the rock and commenced to open fire at this machine gun. For a couple of seconds it was just our machine gun and theirs and then he went into the open under heavy fire, continually engaging this machine gun. That drew their fire for a second and in that second another young lad, barely out of training, jumped up with a 66mm rocket launcher, fired it at their machine-gun positions and hit just above.  For a split second the first stopped after we’d taken the machine gun out, there were a couple left further up, on the way to the other peak. The guys took them out with grenades and rifles.  The lads up there were working in pairs. One would throw in a grenade, the other would charge in, fire a few rounds, shout ‘Clear !’ and then move on to the next one.” 
June 13 – 14
The Scots Guards had a similar experience on Mount Tumbledown the following night, hiding in crevices amongst the rocks as defenders, equipped with night sights, unleashed a torrent of small arms fire upon them. They suffered nine dead but eventually took the ridge after 11 hours of intense fighting.

The Gurkhas would support by attacking Mount William while 2 PARA would have just as difficult a time as the Scots Guards when they attacked wireless ridge.  Still, the British were inching closer to Stanley.

It was expected that the war would end with an assault on Stanley itself, but the SAS had been communicating with the Argentinian commander Brigadier General Menendez over the radio, urging him to surrender. As the British got closer he relented, and the Falklands War was over.

When he did, Major General Moore wasted no time sending a message back to London. It read:
“The Falkland Islands are once more under the government desired by their inhabitants. God Save The Queen.”

Argentine soldiers surrender in Port Stanley
British Commando's raise the Union Flag in Port Stanley

...........................

 01 April 2022      WFRA NEWSLETTER    Volume 13 Issue 13

OBITUARY

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of 23427562 Pte Geoff Tomlinson on 12th March 2022.
Geoff enlisted with The Sherwood Foresters at Normanton Barracks in 1957 joining Inkerman Platoon.  Upon completion of his basic training he moved to Norton Barracks and joined the signals platoon until ne moved with the battalion to Malaya.  Geoff also served in Borneo and stayed with the signals platoon until he was demobbed in October 1959.

The funeral will be held at Bramcote Crematorium, Coventry Lane, Bramcote NG9 3GJ on Friday 8th April at 12:30hrs.  Attendance will be limited, please check with the family.

Letters of condolence can be sent to guygtomlinson@gmail.com

 001 BADAJOZ DAY 2022.  6 APRIL AT NOTTINGHAM CASTLE

This year’s Badajoz Day parade and raising of the Red Coatee will take place on Wednesday 6th April, by the bandstand within the grounds of Nottingham Castle.  All Association members that wish to attend are asked to gather outside the iron gates on Lenton Road (to the side of the main entrance) from 1015 hrs and no later than1025 hrs as the Castle are processing complimentary entry collectively for the event.  Gary Crosby will account for members and their families and lead everyone in.  Members are then asked to make their way to the bandstand and those who wish to, are to form up for the parade (there will be no marching) at 1045 hours.  This will be led by CSM C Coy 1 Mercian.  The Citation will be read followed by the raising of the Red Coatee and the Act of Remembrance.  Following the parade, the Association members are free to enjoy the Castle and visit the Mercian Gallery.  Entry to the Castle is complimentary (please note that exhibition charges may apply) and the gallery welcomes any donations to assist with the upkeep on the museum. There are no parking facilities within the Castle grounds; all visitors are to use local car parks or transport links.  There is a café and toilets close to the entrance.

Any questions about the event should be directed to the Assistant Regimental Secretary cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk
002 HOW ARE THE QUEEN'S FLAGS MADE
The flags that fly above royal households such as Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle are iconic emblems of British pride seen by millions of visitors throughout the year from the Union Flag to the Royal Standards of members of the Royal family.

Have you ever wondered who makes the flags at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle or how those flags are made, and by whom?  What does it takes to get a Royal Warrant?  If the answer to any of those questions is yes then read on for an insight into the world of flag making.

The next time you catch a glimpse of the Union Flag, or Union Jack, as it unfurls in the wind from a flagpole at a Royal household, you might want to take a moment to think of the craftsmanship that is behind each one of those emblems of our national identity.

That flag may well have been manufactured by Flying Colours Flag makers, of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, a company founded by managing director Andy Ormrod almost 30 years ago and as a Royal Warrant Holder to the Queen, the company is likely to have manufactured hundreds of the flags now seen flying from royal households across the country and other British establishments around the world.

Andy’s company is also an officially licenced reseller of Ministry of Defence Armed Forces flags, manufacturing everything from regimental flags to flags for veterans’ associations and other British military organisations.

 


The Union Flag flies from Windsor Castle.
 

UK’s largest Union Flag
Andy’s company made the largest official Union Flag in the United Kingdom at Windsor Castle, which is 38ft by 19ft and flies at the castle on various days of the year. There is also a Royal Standard that measures the same size.

The Union Flag is flown above Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace or Sandringham House when the Queen is not in residence, otherwise the Royal Standard is flown when the sovereign is present.
A flag of that size can present some issues, particularly in strong winds.  Windsor Castle is a tricky one because the massive flagpole is made from Columbian Pine, it is quite smooth, but when they hoist the flags, the flags can catch on the walls of the castle which contain a lot of flint so it’s sharp, and so they’ve got to be really careful when they hoist the flag, especially when the wind catches it.  There are various sizes that are flown.  If the weather is particularly bad, a smaller flag is used to at least show the Union Flag is being flown but one that is less likely to be damaged in strong winds.

The smallest ones that are flown will be a two yard flag, six foot by three foot, that’s generally the smallest size, and the largest standard flag that the Royal households will fly is a four yard flag, which is 12 foot by six foot.”

One point to note is that if a flag is worn or damaged, the Royal households do not throw them out and replace them.  They will send the flag back to Andy’s company for repairs, so that each flag can be given a new, long lasting lease of life.

 

A large Royal Standard flag flies on the Round Tower at Windsor Castle.
 

How is the Union Flag made?
Thousands of stiches are involved in the process of creating each flag and, 31 individual pieces of fabric are used in the manufacture of a Union Flag.  Each one of those pieces is expertly crafted and stitched to create a flag which consists of the red cross of St George, representing England, the white saltire, or heraldic diagonal cross, of St Andrew, for Scotland, and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Northern Ireland.

The Union Flag consists of a horizontal and vertical red bar, made of three pieces of fabric, plus the four red diagonals, and eight blue triangles, then the rest of the flag is made of sixteen white fimbriations which are either side of the red sections.  These all need to cut at different sizes depending on the size of flag required.  Then they are all sewn together to make a high quality Union Flag. They take many hours to finish as they are all hand sewn, so there is a lot of work in them.  The company's range of flags vary from a 6in (15cm) desk top flag to the largest Union Jack in the UK, which measures 38ft (11.5m) by 19ft (5.8m) and can be seen flying from Windsor Castle.

 


Andy Ormrod

What is the Union Flag made of?
Flying Colours Flag makers manufactures its royal and military flags to a Ministry of Defence specification.  The Royal flags such as the Royal Standard are made of a special form of woven polyester.  Knit polyester fabrics tend to have a soft, stretchy texture, giving them a feel similar to cotton knit while woven polyester tends to have a lighter, silkier feel, making each flag feel high-quality and soft and silky to the touch.
When Andy’s company first started making flags for the Royal Household, he had to find out what standards applied to manufacturing which required a lot of research and a lot of traveling to all of the Royal Palaces. 

How did Flying Colours Flag makers get a Royal Warrant?
Andy’s company began making flags for the Royal Households just over 20 years ago. He said “It was a long process to finally secure a Royal Warrant but he first had the entrepreneurial idea to reach out to the Royal Family after he heard that the company which had been supplying the Royal Households with flags for more than a hundred years had been bought out by another company and they were changing their business direction away from flag making and focussing on marquees instead”.

He said: “I heard about this, in our early days, because we’ve only been manufacturing in business since 1994, and I’m thinking ‘Who’s going to supply the Royal Household?  “So I picked the phone up, and phoned Buckingham Palace.  I waited and I was put through to reception and I asked if I could be put through to the person who is responsible for purchasing flags.  So, my call was put through and I explained who we were and what we did, I did say that I believe that your current flag supplier is no longer in business or able to have the ability to manufacture flags for you.

He waited for several months and heard nothing, so he tried again, but again, he heard nothing for some time.  Eventually, he called Buckingham Palace again and made an offer to manufacture a Union Flag for the household, free of charge, to demonstrate what the company could do.

His contact at the palace said, “We’ll send you a flag and you can do what you like with it, you can undo it, look at it, display it, or fly it, it’s yours, and if you like it, please use it”.  Then, came the breakthrough that Andy had been aiming for finally arrived.  Two weeks after supplying the first flag, an order came through for, four more but these were on a proper purchase order and it was so exciting, first getting the order and then the prestigious client we were making it for and then having to invoice them.”

A more formal business relationship developed from then on, with the company gaining a Royal Warrant as an official flag maker in the year 2000.  Since then, the company has regularly supplied the Royal Households with a range of flags, of different sizes, including Union Flags and Royal Standards for individual members of the Royal family.  They have built ap a trust and rapport, they have the odd problem, like a flag might have snagged or something is stuck but slowly and surely, more small orders came in, followed by larger orders, and then you start making the Royal Standards for the Queen and for all the family members as well, and this is just constant, continual work.
 
How did Andy get into flag making?
Andy started his Flying Colours Flag makers company in 1994, following a short time of unemployment.  He had started out his working life in travel, a career carved out of his love for skiing, a sport he had been heavily involved in as a boy.

At one stage, he had represented his home county of Yorkshire in the sport and had once been invited to train for England in the early 1970s. He had hoped that working abroad in travel would be one way to carry on with his love for the sport, which had become very expensive, but after some years in that line of work, he found it was not one of the highest paid jobs, so he moved into the insurance industry.

However, after working in insurance for some time, he found himself unemployed and it was during that time that, while taking the dog for a walk, the idea to go into flag making came to him. He said: “I took the dog for a walk, saw a tatty flag flying on a flag pole, at a small local garage, and I thought ‘that thing is ripped to shreds, that’s poor quality fabric.”

He already had an idea about how textiles and sewing worked as a business as his wife made wedding dresses and he hit upon the idea of manufacturing flags.  Seeing the tatty flag made him realise there might be a market to make quality flags and so, he started researching how many flag making companies there were in the UK, and who they supplied and he says he had his heart set on running his own flag making business.

That was almost 30 years ago and now the company employs a team of staff and manufactures flags for customers all over the world with the Royal Warrant helping to promote the business both home and abroad.  The company also specialises in British Armed Forces flags as an official reseller of Ministry of Defence flags.

Clients for these flags include veterans of the range of Regiments, Armed Forces Associations and other groups in the wider military community but the company will also at times be involved in the procurement system for the Ministry of Defence.

Andy said: “We make lots of military flags, we’re an official licenced reseller of MOD military flags.
“This covers Royal Navy, Army, and the Royal Air Force, Royal Marines of course, and we’ve got many, many flags and designs, all Crown Copyright, so depending on where it is, all the RAF stations, Coningsby, you name it, Ascension Island, and everywhere, Aldergrove, anything, we can make them, we’ve got all the designs.  “We’ve got official MOD artwork, and they look glorious, and quite a few folk are buying those.”

The next time anyone looks up at a flag on a Royal Palace or their Regimental Colours, they might take a moment to ponder the expert craftsmanship of Andy and his team of flag makers.
 

 

003  WFRA MEMBERSHIP COMPLIMENTARY ENTRY TO NOTTINGHAM CASTLE - UPDATE

It would appear that there has been some confusion over the WFRA Membership card to enter Nottingham Castle.  Complimentary membership is offered only to those who have a membership card and additional visitors, without a card, have to pay.

There is no longer any requirement for a visit to be pre-booked (unless you are booking a tour) and visitors can show up on the day, with the Association member showing their membership card for their individual complimentary entry.

An Association Membership card can be obtained from garycrosby1375@live.com.  Please email him with your military details.  Serving members may obtain complimentary entry by emailing the Assistant Regimental Secretary, Nottingham cindy.clark247@mod.gov.uk with their proposed visit date.

 

Please note that this does not affect those who are attending the Badajoz Day parade.  Complimentary entry is for all WFRA members and those that wish to attend (including family members etc).  They are to meet at the iron gates by 1025 hours where a member of the Association will account for the entry.
 

004 VETERANS SUPPORT

The following are available to support veterans and their families who may be experiencing mental health difficulties;

Forcesline Tel: 0800 731 4880 (between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday)
Combat Stress (24 hours)
Veterans and their families; Tel: 0800 138 1619
Serving personnel and their families; Tel: 0800 323 4444
Samaritans (24 hours); Tel: 116 123

.............................................................
 VETERANS SUPPORT
The following are available to support veterans and their families who may be experiencing mental health difficulties;

Forcesline Tel: 0800 731 4880 (between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday)
Combat Stress (24 hours)
Veterans and their families; Tel: 0800 138 1619
Serving personnel and their families; Tel: 0800 323 4444
Samaritans (24 hours); Tel: 116 123


M A DACK
for Executive Committee



 

 

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