Exmouth Branch Report

Meets 2nd
Thursday at Exmouth Police Club

Chalkie White writes:

Well hello once again reader. How are you doing? At the time of writing this article, it is the first week in
January 2022 and there is a national consensus, nay! a global consensus of anticipation as to what the year
will bring us! 2021 was as popular as flatulence in a spacesuit, and here in sleepy old Exmouth we to
have experienced the roller coaster over the last twelve months where the best advice about planning
anything is ….. to not plan anything!!! As given in my last report, the ‘Branch Committee had started to
plan out the rest of years events, little of what was left of the year. But that little beastie of a virus stepped
in once again and created another ABC (all been changed) situation and the one step forward became one
back! There were some successes though. We held our Corps Birthday Buffet commemoration at the
Police Club and over 40 members attended, with the social distanced Port and Cheese fest that went with
it, along with the usual 1664 dits, made for an enjoyable evening. Dave ‘Thommo’ Thompson stepped up
to the plate and gave the Corps formation address in 1664 style yellow uniform of the time (see picture).
Great stuff Thommo. The ‘Branch was able to attend in numbers at the Exmouth Remembrance Day
commemoration which always takes place around the war memorial in the Strand Gardens, Exmouth.
Exmouth Joey-public was there in vast numbers as this was the first time since 2019 that it had been
formally held. The Branch provided marchers and wreath marshals co-ordinated through the Exmouth
RBL. Lest We Forget. Our fund-raising rep Harry Webley sent around a short notice warning order (a
weeks notice) in late November, that Tescos have given the ‘Branch a Saturday slot to fund raise for the
RMA/TRMC and he needed ‘tin shakers’ PDQ. Members turned to and Harry had just enough to fill most
of the day. Over £800 was raised although an important lesson was learnt that most people now use their
plastic to pay for goods (pandemic reaction) and the local Poppy Appeal made a huge amount during their
collecting by using a card reader to collects donations. Harry has made enquires to obtain a card reader
and will set it up hopefully in time for our next collecting effort. Our collecting session was the same day
as our ‘Branch Christmas dinner, so the extra mile was needed by members to attend both. Great effort
Harry and the guys and gals. As mentioned, we held our Branch Christmas dinner at the Royal Beacon,
Exmouth with again a good turnout. Our secretary Kate Coe and her winger Wendy Williams had done
the arrangements. The festive food was to the usual excellent ‘Beacon standard and the ‘entertainment’
was also good i.e. the raffle-gate saga. It would be easier and less stressful to be searching a minefield
with a cocktail stick than running a raffle but raffle maestro Roy Davies held his nerve and got through it
(eventually!). The evening finished off with a live 4 piece group providing 60s, 70s and some 80s songs
and this enticed the ‘tik-tok’ dad dancers up to dance around their handbags!!! I’m still having counselling
after that. After the dinner everyone was starting to get in to the ‘festive mood’ and ready for the planned
CTCRM Christmas Band Concert at the Exmouth Pavilion. The ‘Branch was geared up to providing the
door stewards for both the afternoon matinee and the evening concerts and life seemed to be getting back
to some ‘normality’. Then ABC happened and the ‘Band were once again deployed at short notice to
support NHS efforts across the country due to the increased booster vaccine drive and the infection
increase being recorded with the Omicron strain of the virus. The ‘Band must be commended for always
responding to ‘The Call’ and providing the highest level of commitment to the task and representing the
Corps. Saying that, we definitely missed the Christmas ‘Band bash as there is the opportunity to listening
to world class military band music and sing your lungs out with the carols they would have played. The
Police Club held its top class quiz with quiz master Pete Jones presiding and then there was the ‘Club
Christmas raffle to pretty well finish off the year. Looking back over 2021, it wasn’t until the latter weeks
that there was some activity but the rest was definitely the ‘space-suit’ experience. The consistency is that
at most of our members ages, what with vaccine jabs, boosters jabs, shingles jabs and then flu jabs,
members have received more jabs than Henry Cooper (remember ‘Our Enrie’?). 2022 has to be a year of
expectancy and hopefully by the time you are reading this article we will have a better idea of direction –
right or wrong direction I’m not sure but my glass is always half full. To finish on a forward thinking note,
those of you who live away from our ‘patch’ and are planning a tropp/squad re-union, staycation to
Exmouth or just a day visit, the Police Club is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, 1930hrs
onwards and is located up Rolle Street. The Corps colours are on the door so you can’t miss us (can
you???). Most import to nbote, the ‘Club operates a cashless system to buy your wets, so don’t forget your

plastic. I hate seeing grown men cry! You will be made most welcome. Bring your own sand-bag and
lamp to swing along with your dits and we look forward to seeing you there. Happy New Year and proper

Hello once again reader. Well here we are, advancing forward (hopefully) in to the first half of 2022 and
by the time you read this article we’ll be looking hard in to the face of Spring and then forward to the
summer ahead. Whoopie! The ‘ Branch ended 2021 with a flourish with its Christmas dinner at the
Beacon Hotel and had a good turnout all things considered. Good food and company along with the
Exmouth RMA Branch dad dancing team putting in an outstanding performance during the disco. We
started off the new year with at ‘Branch Committee meeting in the first week followed by a members
meeting a week later with a decent turnout of 30 plus. The ‘Committee wanted to shake off the Covid
lock-down cobwebs and get looking to planning 2022 events. Hurrah! Branch members attended a RM
Band concert at the Exmouth Pavilion in Janury. 2 previous concerts in late 2021 were cancelled at short
notice when the CTC Band were committed to Covid vaccination duties at short notice (see Band report
in last Jan-Feb copy of G&L). There are Exmouth audience faithful (Bandie Groupies!) who have been
desperate over the last 2 years to see the RM Band back on the local stage and they were not
disappointed. Well worth the wait. The members who were acting as door stewards reported a good
turnout but it will take a little while before it’s back to full house attendance post Covid lock-down
confidence. After a gap of over twelve months, a Burns Night Dinner was held at the Police Club. Over
forty came along to enjoy the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties and snippets of Rabbies poems and sonnets.
Coupled with the traditional ‘Toast to the Lassies’ and ‘Toast to the Ladies’ presented in a light hearted
mick-take fashion and at times close to the knuckle, it provided an entertaining and jovial evening. Our
Branch President Liam Gallagher did the opening ‘Address To The Haggis’. Liam was in good voice and
word perfect, so everything was going well until it came to cutting of the beast! The grand carving knife
he had was so blunt that he couldn’t even bruise it let alone cut it open. Still, it started the evening off in
fine fashion. Talking of fashion, member Archie Houston (a Deal Branch import) turned up in true kilted
style and also Thommo (remember him from my last report picture) and his son also came along
appropriately kilted. Archie is a direct Jockster and gave a spirited speech about Burns history to the
gathered. Thommo likes any excuse to dress up and although a former Bristolian, he had found out a long
lost Uncles next door neighbours cat had come from Scotland, which Thommo felt was enough link to say
he had ‘The Blood’ to wear the kilt. It was good to see the ‘Three Amigos’ together afterwards sharing dits.
Some members also attended the February Commando Connect meeting at the Gordon Messenger Centre
where again serving and former Bootnecks got together over a wet and a bacon bango to chat over what’s
happening in the Corps, the world and everything else in life!!! Encouraging news on the Mentoring front
that the CTW-CSM Jim Morrad has given encouraging feedback there could be movement in opening up
the gates to mentoring again sometime after Easter leave possibly. Fingers crossed that forward
movement on this topic will be achieved. The 2 year Covid disconnect is presenting a challenge to the
‘Branch (as it probably it is to other Branches), in coming up with ideas for future events throughout the
year. Hopefully the ‘Branch will involve itself in the Queens Platinum Celebrations and also the Falklands
commemorations and I hopefully can report more about that and other functions in future articles
about the Branch. As it is still early in the year, to raise the spirits the Committee have agreed to hold a
wine/cheese games night at the ‘Club so ….. watch this space! Thommo being the former AE that he is,
had made a Tonka Toy sized Uckers Board to donate to the Branch, so that should get a maiden outing at
the proposed games night when it is craned in! At the time of writing this report, there is easing of Covid
control conditions and so it will be interesting to see how everyone moves from 2 years of “strangeness”
to living with Covid? What will that bring to re-establishing the things we want to do. The Mountbatten
FM2022, as an example is scheduled and some members are going but also some are not until they feel
more confident in crowded surroundings, which is understandable. It will take a time to reach the
‘normal’. Frank Black, our Branch Welfare rep has informed that he will be stepping down after several
years of sterling work. Thanks Frank, your input will be missed. After a gap of 2 years, the Branch AGM
is scheduled for April, so at least a replacement Welfare rep will be up for grabs. In February member
Jock Robertson was hospitalized following a stroke and then to heap more unhappiness on his family, a
week later his wife passed away. He is being looked after but through his Branch ‘minder’ Graham
McGee, there are regular reports and the Branch stands by if it can offer any support. As I write this the
news is coming through that Russia is invading Ukraine. What will that mean regarding the response by

the West, is yet to be seen but it is a worry that in any military response by the West, Royal could be
involved. We live in unsettled times and when diplomacy fails then who steps forward to protect us? I
wonder where this will take us? To finish on a positive note ….. cheer up, Summers on its way. If your
down this way then look us up. It’ll be good to see you. Till the next report …. Proper