Globe and Laurel Article

Exmouth RMA Branch Globe and Laurel report                         for May/June 2019 copy.

Chalkie White writes:

It has been a while since there was a report from this ‘Branch but having stepped up to the plate this author has now set himself the challenge to rectify this omission. To give the reader a flavour of the ‘Branch, this report will summarise the various activities to date. Membership: On paper the ‘Branch membership is large but as is probably the case with a number of RMA branches in the UK, there is a central hard working core of the same individuals whose contribution to the ‘Branch existence. Attracting fresh blood to the fold is an ongoing ‘mystery’ that shall become a problem in the future when the current generation of active members step down due to the inevitable fair wear and tear (getting old is not a joke even for a bootneck!). Our lady members provide stalwart support to the ‘Branch in various events and at times put the blokes to shame with their organising of events. ‘Branch Committee: Our monthly ‘Branch meeting in April also served as its AGM with a change of President (Paul Harradine) and Secretary (Roy Davis) who have both served the ‘Branch loyally over the years in their roles. The ‘Branch Chairman (Dennis Gover) presented each with a bottle of ‘special’ Port to mark their service and they have stepped down and joined the hallowed ranks of the geberal ‘Branch membership in the bull pit! Liam Kelleher has taken over the Presidency post and he gave members a stirring rallying speech to the troops (Shakespeare – Henry V at Agincourt – “These few, these gallant few” ….. you know the rest!) to spur us on for the forthcoming year. Although the Secretary post was not filled at the AGM, there could be good news on this front by the time of our next meeting – watch this space. Activities: Nationally we have had individuals and groups going to events such as the MFofM (sorry everything gets abbreviated these days doesn’t it), Graspan Parade and National Arboretum Parade to name just a few. Locally the ‘Branch has been the organising element for Exmouth AFD commemorations for some years now and it appears 2019 will be no different. The ‘Branch has always provided a large marching contingent to the Remembrance Sunday parade in Exmouth as well as providing wreath collectors to the war memorial and as well as supporting Exmouth British Legion branch with poppy collecting. It holds RMA/RMC collecting events mainly at Exmouth Tescos (a great thank you to them) as well as providing numerous collecting boxes around the Exmouth area, all organised by Harry Webley. This effort has resulted in the ‘Branch being able to present to the RMA/RMC at its March 2019 meeting via Phil Gilby £4500 that had been collected in Exmouth during 2018/19. Phil also gave to the meeting an impressive presentation on the current and future plans of the RMA/RMC following the merger. That same meeting also allowed the ‘Branch to present cheques to local organisiations the ‘Branch can relate to. Receiving donations were Friends of Exmouth Hospital, FORCE (local cancer support charity), Exmouth/Lympstone Hospice all whom have had former bootnecks pass through their organisations. The ‘Branch supports CTCRM Band at their regular Pavilion concerts (inside and open air) with members acting as stewards and collectors for the ‘Bands chosen charity for the concerts. The ‘Branch also provides helpers at the ‘Bands regular Beat Retreat performances in Exmouth town centre. ‘Members have assisted in the annual ‘Commando Challenge’ on Woodbury Common and also have provided volunteer Troop Mentors to CTCRM scheme for some years in collaboration with Exeter Branch members. So ‘Branch support to the serving ‘Corp family is and continues to be extensive and varied. With RMA head offices moved to CTCRM it may even see their personnel coming to the ‘Branch events or socials. They are very much welcome. Social activities: The ‘Branch has a well supported Diners Club that visits various eating/restaurant establishments around the Exmouth area. Other social gatherings such as Corps birthday and Christmas dinners, annual Widows and Widowers lunches are regular events. Various social events at the ‘Branch meeting place (Exmouth Police Klub) take place such as quiz nights and members birthday celebrations, the last being Liam Kellehers 70th birthday caylie. It has to be documented the co-operation and support of the Police Klub Committee in providing not just a venue to use and be based from but also to their bar staff and the catering provided over the years is immeasurable support to the ‘Branch and the ‘Branch cannot thank it enough for making it feel at home. Those former bootnecks that have come to Exmouth for reunions or met up with former oppos, will I’m sure testify the ‘Klub is an ideal location to have a few wets and fill a sand bag or ten without boring the pants off civvies around Exmouth. Welfare: Frank Black (our green lidded sapper ‘Branch member) leads on ‘Branch welfare issues and takes great trouble and empathy to meet up with the booty old and bold who are sick and weary in the area. This role also relies on members giving him the heads up on any relevant welfare issues. Great job Frank. As is life, we have lost members along the way and they are remembered with the dits about them that make up the tapestry of their lives and the history of the Corps family. To close, I said it was to be a flavour of our ‘Branch and not everything or everyone involved and who contribute to the ‘Branch has been mentioned here for which I apologise – I’m new at this! To former bootnecks (RMA or non-RMA) you are welcome to come over and meet up with us at the Police Klub. The ‘Branch meet up every 3rd Thursday of the month for those interested in joining the ‘Branch.

Here endeth the first lesson and TTFN. Chalkie White.

Exmouth RMA Branch Globe and Laurel report                                                                               for July/August 2019 copy

Chalkie White writes:

Hello Reader, I’ve been allowed back for a second go at reporting to you about our ‘Branch news during May and June. I finished the last report indicating, “…. to watch this space”. Good news! No …. not about Brexit! Following on from our Branch AGM, we now have two ‘Branch Secretaries – Yep! TWO. Once again our brilliant ladies members have stepped up to the plate in the guise of Kate Coe and Biddy Trummy who have taken up the dual role flying solo (together) at our June meeting. They did great and held their own from the growlers in the members bull pit (you’ve got to be there to know what I mean) and the ‘Branch are grateful to them for taking it on. Well done ladies. The year is starting to pick up pace with events and activities. The end of May saw members putting in the hours at Tescos collecting for the RMA/RMCT with over £800 raised. This will be one of several collecting days throughout the year and the good people of Exmouth always support the cause when Royal’ old and bold are shaking the buckets there. The branch supported the CTCRM Band as it always does, at their concert in early June the Pavilion on Exmouth sea front where we act as door stewards. The ‘Bands charity of choice for this concert was the Devon Freewheelers who are motor cycle volunteers taking vital and urgent NHS medical supplies to their destinations. Branch members hold the buckets for the end of concert retiring collection which raised over £800 to go to a good local cause. A notable contingent of members and their wives went to Graspan and thanks must go to Clive Evans and his wife Sylvie for arranging the transport and accommodation, let alone Clive rousting members to attend – use it or loose it was the battle cry. Clives post event report at the June Branch meeting stressed it was well organised with the weather holding firm for the parade and everyone attending enjoying a memorable couple of days in the capital. The beginning of June saw Roy Davies with the Branch Standard attending a RBL commemoration parade at the town war memorial in the run up to D-Day 75. The ‘Branch Mentors are providing stirling support (get the pun?) to their allocated recruit troops as these young persons journey to obtaining their ‘green lid’. Although the scheme is a success in the eyes of CTC’ there is a potential issue to address in getting new Mentors from Exmouth and Exeter Branches to take up the baton in the near future as age and incontinence catch up with the first wave of Mentors who have had or will have to step down from the role. A Mentors dit has reached this writer that our Tex Webber was doing ‘the Troop Mentor support business’ recently with his troop allocation whilst they were undertaking their bottom field pass-out. By coincidence celebrities Freddie Flintoff, Jamie Rednapp and Romesh Ranganathan were also there waiting to be filmed doing the same for a TV show they would be appearing in. Whilst waiting they got talking to Tex and the conversation went along the lines of “ What do you do?” Tex briefly explained the Mentor role and then with a twinkle in his eye and seeing an opportunity he said,“Mentors have to do this as well you know”. With mouths open and eyes agog Tex knew he had them and followed this up with, “Mind you our timings for doing the course are not so rigorous as a troop in training. We start in the morning and as long as we’ve finished before the bugler sounds sunset then we’re in!”. You know it folks …. Once a Marine ,Always a Marine! Events on the ‘Branch calender for the latter part of June are Beat Retreat carried out by our friends in the CTCRM Band and then we have Exmouth Armed Forces Day. These events both take place in the Strand Gardens in Exmouth and the ‘Branch are very much involved in co-ordination. To very briefly explain the origin of Beat Retreat, it goes way back in military time when it was called watch setting. It was a signal (gun/cannon) calling sentries, camp guards and patrols to defensive positions for the night before gates were closed/draw bridges lifted. In 1690 James II used drums as the signal and over time it has become a ceremonial event on a global scale used to signal the end of the day (sunset). Having said all that I am sure there are going to be the military history officianadoes who will correct me or further explain the history. Finally I am hoping to report back on our member Dave Thompson (Thommo) who informed us he had been selected to compete in Israel as part of a UK veterans team. This is a charity funded Invistus style event involving competing veterans from the Israel Defence Force and UK veterans. There is also a Conference being held covering subjects such as PTSD and mental health post military conflict in serving and veterans. Always setting the pace of things, Royals are very much front and centre of the UK contingent and it is hoped a dedicated feature will appear in a future G&L. On Thommos participation? Well according to him he is doing swimming and shooting (not at the same time!) and I will hopefully get a sitrep from him, if he comes back, so that I in turn can update you. Well reader, I’ve run out of ink and strength now but remember, if your down this way your always welcome to the Police Klub in Exmouth (our watering hole) to share a wet – sippers not gulpers! TTFN