Globe and Laurel Article

 

Chalkie White writes  12/3/20

 

Hello once again reader. Well here we are moving well in to the new year with a new decade full of known and unknown challenges for the country. Enough has been said on that topic so I’ll move on. OK now, own up. How long did your new year resolution last? Yes, same here, it was the worst morning of my life trying to loose weight, but I did last past midday!!! Anyway this report is not about me, but about what’s been happening in our Exmouth Branch of late? Well, no sooner was the New Year celebrations past that Burns Night was the next event on the ‘Branch social calender. Personally I think it is a ploy by the Jocksters to extend Hogmanay but hey-ho, who is complaining for having a good night to celebrate the Scottish bard. And a good night it was to. The Haggi-tramendie, freshly shot that morning, was cooked to perfection and brought in to a kilted pipers accompaniment. Our President Liam addressed the Haggis in a flourish although he nearly took the eye out of his top table neighbour when brandishing the knife to carry out the dreaded cut. Cock-a-leeky soup to start then neeps and tatties was served to accompany the Haggis fare obviously with a wee toasting dram of falling over lotion followed by cranakan and finally cheese. The meal was interspersed with nominated members reciting various Robbie Burns poetry in the worst of Jockaneese you could wish to hear. As more drams were supped through the meal, members started to believe they could understand what was being said in the recitals! There was the toasts to the laddies and lassies (always worth a giggle) and it all finished with everyone singing Auld Lang Syne. The Police Klub Chairman Bob Horton and his wife must be congratulated in being the logistical mainstay of putting the evening together and members recognise he is a massive supporter of the ‘Branch. The Royal Marines Band from CTC put on in January another of their concerts at Exmouth Pavilion and as always ‘Branch members provided the door staffing, taking tickets and showing people to their seats as well as taking the retiring collection at the end of the evening. The proceeds for that collection is always for a local charity chosen by the ‘Band which in this case was the local Hospice. The concert is always well supported and a lot of the regulars who attend buy season tickets for the CTC ‘Band concerts (yes there are such things for the concerts), which this year number five at the Pavilion. The concert was the ‘christening’ of the new Director of Music for CTC’ (Captain Gregory) and he definitely got the audience on his side. The evening wound up with the usual encores and then finished with a ‘River Dance’ rendition with fiddles, Irish pipes, the lot and this had the audience on their feet. A great night. The ‘Branch diners night at the Saddlers Arms organised by our ‘Branch secretary Kate Coe coincided with Valentines Night. Clearly any former Bootie will understand that this is where many ‘Brownie Points’ can be earn t or many lost if you don’t get the wooing tactics on Valentines Night right. The sit-rep for the night was a marvellous meal with great company and everyone went home with their other half happy(ish!). Phew! mission accomplished then. Half way through February a Saturday night quiz was held in the Police Klub with question master extraordinaire Pete Jones testing the knowledge and memories of members. As with most former booties, they know a little about a lot. The question is …. how little is little? Another good night though. Well done Pete. On the extra day in February, the ‘Branch were at its usual haunt of Exmouth Tescos collecting for RMA/RMCT organised by our fund-raiser Harry Webley. I’ve said it before and it deserves to be said again, the generosity of Exmouth people who see us there shaking the buckets three to four times a year is always humbling. Exmouth Tescos is a regular collecting spot for various charities and you would think ‘compassion fatigue’ would happen, but Exmouth people always dig deep in to their purse or pocket to support ‘Royal’. Sad news in February with our member Kim Davidson crossing the bar and and then followed by her husband former Royal Jim a crossing the bar week later. A double blow to the ‘Branch as they had been active members for many years and a minutes silence was held in memory at our February meeting. On the Branch Mentoring front to Commando Training Wing, we nearly have a full compliment of mentors although we need more and those doing mentoring have been doing it for several troops now. There will come a time soon when ‘fresh blood’ is needed as the original tranche of mentors are not getting any younger. On the subject of mentoring, the Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer (former artillery commando officer with 29′) visited CTC’ and mentors from the Exeter and Exmouth branches were asked to meet with him in Parker Hall (CTC’ injury rehabilitation centre). Our ‘Branch mentor liaison to CTC’, Roy Davies was one of those whom met the Minister. Roy will not be offended (much!) if I indicate that he is slightly vertically challenged and suffers whip-lash from constantly looking up at people to talk to them. Roy came away from meeting the Minister like a dog with two thingies because he actually looked down to talk to the man. I am always asking at our Branch meetings for stories from members (clean!) to add interest to the branch report but at the moment it appears there is a drought (not a word to use in the current national wetting period going on) from members. I have said before that if there is nothing they have to report then there is no report. Come on guys, you must have your stories. Extract the digit and share a laugh with the world! I’m always interested in hearing clever sayings or definitions of interest such as; definition of a successful farmer? Answer; a man outstanding in his field. Get it! My best one I’ve used many times is the definition of an expert? Answer; ‘X’ is an unknown factor, and spurt is a drip under pressure. I’ve known many so called ‘experts’ in my life who fit that description. Well now I’ve started rambling so that is the signal to sign off this report reader. TTFN    

RMA EXMOUTH BRANCH GLOBE AND LAUREL REPORT

 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

 

Chalkie White reports

 

Reader, what a year 2019 was! First, why did it go so fast? (each year gets faster). Second, with all the political shenanigans we should have a new(ish) government, although at the time of putting this report together I haven’t a clue who or what that will be? Thirdly, the ‘Branch finished off 2019 in a usual bootie flourish. The green lidded turn out for the Remembrance Sunday parade in Exmouth wasn’t as big as previous years but was still the most noticeable of the veterans contingent. Saying that we did have some members abroad during Remembrance Sunday showing support in far off shores (Malta, Far East and other old stomping grounds of Royal) and time to remember oppos from old. Something as rare as rocking horse droppings occurred at the Exmouth Remembrance parade. 4 (yes 4!) MLs from CTC ‘ in blues turned out to march with the town veterans. Rare as I say, but great to see our serving bretheran there, and after when asked how did they find it? Unanimous vote – awesome. A week later Branch members were at our usual spot up at Exmouth Tescos shaking the tins for the RMC. You would think people in Exmouth would be suffering from compassion fatigue after the Poppy Appeal and the BBC Children In Need Appeal the week before our collecting day, but NO! The marvellous people of Exmouth showed their love for Royal and kept giving. Thank you ‘Town – great support. Our Branch Secretary Kate organised once again our Christmas bash at the Beacon Hotel. Great food and entertainment and Kate bless her is always ahead of the game in organising the event. At our November Branch Meeting she put in a proposition for ‘Branch funds to purchase Christmas table decorations in the January sales to have them for our Branch 2020 Christmas meal (the table deccies always go missing after each Christmas meal!). Well done Kate, Bootneck retail therapy at its finest I’d say. Member Tug Wilson organised our ‘Branch Widow and Widowers Christmas lunch, also held at the Beacon Hotel. It is an event where the spirit of the Corps Family is shown in this coming together at a time of the year when Christmas can mean something to those that have been used to being part of two but now have become one. We always remember absent friends. The CTC Band held their last concert of the year at Exmouth Pavilion before going on leave. It is always a festive and light hearted affair with humour a theme running through the show. The ‘Band provide a matinee and an evening concert and the Branch as always provide the door staff and also help with the Bands chosen charity retiring collection at the end of the concert. Our water hole, The Police Klub holds it Christmas raffle evening as well as being open Christmas Eve and also to see out the old year and celebrate in the New Year. Exmouth town itself has gained a reputation for people coming in to town in fancy dress to celebrate New Year and they party hard although hangovers are on the menu the day after. January is always a slow month Post New Year celebrations. 99% of New Year promises and intentions have usually gone West by mid-January and people are wondering what the coming year will bring? Not so with Royal. As an example ‘Branch planning for the 2020 Exmouth Armed Forces Day event is well advanced and representation from the Exmouth Branch of the British Legion has joined the ‘Branch planning group in organising what should be a spectacular show. With that thought of things to come, I will wind up this piece and on behalf of the ‘Branch hope that your year ahead reader is good to you. TTFN                        

RMA EXMOUTH BRANCH GLOBE AND LAUREL REPORT

 

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

 

Chalkie White reports

 

Well here we are again reader. The festive season of over spending and over eating beckons us – Ba Humbug! I’ve always wondered why we tell children not to talk to ‘strange men’ , and then we let this white bearded old man in a funny suit come in to their bedroom in the wee hours to leave them presents! What;s that all about? Anyway taking my grumpy old mans hat off, what has been happening in the Exmouth Branch since we last met? Well, a lot actually. In the last report

I told you about our Branch President Liam Kelleher had gone ‘walk about’ for yomp and that I would get the story to you. In May Liam, ‘Branch member Terry Doyle his brother Paddy tackled the Camino Frances, also known as The Pilgrims Route or The Way of St James. This entailed a 500 mile walk from St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to reach Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. According to Liam the trip had its highs and lows but was faced with typical bootneck spirit. Bad weather whilst crossing in to Spain did not help and also Liam being allowed to order a meal in Spanish (Spanglish!) which Liam took to be a lamp casserole but turned out to be the not used bits of a pig (ears, nose, tongue, bits of face, lumps of fat, feet and yes what appeared to be the unmentionables) presented on a chickpea slurry!! Not to give in and let the side down in front of locals, the lads gave it a fair scran troff but Liam was banned from future scoff ordering. Towards the end of the trip Terry reluctantly had to withdraw with hip trouble and he is now awaiting hip surgery (the ‘Branch wish him well). Liam and Paddy carried on with Terry there in spirit and the two reached their destination in the latter part of June. They have all said it was a memorable experience which they are glad they did. One for the ‘lifetime CV’.      

Arnham Parade – September 8 . The Exmouth branch of the Royal British Legion held a parade commemorating the Arnham airborn landings in WW2. Branch members attended although it must be said that there was not a ‘cherry beret’ to be seen on the day. It was a hot Sunday for the parade which actually went on for nearly 2 hours and cadets attending were dropping like nine pins.

RMA Reunion/CTCRM Families Day – September 14/15. The Friday before is always a busy evening at our ‘Branch watering hole – The Police Klub. The visiting old and bold gather to meet oppos over a few (dozen) wets to regal over previous battles and runs ashore. It is a busy night for the staff volunteers who man and woman up the bar and galley to keep our bootneck visitors happy. The Saturday at this ‘Corps event is getting more and more involved and personally I think it is great to see the ‘Corps Family past, present and future all having fun a the same venue . A real enjoyable day. Member Brian Hibbert, ably assisted by his wife along with Terry Doyle, provided burgers and ‘dogs at a BBQ stand on the CTC top field during the RMA FC inaugural match and the RMA RFC Vets v. RN Vets match. The RMA FC were victorious but RMA RFC were not despite a valiant second half effort! The Sunday is traditionally RMA parade day. The numbers are getting fewer who march mainly due to age and ‘nature’. Being prepared is the name of the game and 2 ambulances were standing by before the march off although thankfully not needed (this year!). It is great to listen to the Dls giving the parade brief before marching on followed by a number of guys saying can they repeat it as their hearing aid batteries needed replacing! It was good to see member Jeff Trail (MBE) and Jumper Collins from the Exeter Branch go front and centre to shout out time when we stepped off. The drum head service for the new standards being blessed also was good to see. It finished with a green lidded wave marching proud past the saluting dais and the CTC’ memorial wall. The fanalie is falling out in the drill shed and an advance to contact to get a wet and a hot dog. Another annual gathering is complete. Roll on next year.

Branch Diners night. Our secretary Kate Coe and her sidekick Wendy Russell organised the evening at the Imperial Hotel Exmouth. 30+ members and wives attended to enjoy a hot buffet, free wine and good company. A raffle with several prizes was taken which raised a few extra shekkles for the Branch coffers. This was the last diners night of the year although it is hoped it can continue in 2020

Gibraltar Visit. Brian Hibbert, Terry Doyle President, Liam Kelleher, and Steve Peake were able to blag their on to the RMA RFC tour to Gibraltar at the end of September. RMA RFC convincingly overcome the Gib Select XV for the first time in it’s 6 year occurrence, this being the inaugural match at the new Europa Point Stadium, this the new home of Gibraltar Rugby. As a double whammy for the Gib rugby community the RMA RFC also beat the Gib Vets at the same stadium the following day. All involved had a very enjoyable sociable and “wet” time – no doubt due to the high temperatures – 30 degrees C plus for the whole 5 days!

CTCRM Band Concert. This took place in October at the regular venue of Exmouth Pavilion. As at previous concerts, ‘Branch members and wives undertook door steward duties and held a retiring collection for the local charity of the ‘Bands choice, which on this occasion was for Exmouth Beach Rescue Group.  

Commando Challenge 2019 – October 12/13. This annual charity event involves individuals and teams going round the Endurance Course on a 5k or 10k route. Mud and fun are the order of the day and it raises valuable funds for the RMCT/RMA and Devon Air Ambulance who collaborate in organising the event. A record number of participants were there over a rainy 2 days which finishes at Bicton Arena event village. A number of RMA members including from the ‘Branch act as volunteer course marshals encouraging participants with a cheery “It’s not as bad as it seems so keep going!”. If you haven’t been before, it’s well worth a visit even if you can;t walk across the ‘Common, at the event village there is a big screen which streams live action from the ‘Course.

2019 Corps Birthday dinner. Held at the Manor Hotel Exmouth, member gather to celebrate the formation of our ‘Corps. Organised by Clive Evans, it is a ‘must’ for our members.

Poppy Appeal Collecting. Through October and in to early November members will be at Poppy

stands/table collecting for the Poppy Appeal on behalf of the Exmouth British Legion. As would be expected in Exmouth, a large contingent of green lids always make up the Remembrance Sunday Parade in Exmouth so it is only right to support the fund raising efforts of the RBL and it is well support by the Exmouth public in getting their poppy and gathering around Exmouth war memorial.

As I write my good lady has let me know there are 80 sleep nights left till Christmas. Gawd elp us! Anyway on that thought I will leave off and on behalf of Exmouth Branch I wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and that 2020 is a ‘proper job’. 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