18th May 2010
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
RHQ/RRF/1363 18th May 2010
PRESENTATION OF GOC LONDON DISTRICT COMMENDATIONS
Major D J Cook - Casualty Visiting Officer (CVO) to
the familiy of Cpl Etchells
CHARITY FOOTBALL MATCH - 2 RRF VERSUS Eon NETWORK
At a hard fought football match held at the Coventry City Football Ground on Friday 7 May, the greater fitness and football ability of the 2nd Battalion team managed by Captain Will Blinco shone brightly against a civilian team fielded by the eon (electricity providers) firm. The score line was 3 - 1 to the Fusiliers.
This charity event organized by Mrs Carol Valentine, mother of the late Sgt Simon Valentine, was an outstanding occasion and a fitting tribute to the memory of the "Magnificent Seven" Fusiliers who were killed in Afghanistan last year.
The Regiment is deeply grateful to Mr Paddy Healy of eon Network (and a former Fusilier) who was also a main driving force in the organization of this excellent occasion which was attend by The Right Honorable Bob Ainsworth, The Lord Lieutenant and many serving and former Fusiliers. In all over 2000 people attended and the Fusilier Aid Society benefited considerably. Eon as a Company must also be thanked for the tremendous support and generosity they showed. A fuller report will in the next Fusilier News.
During April all ranks enjoyed an excellent party on St George's Day. After traditional morning gunfire and a very entertaining Battalion church service (You don't often see a Padre rapping!) the rugby pitches had a festival atmosphere as the Fusiliers celebrated in style. Y Company was tested in a hard-fought final of the Newcastle Cup Inter-Company football, and the match was tied at 1-1 despite Y Company setting up home in the HQ Company goalmouth. It took a penalty from a handball for Sgt Carr to step up to the spot and drill the ball into the back of the net, handing Y Coy a 2 - 1 victory. This gave LCpl "Tomma" Thompson the chance to finally lift the trophy after years of trying!
Weeks of practice paid off for the QM department as they triumphed in the "all-comers" volleyball competition, with the BHQ team putting in a particularly valiant performance. Finally the heavy-weights of Capt Dan Kennedy, CSgt Garry Tarbuck, CSM Thomas and a strong X Company team battled through to triumph in the inter-Company tug-of-war. Y Coy triumphed in the Champion Coy Orienteering Competition with Fus' Chilton and Butterworth, O'Donoghue and Shadbolt coming first and second respectively in the pairs category.
Y Company travelled to Castlemartin ranges for their first WARRIOR shoots since arriving in Tidworth, and all crews were eager and ready to begin hunting. The 30mm and 7.62mm guns were put to good use and, blessed with some unusually good weather, even the newly qualified gunners put in a strong performance. Whilst four WR crews achieved HPS their 'dismounts', led by the OC, got to grips with the tough new Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT - replacing the APWT) and some live firing tactical training.
The CO's Bugle Competition was also held recently, and was the culmination of a long week of rehearsals and preparation for the Drums Pl. The judges included the Commanding Officer, the Drum Majors of the First and the Second Bns and two guests from the Army School of Ceremonial. The standard of bugling was very high across the Platoon, but congratulations go to; Dmr Chris Greenalgh (CO's Bugler), LCpl Adam Arnold ( Adjutant's Bugler), Dmr "Kenny" Kemp-Ambler (RSM's Bugler) and LCpl Kane Andrews who came fourth. Many thanks to Cpl Hennagan 2RRF who was released by the Drums Wing at ITC (C) to instruct 7 Pl prior to the competition. The Battalion is looking forward to hearing various bugle calls around camp in the near future - at least in the short gaps between exercises.
At the end of April members of Z Company were selected as participants for a two-week burden carrying trial at ITDU Warminster, aiming to test and assess the vulnerability of soldiers carrying varying weights. The trial involved an initial shoot, a timed agility course and a 5k march before then repeating the shoot and agility course, all whilst carrying varying configurations of weight, from 6 to 60kg. Needless to say, a few dark looks were thrown towards the civilian scientist who was complaining about being hot and uncomfortable, whilst walking alongside the men on the march, in cropped trousers and sunglasses! Participants were also engaged with TES (laser simulation) kit whilst on the agility course. Notable performances came from Fus' Mead and Wright - both being hit very few times - however Fus Brown was not so lucky, being hit 10 times whilst only moving 25m! Everyone who participated enjoyed the task (particularly seeing the new kit currently being designed) and put in a strong effort considering the weights carried.
The mighty 1RRF Triathlon team recently attended the 4 Div Sprint Distance Triathlon held at Bovington. Under the steady guidance of Capt Dave Gifford, a veteran Triathlete, the team of five swam, biked and ran to complete the event, all putting in strong performances against the lycra swamped field of participants. The team is now looking forward to next month and the Army "Tri" Championships!
The new accommodation blocks which have been rapidly sprouting around camp were finished this month. They provide 160 new bed spaces in spacious 1-man en-suite rooms, with communal TV areas, and they have been very popular with their new occupants. The older blocks will continue to undergo renovation to transform them into similarly plush bedrooms for the livers-in.
1 RRF are looking forward to deploying on further exercises in May, and Y Coy will deploy to Brecon on Ex EPYNT FUSILIER to dispel the "Brecon myth," sharpen light-role skills and culminate in a trip across Pen Y Fan. Most of the Battalion will also be climbing, mountain biking and hill walking in North Wales during an exciting two-week Adventurous Training camp. You wouldn't be paid to do that as a civilian!
During April the 2nd Battalion has been focused on
the continuing task of Public Duties at the Royal Palaces across London
District, whilst entering a period of split leave. A and B Company took
three weeks leave over Easter before the Battalion came back for a week
of events including the Kenilworth Homecoming Parade, St Georges Day and
the pre Fire-team Commander's Cadre. B Company took part in the Freedom
of Northumberland Parade under 5 RRF on 24 April. C Company and FSp Company
departed on leave for a well earned break from back to back Public Duties
from 23 April until 17 May. In addition, the Corps of Drums entered the
London District Bugle Competition. Dmr Shear was narrowly beaten into
second place but has been selected to sound last post from Horseguards
during the Household Division Beating Retreat in June. This is yet another
first for a line Battalion in London. The Battalion also provided support
to the Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch in support of ABF with a small group
of Fusiliers being selected to meet HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Second Battalion were the first soldiers to march into the medieval fortress in the town since the English civil war over 360 years ago. The Mayor and his council provided a wonderful reception in the grounds of the castle, a private marquee with free beer and a "Hog Roast" kept all the marchers happy. During the reception the Mayor and councillors of Kenilworth bestowed an award for conspicuous Bravery on the Battalion, the highest award a civic council can award in recognition for bravery. This now hangs in RHQ in the Tower of London. (Parade photos Courtesy of www.sallyevansphoto.co.uk).
St Georges Day.
As I'm sure every Fusilier past and present is aware
St Georges Day 2010 Fell on a Friday this year so to mark the occasion
a dinner night was held in both the Sergeants' and Officers' Messes. At
midnight Capt Paul Bland who was being dined out of the Warrant Officers'
and Sergeants' Mess was ejected from their mess and carried over to the
Officers Mess on a Chesterfield sofa to be formally welcomed on commissioning
as the Unit Welfare Officer.
Following the award to C Company some local school
children who had been involved in the baking of cakes for the Cake Sale,
reported back in the February edition of this NewsLletter, presented two
cheques to the Commanding Officer, the first £408.07 for the Forces
Children's Trust, and the second again for £480.07 to the Fusilier
Aid Society. The Corps of Drums completed an amazing display for the whole
Battalion in the sunshine which included a piece of music penned by DMaj
Foy in memory of Sgt Simon Valentine entitled the Sgt Simon Valentine
On Saturday 24 Apr 10 The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
marched through Morpeth to receive the Freedom of Northumberland. Prior
to the march there was a Drumhead Service at County Hall, Morpeth led
by 5 RRF Padre Capt Peter Turnbull.
The Parade was blessed with unseasonable 'hot and sunny' weather which helped bring out a crowd of several thousand who lined the whole route and cheered the marching troops on. The parade was lead by 5 RRF with a Colour Party and Regimental Band, but there was also a full guard from 2RRF and a combined guard of 1RRF and recruits from ITC Catterick. The route was lined by cadets from Northumberland ACF. The parade halted on Newgate Street opposite a saluting dais and was inspected by the Leader of the County Council, the Colonel of the Regiment, the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, and the Mayor of Morpeth.
The event was a great success and received considerable local media coverage. This was an excellent start to the St George's Day celebrations which look place at various venues across the North-East.
Annual Camp has at last been confirmed as taking place in Sennelager Germany. The aim of the Camp is to begin the Directed Infantry Employment (DIE) training modules that are now mandated to ensure a TA soldier deploying on operations is Fit For Mobilisation. (FFM). The Battalion will carry out, BOWMAN, 81mm, GPMG SF, SAA, 9mm pistol, Vallon (mine detector), C-IED, driver conversion and field catering cadres. The final 4 days will be Infantry Field Firing up to Pl level. The Battalion are being sponsored by 1PWRR throughout who are providing equipment and instructor support. The Fusilier Band is also deploying to Germany with the Battalion on annual camp. They have no musical commitments less for the Officer's Mess Ball for 1 PWRR and intend to devote almost all of their time to practice and development.
The remainder of the year is devoted to continuing with the DIE modules and preparing individuals and small Force Elements to be FFM for short notice commitments and longer term planned OCP support to the 1st and 2nd Bn in 2012. There may be some pressures on resources post election as the budgets have not yet been released for this Training Year.
5 RRF have the following number of soldiers in training:
Phase One 47
There are 4 JNCOs attending SCBC and 1 attending PSBC at the end of May.
" 24 May - Flag Day for WO1 RSM Frost in post.
The Bn currently has the following personnel deployed on Ops and International Trg Tasks.
HERRICK 12 - 1 LANCS BG.
Cpl Christopher Unwin Burma Coy
CSgt Richard Redpath
Capt Ben Clare D Coy
Short Notice Requests.
5RRF has been asked this month, to provide a further 15 soldiers and NCOs to backfill HERRICK 13 to deploy in June 2010 (very short notice) as part of a 2 Div Cohort supporting 16Brigade. Thus far 7 members of the Battalion (5 Fus and 2 Rfn have volunteered.
A (Fusilier) Coy 4 MERCIAN
April saw the start of the new training year and was the first time in a year that 4 Mercian had live rounds to fire on the ranges. Both days of the training weekend had glorious weather which of course had no bearing on a strong turnout out of 30 Fusiliers on duty. The Saturday of the training weekend was zeroing and the ACMT, the successor to the APWT. The Company quickly mastered the new shoot and everybody passed. There were also had several corporate visitors from Suburu who had won a competition to spend a day on the ranges with A Company. They all they seemed to enjoy the day a great deal. On Sunday there was an inter company march and shoot competition. The team consisting of Sgt Inder, Cpl Gorin and L/Cpls' Korimbocus and Scriven was crowned champions with each man winning a jetboil (Ed: sounds like a medical complaint!) as a prize.
The other main event of the month was obviously St George's Day. To celebrate an all ranks formal dinner was held at Sheldon. The occasion was also used to dine out WO2 John Smith who now starts his resettlement training. For those who know him they can rest assured that he was on good form to the end and he departed with the thanks of all those at A Fusilier Coy for his outstanding work as SPSI over the last 3 years, which included a tour of Afghanistan with the 4 Mercian Composite Company. This was an evening enjoyed by all (some more than others, they are still limping to prove it!) and thanks go to Capt Hopkinson PSAO and his team for organising the event.
Finally, congratulations to Fusilier Fadipe who passed the Commissioning Main Board and as such becomes Mr Fadipe in anticipation of attending RMAS this Summer.
Area HQ Northumberland
April was a very busy period in Northumberland with the run-up to the St George's Day events and both the Area HQ and 5RRF moved at considerable speed to ensure that 24 April went well in Morpeth.
St George's Day started with a very successful Drumhead Service at County Hall where some 500 troops and spectators took part in the short service which was conducted by the Reverend Peter Turnbull, assisted by Canon Tony Meakin and Reverend Cecil Dick. The Vice Chair of Northumberland County Council, Mrs Marcia Bircham read the lesson. It was good to see so many former Fusiliers at the service and Major General and Mrs Wilson were warmly welcomed. As always, The Regimental Band provided excellent musical support to the occasion.
The entire parade and Association members were then taken by coach and bus down into Morpeth town centre where guards from all three battalions, recruits from Catterick, Northumbria Army Cadet Force and The Fusiliers Association were on parade. The Chairman of Northumberland County Council spoke to the vast crowds prior to the parade and complimented the Regiment and the service of generations of Fusiliers from the county. On arriving at the saluting dais the parade halted under the command of the CO, Lt Colonel Hopper and the marching troops were inspected by His Grace, Honorary Colonel, The Duke of Northumberland, Her Grace, Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland, The Colonel of the Regiment and, The Chairman of the County Council.
The Freedom of the County of Northumberland was then granted by the Chairman to the Regiment and a Freedom Scroll was presented to the Colonel of the Regiment. Brigadier Minter replied and thanked the Chairman for the honour of the Freedom and acknowledged the links between the Regiment and the County over many years. Throughout the parade the spectator's applause and verbal support was very vocal and positive towards the Fusiliers and the honour they were receiving.
The parade then marched off to 'British Grenadier' to the Civic Reception at the town's leisure centre where all Fusiliers and spectators were able to enjoy the hospitality of the County. A further presentation took place at the reception from the Chairman to the Colonel of the Regiment of a framed Freedom Scroll.
Saturday evening saw two major events take place in
Newcastle with the St George's Ball
The Headquarters now looks forward to, amongst other things; the 'Fighting Fifth' golf competition in late May and a major charity event for BLESMA in June.
Area HQ Warwickshire
Kenilworth Welcomes the 2nd Battalion.
The Second Battalion, on a very sunny day were greeted by crowds of well wishers in Kenilworth on 21 April , a conservative estimate of 10,000 attended according to the Warwickshire Police, as the Battalion marched through the town and on to Kenilworth Castle to celebrated their homecoming from Afghanistan. It is believed to have been the first time soldiers have entered Kenilworth Castle for 350 years since the Civil War, despite troops being stationed in the town in 1915. To mark the occasion 350 red and white balloons were released into the air at the Green Man Pub and the Landlord generously offered a free pint of Bombardier Ale to all Fusiliers.
The inspection was carried out by the Mayor of Kenilworth accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, the High Sheriff and Brigadier David Paterson, a superb lunch followed in the grounds of Kenilworth Castle which was attended by all those on parade, many friends of the Regiment in Warwickshire and members of the Regimental Association. To mark the return from Afghanistan the Mayor of Kenilworth bestowed on the Battalion the Award of Merit, which is the highest award that the Town can give for conspicuous bravery and service to the Town.
The Mayor of Kenilworth said during his speech "After seeing the reception the Fusiliers received in other Towns in Warwickshire I realised these events mean something significant and special for everyone involved. The Fusiliers have a magic chemistry with the crowd and the people of Kenilworth deserved the chance to join together and cheer them on. Speaking to people I realise that so many of them know somebody serving in the Fusiliers and of course share their admiration for what is their County Regiment."
So ended yet another Homecoming Parade in Warwickshire for the Fusiliers. Next is the Freedom of the Borough of Nuneaton & Bedworth which will be awarded to the Regiment on Sunday 12th September 2010.
Area HQ is grateful for all the support particularly from local businessmen, National Heritage, the Town and District Councils and Warwickshire Police who all contributed to the success of the parade in Kenilworth. Once again Central Branch organised the bucket collection which raised £2500 for the Fusilier Aid Society.
Area Colonel Warwickshire.
Brigadier David Paterson was lunched out at St John's House on St George's Day and presented with a silver inscribed salver as a mark of appreciation from those organisations to whom Brigadier David gave so much support. Colonel Peter Merriman was welcomed as the new Area Colonel and he took the opportunity to look at the Regimental Museum and meet key figures from the Regimental Association, the Officer's Club, the Territorial Army, the Army Cadet Force and Trustees of the Museum. Area HQ is particularly grateful for the support and wise council regularly given by Brigadier David (Ed; as is the whole Regiment) in what has been a particularly busy period during the last three years. Brigadier David us wished good fortune and good luck in his forthcoming appointment in Afghanistan.
The Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 24th April at St John's House and was attended by 30 members of the Association. Colonel Peter Merriman was welcomed as the President who provided the meeting with an interesting update on the Regular and Territorial Battalions. An exceedingly good lunch followed in the Roebuck Arms which afforded the opportunity for Colonel Peter to get to know some of the key players in the Association.
St George's Day was celebrated by lunches or dinners by Warwick, Sheldon and Leamington Spa Branches. Central Branch raised £2000 for the Fusilier Aid Society at Coventry Sainsbury's Store. Nuneaton and Sheldon Branch attended the Arm v Navy match at Twickenham on 1 May. Association events in May & June:
* Association Shooting Competition Swynnerton 23 May
This year the Fusilier Gathering will be organised by Warwickshire Area Headquarters and is being held over the weekend 18/19 September 2010. The event will commence with a Beating Retreat by the Minden Band at 1830hrs on Saturday 18 September at the Royal Court Hotel Coventry which will be followed by the dinner in the Britannia Suite at approximately 7.30pm. A private bar has been made available to the Regimental Association. The Minden Band will play during the dinner.
The Regimental Service will be held in St Mary's Church Warwick on the morning of 19 September commencing at 10.45hrs. Following the service the inspection of the Regimental Association and the First Fusiliers Guard and Colour Party will take place in Warwick Market Square by the Colonel of the Regiment and Area Colonels. A March Past through Warwick will follow headed by the First Fusiliers Corps of Drums and the Warwickshire Band.
Following the March Past there will be a luncheon in the Guy Nelson Hall at Warwick School from1245hrs onwards.
A special rate of £70.00 for a double/twin room including bed & breakfast has been negotiated with the Royal Court Hotel. The Regimental Association has been guaranteed 140 rooms on a first come first served basis. To date 80 rooms have been pre-booked. An accommodation booking form is attached at the end of the Fusilier News along with booking forms for the dinner and lunch. Post Code of the Royal Court Hotel is CV7 8JG, for telephone bookings 02476 334171 quote Reference - RRRC1809. Those seeking further information should phone Warwickshire Headquarters on 01926-491653.
Area HQ Lancashire.
High Spot of the Year.
For Lancashire, April is the high spot of the Regimental year. Not only is there the opportunity to celebrate St George's Day but also to commemorate the landing of the Lancashire Fusiliers at Gallipoli in 1915. It is fair to say however that Gallipoli Sunday has evolved to commemorate not just Gallipoli but the sacrifice of the "LFs" in two World Wars. That said, it is now clear to many that Gallipoli is also the annual focus in Lancashire for those who wish to remember 40 years service of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. There is no doubt that Gallipoli means many things to different people and there is nothing wrong with that!
Stonyhurst College CCF.
Stonyhurst College has a fine CCF and over the past
few years the Area Sec has had the privilege to attend their Easter Camp
at Warcop Training Centre in Cumbria. Unfortunately last year preparations
for the move of the Headquarters and Museum prevented attendance. This
year, however, he was able to accept the invitation of Major Andrew Barber,
the Contingent Commander, and spent a very pleasant two days at their
base on the training area in Moorhouse Farm. The staff had provided a
stimulating package of military and adventure training for the students.
Although the CCF is affiliated to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment there
is a strong link with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as two of the six
Stonyhurst VCs were won by James Jackman of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
and Maurice Dease of the Royal Fusiliers.
Secretary of State for Defence.
The Headquarters and Museum was privileged to receive a surprise visit from Bob Ainsworth, The then Secretary of State for Defence. He spent nearly 90 minutes on site, visiting the ACIO, the Area Headquarters and the Museum.
Mayor of Bury.
The current Mayor of Bury, Councillor Sheila Magnall finishes her tour of duty early next month. In anticipation of the end of her tour she invited the Mayors of the surrounding towns and cities to a heritage tour of Bury. A "magnificence of mayors" initially gathered in the Gallipoli Room in the Headquarters for a brief on the Museum Project and were then escorted around the museum displays. This is a good example of the strong link between town and regiment.
Museum Company Annual General Meeting.
The Museum Company held its first Annual General Meeting in the Normandy Room. Preceded by lunch, over 30 interested members of the public attended and were pleased to learn of the progress that had been made in developing the museum to its current state. They also learned of the plans to develop the first floor and potential partnership arrangements with Bury Museum and Art Gallery in the basement.
The Afghanistan exhibition opened on 26 March and was well received by the public. The family of Joseph Etchells toured the exhibition on Gallipoli Sunday and were very impressed with what they saw. Museum staff are now developing an exhibition programme out to 2015 (100th Anniversary of Gallipoli). If anyone has any ideas with regard to a theme for a six month temporary display please let the museum staff know.
Lancashire Council Meeting.
The first Lancashire Council Meeting of the year took place over the Gallipoli weekend. This meeting provides an opportunity in the first instance for representatives of the Regimental family in Lancashire to update Colonel Lancashire on what they are doing. It also provides an opportunity for cooperation and assistance. Maj David Cook, from recruiting branch in 42 (NW) Bde brought everyone up to speed on recruiting in the North -West and in particular the performance of the Regiment. WO2 Gilks representing the Fusilier Machine Gun Platoon, at the Castle Armoury covered their recent activities. The Fusilier Platoon continues to recruit and retain above its establishment and to provide a considerable number of Fusiliers for operations. It is worth reflecting during the Gallipoli parade that for those who served in the TA not too long ago, to see a TA soldier with a medal was unusual. WO2 Gilks has eight!
The Association in collaboration with the "Life for a Life" organisation dedicated the "Fusilier Meadow" in Bury. The wood is intended to commemorate members of the Regiment killed on active service since 1968. It is situated in the Whitefield area of Bury on restored derelict land and does much to enhance the local environment. Following a short service conducted by the Revd John Findon, the Regimental Chaplain from Bury, the Lord Lieutenant and members of the Regiment were invited to plant trees. The event was well attended and received much publicity on local TV news and in the papers.
The first joint St Georges/Gallipoli Dinner was held in collaboration with Bury Metropolitan Borough Council. It was well attended with just under 300 sitting down for dinner. A "well done" should go to John O'Grady, Steve Fitt and "Jack" Horner for pulling the event together. A special mention should also be made of Alan Noble who as Master of Ceremonies did well to cope with three conflicting programmes. Brian Gorski said a Lancashire grace although his Lancashire accent appeared to reflect more Robbie Burns than Coronation Street. As the evening progressed it became clear that despite this being a joint event, the Fusiliers dominated and following Colonel Brian's "state of the nation" speech many Council guests went away better educated and fully behind the Regiment.
The high point of the month was Gallipoli Sunday. By coincidence Gallipoli Sunday also fell on Gallipoli Day this year and it was appropriate to commemorate the 95th Anniversary by holding the Gallipoli Luncheon in the new Headquarters and Museum. The day commenced with a parade and inspection in the Castle Armoury.
There were some 250 on parade including the Band and Drums, the Association, the Fusilier Platoon, Sea Cadets including Cadets from the Training Ship Euryalus, the ACF and CCF and last, but not least, the RSM and Drum Major from the Lorne Scots. Following the inspection Roy Woods was presented with the Regimental Medal and, Freddy Bearn (Colonel Lancashire's Piper) was presented with a pipe banner. The parade following the Church Service took a new route with the salute being taken by the Mayor of Bury, Councillor Sheila Magnall, Commander 42(North West) Brigade, Brigadier Bill Aldridge and Colonel Brian Gorski. The Gallipoli Luncheon was attended by 90 guests including civic dignitaries and former officers of the Regiment.
As a reminder the Annual Officers' Cocktail Party will be held at HM The Tower of London on 24 June 2010. The Combined Corps of Drums of the 1st and 2nd Battalions will Beat Retreat. Tickets are available through Capt John Davis at RHQ. Officers are positively encouraged to invite private guests.
As a second reminder The Regimental Summer Ball, organised by 1 RRF will be held at Tedworth House, Tidworth on 3rd Jul 2010. Dress for the evening is black tie, no miniatures. Guests will be seated on tables of 10. Tickets are available from RHQ. Private guests of officers may attend.