Colonel (Retired) Ian A Brazier
Ian Brazier was commissioned into The Second Battalion,
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in June 1975, as they prepared to move
to Paderborn. He remained with 2RRF in Germany and in various tours
of Ireland including the residential tour at Palace Barracks. He served
as a Platoon Commander and Company Second in Command in A Company for
4 years and was appointed Adjutant in Hemer, remaining in post until
Berlin, where he commanded B Company. After the 2RRF Falklands deployment,
having completed nearly 10 years with the battalion, he was posted to
the appointment of Chief Instructor (Urban) at the Northern Ireland
Training Advisory Team (NITAT) UK, before attending The Army Staff College.
He then served as Chief of Staff, Berlin Infantry Brigade. Thereafter
he assumed command of C Company 3 RRF in Cyprus and Catterick after
which he returned, for a period, to 2RRF as Bn 2IC.
The Chairman of the Association Col James Aldous Hands over the Chairmanship to Col Paul Bibbey this month and has sent the following message
All Members of The Fusiliers Association
Now that I have handed over the Chairmanship of The Fusiliers Association to Colonel Paul Bibbey, I would like to express my thanks to all the many members of The Association who have contributed so much to events and development during the last five years.
Apart from some excellent social events, the greatest strength of The Association was demonstrated in the support given to the Regiment in the bad times of 2009 when seven Fusiliers were killed in Afghanistan. The presence of our Association Standards and so many members at the seven funerals was inspirational at a time of such great loss. The Association set the bar high then and so it will remain.
The main development has been the launch of this website which is transforming communications. This has been almost entirely the work of Dennis Laverick, our webmaster, and it is no accident that his is the only name mentioned in my closing message. Without his patience and skill we would not have this great facility, in which, I am sure, many more improvements will be made.
I thank everyone for their support and make a final exhortation for the recruitment of more paid-up branch members, the lifeblood of our branches. I know that you will give Colonel Paul Bibbey you fullest support and I wish him every success as Chairman.
With very best wishes to all members of The Fusiliers Association,
Colonel James Aldous
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 14th June 2011
The Colonel of the Regiment congratulates the following on receiving awards in The Queen's Birthday List:
Major Chris Carter formerly OC A (Fusilier) Coy 4 MERCIAN now Training Major 4 MERCIAN.
CinCs Certificate for Meritorious Service
Major Iain Hallam formerly Training Major 5 RRF.
Sergeant B D Cormell 2 RRF Midlands Recruiting Team.
FUSILIER GATHERING 2011
Due to a very poor take up for attendance at the Fusilier Gathering 2011 a decision has been reluctantly taken to cancel the event at Tidworth as guests of 1 RRF. From across the Association no more than 70 Fusiliers, including wives had indicated an interest in attending. This number was not cost effective and would have resulted in the price per person being prohibitively high. If there is a desire for a centralised Gathering to continue then Areas and Branches must support by attending. Presidents of Associations are to seek an opinion from their Branches and inform RHQ of the outcome. In the meantime the intention will be for RHQ to support Area and Branch events and encourage interaction Regimentally across the 4 Areas. A message concerning this from the Colonel Association is on the new Association Web site. Click here to see the Chairmans letter
At 0830 hours on Monday 6 June members of the 1st Battalion came together to celebrate and remember the actions of the servicemen and women involved in the D-Day landings, 67 years ago. The Battalion gathered to listen to a presentation from Lt Alex Gay which focused on the involvement of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on D-Day, and the ensuing battle for Normandy. In 1946 the Colonel of the Regiment, Field Marshall Montgomery the Viscount of Alamein ordered the observance of the 6 June by the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Normandy Day to celebrate the Regiments involvement in liberating Nazi occupied Europe. In 1963 the Royal Warwickshire Regiment re-titled to become the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, and in 1968 amalgamated with the 3 other Fusilier Regiments of England to become the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Following the presentation Padre Bateson gave a short service of remembrance followed by the National Anthem. The morning gave a stark reminder to the Officers and Fusiliers alike, of the bravery and courage shown by our predecessors, and what it means to be a Fusilier.
May began with X Company running selection for the Fire Team Commanders Course (FTCC - JNCO Cadre in old money). After a gruelling 3 days consisting of navigation tests, a log race, basic tactical assessment and various other physical tests a shortlist was drawn up of those who would attend the course in Brecon. Those Fusiliers who passed are now in Brecon working hard with the aim of promotion on returning to the Battalion.
The final LION STRIKE exercise of the Battalion's time as the Land Warfare Centre Battlegroup took place in May, and X Company enjoyed their role as enemy once again. As ever, they managed to successfully fend off the Light role Companies as they fought their way into Imber Village, and 2Lt George Eid along with his RPG team managed to repel the armoured attack led by 2Lt Xavier Teasdale-Firth who was attached to Z Company for the exercise.
Okehampton provided the setting for small arms ranges towards the end of the month, which saw the whole of X Company conducting live firing up to, and including, the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test. The weather conditions provided some particularly demanding conditions on the final day which was a good test to fully establish the best shot!
The return of those men deployed on HERRICK 13 as Battle Casualty Replacements with 16 Brigade meant that May has also been a month for reorganisation. Having enjoyed anything up to 4 weeks off on Post Operational Tour Leave, the men had a good break, but many were keen to get back to work. In the words of Fus Oliver Hashtroudi, "I started turning into a civvi after a couple of weeks and needed to get back to the Army! " The men will now rejoin their respective platoons, and begin to share their experience of being in Afghanistan with the remainder of the Company as they start to prepare for deployment as a Battalion in 2013.
Recce Platoon and elements of Mortar platoon deployed to the range complex in Lulworth to conduct Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) live firing. Most of the crews were confident and hit the targets but it was evident that some of the crews were a little rusty and so this provided a very good training opportunity for the gunners to 'get their eye in'. Recce platoon was supported by Mortar platoon who ran a pintle mount shoot from their AFV. Concurrently, from a static firing point, snipers engaged targets at varying distances. The ranges were visited by the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Swift, on the Tuesday, after a thorough safety brief, he was able to engage and hit some of the sniper targets and also conduct the GPMG pintle mount shoot.
After engaging and destroying targets by day, both Recce and Mortars engaged and destroyed targets by night. By the Wednesday, crews began to fire their Annual Crew Test. The Platoon as a whole achieved a high Level 5 pass. With the whole platoon passing it was not until the end of the day that the top gun award was decided. This time it was not clearly won by one crew and the trophy was shared between 3 crews; LCpl Jay Smith and LCpl Paul St Louis, Cpl Francois Wright and Fus Eugene Kevane, and LCpl Robert Grantham with LCpl Dean Mace.
Following in Recce Platoon's tracks, Z Company ran a Warrior Gunnery Camp on Lulworth Ranges. Initially, the lack of recent field firing was evident. Ultimately, however, it was a highly successful week, which allowed most of the Company's gunners to pass their Annual Crew Test. It puts the company in a very good position for its next gunnery camp in December, which marks the beginning of the build up towards BATUS next spring. The very next week Z Company was back out on the ranges, this time in Bulford and Warminster to get everyone through the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test for their personal weapons prior to the Company's deployment to the Falklands in the Autumn. With the long summer days and night shoots needing to be fired, the week felt very long indeed. A huge amount was achieved, however, and the standard of firing was noticeably improved by the end of the week.
The 1RRF SPS Detachment has recently celebrated success at the annual Triple Crown Competition held in Worthy Down on 18 May 2011. Four members of the Detachment, captained by Cpl Danni King took part in the Military Skills event which consisted of a series of military stands including first aid, CBRN, a loaded march and an obstacle course. The march and shoot event was also entered and a further four members of the Detachment completed the 12 mile march with a time of 2 hrs 7 mins and finished as winners of the SPS Detachment March & Shoot competition. The standard of competition was higher than ever before and over 120 teams entered the competition this year. The winning team consisted of Capt Tony Frank, Cpl Benny Benoit, Pte Dally Mandson and Pte Jim Sussex.
The Officers' Mess
opening batsmen- enough to put fear into any bowling attack
In May, a team from
1 RRF LAD departed Tidworth and took part in the minor unit's category
of the REME Orienteering Championships. The event, held on Hankley
common training area, was split into 3 separate courses, with the
ASM (WO1 Steve John) competing in the Brown course (the longest and
most technical, apparently), LCpl Skye and Sgt Mark Horsfall competing
in the Blue course (a much easier course, as both felt that they couldn't
match the ASM's superior athleticism and navigational prowess on the
brown course) while Craftsmen Darren Custy, Don Fong, Sean Hibbert,
Ricky Mehew, Prab Singh and James Westwood competed on the light green
A team of boxers from 1 RRF went to the Army individual Championships in Aldershot. The team fought valiantly, with both courage and pride. Fus Lee Chilton became the Army's 2011 Light Middle Weight Champion. He came back from a standing count in the first round to technically out box his opponent in an intelligent display of courage and skill. In addition, Fus Chilton and Fus Ashley Peace were selected to attend training with the Army Boxing Team.
WO2 Ronnie Collins was awarded 'The Paul Oatway Prize' at the recent Tidworth community area awards for his support to local youth activities. WO2 Collins has coached the U13 Shipton Bellinger football team since the arrival of 1 RRF in Tidworth in Aug 09. The young team involves both military and civilian kids from across the Garrison and wider community and has proven to be a great bridge builder; the children are considerably more aware, more mature and more understanding as youths contributing to society. Recent successes include winning the Div 2 league and runners up in the Cup Final.
In May, six members of the Battalion competed in the second annual "Pain on the Plain" cycling event in Tidworth. This civilian competition included 50km and 100km routes for road bikes, with a share of the profits going to SAAFA. Congratulations must go to the Commanding Officer, who set the bar high in the 100km event, and to Fus Marc Collins Cooper and Capts Matt Clarke, Stu Richardson and Mark Milne who ensured that 1 RRF took 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places (respectively) in the 50km event. Planning for a 100 mile charity ride in September is already underway!
May has been one of the few months over the past year when 2 RRF has been in a period of relative routine (although the Companies may disagree!) Internal courses and inter-company sporting events have formed the basis of the month with the highlights being the British Army (Germany) and Army Football 6's and the Battalion's Skill at Arms meeting.
The Battalion, whilst maintaining its high readiness capability as the Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup, is now firmly looking forward to Ex ASKARI THUNDER in Kenya later this year. As part of the build up there has been a large amount of work going in to improving the vehicle driving standard of the Battalion. The CIS Platoon has also been working hard to improve the Battalion's communications during the Regimental Signaller Part 1 course in Trenchard Barracks. The Intelligence Officer, Capt Georges Strachan-Heyes, in his role as Battalion Shooting Officer organised and ran the 2 RRF Inter-Company Skill at Arms Meeting (SAAM) as an event to both improve the level of shooting within the Battalion, one of the core infantry skills, and to select a team for the Bisley SAAM.
Regular readers will know the Second Battalion is proud of its football team and affords them (and the QM) significant coverage in this publication. They have been in action again over the last month with some good results. As those of you who know Lt Col Mike Butterwick (Commanding Officer 2 RRF) you will be aware that he has a passion for all sports; this has quickly rubbed off on the Battalion. Consequently, there have been a number of sporting events over the last month, mostly inter-Company, seeking to improve sporting capability and image beyond the confines of the football pitch and to identify the wide talent base within the Battalion. As part of this, Capt Dale Smith organised and ran an inter-Company rugby competition; whilst Sgt Lalley along with Mr Neil Saunders, the Battalion SHEF Warden, organised a day of cricket coaching for a local School in Celle.
Regimental Signaller Part 1 Cadre. The CIS Platoon managed to run the first part of a two part course that will hopefully see 20 soldiers qualified as Regimental Signallers. Looking forward to Kenya, where the Battalion will find individual companies operating at over 100Km from Battlegroup HQ, this qualification will be essential. Recent years have seen battalion level communications focus on VHF equipment but due to the range the Battalion will be operating over in Kenya soldiers will need to also be competent in the HF equipment at a lower level than currently practised. The course was run at Trenchard Barracks and on Bergen-Hohne training area. The students were taught plenty of theory during the early phases of the cadre before deploying on a comprehensive exercise; where according to the directing staff the highlight was the 'Line Laying' and 'Line Maintenance' elements (this may have something to do with the DS cutting the line and the students having to find the break and repair it in the middle of the night - RSO). In all, 21 students passed the internally run Part 1 of the RS course, of which 20 are loaded on to the 'Part 2' at the Support Weapons School, Warminster, later next month.
Football. In May the 2 RRF Football team competed in both the British Army (Germany) (BA(G)) and Army 6-a-side competitions. As the reigning Army 6-a-side champions there was much for the squad to live up to. At the start of the six-a-side competition the Battalion Squad was down two of its star players, however the Football Officer, QM(M), Maj Will Blinco, held a football squad trials in the form of a small competition and had a lot of new players that were jumping at the opportunity to play for the Battalion. 2 RRF entered an A and B team in the British Army (Germany) (BA(G)) tournament. The competition consisted of two pools and the draw placed the two teams in different groups. In the knockout phase the A and B team met, surprisingly the A team won. As this was also the qualifying event for the Army 6-a-side competition the B team needed to win the 3rd place playoff to qualify for a place at the Army 6-a-side tournament. Despite a Yellow card for the B team goalkeeper they won and qualified. The A Team under Sgt 'Windy' Miller romped home as BA(G) winners. Once again the Second Battalion had two teams in the Army 6-a-side competition!
For the Army six-a-side competition the team had a long drive to Pirbright. After a day to settle in the A and B teams arrived at Aldershot Stadium on 25 May 11 for the competition. After a brief on the rule changes from the BA(G) competition the teams found that they were in the same pool of 8 and that the first game was 2RRF A vs 2RRF B; an unenviable start! After a hard fought game the B Team beat the A Team 4 - 2. The loss to the A Team seemed to motivate them; they played hard and racked up a good goal difference with lots of wins. The B Team managed to scrape some wins too, but due to goal difference they finished the competition in 3rd place and did not qualify for the knock out phase. The A team qualified for the Semi-finals in 2nd place within their group. The knockout phase opened with the A team up against 1 SCOTS, a hard fought game (and some dodgy calls from the man in black - A Team players) with both teams fighting hard to progress; eventually 1 SCOTS went through to the finals.
Congratulations to the Battalion Footballers. Despite no winners trophy (this month) the Army Coach was at the event scouting for talent and two Fusilier players may find themselves heading for Army colours very soon. Stop press; the Battalion won the BFG Army Championships in Jun. More in the next News.
2 RRF Operational Shooting Competition. The aim of the 2 RRF Battalion Operational Shooting Competition was two fold; first to improve and develop the overall shooting ability of the battalion through competition marksmanship; and second to enable the selection of a Battalion Team to be sent to this years Army Operational Shooting Competition at Bisley. Lessons identified from recent operations have radically changed the old 'competition' matches into brand new 'operational shoots', these have a much greater emphasis on snap shooting, and firing from multiple positions with the full range of section weapons (LSW/LMG/Pistol). Additionally, all shoots are now conducted as fire teams or sections and must contain Section Commanders and machine gunners. 140 members of the Battalion competed in this
year's event on Bergen-Hohne ranges. In all there were five competition shoots; The Section Attack Match, The Section Advance to Contact Match, The Fire Team Close Combat Match, The Fire Team Combat Snap Shooting Match and the Fire Team Falling Plates Match.
Despite extended periods of no firing due to the range area being set alight by neighbouring live fire exercises, all teams were able to complete each of the 4 main matches on the Wednesday and Thursday, which led to an exciting morning on the Friday with the falling plates competition which was won by the team from 9 Pl C Coy. Prize giving was held in front of the Battalion in Trenchard barracks and saw A Coy take three of the four team competitions as well as the best overall Fire Team and Section. Mortar Pl took a surprising victory over the rifle platoons in the Section Attack Match whilst Sgt Henderson of A Coy won the championship shot and Fus Fick of A Coy was awarded the CO's prize of best 'young shooter' having finished an impressive third overall.
All firers benefited over a week of shooting that improved skills and developed potential. This event has nurtured a desire in the Fusiliers to continue to excel in this core skill and has proved a spring board for the Battalion Shooting Team where a strong performance at Bisley later this year is expected.
Summary. Shooting, communications and sports are key for the Infantry. Shooting and communications are obvious as to their importance. Sport has a less obvious but equally important part to play. Soldiers work as part of a team, whether that is part of the Rugby or Football team or their Fire team or Platoon. Teamwork is key to being a soldier, the ability to rely on your team and for your team to rely on you is even more important on the battlefield than on the sports field. Next month the Battalion will be conducting some adventurous training, again an event where key soldiering skills are developed. Adventurous training is designed to take soldiers outside their comfort zones, testing their spirit with real fear and developing their courage to overcome challenges in a controlled environment.
Next month a large contingent of the Battalion will also be taking part in Ex FLANDERS, 2 RRF's major event for June. The exercise is a high level joint command exercise with the French military and will include the command element of the Battalion attending as LOCONs. There will be a defence platoon and a demonstration from 2 RRF soldiers conducting Fighting in Built-Up Areas (FIBUA) at a major new purpose built complex. The exercise is of such a high profile that several high ranking British and French officers will be visiting as well as President Sarkozi. The Battalion Football team will be competing again early next month this time on a full sized pitch in the BF(G) Major Units Final. Good luck to them.
The last month has been focused on the lead up to the mobilisation of the cohort destined for Afghanistan in the Autumn. The two training weekends in May have been used to concentrate on the slightly mundane, but still highly important G1 administration matters. The RAO and his team have been busy in all of the main TACs taking the cohort through their MCCP, checking all personal documentation and other administration. This is vital for TA soldiers intending to deploy because their time at RTMC Chillwell is very short and the slightest anomaly with their paperwork can lead to their demobilisation.
On the 29 May the cohort paraded at Chillwell having been 'called out' as mobilised soldiers. At the time of writing they are going through their mobilisation training. Those successful will progress to 2 weeks of post mobilisation training at Sennybridge before joining their Regular Battalions for mission specific training and deployment in late June.
On other news - congratulations go to Cpl Unwin for coming top student on the last TA Platoon Sgts Battle Course.
The Band received its periodic Band Inspection from CAMUS. This is an important inspection for the band where all aspects of the running of the band are looked at. The inspection team left very happy and much credit must go to the Director of Music Capt Kevin Crook and his team.
" 06 - 18 Jun
11 - Op HERRICK 15 Battle Camp at SENTA
After the success of the St George's weekend the Area has moved into full summer season mode. The Recruiting Team are now at full stretch covering the vast number of Summer Fairs and Shows that are such an important part of life in this mainly rural area. Congratulations must go to C/Sgt Clark and his partner on the birth of a baby boy last week and hopefully this will not impact on the rest of the team as result of the C/Sgt not getting his beauty sleep!
Saturday 28 May saw
the 'Fighting Fifth' Golf Day take place at Morpeth Golf Club. The
weather was once again very challenging which was reflected in the
stableford scores. Mr Ron Creasey,
A large number of The
Fusiliers Association of Northumberland is currently travelling to
the battlefields of Anzio and Cassino. It was with some surprise and
pleasure that they met up with association members of both Lancashire
and Warwick in France who were also visiting the battlefields and
Commonwealth Graves in the Flanders area and shows how much the service
and sacrifice of our former Fusiliers is respected and commemorated.
The Association Area Chairman, Major Chester Potts, has continued to assemble a committee and research the concept of holding a large Fusilier function in Newcastle in the summer of 2012 and plans are firming up for this to go ahead and it will be for all Fusiliers, Regular and TA (RNF and RRF). More details will appear on the Association Facebook page for what will be a very high profile and inclusive event.
Fusiliers Museum London. The more open aspect of the refurbished museum galleries have, as expected, allowed for much larger receptions to take place. The first of these was on 1 June when the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers held a reception in aid of the Museum Appeal. Over 120 guests attended.
A very successful fashion show was held from 21-25 May. The organiser, Tony Hampton, is an ex member of the Lancashire Fusiliers and RRF and is the MD of the Suzanne Neville fashion house. Some 200 invited fashion stockists and journalists attended the four day event. On 31 May the British Red Cross held their annual "Jailed & Bailed" event in the Association Room. This entails very senior people from the City being invited to Mansion House for coffee whereupon they are instantly arrested by the City of London Police and transported to the Tower for further investigation. On arrival at the Tower the prisoners are put into balls and chains and led in file up to RHQ. They then have a couple of hours to rustle up bail to be released. Last year the British Red Cross raised some £25k at this event.
History Talking Back.
Come and visit the museum on a weekend and you might get closer to
history than you expect. The Fusilier Museum has now got its very
own Victorian Soldier.
Schools World Premier.
For the first time, The Fusilier Museum is delivering a dedicated
programme of workshops for school groups. Working with friends at
Historic Royal Palaces, the Tower Education team, the museum has just
finished its first schools project. Four local schools came to visit
the museum in March. Each school was introduced to a different Fusilier
story through a live interpretation workshop. Back at school, the
children worked with the Tower Education team to develop a story board
of the story, writing dialogue and doing artwork.
The Association. There
have been two major trips carried out by the Association in May. The
first led by Captain Bob Keating took a party of 40 to Italy where
they visited a number of battlefield sites including Anzio, Cassino
and Snakeshead Pass. Although a huge success it is disappointing that
the trip fails to attract Regular and TA soldiers who are able to
get educational grants for battlefield studies. These trips give a
valuable insight to the Regiments heritage and are an excellent opportunity
for serving soldiers to experience this on site and to get involved
with their Association.
Another successful Association Skill at Arms Meeting was held at Swynnerton on 2 May. A total of 10 teams from Warwickshire and the West Midlands Branches along with guest teams from Lancashire, the Staffordshire Regimental Association and the Yeomanry competed for the team trophy which was won this year by the Royal Leamington Spa Branch. The individual best shot was shared between Major Peter Stanley (Coventry Branch) and Mr Mark Blakely (Central Branch), both served together in 5th (Warwickshire) Battalion. Some 120 members of the Association with friends and family attended what is now becoming a really popular meet for Fusiliers. Sheldon Branch and in particular Neil Gregory are to be congratulated for organising a first class event, not forgetting Major Tommy Nugent and his safety team from Warwickshire ACF for running the firing point and reminding members of SA 80 drills! The star of course was Eamonn Gannon BEM for fixing ATE Swynnerton. Warwickshire looks forward to seeing teams from Northumberland and the City of London Associations in 2012, making this a truly Regimental Association event!
A first class Normandy
Day lunch was held by the Nuneaton Branch at the Chestnuts Club on
Saturday 4 June, guests included Lt Col & Mrs Aubrey Chalmers
and Major Richard Mills. Around 50 members of the Branch plus a strong
contingent from Sheldon enjoyed an excellent meal and entertainment
with a '40's theme provided by vocalist Madeline Brown! Ty Chadwick
and Tricia Wood were wonderful hosts The Normandy Day Parade was held
in Riversley Park, Nuneaton on Monday 6 June, as always there was
a good turn out from the Nuneaton Service Clubs and the Nuneaton Branch.
Continuing on a Normandy Day theme, Murray Richards and his team of cyclists, who are raising funds for FAS and the Fusilier Memorial, made a quick tea stop at St John's House on Tuesday 1st June en route to Sword Beech. The welcoming committee included Mr Chris White MP, the Mayor of Warwick along with Sgt Cormell and his Recruiting Team.
AHQ was delighted to host Mr Jim Smith aged 92, at St John's House, Jim enlisted in 7th Battalion the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 27th November 1934 in Coventry and served with A Company until 1938 when he was forced to leave due to his reserved occupation. Jim was called up in 1940 and was posted to North Africa in 1941 with the RAOC. Clearly Jim wanted something more challenging and found himself serving with Colonel David Stirling in L Detachment 1 SAS. Jim is recognised as one of the few remaining "originals" of the Special Air Service Regiment, he went on to see action in Sicily, Italy and the Dodecanese.
The Area Secretary was lucky enough to take part in the Battlefield Tour of Albuhera over the period 13 -17 May organised by RHQ PWRR. There was a strong contingent of former Royal Fusiliers and 3rd Fusiliers headed up by Major General Brian Webster and Major General David Woodford, with staff support from Colonels James Aldous and Nigel Easton, the foot soldiers included Lieutenant Colonels Keith Kiddie, Nick Beswick and Majors Maurice French, Brian Whalley and not forgetting Captain John Davis who kept everyone in good order. Congratulations to Colonel Mike Ball and his team from RHQ PWRR for laying on such a memorable event.
Bury Wartime Weekend. The East Lancashire Railway Wartime Weekend has been running for nearly 15 years in Bury. It is a three day event, held annually over the last bank holiday in May. The event is well subscribed, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Prior to the move of the Area Headquarters and Fusilier Museum into the centre of Bury the Regimental presence at the event had been limited to the Fusilier Band & Corps of Drums supported by a small team from the Fusilier Association. Now that the Headquarters and Museum are based in the centre of Bury next to the East Lancashire railway the event presented a Regimental opportunity not to be missed.
The weekend proved to be a good example of a combined Regimental event, coordinated by the Area Headquarters. Taking part where a section from 1RRF, a good part of the TA Machine Gun Platoon, Fusilier Cadets from Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force, the Association, Friends of the Fusilier Museum and staff from the Tourist Information Centre and Fusilier Museum. The aim of the weekend was to raise the profile of the Regiment and at the same time attract additional visitors to the Fusilier Museum. With no practical experience of the Wartime Weekend the decision was taken to organise several events in order to establish best practice for 2012. The 2011 events included:
Stand. All three days. On the platform of Bury Station based on 12
x 12 provided by the TA.
The weekend proved successful, bringing in many additional visitors and £800 in income for the Museum. Also, all the hard work considerably enhanced the profile of the Regiment and Army. That said, there are areas for improvement which will be incorporated into the plan for 2012. Finally, special mention should be made of the NCOs and Fusiliers from 1RRF, the TA Fusilier Machine Gun Platoon, Steve Fitt, Secretary of the Association in Lancashire and Steve Douthwaite Secretary to the Friends of the Fusilier Museum for their help with the preparation and for their hard work over what turned out to be a very wet and windy but successful weekend.
GMACF Shooting at Altcar.
Shooting is a core activity for the ACF and the opportunity was taken
to visit the Fusilier Cadets from Greater Manchester firing the target
Rifle at Altcar Training Camp recently. Despite horizontal rain the
cadets put up a tremendous performance shooting out to 500m.
Band on Tour. The Fusilier Band (Lancashire) recently took the opportunity to mix business with pleasure by playing a number of concerts in Belgium. The band formed in 1997 and is now some 35 strong and has established a reputation for musical excellence both at home and abroad. This year the Fusilier band was invited to play in Belgium and events were arranged in the beautiful mediaeval city of Bruges, at the atmospheric TOC H in Poperinge and finally at the famous Menin Gate in Ypres.
Ypres has a particular significance for the British Army for during the First World War, the British Army held Ypres against repeated German attacks for nearly four years sustaining many casualties as a consequence. Throughout the First World War the antecedent regiments of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers suffered 63,841 dead and many thousands more wounded.
At the end of the tour the Band paid their respects to the last two Lancashire Fusiliers of the First World War to be buried. Private Harry Wilkinson was buried in 2003 and Private Richard Lancaster in 2007, both at Prowse Point Cemetery south of Ypres. The bodies of a further two Lancashire Fusiliers have recently been discovered and are being investigated by the Ministry of Defence pending a formal burial.
It was with great pleasure
for the band that during the tour the members were able to meet up
with fellow Fusiliers from both Northumberland and Warwickshire
Friday 29th July. Rochdale
Branch Minden Ball, Rochdale.
" FAS now has its own Justgiving site. Those who wish to raise funds for FAS should use this site for all donations: http://www.justgiving.com/fusiliersaidsociety
" This year, Stephen
Hussey's Challenge or Stupidity will takes him to the European Alps
with several other Partners in Crime to cycle 320 miles from Turin
to Geneva. During the 4 days they will encounter six Tour de France
Mountain Climbs including the Infamous Alpe d'Huez. The aim is to
raise £3000 for the Regimental Memorial fund at the new Arboretum
in Staffordshire. A dedicated National location for the Roll of Honor,
and a place for all families and comrades to pay homage to the Regiments
recent and not so recent Fallen Comrades. Stephen seeks sponsorship
I R Liles OBE
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 28th April 2011
Fusilier Glenn Tunstall, I RRF (attached Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan) received a wound to his eye and face when struck by a rock fired directly at him from a catapult. He is currently back in England undergoing treatment in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. The Colonel of the Regiment, on behalf of all Fusiliers, wishes him a speedy and full recovery.
CHANGE OF COMMAND
The Commanding Officers of both 1 and 2 RRF have recently changed. Lt Col Jim Landon MBE has handed over command of 1 RRF to Lt Col Jon Swift and Lt Col Charlie Calder OBE has handed over command of 2 RRF to Lt Col Mike Butterwick.
REGIMENTAL COCKTAIL PARTY
As a reminder, the Regimental Cocktail party will
be held on 30 Jun in the Tower of London. The last 2 have been exceptionally
well attended and the same is expected this year. If you have not attended
in recent times then this is the year to put that right! Tickets are
available through the Asst Regt Sec,
After a year living in a temporary mess, the Officer's
Mess of the 1st Battalion were proud to invite and show the Colonel
of the Regiment their newly refurbished home. Brigadier T J Minter OBE
DL arrived for a formal tour and dinner night on the 23 Mar 11. After
being greeted by all members of the mess a photograph to mark the occasion
was taken. Brigadier Minter then took the opportunity to talk to all
the officers and realised how busy they had all been in recent months,
supporting the various tasks of the Land Warfare Centre. Combined with
the Brigadier's visit, the Officer's Mess said goodbye to Major Dennis
Currie and Major Jez Robinson. The First Fusiliers Officers mess would
like to extend their gratitude to the Colonel of The Regiment for his
visit and look forward to another visit in the near future.
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has the unique honour of possessing three Colours. In addition to the Regimental and Queens' Colour, the Regiment also possesses the Wilhelmstahl Colour. The Wilhelmstahl Colour had been in a bad state of repair for some time, but a new Colour was commissioned and will be paraded by both 1 and 2 RRF in Apr 11. It is a striking 'gosling green', and depicts St George killing the Dragon, and the regimental motto of the 5th Foot. This Colour commemorates the valour of the 5th Foot (later to become the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers) at the Battle of Wilhelmstahl on 24th June 1762 during the Seven Years War. The Regiment played a central role in the defeat of a French Army that day, and also succeeded in forcing the surrender of twice their number in French Grenadiers and captured a French standard.
On Sun 27 Mar members of the Battalion deployed back onto Salisbury Plain for the penultimate Ex Lions Strike while in the Land Warfare Battle Group Role. With students ranging from plastic surgeons to sub unit commanders already with operational experience it was likely to be an interesting and challenging week for all involved. The Rt Hon Peter Luff, the Minister for Defence-Equipment, Support and Technology visited the exercise. After seeing how Battle Group main worked he was given a tour of the equipment and weapon systems that are held in an armoured battle group before having a ride in an armoured vehicle.
After perfecting the straight lines in the BG Leaguer, Z Company left their vehicles for a day of light role company attacks, blowing away the cob webs for Combat Team Commanders Course. It was also a good run-out for the Fusiliers who were deployed on their first conventional exercise since before Christmas leave! Thankfully the dish-dashs were left in the stores!
The remainder of the week was spent operating as an Armoured Battle Group with the Challenger 2 tanks of A SQN 1RTR. The first day was spent completing a number of advance to contacts and company squadron attacks. It gave the Warrior crews the chance to shake out and provided some valuable experience for the new commanders, gunners and drivers. After two complex night moves the exercise came to an exciting climax with a simultaneous obstacle crossing and airborne assault onto Imber Village. This difficult operation tested the students and the real-time Fusilier commanders, crews and dismounts alike. The successful clearance of Imber Village signalled end ex for the student commanders, now set to take over their respective sub units having had a helpful reminder of command in the field. Ex LIONS STRIKE gave the Battalion a useful run out in an armoured battle group; experience which will be vital for the deployment to BATUS in 2012.
This month the 1 RRF Mortar Platoon conducted its numbers cadre after being reinforced by the rifle companies. Six Fusiliers and 2 Lance Corporals were moved across to Mortar platoon (W Coy). The platoon ran an executive cadre for the JNCOs. The course teaches newly recruited mortarmen the basic drills on the 81mm. During this week the JNCOs that had attended the executive cadre got a chance to see what it's like being a Mortar Fire Controller. There was one Fusilier who outshone the others and was awarded top student, this was Fus Karl Reay. The Platoon are currently waiting to finish the role as a part of LWC BG before deploying to either Canada or the Falkland Islands later in the year to support the Rifle Coys.
The final of the Newcastle Cup was played on Monday 4 April as 1 RRF celebrated St George's Day. The final was between Y Company and Z Company, after qualifiers had been played in the weeks leading up to the event. Y Company made it to the final undefeated having beaten all before them in the qualifiers, including Z Company with a reserve team which included OC Major Edd Sutthery and CSM Darren Wilkinson! Y Coy lifted the Newcastle Cup for the second year running with LCpl Steven Usher as top goal scorer.
March was another busy month for A Fusilier Company 4 MERCIAN, with training happening on every weekend. Shooting has continued apace under the direction of WO2 Spencer with the team slowly being whittled down as the standard of shooting increases, Corporals Brayson and Gorin and Lance Corporal Scriven are all still in the running so fingers crossed they make it to the final cut.
During March, the Second Battalion focused on three main events. First, was the visit of the Colonel in Chief, HRH The Duke of Kent who visited the battalion on 9 March. Following soon after, the Battalion had a number of inspections in the form of a Combined Inspection Week (CIW). This is where the various elements, particularly the supporting elements such as the QM's and MT departments within the Battalion are placed under the detailed scrutiny of various external inspection teams. At the same time the Battalion was preparing for, and conducting, a major live firing exercise. Exercise ACTIVE RHINO was a Small Scale Contingency Battlegroup (SSCBG) readiness exercise, which at relatively short notice saw a sizeable proportion of the BG deploy to Bergen-Hohne ranges for a comprehensive live firing range package; culminating in two, Company Group attacks over a 6 km range.
Visit of The Colonel in Chief and The Colonel of The Regiment .
On 8 Mar 11 the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Trevor Minter OBE, DL arrived at 2 RRF, the evening prior to the arrival of the Colonel in Chief, HRH The Duke of Kent. That evening the Warrant Officers were invited into the Officers' Mess for a Regimental Dinner. Brigadier Minter umpired a number of inter-Mess games that were completely fair and impartial, with the Officers' Mess winning every event including 'fireball hockey'.
HRH the Duke of Kent arrived the following morning
and was collected from the airport by the Commanding Officer and the
Regimental Colonel. The Adjutant, Capt John Gammon at the last moment
discovered the staff car for the Colonel in Chief had an aluminium bonnet
and therefore the magnetic Royal Standard would need to be attached
in a more novel way. With the standard suitably secured HRH the Duke
of Kent arrived at Trenchard Barracks and was met by the Ceremonial
Barrack Guard lead by Sgt Crisp.
During the visit The Colonel in Chief lunched with the Officers before receiving an update on the Battalion from the CO. He visited the Companies and the welfare facilities before presenting a number of awards to members of the Battalion and civilian support staff in the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess.
The Combined Inspection Week.
The Combined Inspection Week was clearly not the press highlight of the year however it was an important, essential and compulsory event. The majority of the checks were focused on the QM's department with a few checks falling on other departments such as the Regimental Administration Office and the Command and Information Systems Platoon. A huge amount of preparatory work was conducted in the run up to the inspection week in order fully to prepare the Battalion. The QM's department and MT in particular worked exceptionally hard, with commendable results. Thanks are rightly due to all who made the week an overall success.
Exercise ACTIVE RHINO.
The SSC BG requires the Battalion to be at 30 days' notice to move (NTM). In order to confirm the continued readiness for this task the BG was informed, within its NTM that elements would deploy on a rehearsal deployment to Bergen-Hohne ranges and conduct a Combined Arms Live Firing Exercise (CALFEX). The BG deployed with two rifle company groups consisting of three platoons, a troop of Scimitars provided by the excellent A Squadron, Household Cavalry, a Fire Support Group (FSG) mounted in RWIMIK(+) support vehicles, a recce section and snipers. In addition to this, BG Headquarters deployed to provide a control function whilst the Regimental Aid Post was tested fully in its ability to provide both exercise and real-time medical support, as part of its operational evaluation. These elements together created a sizeable and potent force.
Week one of the Exercise comprised a number of platoon or troop sized ranges with the dismounted soldiers, FSGs and the HCR all firing on their own ranges before integrating later in the week. Over the course of the first 5 days the rifle company soldiers conducted section and platoon ranges which included conventional rural objectives as well as live firing attacks on to a number of purpose built villages on the ranges in order to practise building clearance drills.
The culmination of Exercise ACTIVE RHINO was conducted over four days. The scenario for the final phase was based on UK Entitled Personnel trapped in a hostile environment with the 2 RRF BG having to secure a route to enable the FCO to extract those personnel safely. Each company group conducted a large operation to secure a 6 Km route for the civilians to travel down. Enemy forces had defensive positions along the route and on a number of objectives, both from within villages and out in the open. The range days were long and the soldiers worked hard to clear the route and provide the safe passage required. All UKEP were successfully extracted from the area and the 2RRF Battlegroup achieved its mission (twice)!
Maj Mike Cornwell was entrusted with the role of Senior Range Conducting Officer for the duration of the Exercise and his meticulous planning, attention to detail and ability to generate exceptionally good relations with the Germans, who manage the range, were all essential in getting the package to work as well as it did, many thanks to him and his team.
CALFEX was the first time the majority of Fusiliers
and young officers had been involved in such a complex live firing package.
Realistic and demanding training remains critical; and as a high readiness
unit it is even more important for the Second Fusiliers to be able to
maintain capability and a high state of readiness for a long period
without deployment, thereby ensuring they remain ready for anything.
Finally by way of a 'look forward' on 30 April, 2RRF will hold a significant St George's Day celebration event (yes it is a few days late); a fun-packed day with various activities for all, including fairground rides and stalls, and the ubiquitous 'Company Tent'. The First Battalion intends to send their football team for the main sporting event of the day, though there will be many other less high-profile (and fiendish) sideline events such as the intercompany 3-legged football match and chariot race. In the evening the Second Fusiliers will hold an all ranks function to finish off the day in style - it promises to be a memorable day.
A (Fusilier) Coy 4 MERCIAN
In Mar, 4 MERCIAN went to Capel Curig in North Wales for adventurous training. Being Wales the weather varied greatly being grim and overcast on the Saturday and Glorious sunshine on the Sunday, luckily the events A Company had planned suited this perfectly.
On Saturday the Company carried out sea level traversing, do not worry that meant nothing to anyone in the Company either. It is a form of rock climbing along cliffs just above and, if someone gets the timing wrong, below the waves. The climber is attached by a clip to a rope that follows a route several hundred metres along the cliff face. The rope is slack enough to fall into the sea and be thoroughly soaked but tight enough not to be swept away. The first section was quite difficult technically and several people fell into the sea at the first attempt much to amusement of those waiting to start. The route then turned a corner and became quite easy, lulling the unwary into a false sense of security as it then cut back into a narrow ravine that varied from 3 to 6 feet wide.
The climber had to move along between the two cliff faces, the sky a narrow band of light above and the sea crashing along underneath. The route involved moving from one side to the other, sometimes taking a leap of faith that the hand hold on the other side would be large enough. In some places there were no hand or foot holds at all and the only technique was to brace the back against one side and feet against the other and shuffle along ignoring the sea beneath that would rise and fall up to five feet due to the narrowness of the gorge. Once out of the ravine the rope turned a corner again and rose to the top of the cliff top. At the top of the cliff it stretched out across an inlet to another cliff 60 feet away.
The Fusiliers had to haul themselves over to the other cliff before finishing on the far cliff. Many people did the route a second or even third time
On Sunday the Company went canoeing in 2 man canoes, the sun was shining, on one side of the lake were forested hillsides, the other side was steep cliff faces and at the far end stood the snow tipped Mount Snowdon, it was quite spectacular. Several techniques on how to manoeuvre a canoe were taught and everyone become proficient, although not proficient enough to prevent a couple of canoes regularly capsizing.
A Battalion tactical weekend was held in Leek Camp
and was based around patrolling and practising low level skills. Each
Company ran one or two stands and the soldiers patrolled between them.
The stands that A Company ran were ambush and counter IED headed by
WO2 Spencer the SPSI. This is still quite a new subject at battalion
level and is something that is based on the lessons of the Army's operations
in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few years and was of great interest
to the troops.
Dinner on the Saturday evening was chicken which featured as part of a survival skills stand and was given to the soldiers still alive. They had to kill and prepare it themselves, some took to it with more relish than others as you can see from Fusilier Fulton's picture below!
Finally congratulations to Fusilier Robinson who is promoted to Lance Corporal and Captain Carpenter-Balmer who is promoted to Major.
March has been a busy month here on Hadrian's Wall with numerous meetings and parades. The Area Secretary and senior officers of 5 RRF enjoyed the hospitality of the Chair of Northumberland County Council at dinner on Friday 11 March in County hall and there was still considerable pride in the Council members concerning the Freedom of the county that was granted to the Regiment in 2010. On Tue 15 Mar the Queen's Division Colonel, Lt Colonel Steve Brunt and Major Daren Hazelwood visited the Fusiliers Museum of Northumberland in Alnwick Castle to give a briefing to the museum staff concerning the possible outcomes of SDSR on the museum funding and staffing.
There was a renewal, after many years, of the commemoration of the sacrifice of the Tyneside Irish community on Thursday 17 Mar at the Eldon Square memorial. Four battalions marched off to fight in the Great War and suffered horrendous casualties which are still remembered in the Irish Centres North of the Tyne. The two brothers who organised the event ensured that the 30 plus members of the association who paraded were very well looked after and introduced to a strange black substance called Guinness!
The Northumberland Clubs for Young People held their Charity Boxing event on the evening of Thursday 24 March in the Assembly Rooms, with prizes sponsored by the Regiment. A number of 5 RRF SNCOs and Association members attended an excellent evening of hospitality and boxing.
The trustees of the Sir Francis Festing Fund met on Thursday 31 March for what was the 1st Annual General Meeting under the new charitable objectives. This was followed by a buffet lunch which led into a Colonel Northumberland's Council Meeting for the various Chairmen of the Regimental Organisations. Col Lord James Percy joined the meeting as Honorary Colonel 5 RRF where a wide variety of topics were discussed.
The Area Headquarters sponsors Whitley Bay FC reserve team and this link allowed a number of Fusiliers to attend the FA Vase semi-final second leg against Poole in Dorset, at home on Saturday 2 April. 'The Bay' led 2-1 from the first leg and in very windy conditions prevailed 3-1 for an aggregate score of 5-2. This will be the third successive appearance at Wembley for 'The Bay' with the final on Sunday 8 May.
Friday 15 April will be 'The Fusiliers Night' at
Newcastle Falcons RFC where collections will be made for the Regimental
Charities. The Regimental Band will play on the evening and the Recruiting
team will be helping with the event. It is hoped that the Falcon's game
against Leeds on Saturday
All branches of The Fusiliers Association of Northumberland and other fusilier organisations are now aware of the format for St George's Day in Newcastle and it is hoped there will be a very good turnout on Easter Saturday Ed: there was and it was a highly successful weekend which will be covered in the next News.
The 63rd Annual Dinner for Past Officers of 7th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 7th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers and 5th(Warwickshire ) Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was held at Gamecock Barracks on Friday 4 March attracting 36 former officers and eight regimental guests, which included Colonel Stanford Cartwright, Chairmen of West Midlands RFCA, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Kinson, Mayor of Warwick and formerly QM of 5RRF and Colonel Robert Boyle, Honorary Colonel of the Leicestershire & Derbyshire Yeomanry. This event is becoming increasingly more popular with former officers of the Regiment, and on this occasion accommodation in 30 Signal Regiment was fully booked. Colonel Peter Merriman presided at the dinner and provided those present with an update on the two Regular Battalions, TA, ACF and Regimental Association.
On 10 March the Area Secretary attended the presentation
of the Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scrolls to the relatives of Fusilier
F G Spears who was killed in action whilst serving with 1st Battalion
The Royal Fusiliers in Korea. The Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire presented
the Elizabeth Cross to Mrs Robinson, sister of Fusilier Spears with
the Memorial Scroll being presented by Brigadier M Banham, Commander
143 (WM) Brigade. Many civic dignitaries attended the presentation which
took place in the excellent surroundings of the Shire Hall kindly provided
by Warwickshire County Council.
The Lord Lt and the family of Fus Spears with the EC
Fusiliers from the Recruiting Team were present at
the Civic Dinner for the Mayor of Warwick which was held in the Great
Hall at Warwick Castle on 1 April. The Mayor of Warwick had requested
support at the reception as he has very kindly chosen the Fusilier Aid
Society as his charity during his period of office. Councillor Kinson
paid tribute to all Fusiliers during his speech and reinforced the strong
connection between Warwick and the Regiment.
Former officers of The Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Sixth Foot) held a luncheon on 6 April at the Army and Navy Club which was attended by twenty officers. The Regimental Secretary was welcomed as a guest by Lieutenant Colonel John Rice who presided.
Central Branch continues to raise funds for the Fusilier Aid Society with the focus being on the Fallen Fusilier which has totalled during February and March some £3,000 in revenue and Fallen Fusilier products. Once again the Manufacturing Technology Association (MTA) generously donated the sum of £3,450 to the FAS. Donations from Central Branch have included £500.00 to LCpl Aviar 1RRF towards his expenses in qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in 2012. The Fusiliers Museum (Royal Warwickshire) gratefully accepted a donation of £1,000 towards the fund raising event being held at Warwick School on 6 July. Members of the Central Branch are supporting Op Sword which is a cycling fund raising event organised by Murray Richards which takes place over the period 1 -6 June and culminates on Sword Beech. The Fallen Fusilier Website has now been launched- http://www.fallenfusiliers.co.uk, thanks to Captain Martin Gordon , a former Fusilier ACF Officer for all his hard work in producing such an excellent website. The Central Branch Standard is keenly awaited which will be officially blessed later this year. Planning for the Annual Branch Dinner is now well advanced which will take place at the Village Hotel in Coventry on 4 June.
Sheldon Branch attended the Annual Regimental Service at The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vinicular on Sunday 10 April which was followed by an excellent lunch in Regimental Headquarters. Some 25 members of the Sheldon Branch attended what is for them becoming an annual event; your scribe was delighted to be there and was pleased to meet up with Majors Jonny Austin, Ben Walters and Ollie Campbell and their families who were also supporting the event.
The Afghanistan display which records the 2 RRF Op Herrick operational tour in 2009 is now up and running which includes graphic panels, photographs kindly loaned by the Regimental Museum. The Leamington & Warwick Courier have provided their readership with an excellent report with pictures of the display. The new museum website was launched in early March, which readers can find at http://www.warwickfusiliers.co.uk/ Thanks to Stephanie Bennett our Curatorial Officer for project managing this most informative website. A recruitment drive for more museum volunteers at Warwick University has proved successful and produced 7 new volunteers; they will assist in front of house duties and answering historical enquiries. Fund raising continues to play a considerable part in the activities of the museum. Planning is now advanced for a Beating Retreat by the Minden Band at Warwick School on Wednesday 6th July, which will be followed by a fund raising dinner and auction. There will be more details in the June edition of Fusilier News.
Operation Sword is a 350 mile charity cycle ride from Nuneaton (via St John's House) to Normandy taking place over the period 1- 6 June 2011. The Aim is raise £15,000 to be shared between the Fusiliers Aid Society, The Fusiliers Memorial Trust and The Forces Children's Society. Those taking part in the event include Captain Frank Young MBE, a Fusilier TA Officer who is currently QM of 4MERCIAN, Murray Richards formerly of 2RRF and Amy Taggart. The support team includes Carol Valentine and Denise Carter. For more information on how to sponsor this most worthy cause get in touch with:
The Warwickshire Band
The Warwickshire Band was formed as a result of Options for Change when 5th (Warwickshire) Battalion was absorbed into The West Midlands Regiment, now known as 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment. The Band is now firmly established in Warwickshire and the West Midlands and proudly sports the Fusiliers Number One Dress with a beret and hackle. Whilst they are all now civilians they carry out many engagements throughout Warwickshire not only for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers but many other military organisations. They have earned a fine reputation and are always in demand, recent engagements have included the Fusilier Gathering in Warwick in 2010, the Fusiliers Officers Club Dinner at 30 Signal Regiment in March this year. They will be playing at the A (Fusilier) Company 4MERCIAN St George's Day Dinner in Sheldon on 16 April and have been booked to appear at The Kenilworth Party in the Park in early May.
Area HQ Office
The many and varied activities which take place in
Warwickshire not forgetting what to us and readers may seem as routine
will only happen with a strong "back office" organisation
provided by Area HQ. Currently our energies are being directed towards
the next museum fund raising event- some 700 letters of invitation are
being printed ready for posting, emails being sent far and wide along
with a well coordinated press release to the media. At the time of writing
your scribe is putting the finishing touches to the planning of the
Association AGM and Trustees meeting on Saturday 16 April. Dinner Club
Accounts continue to be maintained and of course have to be audited,
thanks to Colonel Jim Hayward who takes the time to audit the accounts
of 6th Foot Dinner Club Fund along with the Fusiliers Officers Club
account. The accountants have just completed an audit of the Regimental
Association General Purpose Fund and plans are in hand to audit the
commercial trading account of the Museum.
" Sat 16 April - Association AGM 1100hrs St
Gallipoli Garden and Wellington Barracks Memorials.
The second grant was made by the Community Spaces
scheme and will fund the final refurbishment of Gallipoli Garden. This
project will see the garden extended to take in a small strip of derelict
ground on the edge of the park. It will be developed to not only enhance
the garden and create a better environment but also to provide a location
for delivery of the museum education package outside. Overall this has
been a Regimental family effort. The Regimental Association in Lancashire
sponsored the Bolton Road bid and the Friends of the Museum sponsored
the Gallipoli Garden
Soldiers Assisting With Education.
For the many school children who visit the museum, one of the highlights of the visit is the opportunity to meet "real soldiers." The presence of the Careers Office in the building has provided a unique opportunity to generate resources that are not available to most Regimental Museums. This link is being developed further and a programme of joint visits to schools involving the recruiters and museum staff is currently being planned.
Sgt "Knocker" Knowles has now taken over the Fusilier Recruiting Team based at Holcombe Moor. The team which forms part of ART 12 are the only formed body of Regular Fusiliers in Lancashire. They therefore have an important role to play in projecting a positive image of the Regiment by supporting Commander Regional Recruiting as well as supporting Regimental events in Lancashire. In August they will deploy to Wathgill to support |Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force. The Team work closely with the Museum providing support to museum events; in return the team loan weapons and equipment from the Museum.
The Army Briefing Team recently toured the North West. HQ 42 (NW) Bde put out a plea for hosts. It was an interesting presentation providing great opportunities for networking. The presentation in Sale proved to be not only an opportunity to promote the Army but was an excellent opportunity to promote the Fusilier Museum. The event was a good Fusilier Family occasion as the photo below illustrates
Minden Company GMACF Halton Camp.
Minden Company of Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force deployed to Halton Camp over a weekend. Some 70 cadets and adult instructors sent the weekend training in basic military skills including live firing the new 5.56mm cadet rifle on the 30m range. In good fusilier fashion the OC and CSM had to dash back to Manchester for a dinner night. It is good to see that the ACF know how to work hard and play hard.
Wartime Weekend 28 -30 May Bury
Musical Extravaganza 9 July Britannia Hotel, Stockport
Minden Drum Head Service 31 July Gallipoli Garden
Fusilier Museum Minden Day Celebration 1 August Bury
Fusilier Territorials Annual Dinner 24 September
Castle Armoury Bury
Band Concert 29 October Castle Armoury Bury
Regimental Headquarters The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers HM Tower of London London EC3N 4AB
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: email@example.com
RHQ/RRF/1363 2nd March 2011
It is with much sadness that I have to report the death of Fusilier Karl James Reay, Z Coy 5 RRF. Karl was killed in a traffic accident on Saturday afternoon, 26 February 2011 while travelling on the A189 in Cramlington, Northumberland. His girlfriend was in the car and has sustained injuries although these are not believed to be life threatening. The Colonel of the Regiment extends his, and the Regiments, deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Karl at this tragic time.
The Colonel of the Regiment congratulates the following officers on being selected for promotion to Lt Col on the Pink List which was published last Friday:
Maj Jo Butterfill (also selected for ACSC)
Maj Jim Taylor
Maj Karl Mace
It has been agreed that the Regimental Dinner will be held on 21 Oct 11 in the Armoury Rooms in HM Tower of London. Attendance at the last two Regimental Dinners has been exceptionally good (340 in 2010 and 304 in 2009). All officers, both serving and retired, are encouraged to attend and to invite personal guests. This is the one opportunity in the year that all officers from the Regt can meet for dinner, renew old friendships and meet new officers from the Regiment and catch up on what is really happening in the Battalions.
Ticket reservations can be made with the Asst Regimental Secretary on 02031666906.
Some of you have asked when the 2010 Journal will
be issued? The good news is that the Journal is now being distributed
having taken close to 3 months to be published and printed. I apologise
for the delay but it has not been in the hands of RHQ who are totally
reliant on a commercial publisher and printer.
BOOK - Mrs Ann Annis
Ann Annis, the mother of Fusilier Simon Annis who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009, has published a book called 'Butterflies and Feathers'. It is an account of Simon Annis' life and death from a mother's perspective. This is a truly moving story of initially happiness and then tragedy and grief, and a proud tribute to Fusilier Simon Annis. I thoroughly recommend this book which is available through Amazon and Waterstones.
I R Liles OBE
Sorry none this Month
Tel: 020-3166-6909 Fax: 020-3166-6920 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
RHQ/RRF/1363 2nd February 2009
The Battalion returned to Fallingbostel from well earned Post Operational Tour Leave on 26 January. They have hit the ground running as they prepare for various exercises at Sennelager, freedom parades and marches in the Midlands as part of their welcome back from Iraq, take over the Regiments lead on recruiting and start preparation for their move back to the UK in Jul/Aug this year.
The Battalion will receive the Freedom of Coventry on 29 April where The Colonel of The Regiment will take the salute. Welcome home parades are scheduled to take place as follows:
" Morning of 1 May - Rugby.
If you are in the area go and support the 1st Battalion.
On returning from Christmas leave the Battalion moved straight into preparation for their impending, short notice tour to Afghanistan. Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow is a hive of activity as the Commanding Officer reconfigures his battalion and receives attached units and personnel as a result of an operationally focused task reorganisation. Pre-deployment training will continue apace throughout February and March.
On 5 March the Battalion will be given the Freedom of Hounslow and will march through the Borough. If you are free on that day the message is; go and support the 2nd Battalion at Hounslow before they depart for Afghanistan.
C (City of London Fusiliers Company.
The Company opened a new location for a Platoon outstation at the Blackheath drill hall on Wed 28 January. Brigadier Paterson attended an impressive opening. Fourteen potential recruits signed on that evening. It is expected that this new location will be a rich source of recruits for TA Fusiliers
Soldier recruiting is starting to show an upward trend due to an incredible amount of good work by the Regimental Recruiting Team and the battalions. We are now manning all of our Area Recruiting Offices and the Regimental Recruiting Teams are better equipped and extremely busy. There is, however, no room for complacency and we must keep our foot hard on the pedal. Now is also the time to remember that we all have a part to play in recruiting and keeping The Fusilier name to the fore in our towns and cities, in commerce, in schools, universities and affiliated Cadet Forces.
Last month CO 1 RRF completed a tour of our Areas, meeting all Fusiliers involved in recruiting and training and CRR personnel. There is a firm plan in place for recruiting in 2009/10 and there is no doubt that recruiting will continue to improve.
M 62 Bombing Memorial
A rededication ceremony will take place at 1100 hrs
at the Hartshead Moor Service Area on Wednesday 4 February. This is
the 35th Anniversary remembering those that were killed and injured
in the M62 coach bombing.
Lancashire Fusilier Monument.
Despite some local objections the Regiment has been granted the right to move the Fusilier Monument from its current site at Wellington Barracks to a new site in the centre of Bury. The Monument has always been associated with the Headquarters and will therefore move when the AHQ moves in a few months time. It has also been suggested by a local councillor that the park in which the Monument will reside should be renamed Gallipoli Park.
The anniversary of the battle of Spion Kop was commemorated on Saturday 24 January at the Boer War Memorial in Whitehead Park, Bury. Lt Col (Retd) Mike Glover laid a wreath on behalf of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Roy Woods, a museum volunteer and former Lancashire Fusilier laid a wreath on behalf of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Roy's father fought at Spion Kop with the Lancashire Fusiliers.
As part of a Lancashire Brigade, the Lancashire Fusiliers captured the hill at night only to find it lay open to enemy guns by day. Three hundred British soldiers died. Although the human cost was high, the battle led to the subsequent relief of the town of Ladysmith.
The Area Colonel Lancashire and Area Secretary have asked that the following notice be included in Fusilier News:
The Fusilier Museum Bury
Five years of hard work and £4.08million will see the Fusilier Museum open in 2009. The Project has included major conservation work on a listed building, the redisplay of the Lancashire Fusilier Collection, establishing a Royal Regiment of Fusiliers collection and display, the move of the Area Headquarters and the creation of an Army Careers Information Office.
The intention of this note is to explain the logic behind the dates associated with various celebrations during the year, such as Gallipoli, Minden Day and the Fusilier gathering. With so much on this year the intention is to spread the financial load to be fair to all and ensure we have maximum attendance.
It was hoped to formally open on Gallipoli weekend. Unfortunately, delays to the build and power installations and the non availability of our VIP guest have forced us to delay the opening. We are still awaiting a confirmation of availability and this is causing a degree of complication in announcing and organising the formal opening.
For those in Lancashire we have also reduced the scale of the dinner usually held on the Saturday of the Gallipoli weekend. I know this has disappointed a number of people but the decision was taken in order to reduce the overall cost this year. In its place will be a drinks party with a number of guests with the car draw held at the new museum.
The official opening date depends to a large extent on the availability of ourVIP guest. There are two possibilities; the first is to coincide the Official Opening with the Fusilier Gathering in September, the second to tie in with our VIP guests availability outside of the Gathering. This could be any time from July to end September. I hope everyone can now see that with the possibility of three possible events this year in Lancashire we where trying to reduce the cost and travelling of everyone involved.
" Opening of the Tourist Information Centre
Commencing on Saturday 27 June, Armed Forces day, the Museum will open to the public for five days a week. Following, the Official Opening this will expand to a full seven days.
The outline programme is:
" Saturday 25 April, Gallipoli Day. Evening
function in Museum and draw of Car Raffle. Invitation only.
There are many other activities taking place including evening presentations and daytime talks. This is a full but graduated programme and I hope you will all come and see this excellent facility designed to ensure the Regiments past is remembered alongside the development of its future.
It is with much sadness that the following deaths are reported:
Williams: On the weekend 10/11 January 09 Fusilier
Tony (Nah Chin) Williams ex 1st Bn who
Marriot: On 23 December 2008, Band Corporal Norman (Chunky) Marriott passed away aged 80. Norman served with the 1st Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt Corps of Drums in Palestine and on his return to the UK in 1948 transferred to the Regimental Band. He also served in BTA (Austria) 1951-53
Whateley: On 26 December 2008, Bill Whateley aged 73. Bill served with the 1st Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt and was a Corporal in The Corps of Drums.
King: On 1st January 2009, Bandsman Allan King. He saw service in the UK 1950 and in BTA (Austria) 1951/2 with the 1stBn The Royal Warwickshire Regt. He was one of the band members taken ill in Austria with TB.
Withers: On 16 January 2009, Stanley Withers aged 85. Enlisted in February 1941and joined the 70th (Young Soldiers) Bn Royal Warwickshire Regt and transferred to the 9Th Bn when the 70th was disbanded in 1943. Stanley was Padre to the 70th Bn Old Comrades Association.
I would ask that anyone who hears of a Fusilier death
inform RHQ or Area HQs in order that all deaths can be properly and
rightly recorded, and families and friends contacted. It is also important
that all Associations are kept informed and that they, in turn, inform
the the latest
RHQ/RRF/1363 17 June 2008
ANOTHER WEEK ANOTHER FUSILIER NEWS!
1. HER MAJESTY THE QUEENS BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST
Many congratulations go to the following who have received awards;
Col W N (Bill) Aldridge CBE who has been appointed as a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. This was in recognition of his leadership and example in Afghanistan where he was Chief CJ5 International Security Assistance Force and the Assistant Chief of Staff of Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps. He is now attending The Royal College Defence Studies and his address is C/o RCDS, Seaford House, 37 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8NF.
Maj J W (Jim) Taylor MBE who has been appointed a Member of the same Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. This is in recognition of his specific and unique contribution to operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq over a 9 month period while serving with 2RRF. Furthermore he was instrumental in the design and delivery of a programme of improvement for command and control system for the Iraqi Security Forces in Basra.
Lt Col (Retd) E W Davidson MBE DL was also appointed as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The award recognises Erics significant contribution to Charity and in particular his Citation included reference to his work for our Regimental Charities in Lancashire. He has only very recently handed over his responsibilities as Chairman of the Lancashire Area of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Association and he remains the President of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Lancashire Association Band and Corps of Drums which incidentally is at this moment in Canada playing alongside the Pipes and Drums of the Lorne Scots.
Major B R (Brian) Young MBE of the Fusiliers Army Cadet Force has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. He is the Company Commander of the Warwickshire Army Cadet Force and over the last 8 years has converted a struggling detachment in an under privileged area of Coventry into a highly successful unit, doubling the attendance figures and has proved to be extremely successful in recruiting for the ethnic minority communities. (Maj Young is a former TA Quartermaster of the old 5RRF).
Finally congratulations also go to Sir Alan Beith MP on his Knighthood. Sir Alan is the MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed and has for many years been a most loyal supporter of The Fusiliers.
2. FUNERAL SERVICE FOR THE LATE COLONEL PATRICK ROBINSON
The funeral service for Colonel Patrick Robinson whose death was recorded in the last Fusilier News will take place at Perth Crematorium, Crieff Road, Perth PH1 2PE at 2pm on Friday 20 June. The family will be delighted to see anybody who can make it to the service but readers should note that they intend to have a Thanks Giving Service later in the year, perhaps in September or October, in the Midlands.
3. SENIOR OFFICERS POSTINGS
Col Simon Marr MBE is very shortly taking up a new appointment as the military officer, in the Afghan Cross Whitehall Unit of the Ministry of Defence. This appointment is for three years and is a new post.
Col Philip Stack MBE currently on the Defence Planning Staff at Headquarters SHAPE has been selected for a Defence Attaché post in October, for which Language Training is starting very shortly. (Incidentally both these officers will be attending the annual Cocktail Party held outside RHQ on the 26 June) just to remind any late applicants).
4. 2ND FUSILIERS ON PUBLIC DUTIES
Yesterday, Monday 16 June 2nd Fusiliers were on parade
outside Buckingham Palace mounting Her Majestys Guard for the
first time. The parade was commanded by the Commanding Officer himself
and the Queens Colour was carried by Maj Jon Swift. Also on parade
was Maj Jeremy Lamb MC and the Battalion Adjutant. As the Regimental
Secretary writes this Fusiliers News he can see behind him the Fusilier
sentry on guard outside the Jewel House at the Tower of London. Attached
is a photograph taken of the parade and by linking onto the following
website you can see a summary as it appeared on the Army Website;
5. FUSILIERS GOLFING TRIUMPH AGAIN !
The Regimental Team consisting of Col Jo Gunnell, Lt Col John Hunt, Capt David Williams and Maj Roger Antolik carried the day on 12 June 2008 at Royal St Georges, Sandwich to win the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Bowl by beating both the Royal Irish Regiment and, in the final, the Royal Scots. This is the infantry and cavalry inter regimental trophy, which the Fusiliers have now won for seven years, since 2002.
out the the latest
RHQ/RRF/1363 28th April 2008
CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFFS LETTER TO THE ARMY
ON THE SITUATION
CGS unclassified letter follows below and is
self-explanatory, outlining the conclusions of his visit to Iraq last
week but set in the context of the Campaign as a whole over the last
5 years so that no one should be in any doubt as to the current situation.
Although addressed to CinC Land Forces it is for general release.
2. BFBS TV CLIPS
From Lieutenant Colonel P W Merriman MBE Second Battalion
Brigadier RM Wilde CBE
12th December 06
SECOND FUSILIERS - END OF TERM REPORT
I thought that you might appreciate a concluding report on Second Fusiliers' activities this year. It has been a remarkably busy, but professionally satisfying, time and certainly one which we will long remember.
You will recall that we assumed the TRB task on 1 Apr 06 and deployed A and B companies to Iraq, at 48hrs notice, on 13th April. Both companies made the best of this tour, but in truth it was not hugely rewarding for them, most of the time being spent guarding Shaiba Logistics base or the port facilities at Umm Qasr. The deployment came at the end of 7th Armoured Brigade's tour which was characterized by disengagement between the local governorate and Multi-National Forces, slowing progress in developing security institutions. Following the ratification of PM Maliki and the Iraqi National Government in May, and just as A and B Companies were returning home, the security situation in Basra deteriorated significantly with a substantial increase in the murder rate being of particular alarm; the Iraqi National Government responded by declaring a 'State of Emergency' which coincided with local reengagement between Iraqi and Multi-National Security Forces.
Over a long summer, during which Second Fusiliers were otherwise engaged with the deployment of A Company Group to Afghanistan only 6 weeks after their return from Iraq, assistance to OP HIGHBROW, the evacuation of British entitled people from the Lebanon, and a high profile Defence Diplomacy exercise in Jordan, the security situation in Basra barely improved, but Coalition activity was able to greatly increase both on the ground, with a number of successful strike operations being launched to detain anti-Iraqi forces, and through engagement in Security Sector Reform. The arrival of a new GOC, Major General Richard Sherriff, under whom Second Fusiliers served with 7th Armoured Brigade in Kosovo in 2000, a new and ambitious plan was put together to drive Basrah Province towards 'PIC', Provincial Iraqi Control, the point at which the local Iraqi Security apparatus takes the lead on all security matters, leaving Multi-National Forces to provide 'overwatch', the limited support of certain specialist capabilities to routine operations and a reserve in case of a more serious threat. In order to mount OP SINBAD, as the operation became known, more troops were required; in addition to extra Engineers and other specialists, 2 rifle companies and 2 platoons of manpower were needed and a battalion headquarters to provide support to the Iraqi Security Forces command and control system.
Originally envisaged as a security operation designed to root out corrupt policemen and eliminate death squads in the city, but with a palliative of reconstruction effort, the plan morphed into a reconstruction led operation, closely coupled with police reform (assessment and training) and with a disconnected, but ever present, theme of detention operations running in the background. The change was brought about by political direction from Baghdad, making the plan not just one with an 'Iraqi face', but a genuinely Iraqi plan throughout. In action the plan saw a combined force of Royal Engineers and Iraqi Engineers, local civilian contractors and International Police Assistance force personnel enter zones around the in 'pulses' of activity which lasted from 2-3 days; each pulse was accompanied by a significant security presence from Multi-National Forces and every agency of the Iraqi Security Forces, of which there are many, to bring to each area in turn a sense of what life could be like if the security situation improved, together with visible improvements to their daily lives, school improvements, streets cleaned and repaired, football pitches constructed, electricity and water projects begun, and so on to generate a belief in the providence of the central Iraqi Government and improve consent for Multi-National Force presence. After each pulse a further 28 days of increased patrolling and continuing projects by civilian contractors took place; this was designed to embed the gains won through the initial quick impact of the pulse. The police station reviews which occurred within the overall blanket of security sought to identify training and other needs for each area's police stations in turn, resulting in action plans for each. As each pulse occurred more responsibility for the planning and execution was passed to the Iraqis; by the end of the operation in mid-January it should be an entirely Iraqi activity, with Multi-National Forces providing reserves if required.
Second Fusiliers contributed to OP SINBAD in three ways; Captain Andrew Swann and Sgt Halloran provided 2 multiples to work as part of Basrah City North Battlegroup (1LI, then 1 STAFFORDS), and operated directly in the focus areas of the operation, as well as carrying out the full range of patrol tasks in the city. C Company (Andrew Higgs and then Jim Taylor, WO2 (CSM) Corbett) and Fire Support Company (Gareth Boyd, WO2 (CSM) Frost) were both attached to Basrah City South Battlegroup (2 Royal Anglian, then 1 Royal Green Jackets) and, after a bit of negotiation, were given their own areas of responsibility. C Company were based in Umm Qasr, and Fire Support company operated from Basrah Palace, but with responsibilities stretching down the Al Faw peninsular. Though this tasking put them on a supporting effort, so they saw little of OP SINBAD in the city, they were much better off with their own patch to look after than spending all their time as 'rent a mob', having no fixed base to operate from. Both companies had interesting times, covering routine patrolling and security sector reform work, as well as involvement in anti-smuggling operations across the Iran-Iraq border; for C Company the hunt for the (still missing) 4 US and 1 Austrian hostages taken in November, whilst Fire Support Company needed to sit on sectarian tensions and reassure the significant Sunni minority in their area as serious spikes of violence in Baghdad threatened repercussions.
The last part of the mix was to provide Battalion Headquarters to the Provincial Joint Coordination Centre to achieve short term improvements to the coordination of internal Iraqi Security Force collaboration, and coordination of the whole with Multi-National Forces, and longer term to put in place an improved system of working which would survive the subsequent departure of Multi-National Forces. The Centre was based at 'The Warren site', the former Ba'ath Party compound right in the middle of Basrah, and with the Office of the Muqta Al Sadr (OMS) a few hundred yards away. The conditions were cramped and the nature of the work involved living mixed in amongst the Iraqi Security Forces, many of whom were of mixed political allegiance and could not be relied upon. Key to the project was providing a forward headquarters for the UK brigade (20th Armoured, then 19th Light) and establishing a close relationship with the members of the Basrah Emergency Committee whose role was to bring coherence to the security forces of Basrah after the violence of the summer.
The project, initially led by Jim Taylor, then Adrian Prior, became seen to be one of the key successes of OP SINBAD, and there is no doubt that the security architecture now functions far more effectively than it did when we arrived; there is a real prospect that security will be handed over to the Iraqis soon and that, unlike the experience in As Samawah and Al Amarah (where PIC has not occurred but Multi-National Forces have re-positioned away from the city) there is a very good chance that the Iraqis will be able to contain the latent threat. A functioning Provincial Joint Coordination Centre is a prerequisite to the transfer of security, but in reality our success there was a combination of three things of which our contribution to building a functioning staff was but one. Just as important was the coherence brought to the leadership of the Iraqi forces by the Emergency Committee, and our ability to shape through mentoring the direction that was being given to the Iraqi Security Forces. The last part was the process of OP SINBAD and the momentum which this gave to reform, particularly in creating a rhythm through which cooperation could be achieved and establishing a pattern, perhaps even a habit, of cooperation, otherwise anathema to the various competing organizations. Of the three, the effective command will be the hardest to sustain in the medium term since the current command structure may end with the State of Emergency.
During the tour Second Fusiliers have been exposed to a variety of threats and I count ourselves extremely fortunate to come away with only one soldier (Cpl Williams) wounded. The principal threat came from Indirect Fire against bases in the City. Both the Shatt-al-Arab Hotel, where Andrew Swann was based, and the Basrah Palace, where the remainder of Fire Support Company lived, were constantly attacked. In addition to the main sites in the city we had a 'Hackle-Hub' set up at Shaiba Logistics base to coordinate our personnel and logistics activity and across all the bases we occupied there were some 200 separate attacks in which more than 600 rockets or mortar rounds exploded. There were also many blinds, and there are several stories of narrow escapes, especially from Basrah Palace which alone suffered 84 attacks in the 90 days that Support Company were based there. Ironically Cpl Williams was injured in an attack as he passed through the air base, the only location we did not permanently man. There were also encounters with smugglers in which shots were exchanged, and one with the US military in which several, thankfully, inaccurate bursts of machine gun fire were answered by a Fusilier's right hook when he got close enough to see who had been firing at him. Not ideal, but perhaps understandable in the circumstances. Those at the Warren were subjected to the most direct fire attacks, with 4 RPG and 18 other small arms fire exchanges in which we returned some 150 rounds, claiming 4 hits and with1 confirmed kill from our sniper. Our medical skills were also tested with those at the Shat-Al-Arab Hotel in particular doing an outstanding job; they were the first to treat casualties twice when mortar rounds landed amongst the tented camp they occupied for most of the tour. On the first occasion they could do nothing to help Cpl Brady, on the second they did sterling work helping some of the 10 Greenjackets injured shortly after their arrival in November. Cpl Williams was also treated by one of our own, Cpl Green and 3 others were blown off their feet by the explosion, but quickly sorted themselves out to help their colleague, who is now on sick leave in UK and is expected to be fit for work again in the New Year, his skull having healed following the removal of some shrapnel.
For others the story has not been such a lucky one, and we are acutely aware that the threat from complex well planned ambushes and from Improvised explosive devices has remained extremely high. In our short time in Iraq 95 UK soldiers were wounded and 11 were killed.
Turning briefly to Afghanistan, I was delighted to be able to join A Company Group in Kuwait for their decompression and to learn at first hand something of their exploits. I had not before realised, for example, just how rude the shock was that called them to action. When I left them in Camp Bastion they were contemplating two weeks 'conditioning' before operations; within 48 hours the fire support group had deployed, and as is well known defended ANP Hill thereafter for 107 days. I did not know that they had had a mere 59 minutes notice of this deployment. Amazing stuff. I understand that ITV are currently researching a 'docudrama' about them, so no doubt we will all discover much more soon. Jon Swift and his boys did a fantastic job and I am delighted that awareness of this is growing; I received a particularly good letter from Brigadier Ed Butler praising the Company and their performance and am aware that the Colonel-in-Chief also wrote to Jon praising their performance.
Whilst the tour began with an expectation of force protection duties within Camp Bastion, the rapidly changing situation and stretched resources encouraged Colonel Stuart Tootal, CO 3 PARA, to employ the Fusiliers more flexibly. Once in Now Zad the Company Group was left alone to work within the overall intent of defending the District Compound against repeated attacks by the Taliban who saw ownership of the compound as a decisive effect that should be achieved even at great cost. The articles written about their subsequent exploits have highlighted the intensity of the battle for the town, the solitude and austerity of their position. Living conditions were extremely basic which, coupled with the stress of close combat with a tenacious, experienced and cunning enemy, must have been a real burden of responsibility for Jon, his officers and NCOs. During their tour, command of the area of operations passed from 3 PARA to 42 Commando. Colonel Matt Holmes immediately lifted the restriction upon their manoeuvre. Jon mounted 2 raids into Taliban controlled areas to deny by destruction firing points which had been used to harass their position for the previous 2 months. One raid witnessed one of the largest combat demolitions mounted by British Forces in years utilising 6 barmines and 45kg of explosives to reduce enemy compounds to rubble thus denying the protection that they afforded.
During the 107 days in Now Zad they integrated fires from Apache attack helicopters, multinational fixed wing close air support, mortars, GPMG SF, 30mm Rarden cannon, snipers and light guns. In addition Jon took command of up to a complete Squadron of HCR formation reconnaissance vehicles, elements of 42 Commando's surveillance group and a troop of engineers. All up they called in over 30 air strikes, fired 90,000 GPMG and 1600 mortar rounds. The autonomy that the company enjoyed also resulted in close relationships with Afghan National security forces and local elders. Unfortunately not all were trustworthy and effectively had 'the enemy inside the wire' Establishing tight operational security became extremely challenging with elements of the police signalling and providing critical information about the company's dispositions and movements to the Taliban. Whilst an effective early warning system, the threat posed by these individuals became too great and eventually they were removed.
The Company Group not only defended Now Zad but also provided a detached platoon elsewhere for most of the tour. In Gareskh, John Gammon's platoon provided force protection to one such outpost. They had temporary respite from that crucial but mundane task when they conducted a 10 day long range vehicle patrol under command of 3 PARA patrols platoon. After numerous contacts and lessons learned in manoeuvring around the troubled Musa Qa'lah area they returned to Gareskh until relieved by Nick Groves' platoon to deploy to Now Zad to complete their tour.
That Fusiliers were a part of this historic tour is something of which the whole Regiment will feel proud. The Company Group was drawn from across the Battalion and their experiences will add great value to all of the companies. Their experiences of joint operations, particularly air / land integration, air assault, long range vehicle patrols and sustainability operations will place leaders at all levels in good stead for future commands. Currently all 3 casualties from the tour are progressing well with Drummer Barlow apparently breaking all records for rehabilitation with a prosthetic limb.
From Iraq too we have gained plaudits, both in Theatre and from PJHQ: Major General Peter Wall visited to tell us that 'barely a day goes by' without some mention of what we have been up to , and with Second Fusiliers at one point in 6 operational locations in each Theatre, I was very pleased to hear it! In particular I have been pleased, again from both Theatres, to hear that the Fusiliers have something about them, a standard and a style, as well as a good humoured, but determined professionalism, which gets noticed.
We are now embarked upon a programme of events designed to reintegrate the Battalion as a single organisation, and as part of this process will prepare ourselves to resume the Theatre Reserve Battalion commitment on 20th January 2007. We will see what our last few months of this task will bring; our first few have been eventful, challenging and very rewarding. So much for a sunshine tour of Cyprus!
Hopes and fears at Camp Bastion
By Ben Brown
Special correspondent, BBC News
Despite being surrounded by relentlessly flat desert for as far
as the eye can see, Camp Bastion is a little bit of Britain plonked
Amen to that.
RHQ/RRF/1363 12th October 2006
While not underestimating the intensity of Operations in Iraq let us start with Afghanistan.
Now that 16 Air Assault Brigade are safely back and reunited with their families and we hear their extraordinary stories in the media it is worth stating that the Fusiliers are now amongst the most, if not the most, war hardened British troops in Afghanistan. Maj Jon Swifts report for the Journal, excerpts of which I print below, make this clear. (And this time I have cleared my lines with Media Ops in London.)
Maj Jon Swift with 2 Platoons of Fusiliers, Mortars, SF Guns and Snipers have now been living in their trenches within Naw Zad and on the adjacent hill for 13 weeks. Fusiliers from 3 Platoon commanded by Mr John Gammon have been securing a forward operational base in Greshk and their critical outpost securing the dam on the Helmand River. In late August two battle casualty replacements, namely Fus Clarke and Russell, were sent to the Musa Qalah outpost where they have been serving with both PARA and ROYAL IRISH comrades and have been engaged in heavy fighting. The CQMS, C/Sgt Mitchenson and a small team are in Camp BASTIAN to ensure the timely delivery of re-supplies, which are flown into the outposts by Chinook helicopters. Fusiliers are therefore deployed in five different locations across Helmand Province, although the bulk are with Maj Swift in Naw Zad.
The PARAS in 16 Air Assault Brigade, who have now handed over to the Commandos after six months in Afghanistan, have been the focus of most of the media attention. However 2 RRF have provided the Theatre Reserve; thus assisting with the relief in place but proving indispensable in the process. An illustration of the intensity of operations is apparent from the figures, which were correct as at the 10th October. Naw Zad has been subjected to:
Maj Swifts report for the Fusilier Journal where it will be printed in full states, Despite the defensive nature of our fight, the lads never cease to amaze me. Their spirit and temperament, despite daily accurate incoming fire and casualties is a true testament to the Fusiliers and the Army as a whole. There have been casualties. Dmr Andrew Barlow who was injured in the Soviet laid minefield and which was reported in the Fusilier News of the 7th September has had to have his left leg amputated above the knee, but has shown remarkable resilience in being released from Selly Oak Hospital in record time. He is now at home, waiting for his wounds to recover sufficiently so that he can report to Headley Court Hospital for further treatment on the 22nd October. He has not been idle, however, as last Sunday he was present at Bury Metro Station where he named a new Tram on the Metro The Lancashire Fusilier (See http://www.lancs-fusiliers.co.uk/parades/Naming|0LFTRAM.htm for further details). Fus Philip Fanthome and Fus Clive Spencer have also been injured mainly from blast and shrapnel when their sangar received a direct hit from an RPG. Maj Swift is full of praise for the swift action by Cpl Herron and Fus Shocklage followed up by medical assistance from Fus Ashwell and L/Cpl Mumford who attended their wounds. Both will soon be evacuated to Selly Oak, indeed Fus Spencer should arrive there this Thursday night, with hopefully Fus Fanthome arriving this weekend.
I know we are all hugely proud of these battle hardened but now pretty weary men amongst whom there are now some very mature 18 year olds who had only been in the Battalion a month prior to deployment. We anticipate them being back in Cyprus in early November.
The Weekly Rabbit is the 2RRF News Letter, sent out to families and circulated amongst the Regiment. For those minded to see photographs of life within Iraq and to hear about the Fusiliers work then assuming you have email access to Adobe Reader, you can email RHQ and we will forward it to you. When the Adjutant, operating from the relatively secure Shaiba Logistic Base tells me he still cant differentiate between the sound of incoming mortars and our own mortars firing, one can appreciate that, in Iraq too, Fusiliers are earning their medals (and their recently announced operational pay bonus). Uppermost in their minds is the end of tour date and Col Peter Merriman has again had been forced to put pen to paper. It is worth reading the extract from his letter to the battalions families which is printed below and illustrates the conundrum facing the military planners:
I appreciate that what everyone wants to know is, when they will be having leave. Let me tell you what I know. There are 5 questions which need to be answered before leave dates can be set. I have been in discussion with both our chain of command in Cyprus and that here in Iraq and I am quite clear that everyone involved in making the decision is aware of all of the issues, and will make a decision as soon as they can. They appreciate in particular that leave, especially leave which is appropriately forecast and guaranteed not to be interfered with, has been in short supply this year, and I am confident that we will get the best solution available, always remembering that operational necessity is the driver. We are not here on a whim, we are here because we are needed and only when that need is reduced, or we are replaced by others, can we be released. The 5 questions, only one of which I currently have an answer to, are:
When will A Company return from Afghanistan? 12 November is the given date.
When will 2RRF(-) return from Iraq? Between end Nov and mid-Jan is current bracket.
Who will cover the Theatre Reserve Battalion on our return? 1 LI have the commitment whilst we are deployed, but it is not yet clear if they will retain it, or pass it back to us, and if so when.
Who will cover Cyprus duties on our return? The CRU is doing these at present and will continue for a while, but they are going to Afghanistan in February, so cannot do these duties for ever.
When does BOWMAN start? Currently 8 January, but this will have to change if we do not return until mid- January, and may in any case be delayed as we have requested.
The latest indications are that it will be disappointing if 2nd Fusiliers are not complete back in Cyprus by mid December but still no authoritative instruction has been released from PJHQ.
UPDATE ON THOSE WOUNDED
Fus Aveuta Tuila 2RRF is now back with the Battalion in Cyprus.
L/Cpl Craig Short 2RRF is currently in England, has been released from Headley Court, and has just started attending a civilian rehabilitation course in Newcastle.
L/Cpl Mark Dryden 1RRF is currently on a Football Trainers Course and is based at his home in Berwick. He is still driving his new BMW. He has a further operation on his hand scheduled for the 27 October in Selly Oak. He is getting used to his prosthetic arm.
Dmr Andrew Barlow 2RRF has been mentioned in the above reports. He is currently at home prior to reporting to Headley Court on the 22 October.
Fus Clive Spencer 2RRF is just arriving in Selly Oak. His parents live close by and are poised to visit him.
Fus Philip Fanthome 2RRF is awaiting his condition to stabilise sufficiently so he can fly back to Selly Oak to arrive Saturday night. Currently in Camp Bastian Field Hospital. He has phoned his wife who with their young baby is in UK eagerly awaiting his arrival.
There are of course several other members of the Regiment who are convalescing in UK the result of illness and road traffic accidents. Enquirers can get updates as appropriate from Capt John Davis, Assistant Regimental Secretary here at RHQ if required.
On the sporting front, the 1st Battalions Rugby players have been excelling. On the same weekend as the Fusilier Gathering, the Battalions 7s Team (The South Sea Fusiliers) won the International Munich 7 aside Tournament on Saturday 23 September 2006 (Mystery surrounds what happened to the 3,000 Euros First Prize!). Three members of the Battalion have been selected to join the British Army (Germany) Rugby Squad to play in Denmark on the 19th and 21st October. They are Cpl Trevor, Fus Tuinasakea and Fus Bower.
Posted on September 7, 2006 at 18:24:24
Fusiliers in Afghanistan update
3. FUSILIERS IN AFGHANISTAN
Maj Jon Swift phoned the Regimental Secretary on Thursday 7 September.
With his 2 Platoons and Fire Support Group they remain in their outpost
in Naw Zad as reported in the last Fusilier News - a copy of which
eventually reached him in his trenches attached to a bluey
from his wife!
Describing the ongoing operations involving Fusiliers and other members of 3 Para Battlegroup, Maj Swift was at pains to emphasise just how important the war fighting skills taught at the Infantry Schools were proving. Whether these were the Sniper courses, 81mm Mortar courses, GPMG SF Courses or Section and Platoon Sergeant Courses, if ever there had been any need to justify why it is necessary to send people on these courses he was witnessing it today. What is also impressive is how the interchange of skills is going on without any direction on his part. Furthermore, Blokes are sandbagging in the heat of the day and at night with no encouragement from me! His snipers had two more confirmed kills against an opposing RPG Team. His NCOs were taking notes and retaining video clips of their actions so that they can pass on their hugely beneficial experiences when they get the opportunity back in England to visit Sandhurst, Brecon and the other Infantry Schools.
He questioned whether the scale of casualties was being reported in the media as the overall numbers were very significant and showing no sign of reducing. He appreciated that the current strategy was following political rather than military imperatives and anticipated that, unless it changed, his Company would likely move and be redeployed in a couple of weeks, although nothing was certain. He freely admitted that his command had been very fortunate not to have incurred more casualties since incoming mortar fire had been landing close to buildings and trenches. (Little wonder the Fusiliers are keen to increase their sandbag protection!).
Mail was getting through; re-supply was working; clearly Jon Swift was hugely impressed with the professionalism being shown by everybody under his command. He ended the call by stressing that the team work and comraderie he was witnessing was exceptional and very reassuring.
We should be very proud of these Fusiliers.
For 15 days those members of 2RRF not on operations in Helmand Province were waiting in Jordan for the political decision to be taken to deploy them direct to Basra. Readers may recall that 2RRF (-) went to Jordan for Exercise SAFFRON SANDS back in mid July. They fully expected to return to Cyprus in mid-September even though all ranks know that 2RRF is the Theatre Reserve Battalion until March 2007. On 22 August the CO was warned that they could expect to deploy to Basra between the 26 and 30 August for up to 4 months. Three days later, on the 25th, Lt Col Peter Merriman wrote an open letter to all his families back in Cyprus to explain the overall situation.
Not until 5 September did the Defence Minister take the decision that 2RRF (less A Company in Afghanistan) would fly from Jordan to Basra this Thursday and Friday. The CO and his Command Group had been there since the 29th August.
In a second letter to the families, distributed within hours of the decision being taken, the CO passed on the news, explaining that he knew how frustrating it is not to know when they will next see their husbands and when they can anticipate leave. You will hear potential end of tour dates ranging from mid November all the way through to January. You will know as soon as I know. Capt Ian Kerrigan, the Adjutant, is back in Cyprus and briefed the families this morning. The fact that it is only 9 months since C Companys last 6 month tour in Basra has not gone unnoticed. In a recent Parliamentary Question, 2RRFs failure to meet the desired Harmony Guidelines (periods of separation) had also been highlighted. As it stands, the tour length is just too short to qualify for any R & R package or the all important grant of any free flights to/from the UK for families.
These frustrations however should be balanced by the recognition that the Fusiliers, Officers and NCOs are now members of a most competent, confident and professional team, in part the direct result of their recent training exercise in Jordan. Now the waiting and uncertainty is over, they can concentrate on the challenges ahead of them. This time each Company will have its own Area of Operational Responsibility and no longer be tied to static guard duties as they were when last in Iraq.
2RRFs role in Basra is that both C Company and Fire Support Company (FSP) will initially work with the Basra Rural South Battlegroup, currently the 1st Battalion, Devonshire & Dorset Light Infantry. C Company will be based at Um Qasr and FSP Company at the Basra Palace Hotel. One Platoon commanded by Capt Andrew Swann and Sgt Halloran will be based in the North of Basra at the Shatt-al-Arab Hotel working for 1 LI. Battalion HQ will be based in the centre of Basra with the role of mentoring the Iraqi command and control centre for the City.
As there have been many change of appointments within 2RRF in the last month some of the key appointments are shown below:-
Maj Duncan McSporran - Battalion 2IC
Remaining in Cyprus will be:-
Capt Hayley Dennis - The Regimental Administrative Officer
5. CIVILIAN DEATH IN JORDAN
Fusiliers would wish me to convey their sympathy to Sgt Phil Stokes,
the Fusilier SNCO from Bury who has been keeping us so well informed
with the news of those Fusiliers from 4 LANCS serving in Basra.