The Somerset Branch
Somerset Branch meetings are held quarterly at the Royal British Legion Club, 29 Old Main Rd. Pawlett, Nr. Bridgwater , TA6 4 RY. [Near J23 M5]
We meet in daylight hours on a Sunday morning. 10:30hrs for coffee and commence the meeting at 11:00hrs.
Many of our ladies attend and meet socially with the other wives.
We round off the meeting with an excellent modestly priced lunch. Most important the ale is cheap!
Contact Point and Secretary: Phil Miller
E-mail Somerset Branch Secretary
45 Coleridge Gardens
Burnham on Sea,
Tel: 01278 781592 Mob: 07866 297925
President: Lt. Col. (Retd) MJR Motum
Chairman: Steve May
Social Secretary: Mike Kemish,
Treasurer: David Warry
Padre: Revd Stuart Boyd
Other Committee: David Boaden, Peter Handel
Standard Bearers: Tony Hooper, Ben Casey
SOMERSET BRANCH MEMBERS
Standing L to R
Padre Rev. Stuart Boyd RACD - Capt. Klaus Galeitzke ACF - Colin Criddle - Denis Bowman - Scott McBryde [Visitor Stroud Branch]- Chris Boulton - Mike Kemish - Rod Silcocks - Peter Handel - Harry North - Tony Hooper - Sammy Cobourn - David Warry-Maj. William [Alan] Ladds - Richard Tong - Ben Casey.
Seated L to R
Phil Miller - Ron MacEvoy - Roy Watkins [Visitor, Stroud Branch] - David Bowden - Steve May - John Bishop-Cliff Rowland.
Somerset Branch Notes January 2017
In September welcomed a new Branch Chairman, Steve May (no relation to her). Steve took over the reins from Ben Casey who was finding his shift hours at Hinkley Point power station making it difficult to attend all meetings. We thanked Ben for his service to the Branch. We are delighted that he will continue to carry the Glosters Standard when required.
Our new Chairman, Steve hails from the village of Ide near Exeter so his journeys to attend meetings consist of a 95 mile return trip, for which we thank him.
Steve served with 1 Glosters in B.Coy between 1961 to 1970. He also had spells with Support platoon, M.T platoon, Recce platoon and the Recruiting team. For a time he was staff car driver and batman to Major Sam Weller MBE. He saw service in Cyprus, Gibraltar and Berlin. In Civvy Street Steve was a Police Officer. So well suited to keep us lot in order!
Our annual Imjin Commemorative Lunch was again a great success, 114 guests from various Branches of the association, and friends from the Marines, Paras and Sappers made up the number. The venue was the Hyde Suite at Taunton Rugby Club where we are always made most welcome. Our ladies and our Social Secretary Mike Kemish did an excellent job with the raffle which enabled us to send a cheque for £400 to the Army Benevolent Fund, now call the Soldiers Charity.
We are now busy preparing for this year’s Imjin lunch which will again be held in Taunton on the23rd April which happens to fall on St. Georges Day. It would be our pleasure to welcome you. Tickets are now on sale. Hopefully there will be a proforma with this newsletter. Or you can download a copy to print off at www.glosters.org/latest.htm
At the time of preparing these notes we have just enjoyed our Christmas Lunch, it may well be time for Easter eggs by the time you get to read this as by necessity the publication has had to be delayed this year. For Christmas 2016 members voted not to return to the Somerset County Cricket Club who rather let us down in 2015. Adding custard powder in error to the cauliflower cheese may have been a contributing factor, the poor commis chef was heard to receive a rocket from the Chef! (I enjoyed my cauliflower cheese, thought it was a new recipe!)
So for 2016 we joined forces with the Rifles & Light Infantry Taunton Branch for a most enjoyable lunch at Taunton RFC.
By the time this is published the EGM will have taken place. Regardless however of the conclusion we in Somerset will continue in the spirit of our Regimental Association and carry our Glosters-RGBW and Rifles Standard with pride and respect for those who have gone before us and to those who serve today.
Various functions were attend during 2015.
January. We kicked off 2015 with a first for us, a New Year lunch at the home of Somerset County Cricket Club. This was a great success and we immediately booked in for Christmas lunch which I am sure we will have enjoyed by the time the newsletter is published.
March. Was the Back Badge Reunion and Service held in Gloucester and Falfield it was well attended by our members. It was a matter of pride to see our three Somerset Standard Bearers leading the parade, Ben, Tony and Richard.
April. Imjin Commemorative Lunch. For 2015 we greeted 120 guests, including some from other ex service organisations such as the Paras and Marines and for the first time we welcomed a group of Sappers from the Royal Engineers Taunton Branch. This is always a most enjoyable event and whilst it is well attended by representatives from our own Stroud, West Wilts and Salisbury Branches it would be nice to see more from Bristol and other Gloucestershire Branches, we continue to send invitations in hope.
From the beginning a close bond was forged with the Taunton Branch of the Rifles and LI Association and we are able to share our interests and social functions.
May. The AGM saw the change of Chairman with John Bishop moving to the ‘back benches’ and Ben Casey taking over the role. John who has successfully completed treatment for prostrate cancer was thanked by the members for his past services. All other committee members continued in their current positions.
Sounding of Retreat and evening reception at the Bath and West Showgroud. Always a most enjoyable event. Unfortunately cancelled for 2016 as it clashes with a major event in London on the same day, (2nd June) involving the massed Bands and Bugles of The Rifles on Horse Guards Parade . Included are the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas, the Band of The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, the Quirinus Band and Bugle Corps and ACF Bands and Bugles from Somerset and Durham
August. VJ Day was marked with a Service in Taunton at which the Branch was represented. The evening concert organised by Taunton RBL was also attended but was a damp squib and poorly supported by the local population.
July. We were delighted that Scott and Jenny McBryde and Roy and Val Watkins came down from Stroud to join us at our quarterly Branch meeting. They are true ambassadors for the association, always ready to support.
September. As guests of the Taunton sapper we travelled to the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. It coincided with the Northern Ireland Veterans annual Reunion. We laid a wreath at the RGBW memorial and stood for a minutes silence at which the exhortation was spoken. Members were pleased to see that the badges on the memorial have now been outlined in black making them more visible to the eye. On the same day a number of our members attended the Junior Soldiers Reunion at Topsham Barracks, Exeter and had a great day. Mike Kemish represented the Branch at the Bournemouth Brandywine Lunch.
October. 23rd October saw 24 from the Branch at Windsor for the Regimental Commemoration making the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Loos and the 70th Anniversary of the end of WW2. Held in the presence of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH the Duke of Gloucester. It was a well organised day and much enjoyed. No doubt much more will be reported on the event elsewhere in this edition.
Yours truly was taken completely by surprise at our quarterly meeting when a well-kept secret came to light. Totally unknown to me our members had planned to mark my 80th birthday. I was presented with a very nice clock embossed with Back Badge, a card signed by all and a beautiful cake baked for me by Tisha Ladds. My grateful thanks to everyone.