It is inevitable that attempts to keep members abreast of the changes within the running of the Rifles and RGBW Association will not have reached everyone.
The migration of contact details of our membership from the Rifles Database to our newly appointed volunteer Association Secretary post has not been as successful as one would have wished.
We are persevering and making good progress. Meanwhile some individuals wish to remain hidden and consequently one will always struggle to make contact. It is hoped the issues raised below go some way to informing all on important points.
Most will be aware that the Rifles County office at Salisbury has closed. The subsequent move of manpower from Salisbury to Winchester saw Sue Nelmes becoming the initial focal point for RGBW matters at Winchester. Furthermore, Lesley Bradshaw’s departure from Gloucester in May 2017, resulted in Debbie Hards at Taunton taking on many issues relating to Gloucestershire and Bristol. The Taunton office continues to run such matters while the Rifles office in Gloucester is preparing for closure at the end of March 2018.
Our regimental museums maintain those close links to our former regiments and are ideal havens for those wishing to reminisce. The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and Archives will remain at the Custom House (see the web site www.soldiersofglos.com ) , run by their own Independent Charitable Trust. For those not aware the Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum at the Wardrobe, Salisbury is also run by an Independent Charitable Trust (see web site www.thewardrobe.org.uk ).
Sue Nelmes leaves MOD employment at the end of October 2017 and Tim Lerwill departs at the end of the year. These departures take place at a time when the MOD must reduce its Civil Service numbers and Regimental Headquarters are having to bear their share of the reduction. The subsequent reduction in Rifles Offices is leading to a geographical realignment and change. It may seem alien to some but reduced manpower within Regimental Headquarters must be focused primarily on the serving regiment. You may wish to be aware The Rifles now organise regional matters in the following way:
• South West and West – contiguous with 6 RIFLES, covering Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.
• North & Midlands – contiguous with the newly formed 8 RIFLES, covering Durham, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Shropshire.
• London & South – contiguous with 7 RIFLES covering Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and London
Replacing Lesley and Sue, will be a volunteer Association Secretary, presently Mike Godwin. Whilst the Association may be able to provide him with IT and equipment to carry out this role, he is a volunteer and therefore like all of us will have limited time per day to devote to the task.
In the past the Association has produced an Annual Newsletter where events of the past year have been recorded, future events publicised, with their respective calling notices, and articles published on historical actions of our antecedent regiments. The newsletter was produced between the two County offices with full time staff which included their time and resources. A volunteer Secretary will not have the wherewithal to commit to such an undertaking, however what it proposed is that a monthly newssheet is produced and distributed electronically as well as being placed on the Association web site and social media. It still has to be resolved how to distribute to those not using IT based communications. Local branches may well be able to assist in this aspect.
Because of the motion carried at the EGM held in March, the Association has created an intermediary committee level which will assume the responsibility of organising those Association Reunions held in each County. Therefore, Gloucestershire County Committee (County Chairman - Lt Col DR Dixon OBE; Secretary - Dartagnan Griffin) will co-ordinate the Back-Badge Reunion; Berkshire County Committee (County Chairman – Lt Col RB Paddison MBE DL; Secretary – Peter Richens) will co-ordinate the Maiwand Reunion and the Wiltshire County Committee (County Chairman - Lt Col SJ Venus MBE; Secretary - David Fielding) will co-ordinate the Salisbury Reunion.
Articles to be included in the Rifles Regimental Journal (The Bugle), will be called for by the Rifles Taunton Office (Lt Col MJR Motum and Debbie Hards) will act as the sub editor’s office. Articles will appear under the headings of our three counties.
Whilst on the matter of web sites, it will be natural for members to gravitate towards their Regimental web sites and a votes of thanks are due to Phil Miller and Jim Waterfall for running the respective sites (www.glosters.org and www.derr-farmersboys.org ) and keeping the link between members going. Cross linking and providing hyperlinks to each other’s sites can ensure we spread the message further afield
For the Association to maintain it success communication to and from the members is vital. As we transit from a support system of paid staff to a single volunteer post we will have to embrace both the modern and traditional means of passing on news to each other. So, may I ask, if you know of an Association member who does not use computers to pass this information on.
Thank you for your time and patience.