· The Gunners ·
Newsletter – February 2020
Welcome to the The Royal Artillery Charities newsletter. This is where you can keep right up to date with all the Regimental Family’s news and information.
If you have any news for the Gunner website or the Newsletter from your regiments, branches, districts and regions we would love to receive them. Please ensure that you have permission to share information and images.
· Message from the Association Secretary – Captain Allan Solly ·
This year the RA Association celebrates its 100th Anniversary. Since 1920 we have been providing quality support to Gunner veterans and serving soldiers and are proud of what we have achieved.
The RA Association has a long and prominent history.
The Royal Artillery Association was created on 26th May 1920 to form a ‘Gunner Friend’ network in every part of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth thereby establishing a bond of comradeship irrespective of rank between all artillerymen and to maintain our proud traditions. It was also designed to watch over and help those in need or distress and maintain contact with old comrades. Her Majesty The Queen is Patron.
Comradeship is mainly fostered through regular meetings of branches, where members get together for a meeting to plan activities and to discuss life and to watch over members and their dependants who are in need. Branches vary in size and composition but sadly membership is on the decline as latter generations seem less eager to seek comradeship with old friends.
All operational Batteries are branches and soldiers and officers are automatically members. Each branch (where possible) is affiliated to a Regular or Reserve Battery which is either local or in their recruiting area in order to encourage links between the serving soldiers and the retired Gunners, re-enforcing the Gunner Family ties. There are branches throughout England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are also Branches in Germany, Australia, Bermuda and South Africa.
Through these quarterly newsletters and its social media, Artillery House promotes various central activities of the Royal Artillery Association. Such activities include the Annual Assembly held at Blackpool where there is a weekend of parties and fun combined with the AGM, the annual Remembrance Services at the Hyde Park Memorial in November and at the National Memorial Arboretum, Lichfield in Staffordshire where we lay wreaths to fallen Artillerymen and women in our Gunner Garden. We celebrate St Barbara’s Day (our Patron Saint) each year at Larkhill.
For many years before World War II the headquarters was based in Artillery House in Earls Court, London. Moves during its history included The Common then Connaught Barracks, the old Royal Artillery Academy and the Front Parade all in Woolwich before moving to Larkhill in late 2005 to co-locate with the Director Royal Artillery’s staff.
Branches play a key role in welfare and indeed most branches still have welfare officers. It is our members who seek out those in need and distress and informed the Artillery Welfare Charities who provided the necessary benevolence. Comradeship is still a vital part of the Regimental Family though it does become more difficult to encourage the younger retired soldiers to join. The Royal Artillery Association is at the heart of the retired regiment and very supportive of the operational serving regiments.
· RAA Assistant Secretary – Cas Thoburn ·
A big hello, my name is Cas and I am delighted to have taken over from Sarah. You might be thinking, I’ve heard that name before……
I worked for ten years alongside Ian Vere Nicoll at the RACF, before taking a break as the Assistant Bursar at a local school. I have arrived at a special time as you celebrate the Association’s 100th Year. Having recently visited the National Memorial Arboretum and Blackpool, I can confirm preparations are well underway for events taking place this year, which will be superb and I look forward to meeting you all.
Do keep in touch with me with any articles for the Gunner website and Newsletters to promote our Charity with events, reunions and fundraising. Please note, my email address has changed to RAA-Asstsec@artycen.ra.mod.uk
· Events ·
The Spring Dinner 2020 will be held at the RA Mess, Larkhill on Friday 24 April at 7.00 pm for 7.30 pm. The dinner will take the form of a Ladies’ Guest Night and is open to officers of the Royal Regiment, serving and retired, and their guests.
Dress for serving officers in Mess Dress (ceremonial) and black tie with decorations for retired officers.
The Royal Artillery Assembly is an event that is not to be missed this year. Last year over 500 friends gathered at the Grand Gala Dinner, and this year we celebrate our 100th Birthday, additional entertainment has been booked to make the event extra special. As tradition dictates, we hold the Standard Bearers Competition and hope many of our Branches will enter their standards again this year.
To book this event please follow this link to our website to down your booking forms.
Gunner Sunday – 26 April 2020
The Royal Artillery Association will conduct a Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum. Following the Service there will be wreath laying at the Royal Artillery Memorial Garden. Branches and Regiments are welcome to lay their own wreaths during this service.
· The Royal Artillery Charitable Fund ·
The Regt Sec, Chairman, RASM, RABSM and the Welfare Secretary recently visited Royal Hospital Chelsea to have lunch and a chat with the Royal Artillery In-Pensioners.
We Are Here For You
RACF grants and donations for 2019 totalled £675,162; with an average grant of £711.00.
Thank you letter for mobility support
“On behalf of my Mother and Father I’d like to thank you for the assistance that you gave to them. My mother continues to make use of the facilities that were constructed.. Thank you very much”.
Fundraising for your Charity
The Charities revised their fundraising platform last year and we now use Charity Checkout. If you are fundraising for the RACF/RAA or giving the Charity individual donations, please click here
Sergeant Roch Rochester
Koblenz to Arnhem 200 Miles
The road to recovery was helped with the aid of a mountain hand bike from Captain David Seath RA Memorial Fund. This allowed Roch to enjoy time with this children out on the trails of Dartmoor but also the training to take part in the cycle challenge organised by BLESMA from Koblenz to Arnham – a challenge of 200 miles.
Huge congratulations to Roch on completing the cycle ride on 20th September 2019 and he was delighted to be supported by fellow mates from 7th Para RHA to cheer him on at the finish line.
‘….without the funding to get the bike that fitted me and my requirements from David’s Memorial Fund. The years of building myself up to the point as to where I am now and the help from many military charities including the Royal Artillery Association this would have been a bridge too far……’
· Branch News ·
Colchester and North Essex Branch
On Saturday 26th October Colchester and North Essex Branch RAA held their own Octoberfest in the garden of members Terri Sawkins and her partner Dave Spicer.
The night was a great success with most people dressing up as requested. Despite being wet and chilly the evening went well with Bratwurst and German beer being downed with relish. The night went with an extra swing as the local Bavarian Bratwurst Stall run by Paul and Charmaine Hedges provided all the rolls, sauces plus paper plates and serviettes free of charge to show their gratitude and thanks to the Armed Forces and Veterans for all they have done for our Country.
A copy of the attached photo is being presented to Paul and Charmaine as a token of our thanks and a letter of acknowledgement for their kindness will be given by the Branch Chairman and members.
This also helped our members to recognise the appreciation felt by people and businesses from Colchester and the surrounding area for the passed and present members of the Royal Artillery family.
· Regimental News ·
103rd Regiment RA
Royal Artillery Officers’ Association and 103rd Regt RA honour Saint Barbara.
The Royal Artillery Officers’ Association and 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment RA held their traditional annual Saint Barbara’s Dinner at the Brigadier Philip Toosey Army Reserve Centre, Aigburth, Liverpool on Saturday 30th November 2019.
Lieutenant General Professor Sir Edmund Burton presided. Principal guests included Brigadier Mark Pullan, Commander 1st Artillery Brigade, who gave an update on the Royal Regiment of Artillery and proposed the traditional toast ‘Saint Barbara and the Royal Regiment’, Mr David Briggs, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr Paul Griffiths, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Major Sylvia Parkin, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of The West Midlands who responded to the toast ‘Our Guests’, Dr Nicholas Jedynakiewicz Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside and Brigadier Bill Kingdon, Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. 2Lt Luke Willers recounted the story how St. Barbara became the Gunners’ Patron Saint.
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Reade, Commanding Officer of 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery read the response from Buckingham Palace to the Loyal Message sent to Her Majesty The Queen, Captain-General, Royal Artillery. After giving the ’State of the union’ review of the regimental year, he proposed the toast of ‘Our Guests’. The President made his closing address after receiving a presentation photograph from the Chairman, Colonel Michael Taylor to mark his standing down after nine years in office. His successor will be the Honorary Colonel, Brigadier Bill Kingdon. The programme of music was provided by The Band of the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers, and the Pipes and Drums of the Regiment directed by Captain Guy.
· Awards/Grants ·
Joan Wanklyn Award
The Joan Wanklyn Memorial prize is a bursary to be presented each year by the Royal Artillery Association in memory of Miss Joan Wanklyn who was, for many years, our Regimental Artist. The Bursary comprises a cheque of £500 is to be presented at the RA Assembly in May 2020.
Applications are open to the sons, daughters and grandchildren of Serving or Retired members of the Regiment, regardless of rank or station, who have reached the tertiary stage of education and are in or about to begin their first year of a course at a recognised College or University to study art in its broader form. Contact Jenny McGrath on 01980 845788 for further details. Applications are requested by ASAP
· Veterans New RailCard ·
Military veterans will get cut-price train travel to help boost job prospects and bring them closer to family and friends, with a new railcard on sale from Armistice Day, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on 22 January 2020.
For more information click here
· Community and Companionship ·
Looking out for our Own