· The Gunners ·
Newsletter – September 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.
· RAA Assistant Secretary – Cas Thoburn ·
I think it is fair to say we have all made changes to our routines, socialising with close friends and family and last minute changes to holidays since March have become normal. At the time of writing, we have just passed the 200 days milestone since COVID began to impact our lifestyles, but we are a resilient bunch and continue to make the best of this difficult situation.
The Charities have implemented a split working pattern, where we work from home and come into work on a shift rota. Our teams continue to support you throughout this pandemic and if you require assistance from the Charity please do not hesitate to get in touch. If you know someone who needs our help, please contact us. We are here for you.
Regrettably we had to cancel the Royal Artillery Assembly that was already rescheduled to be held in October; along with national and local events planned for the latter part of year, which continue to be affected by government restrictions. A good way to keep in touch with the Association is via the website and our facebook group for news, updates on events and information. The Regiment recently commemorated VJ Day on 15th August with Master Gunner St James’s Park addressing us all via video and as a nation we said goodbye to the forces sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn, who passed away aged 103, and gave us hope through her songs and continues to do so today. The photographs below is when Dame Vera Lynn visited Larkhill in 2005 hosted by Colonel Tom Fleetwood, COS DRA. Keith Brigstock arranged the 93rd Searchlight Regiment RA reunion , the only all-female Regiment in the Army’s history.
Advertised in this edition of the newsletter we continue to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Artillery Association with a special commemorative coaster gift set that you can purchase and we have also advertised the Charity Christmas card order form.
Please do keep in touch with me with any articles for the Gunner website and Newsletters to promote our Charity with events, reunions and fundraising. My email address is RAA-Asstsec@artycen.ra.mod.uk I can also be contacted on my working from home email, CasRAA@outlook.com. Best wishes to you all.
· Events ·
It is with regret we had to cancel the Royal Artillery Assembly that was already rescheduled to be held in October and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. COVID 19 is still a very real threat, the UK Government and MoD policy guidelines are constantly being reviewed, almost on a daily basis. We continue to monitor events and liaise with the organisers, adhering to their advice for the safety of our community and the public.
Hyde Park Corner – attendance at the Cenotaph this year will be greatly reduced. At Hyde Park Corner there will be wreath laying, but this is not open to the public. We will advise you if the circumstances change.
St Barbara’s Day – with the current government restrictions in place, further details will follow on this event.
· The Royal Artillery Charitable Fund ·
We Are Here For You
The RACF Welfare Grants Team have continued to work remotely since lock down began. During this period we have awarded £228,172 in Welfare Grants to serving and veteran members of our regimental family. Supporting those that are struggling to pay for items that they need, is our way of paying back for the service they have given us. Throughout this period we have seen a constant need for support and we have assisted 338 of our regimental family to get through some difficult periods. The biggest category where help was needed was with household goods and we awarded over £42,500 for this. Annual Grants amounted to £41,100 and over £28,300 in help was offered to those with mobility needs. We understand that when assistance is needed it is important to get the funds processed quickly to the individual. We continue to make decisions quickly and grants are awarded within 3 working days.
If you become aware of a member of the Gunner family in need, in the first instance please contact SSAFA (0800 731 4880 or, from the SSAFA website, by email or web chat) or the RBL. They can access funds not just from regimental charities but from the wider service charities such as ABF. If however they are unable to make a timely response, please contact the welfare team using their ‘working from home’ email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will liaise with the other agencies to release funds where there is an urgent need. The team now has a mobile number and can be contacted on 07784 952882 during office hours. Please don’t suffer alone.
· The Gunner Lottery ·
Gunner Lottery was launched last year for the benefit of the Gunner charities. The hope is that the Lottery can raise much needed funds and raise awareness of the good work done by the Royal Artillery charities.
You can take part as an individual or syndicate; Battery, Regiment or RAA Branch. You could be in with a chance of winning the top prize of £25,000 each week.
The Draw takes place every Friday.
JOIN TODAY Gunner Lottery
· Branch News ·
75th Anniversary of VJ Day
Jim Baker NW Regional Rep and Dave Clayton NW Region Standard Bearer commemorating the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day at the Stockport War Memorial on the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day.
We feel so honoured and blessed that The Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, The Very Revd Dr Robert Willis conducted a service of commemoration in the shadows of our giant Canterbury Horse to remember animals in war and animals in need. It was ahead of the first National Animal Day and was organised by our wonderful Ambassador for Kent, John Bishop. He was joined by other members of the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Artillery Association( RAA), Peter Hughes, Douglas Kay, Dennis Gabb and Joe Correa and wives and partners. John tells us a vote of thanks to the Cathedral is in order especially to Emma Clarke (events) and the Dean and Canon Treasurer, The Reverend Andrew Dodd, who were happy to support at short notice. “ I also want to thank the ladies of the Branch for the giant knitted purple poppy wreath, which they made by sewing together dozens of small poppies they had made. It was a windy day but we managed to pin the wreath on our majestic wooden horse. Over eight million horses died during WW1, of which many travelled through Kent on their way to the continent, so we feel this service of Commemoration was very apt and fitting.”
The Canterbury Horse was created as a result of a partnership between Canterbury School of Visual Arts at Canterbury College and Canterbury Cathedral, and collaborative working between students, academics and the technical and engineering departments. It has been gifted to War Horse Memorial and we have big plans to include it in our future campaigns.
ONCE A GUNNER, ALWAYS A GUNNER….
Frank was born in 1897 and lived in the village of Mulbarton, South Norfolk. He was one of 4 children. At the age of 13 he worked as a messenger boy and went on to become a Nurseryman until February 1916 when, after applying to join the RHA, he was accepted and mobilised in August of that year, aged 18.
Frank served with the British Expeditionary Force in France from 1916-1919 and also served in Germany. In May 1919 he was moved to W Battery 6th Brigade. In January 1920 he was moved to G Battery (or W Battery was replaced.) He was discharged from service in March 1920 and returned home to Norfolk.
In August of that same year, Frank died in hospital from Subacute Infective Endocarditis and Cerebral Embolism which is believed to have been attributed to his war service, which accounted for his grave to be registered as a war grave.
Frank Barrett was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The Heritage Group in Mulbarton did a survey on the churchyard around 2007/8 and at the time there was nothing on the memorial to suggest Frank’s grave was indeed, a war grave. Research was undertaken and Frank Barrett’s name was discovered on a list on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website. Although his grave was registered as a war grave, Frank had died in 1920, after the war memorial in Mulbarton was commissioned. However, he has now been commemorated on the Roll of Honour.
The gravestone was discovered in a state of great disarray, broken and covered with ivy.
It was difficult for any restoration to be undertaken regarding the grave because, before proceeding, any family of Frank Barrett had to be traced, as they were legally responsible for the grave as originally, the gravestone had been placed there by his family.
Eventually, the Church in Mulbarton was allowed to take responsibility for the grave, in lieu of the family and initially the Parish Council agreed to take on the project. However, due to many other commitments delay seemed inevitable. News of the grave being discovered had reached the Secretary of Norwich Branch Royal Artillery Association and as Frank was a Gunner (and therefore always would be,) he approached the local vicar and offered to become involved in the process of the restoration, on behalf of the RAA, which was agreed. After liaising with firstly, the War Graves Commission, (who could not get involved due to the original gravestone being placed there by family) the Secretary then sourced and subsequently secured a local stonemason, Paul Miles, who very kindly and generously, agreed to take on the project. Paul did a marvellous job, not only in repairing and restoring the gravestone and plinth but also engraving onto the cross, the cap badge of The Royal Horse Artillery as per WW1.
It was initially intended that Frank’s grave and Frank himself would be commemorated with a formal re-dedication within the village’s VE Day celebrations but as these were cancelled, due to the coronavirus outbreak, sadly this could not take place and Paul replaced the gravestone in Mulbarton Churchyard in July of this year, where it now stands fully restored, as a reminder of the great sacrifice, Frank and so many others made for their country.
Frank’s grave is tended by volunteers in the village where he is now, so rightly, being remembered and respected; not only as a son of Mulbarton but also for his war service and as always, honoured as one of our own, in the great ‘family’ of The Royal Artillery.
· Regimental News ·
Thank you very much for your continued support and fundraising for the Gunner Charities.
A HUGE congratulations to Captain Harry Grantham, SO3 Equine Assurance Officer at Headquarters, London District who swam the English Channel on 10 Sep 20 to raise awareness of mental health issues and raise funds for the RACF.
It took Harry a mammoth 16 hrs and 37 minutes to complete the challenge, he has now joined the exclusive club as a fully certified English Channel Swimmer. I am sure you will all agree this is a huge achievement, read Harry’s story at this link and support him if you can. Every donation received helps a solider in need and every bit of awareness could save a life.
47 Regiment Royal Artillery
Over the lock down period members of I0 (Assaye) Battery, 47 Regiment Royal Artillery and their families completed a distance of 2,676 miles from Larkhill to Akrotiri by running, walking, swimming and cycling to fund raise for the RACF. LBdr Hollie Charlton presented a cheque to the Regimental Secretary.
19 Regiment Royal Artillery
To celebrate the Battery’s battle honour on 21 July 2020, 127 (Dragon) Battery, of 19th Regiment Royal Artillery (The Scottish Gunners) undertook a huge challenge. They ran, cycled and swam the distance from Larkhill to the site of the battle of Chinkiang Fu, a total distance of 5,667 miles. The Battery started on 15 Jun and finished their last mile outside the RHQ RA, where they presented the Regimental Secretary with a cheque.
101 Regiment Royal Artillery
A fantastic effort from the Regiment and their families for completing 84 miles, the same length as Hadrian’s Wall, by walking or running around their local areas. Catch up with them on their journey in this fun video sharing their photos, videos and history of their home towns.
105 Regiment Royal Artillery
Congratulations to 105 Regiment Royal Artillery who smashed their target fundraising for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund. In May, members of the Regiment ran 100 miles or cycled 200 miles. The event had 3 objectives: raise money for the RACF, encourage exercise and bring together the Gunner community. We join WO1 (RSM) Stuart Paine on the final day via 105 Regiment RA facebook link who ran over 300 miles as part of the event.
· Fundraising for your Charity ·
The Charities revised their fundraising platform last year and we now use Enthuse. If you are fundraising for the RACF/RAA or giving the Charity individual donations, please click here to donate.
· The Cornwall Cup ·
All donations for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund and Royal Artillery Association go towards winning the Cornwall Cup and must be received by 31 December 2020.Congratulations to 14 Regiment RA who won the Cup in 2019.
Fundraising is vital for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund if we are to keep supporting all our individual cases and our Regiments. As part of the regimental family I hope that the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund, if not already, will become the ‘Charity of first choice’ to all serving Gunners.
The Royal Artillery Charitable Fund and Royal Artillery Association are very grateful to everyone who has fund-raised on behalf of the Charities and for the funds that you have collected so far this year.
· Joan Wanklyn Memorial Prize ·
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 2021. 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.
· RAA Annual Awards ·
The Royal Artillery Association has a number of awards that we give out each year and it is time that you and your branches start to think about that. All of these awards can be found on the website where you can download the forms you need. Here is a list of the most common that you may be thinking about:
- Certificate of Appreciation
- Certificate of Merit
- Royal Artillery Association Medal
- Royal Artillery Association Cup
- Royal Artillery Association Kerr Cup
- Royal Artillery Association Eire Cup
- Ladies Annual Report
If any of these are of interest you then please follow the link below to download the necessary forms.
· Community and Companionship ·
Looking out for our Own
The RA Charities can keep you in touch with the Regimental Family
·RAA 100 Commemorative Coasters·
To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Artillery Association you can purchase a special commemorative coaster gift set. To order, please complete the order form at the attached link or the order form below.
·The Borneo Graveyard 1941-1945·
Twelve years of research and five years of writing has produced my book The Borneo Graveyard 1941-1945. It is officially published but the only outlet is myself in the UK and the publishing house in Kota Kinabalu. Five copies have been sent to the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries in Edinburgh and to the British Library. I am now in the position to promote and sell the book! The book flyer is attached to wet the appetite.
I was hoping to have a book launch in KK in March but C-19 put an end to that. If all goes well, then the Sabah book launch will go ahead in either March or August next year with SABAH UBIQUE. A wish maybe.
The book costs £25 plus £4 UK postage and packaging. Payment is via BACS transfer or a cheque. The book can be signed and dated 15 August 2020 (the date of VJ Day) and personalised for an individual or dedication then please let me know the details.
For further details, please contact John Tulloch – email@example.com