The Gunner Newsletter….

 · The Gunners ·Newsletter – October 2021  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 like to receive them. Please ensure that you have permission to share information and images.
The Gunners Message from the Royal Artillery Association Secretary  Captain Allan Solly  I feel very privileged to be invited to write the introduction to September’s Edition of the Royal Artillery Association Newsletter. As most of the government’s Covid-19 restrictions are now being lifted, I hope that many of you can return to something closer to a normal life.  Not just for work but, more importantly, for your home and family life.  At the Regimental Headquarters we recently congratulated Colonel Matthew Carter on receiving a Home Command’s Commendation presented by Brig Potts, Head of Arms and Service. See more details below. It is great to see that many of our Branches have commenced face-to-face meetings and social events and I look forward to resuming my programme of Branch visits in the near future. If you would like me to attend any event your Branch is organising, please simply contact me at: event that makes me very proud to have had organised was our annual Royal Artillery Service of Remembrance which took place at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire on Saturday 3rd July.  Once again and within Covid restrictions, the event attracted a large crowd.  The underlying theme for this years’ service was the emergence from government restrictions and emphasising the role and traditions of the RAA and was conducted by the Venerable Stephen Robbins CB, Honorary Chaplain to the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Music for the service was provided by The Lancashire Artillery Band and Pipes and Drums, 103 Regt RA, under the direction of their DoM, Major Guy Booth, and excellent they were too.  A full report follows.Looking forward to the rest of 2021, we are holding the RAA AGM online via Zoom conference on 30th September.  Details have already been circulated to Regional and Branch representatives via email.Gunner Sunday at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea will take place on 24 October 2021, and you will find the details below. In November the Royal Regiment will be holding the annual Ceremony of Remembrance at Hyde Park Corner on Sunday 14th. You are all invited to join in this very moving event so look out for more details coming to Branches by email and on our website. If you wish to book seats, then please contact Lt Col Andy Astbury at: we are now fully in the grips of autumn, Christmas isn’t far away.  It’s never too early to order your Christmas cards.  They are now on sale and details are in this newsletter and in Gunner magazine.Now would be a very timely reminder to all Regional Reps, Branch Chairmen and Treasurers to ensure that your Annual Returns and Summary of Accounts arrive at Artillery House on time.  Defaulters are identified by the accountants and result in adverse comments in their report.I would like to thank Cas for keeping us all informed via this newsletter and through the RAA website.  Please, can I ask you all to help Cas by sending in Branch news and other interesting items for inclusion. Well done Cas!Lastly, I remind you all that if you or another member of the Gunner family is in need of support, the RACF is on hand to help. They provide an update in Gunner and on FaceBook.  If you or someone you know needs help, please speak to someone today.  Contact SSAFA on 0800 731 4880 or the RBL on 0808 802 8080.  Email the RACF at or telephone Welfare Assistant 0300 167 3998 or Welfare Secretary 0300 158 7035.I wish you all the very best.Allan Solly                                                                                           Congratulations to the Regimental Secretary Warmest congratulations to Colonel Matthew Carter, Regimental Secretary on receiving The Commander Home Command’s Commendation from the Head of Arms & Services, Brigadier Potts.  On behalf of the Charities, thank you for your support to the Gunner family. Master Gunner St James’s Park Please click on the recent links of correspondence from Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory KBE CB DL,  Master Gunner St James’s Park.Afghanistan and Royal Regiment of Artillery – 31 August 2021 Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery on the 150th Anniversary of their Formation – 1 August 2021  · Events ·Please monitor the RAA website and facebook page for any further information and event updates.Forecast of Events 2021/22 Service of Remembrance – National Memorial Arboretum3rd July 2021  On Saturday 3rd July the Royal Artillery Association held the RA Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum. Despite being restricted by Covid limitations, around 240 people attended on the day.  Although not all could personally join in each part of the event, representatives from RHQ RA, serving regiments, veterans and their families enjoyed their first gathering for 17 months.The Honorary Chaplain of the RAA, the Ven Stephen Robbins, led the service and wreath-laying ceremony.    Following a most fitting service in the Chapel, at which Brig Mark Pountain, Chairman RAA, read the Lesson, Col Matthew Carter, Regt Sec recited the Royal Artillery Commemoration and the Standard of Wrexham Branch RAA was dedicated.  After the service, we moved to the RA Memorial Garden where Brig Pountain and Col Samantha Shepherd, Regt Col, led the Wreath Laying service and WO1 (RASM) Richard Mealand recited the Ode of Remembrance.Throughout the whole event, Mr Jimmy Young, our National Standard Bearer, organised a further 23 Standards in a manner that added a splendid pageantry to a day that threatened, but didn’t produce rain.The event was, once again, superbly supported by members of the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers Band with Pipes and Drums, conducted by Maj Guy Booth, DoM, who appeared by kind permission of the Commanding Officer 103rd Regt RA.The event was a great success and we look forward to holding the Service again next year with more people and less restrictions. Video – RA Service of Remembrance Sunset Ceremony Thank you to the RAA and RHA Standard Bearers who attended the Sunset Ceremony held at Larkhill on Tuesday 14th September 2021. A splendid evening and generous hospitality. Gunner Sunday24th October 2021 Gunner Sunday at the Royal Hospital Chelsea will take place on Sunday 24th October 2021. Branches and Regiments are strongly encouraged to send representatives and bring along their friends and relatives.  In order to gain an idea of numbers attending please inform the RAA Assistant Secretary.     Event Info RA Ceremony of Remembrance The RA Ceremony of Remembrance will be held at Hyde Park Corner on Sunday 14th November 2021. Event Info · RAA Branch News ·Lewes  Branch Members of Lewes Branch had a stand at the Armed Forces Day in Eastbourne on 26th June.  The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex reviewed the parade and presented EAFD 2021 lapel pins. Lewes Branch met on Saturday 28th August for a RAA Games Evening.  A great turnout, good food and lots of fun. Wycombe  BranchWycombe Branch held their Summer BBQ on Saturday 24th July 2021 at Wycombe Marsh RBL Club, it was very well attended with Allan (RAA) and Cath Solly as guests.   The event had live music, fun and games, and raised £134 for Branch funds.  A great day was had by all and the weather was kind on the day. Salisbury BranchMembers of Salisbury RAA Branch met up on Saturday 24th July 2021 for a BBQ and game of boules, they were joined by the BSM and members of 18 Battery, 32 Regiment Royal Artillery and guests; Cas (RAA) and Cliff Thoburn.  It was fun afternoon and a competition between the two groups, well done to the Serving Regiment who won the game. Scottish Region RAA Members from across the Scottish Region came together recently for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic to undertake a guided tour of military memorials in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. This informative tour was conducted by Craig Blaney, chairman of the Edinburgh Branch RAA and culminated with food and drinks in the Scots Guards Club. The occasion presented the opportunity to return some kind of normality and although government guidelines still apply particularly inside the club this in no way deterred the members from enjoying getting together once again. One of the memorials visited was of particular interest as it was not only gunner related it also is a symbol of hope, trust and the overcoming challenges to survive in life. The memorial in question was that of Wojtek the soldier bear who was an inspiration during and after WW2. His story is as follows;WOJTEK THE SOLDIER BEARIn the spring of 1942 following the release of Polish prisoners and deportees in the labour camps in Siberia, a new Polish Army was formed in the Middle East under the command of the British – Polish 2 Crop. The Polish soldiers came across a little bear, who had been orphaned following the death of his mother by hunters, and he was traded to the soldiers by a shepherd boy who kept the bear in a sack.The bear would be adopted by 22nd Transport Company Artillery Division and given the name Wojtek.As the Polish Army prepared to enter the war zone in Italy during 1943, the problem confronting the Polish soldiers was the question of Wojtek’s status. Animals were not permitted to accompany the army during the fighting. By giving the bear his own pay book, rank and serial number there would be no question that he was on the list of soldiers. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek was on a gun position, where he was seen moving boxes ammunition close to the truck he was chained to. Always inquisitive and willing to copy what the soldiers were doing; he began picking up the boxes and moving towards the guns. The sounds of gunfire did not concern him, and he displayed courage in his willingness to participate in the action. After the battle, the official badge of the 22nd Transport Company became a likeness of Wojtek holding a shell. This symbol appeared on vehicles, pennants and on the uniforms of the soldiers.The war ended in May 1945 and the Polish soldiers were eventually sent across Europe to Berwick Upon Tweed in England where they stayed at Winfield Camp. As the soldiers went through a process of demobilization, they would say goodbye to Wojtek, many knowing that they would never see him again since their journeys would take them to distant parts of the globe. Wojtek found a home at Edinburgh Zoo where he became a popular attraction with many visitors including ex-Polish servicemen who would talk to him in their language.His death in 1963 was met with sadness from those who knew him, and it was reported in newspapers and radio stations.His exploits and adventures have not been forgotten with numerous written accounts, memorials, and statues. There is also statue of him in Duns and two further statues in Poland.In a time when Polish soldiers had lost their country to the Nazis and later to the Communists, Wojtek became a symbol which the soldiers were proud of, themselves knowing that they would not soon return to a free homeland. He became part of the history of the Polish Armed forces in the Second World War and his legacy will endure.Regarding 22nd Transport Company, on March 4, 2014, the Company traditions were taken over and honoured by the Logistics Battalion of the 5th Lubuskie Artillery Regiment in Sulechów.Jim KinlochChairman, Scottish Region RAA North West Region Mini Assembly The NW Mini Assembly took place on 27-29 August 2021 at The Palace Hotel, Buxton. Seventy people from the North West RAA gathered for the AGM and a great weekend was enjoyed by all. Brigadier M N Pountain CBE, Chairman RAA presented Certificates of Appreciation to members of Widnes Branch and also presented Harry Heatley from Aigburth-Merseyside Branch with the NW Standard and trophy after the Standard Bearer’s Competition. The Regimental Colonel, Colonel S J Shepherd MBE ADC sent an electronic address to the Assembly which was appreciated by all present, Colonel M G J Carter Regimental Secretary & Chief Executive RAA gave a presentation on the RAA, Lieutenant Colonel TJ Fox RA, Commanding Officer of 103 Regiment RA gave a presentation on the reserve regiments activities and involvement in ongoing operations. Last but by no means least, Major R Davies who is well known to us gave a comprehensive update since he last joined us at the Assembly. This was followed by a Gala dinner in the evening and a disco which everyone enjoyed, and promising to attend again next year 2022. West Lothian BranchWest Lothian Branch RAA held their first post Covid Gunner breakfast on Sunday 5th September 2021 at Military Museum Scotland, Wilkieston West Lothian.The event was hosted by Ian Inglis, owner of MMS and branch member. In attendance were members of West Lothian, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Fife Branches and the Secretary of the Scottish Region, Nicholla Brunt and the District Gunner Edinburgh Castle, Dave Beveridge also came to enjoy breakfast with us. ·RAA Annual Return & Summary of Accounts· For those Branches who want to make a start on their Annual Return and Summary of Account for 2021, the forms can be downloaded from the website. Summary of Accounts – Required by 31 January 2022Annual Return (with nominal roll) – Required by 31 March 2022Download Forms · The Royal Artillery Charitable Fund ·RACF Welfare Team Quarterly ReportJune, July and August tend to be our quietest months and this year was no exception. We helped 152 of our Regimental family with £125,300 in grants to support them when they needed financial help. Our veterans often request help with household goods, we awarded over £16,000 to those who didn’t have the money to buy essential items such as cookers, washing machines, carpets and beds. If any of our veterans come to us asking for funding for a new TV we don’t help but we do suggest The Not Forgotten Association as they support veterans with funding for TVs and TV licences. Sadly, we awarded over £13,000 to those who needed help with funeral costs for loved ones. We also help many with household arrears such as rent and utility arrears. Over £12,000 was awarded to help some of our veterans keep a roof over their heads or to help with utility arrears. If any of our veterans or veteran dependants are over pensionable age and are struggling with day to day living expenses, we can award Annual Grants to help. During the last 3 months we have awarded over £27,000 in annual grants to support some of our aging family members. If you know of any member of our Regimental family that needs our support and help, please pass on our details. They can call SSAFA on 0800 731 4880, the Royal British Legion on 0808 802 8080 or contact us on either 0300 167 3998 or 0300 158 7035. We can be contacted by email:  Please don’t hesitate, help could be on its way.We would love to share this heartfelt thank you from our Gunner veteran Ged shown in the picture benefitting from our grant.Hi, I just want to express my very grateful thanks to you and the Gunners for your generous contribution towards my mobility scooter hoist.
I would have sent this last week but my SSAFA case officer has had a week off and I have only just been given your contact information. Please know that this will help enormously to afford me some quality of life. I have been confined to my armchair (receiving palliative care at home) for 14 hours a day almost 14 months. I recently managed to purchase a used mobility scooter and that has changed my life. I am now able to move around my garden and I look forward to being able to get back out into society when I am able to load the scooter onto my car.
Thank you once more, all best wishes, Ged Layfield (24082359 Bdr Layfield late 25 Light Regt RA )How We Help · The Gunner Lottery ·Gunner Lottery is for the benefit of the Gunner charities and replaced the RAA Annual Draw.   The hope is that the Lottery can raise much needed funds and raise awareness of the good work done by the Royal Artillery charities. Thank you to everyone who supports the Lottery and congratulations to the winners each week.  Good luck in future Draws. 3 Digits: You’ll win 5 Entries into the next Draw4 Digits: £25 Cash Prizie5 Digits: £1,000 Cash Prize6 Digits: £25,000  Cash Prise 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  · Regimental News ·Thank you very much for your continued support and fundraising for the Gunner Charities.   Bronze Medal, Tokyo OlympicsCongratulations to Boxer Gunner Karriss Artingstall who won a Bronze Medal at the  Olympics in the women’s featherweight ranks in Tokyo.  Fundraising for your Charity The Charities use Enthuse as their fundraising platform.  If you are fundraising for the RACF/RAA or supporting the Charity with individual donations, please click here to donate or to set up a fundraising page.  The Cornwall CupThe Cup is awarded to the Regiment or establishment that raises the most funds for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund (RACF).  The total amount of money raised in 2020 for the RACF was £35,258.82 and to raise these funds during a year where activity has been significantly reduced is most commendable.  Thank you very much for supporting your Charity.  29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery  At 0400 hrs on 5th July 2021, 4 members from the 29 Commando Workshop ran a 40 mile route from Okehampton Battle Camp to the Royal Citadel, Plymouth in only …… 7 hours 36 mins.  A big thank you for raising funds for the RACF and the REME and supporting your regimental charities.  14 Regiment Royal Artillery Major Glyn Forster, BC 34 Bty presented the RACF with a cheque for £852.00. Glyn ran the ultra marathon, Race to the Stones in July covering the distance of 62 miles from Lewknor, Oxfordshire to Avebury, Wiltshire. Thank you thinking of the RACF, your donation is very much appreciated and valued. Young Officers’ Course 224 A warm welcome to the Royal Regiment of Artillery and thank you for thinking of your Charity, the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund.   On Friday 23rd July 2021 the Course organised RSA 101 Challenge, a non standard triathlon, completing 101 KM in 15 hours.  Running, rowing and cycling on static equipment in the gym, raising a fantastic £605.00.   5th Regiment Royal Artillery Challenge complete – Heimdall Cup is awarded to the winning Troop and Sub-Unit for raising the most funds, the winners for 2020/21 are A Troop 4/73 Battery raising a total raising a total of £1,907 and the Sub Unit is 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery raising £3,750. A HUGE thank you to everyone who took part in the ultra marathon’s, Race to the Coast, Cycle Coast to Coast, rowing, cycling ,and running – taking part in challenging activities with your comrades that require physical and mental strength.   Your efforts are truly admired and we have enjoyed following your journey on Facebook.  Congratulations #Team5th.     Did you serve with 32 Regt RA or 47 Regt RA? Sgt Steve Blurton is a Watchkeeper Unmanned Air System Pilot serving with 47 Regiment RA. He is keen to connect with ex members of the Regiment who served within an Aviation environment for the Gunners, in particular those who worked with Pheonix and Hermes 450. If you are interested, contact  ·RA Historical Society· Military History WebinarsThe RA Historical Society arranges Zoom On-Line Webinars for its members on Gunner military history subjects. If you would like a copy of the Back Catalogue with links to the You Tube recordings of webinars held in the last 12 Months,  please contact the RAHS Secretary.If you wish to attend the webinar event below please contact the RAHS Secretary, Lt Col Richard Clayton: Royal Artillery Association Battery Grants One of the charitable objects of the Association is to promote comradeship, fostering esprit de corps and preserving traditions.  Each year the Association makes funds available to Batteries in the form of annual grants to help fund Battery events, improve conditions for members of the Battery and their dependants.Find out more information from or through your chain of command. 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. 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 Emma Pagan-Skelley on 01980 845895 or Emma’s email for further details .   · Community and Companionship ·
The RA Charities can keep you in touch with the Regimental FamilyJoin Your Association Here ·Regimental Christmas Cards·Please complete the order form for the Christmas cards in the September edition of GUNNER magazine, via the website and social media pages. For enquiries please email or for further information.  ·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.  · Gunner & Journal of the Royal Artillery ·Further details to subscribe to the GUNNER and/or Royal Artillery Journal can be found hereThe GUNNER magazine is now available on line via the website, please click on the button below to view the recent issue.GUNNER     Share  Tweet  Share  Forward Copyright © Royal Artillery Association 2014. Registered Charity No: 238197. Artillery House, Royal Artillery Barracks, Larkhill, Wilts SP4 8QTYou’re receiving this email because you signed up on our website Preferences  |  Unsubscribe