Photo Gallery





RMA Club’s 75th  Anniversary

A few members and committee members of Downs Branch attended the fund raising event at the RMA Club’s 75th  Anniversary Saturday 21st August, a very enjoyable afternoon indeed!

“Grab Shots” from Janet Barkway.































































































COVID! see under other headings especially “VARIOUS”



Branch Christmas Tree at Trinity Church

This years tree was organised by Branch Secretary Sue Andrews and her daughter, the theme chosen was “Lest We Forget” and was decorated with the traditional Red Poppy along with Black Poppies to honour the African and Caribbean contribution and the Purple Poppies to represent the horses and other animals that were sacrificed in the fighting.

Deal Town Mayor Cllr. Eileen Rowbotham admires Sue’s tree.                              Just a few of the 66 trees that were on display for a £2 entry fee, monies raised going to Carer’s Support East Kent, Action For Children and Trinity Church Funds.



Branch Christmas Lunch 5th December

34 members and friends tucked into a splendid meal provided by Sue Cornish and her girls for our Branch Christmas Lunch, the tables were beautifully set with festive napkins, candles and crackers. Edward extended a warm welcome to one and all, said Grace and proposed the Loyal toast. President John Elms thanked everyone for their support and presented our generous table collection to Sue and her staff. Secretary Sue Andrews raffled her splendid homemade cake with other prizes followed by Lydia’s raffle with lovely prizes she had very generously donated, total monies raised for branch funds £100! so many thanks indeed to them both and to you all for supporting the raffles and the event.

Many Thanks to Bob Davies for his super photo’s and to the Elf for NOT dropping in!!



Kaitlin Hudson 13

                                             Kaitlin far right                      


Branch Secretary Sue Andrews and her family were privileged to be invited to the Royal British Legion Poppy Launch at County Hall in Maidstone on 25th October.
Sue’s granddaughter Kaitlin, aged 13, a Poppy ambassador had been asked to make a speech entitled “Why I support the Royal British Legion as a 13 year old”
Mr . Richard Cast, Kent County Chairman, Royal British Legion, welcomed all to the event. Kaitlin was then introduced and began her presentation on how she became involved with the RBL. She said she had started making  poppy broaches whilst at primary school and when she joined her Grammar school the Headteacher was very supportive of her fund raising efforts for the Poppy Appeal and allowed her to sell her homemade cupcakes with all the proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.
Kaitlin went on to speak of her special award given to her by the Swanley, Crockenhill and Hextable branch in recognition of her fund raising efforts for the Poppy Appeal; having been honoured  with a special Community Award by the RBL and had sold cakes at  Hextable for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D. Day. Kaitlin also mentioned that her efforts had earned her a £250 Jack Petchey Award for her Guide group.
Kaitlin spoke of her 4 great grand fathers who had all served in WW11.
Kaitlin concluded her speech by saying that she wholeheartedly believed the positive actions of young people today far outweigh negative stories about them and that young people need to be involved with the RBL. Stories need to be told, remembered and passed onto future generations.
Another young lady, Abigail Ward James spoke of her involvement with the RBL.
The proceedings concluded with the Military Wives Choir singing a selection of songs and Mrs. Ann Allen MBE KCC Chairman giving a short speech about the importance of getting young people involved with the RBL.
The Kohima Epitaph was recited by Mrs. Allen.
Sue was pleased to say that both her daughter and granddaughter Kaitlin are now RBL members and that they joined her at the RBL Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall.



Our Poppy team doing a fabulous job for us as usual to raise funds and awareness of the valuable work the Legion does for veterans of all conflicts and their families. 

Just a few of the many helpers and shop fronts I managed to catch on camera!




At our Branch AGM 4th November John Elms was invested with his Branch President’s Chain of Office and Lydia O’Connor with a token of our appreciation for all her work on the committee.

Bob Davies Photo’s


On Saturday 14th September John & Anny Elms very kindly and generously provided a fabulous buffet and lots of special Fizz to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary. The few photo’s Janet took will give you a small insight into the great time we all had.


                       It had to start somewhere!!!                                                                                     




August 3rd was Deal Memorial Hospital’s Fete Day, the regular crew manned the Poppy Appeal table and raised a very worthy sum of £145 so well done to Mary and her “team”
L -R Sue Andrews, Mary Eldridge PAO (Poppy Area Organiser) Lydia O’Connor & Gwen Boucher.

Bob Davies and Deal Town Mayor Cllr Eileen Rowbotham admire the Poppy Appeal stock.



Friday 12th July saw Janet Barkway presenting The Poppy Field Book to Sandown School. Janet had kindly purchased the book, beautifully inscribed by John Elms, to be presented on behalf of the Downs Branch.

L-R Janet, Malcolm Gibbons, John Elms, Jenny Gibbons and Lydia O’Connor.


John Elms presented a hand drawn map of Malaya and photographs of his Father and Uncle, both served during WW1.

We admired the children’s “Poppy Wall” at the entrance to the school.



Members and friends enjoying a splendid lunch at the RMA Club on Thursday 20th June, photo’s from Bob Davies.



Robert St

I hope you will forgive a little personal indulgence, we found the following information very sad and decided we should commemorate the event in some way, hence we hope the photographs below will explain all.

Edward & Janet


The Downs Branch Christmas Draw organised by Lydia O’Connor held on 12th December was a great success and many lucky winners went home with some fabulous prizes as can be seen in the pictures.

Many thanks indeed to everyone that bought tickets and for all the helpers on the evening.

Chairman Edward won a steam iron which caused a fair bit of amusement!


Gwen ably assisted by Liz, Beverley, Simon and Emily have again done us proud with their Christmas Tree at Trinity Church. This year the theme being “War and Peace” represented by poppies each with picture of a casualty from WW1 in it’s centre and white doves of peace.

This is the eleventh year of the Festival and there were sixty two decorated trees on display including some other than Gwen’s representing remembrance, in fact so many that they over-spilled into the main entrance hall!

The Festival was opened by Deal Town Mayor Cllr Nick Tomaszewska and the choir from Sandown School, members may remember the Branch and the school are now affiliated.

A very warm welcome and opening address from our Town Mayor Nick Tomaszewska

 Visitors applauding the Sandown School Choir’s lovely singing.

                                         “Our” tree or perhaps more accurately “Gwen and her helpers tree”  with the beautifully hand inscribed certificate by John Elms displayed below.

                                                                                    Appropriately topped off with a Dove of Peace.

                                         Janet and school friend Pat admire Gwen and her teams handiwork.

                                          Sandown Schools tree with the Affiliation Certificate below.

                                        Gwen’s tree was not the only one of remembrance.

                                       Not forgetting the terrible suffering of the thousands of horses and other animals.

 Trees trees and even more trees!

                                       All the more enjoyable with gentle music from a lone harpist.

Photo’s Edward.


Christmas is coming!

Liz and Gwen are again this year going to decorate a tree at the Trinity Church Christmas Tree Festival, this is a three day event running from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th December in the Church, Union Rd Deal.

Please come along and show your support!

See poster below for full details!

gallery/2018 poster

(Picture below is from 2016)



Last night 2nd November members Mary Eldridge, Gwen Boucher, Bob Davies, Kath Jarret, Malcolm & Jenny Gibbons, Carol & Colin Munn and Lydia O’Connor along with Ryan Atkins and Mum Marie and yours truly (Edward B) attended a wonderful evening of commemoration and celebration at the Margate Winter Gardens Hall as I hope the following photographs will show.

Band of the Coldstream Guards entertain us before the formal evening begins.

Top table guests include Nation Chairman Terry Whittles, County President Leyland Ridings and Branch President Austin Walker MBE

Army Cadet and Branch Youth member Ryan Atkins proudly carries our Downs Branch Standard. Well done Ryan you did a splendid job for us.

Standards march on, Ryan is midway down the first rank.

Rev John Lines MBE Downs Branch Padre prepares to lead the Service of Remembrance and Dedication.

The Exhortation said by National Chairman Terry Whittles.

Ryan sixth from the right first rank.

John “escorts” the choir off after leading the service of hymns, prayers and poetry.

“Aussie” (with Terry Whittles) giving his farewell address after 37yrs of organising the Festival.

The Band of The Coldstream Guards marching display and Beat Retreat bring the formal evening to a very fitting end.

Kaz entertaining us with WW1 songs and a singalong after the band has has marched off.


Twenty one members travelled by coach to brave the wet and cold weather to the County Centenary Service on Sunday 23rd September to celebrate the ending of The Great War.

                                               Parade of Regimental Colours by The 3rd Battalion The Princes of Wales’s Royal Regiment.                                      

   Music provided by The Salvation Army and The Military Wives choirs of Shorncliffe and Brompton.                                                                                                                                                           Despite the weather we all had a marvellous day of celebration, comradeship and hot chocolate with just a little splash of Ken’s special “additive”!                                                                    Rain! what rain? I can’t feel any!! Branch member Lindsay Thacker in her “designer wellies”

Photo’s with thanks from Janet Barkway & Bob Davies.


Merchant Navy Day 3rd September was well supported by sixteen branch members.        

Many thanks to Bob Davies for his photographs.


GP90 2000 Legion Standards show their respect!

Click this link for full report GP90


Freedom of the Town and Heritage Trail.

The following report was kindly submitted by Paul Atkins Deal Detachment Army Cadet Corps 

Monday 23rd April saw the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, accompanied by a Guard from 42 Commando RM led by Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Charles Stickland OBE back in our town.

To mark the launch the Royal Marines Heritage Trails in Deal and Walmer, as part of local commemorations for the centenary of the 1918 Zeebrugge Raid in which the Royal Marines played a substantial role

The event started at 3pm with a parade, when the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, accompanied by a Guard from 42 Commando RM marched from the Jubilee Gates of the former South Barracks via Dover Road along the Strand to Deal Castle.

They were joined for the launch at 3.30pm on the area between Deal Castle and the seafront by representatives and standards from the SE Region Royal Marines Association, former WRNS and local Sea and Royal Marine Cadets.

The event was also attended by The Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Lord De L’Isle who took the salute and reviewed the parade with the Commandant General, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and the Mayor of Deal.

Royal Marines then Exercised the Freedom of the Borough of Deal which was awarded to the Corps in 1945. This parade, marched along the seafront, past Deal Pier, turning left down King Street and via the High Street to Deal Town Hall where the day’s events were brought to a close.

Marching with standards was our very own Malcolm Gibbons and Julian De-Zille.

 The Union Fag the Royal Marines Flag & The Flag of St George fly proudly at the RM Depot.
  The Parade leaves led by “HM Jollies”
  The expectant crowd patiently wait, recognise anyone?
  RBL Standard Bearer Julia de Zille is addressed by the Lord Boyce.
  42 Commando march off bayonets fixed and swords drawn…..
  ..closely followed by proud ex “Royals”…..
  …and WRENS.  Preparing to take the salute at Deal Pier.
 Joe keeping a watchful eye on his fellow Standard Bearers.


Zeebrugge Ceremony at St James’s Cemetery Dover the 100th Anniversary of the raid on 23rd April 1918.

  Bob Davies and Vice Chairman John Elms enjoy a chat.

  Janet Barkway with RBL National Chairman Terry Whittles.

   Town Mayors David Cronk Deal and Paul Graeme Sandwich enjoy a cuppa!

   Janet presented with her reproduction copy of St John’s Gospel presented to the troops 1914

  Staple Branch Chairman Mike Sturba

  Admiral The Lord Boyce KG, GCB, OBE, DL with members Sheila & Alan Watson.

  Wreath Layers including representatives from France, Belgium & Germany.

  Joe de Zille setting a standard that no one catch match.

  Malcolm Gibbons with The Burma Star Standard.

  A Cross laid at every grave.

                                           Royal Marines march to Dover Town Hall.

                                       The Zeebrugge Bell



St George’s Day Monday 23rd April is the Centenary of the Zeebrugge Raid, this interesting item in The Deal Maritime & Local History Museum  forms part of the splendid Royal Marines exhibition.  

Naval types may wish to know HMS Somerset is due to sail from Celtic Seas UK into Dover.


Bob Davies “found” this photo in his collection taken in Arromanche, Normandy on 6th June 2011, I thought you would all like to see it.

 Thanks Bob!



Gwen and her trusty team of Cadets from the Deal Detachment Kent Army Cadet Force raised an amazing £202.50 for the Poppy Appeal at her Easter Egg Tombola in Deal High St Saturday 10th March.

Well done Gwen and a very big THANK YOU to everyone that donated the eggs.




Gwen’s Christmas Tree

This year’s tree decorated solely by the hard work of Downs Branch committee member Gwen Bowsher was dedicated to the memory of our Merchant Seamen, those brave souls who transported vital supplies to Britain during WW2 and evacuated many children to safety overseas.

 Deal Town Mayor Cllr David Cronk admires Gwen’s tree at the opening ceremony.

Well done Gwen and Thank You!




(“Bleuet” ? see also further info at the end of this item from Claudine)

Branch members from Minster Village Ken and Lindsay travelled to their Twinning Village Armbouts-Cappel in France to commemorate Armistices Day and returned home with a few French members in time for Remembrance Sunday at Minster Cemetery, so well done to them both!

Lindsay at Armbouts -Cappel Memorial NOTE the Blue Cornflower in the men’s lapels.

Minster photo’s follow

Wreath of Blue Cornflowers, Bleuet De France, laid by a  French visitor at Minster’s Cross of Remembrance. No-one is sure why this flower was chosen but it is thought it could be because new soldiers who were in blue uniforms were nicknamed “bleuets”; like poppies the cornflowers still flowered among the mud of the trenches; and blue is one of the three national colours in the French flag.

Claudine wife of member Brian Fawcett has kindly translated the following from original French information.

The bleuet , or cornflower, was present on the battlefields, just like the poppy.

It became a symbolic flower to remind people of the sacrifice of the French soldiers called “Les Poilus”. The colour blue was an homage to the Poilus’ uniform.

In 1915, new recruits were nicknamed “Bleuets” after their new uniforms, totally blue – blue azur.   Previous uniforms were blue and red.

After the war, the bleuet became a symbol of souvenir.

2 ladies – Suzanne Lehardt, herself a widow ( her husband, an infantry Captain was killed in 1915) and Charlotte Malleterre, daughter of General Gustave Niox and wife of General Gabriel Malleterre, greatly traumatised by the plight and suffering of the wounded soldiers, gave them help and incentive to get back into society by organising factories where they could create bleuets.  Those were made of material and newspaper.

When sold, those bleuets provided a small income for the wounded soldiers.   Hence, the bleuet became another symbol: rehabilitation through work.

Far less frequent since the 1960’s, the bleuet is still sold but mainly for the commemorations of 11 November and 8 May. The funds provide financial help for veterans and war widows.  Also for wounded soldiers on peace missions and victims of terrorism.

Many Thanks Brian & Claudine.


Armistices Day 11th & Remembrance Sunday 12th November 2017 Deal.

Armistices Day 11th November

Ryan leads with Branch Standard & his sister Jemma (3rd) with Burma Star Standard.

Branch Parade Marshal Joe de Zille  (centre) saluting.

A welcome “flock” of Wrens!

Remembrance Sunday 12th November 

Two “Matelot’s” from TS Lynx stand guard.


Great to see the Cubs and Scouts on parade!

Joseph, “our Sid’s great grandson”  lays a wreath for The Burma Star Association

L to R Branch Padre John Lines MBE, Branch President Austin Walker MBE, Peter Woods Burma Star Chairman, Malcolm Gibbons Remembrance Secretary.

 Stuart Gemmell Branch Youth Liaison Officer (Centre)

All Photographs kindly supplied by Bob Davies, many thanks Bob.



We are very proud to announce that two “Park” Benches have been purchased by the Downs Branch and have been set on concrete bases free of charge by Dover District Council in Hamilton Road Cemetery Deal.

One bench is in honour of Royal British Legion Members and the other to honour our Local Veterans, they are situated by the Cross of Remembrance and may be especially handy for use at the Armistices Day Service we hold at 11.00am every year on November the 11th.

My thanks go to Tony Eldridge, ably assisted by Mary, for applying a preservative to the benches and clearing away soil and weeds from around the bench legs. (see photo’s below)



At Deal Hospital Fete on Saturday 5th August our trusty team raised a very useful £55.26 despite the rain making them a bit damp, well soaked to the skin actually! however they fought bravely on to the bitter end so well done to one and all!

Mary setting up shop with Poppy Goods and donations kindly given.

Waiting for the rush!!

Our team warmly welcome Deal Town Mayor Cllr David Cronk and his good lady.

………closely followed by Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal Charlie Elphicke.

Mary very kindly supplied beef burgers for all the team, seen here enjoying hers!!

Gwen warms up with a well earned cuppa wearing the very latest rain hat, don’t ring us we’ll ring you!!


The 2017 County Parade was organised by the RBL White Cliff Branch Dover.                           Kent County Parade pictures with many thanks from Marie Atkins and Bob Davies, look out for  Army Cadet Jemma very ably carrying the Downs Branch Standard and Joe carrying the County Colour.

Bob Davies

Kent Army Cadet Corp Dover & Aylsham Detachment




I saw this interesting display in the Imperial War Museum recently



KENT COUNTY CONFERENCE Saturday 21st January @ Headcorn Village Hall, Mary Eldridge, Gwen Bowsher, Jackie De zille & Edward Barkway (Delegate) attended on behalf of the Branch. Full report at our Branch Meeting 6th February

DSCN1393 Joe carrying the Union Flag leading the Parade of Branch StandardsDSCN1386  “Aussie Walker MBE announcing the worthy winners of the Annual Awards DSCN1389  Joe receiving his well deserved shield as runner up in the Annual Standard Bearer Competition from County President Cllr Leyland Ridings MBE JP.  DSCN1390  Joe “nursing” his shield!DSCN1391  Standards at the dip for the two minute silence and ExhortationDSCN1392 Joe leading the Standards at the close of the meeting.