This page will be for used for “Sue’s Quiz’s” and “Items of interest” until the virus has been crushed!

Sue’s Cranium Cruncher’s No 10 & answers to No 9 🙄

Hi folks….. I’m feeling an urge to travel today!

From up North (oop nawrf)
1. What is the main ingredient/flavour of a PONTEFRACT CAKE?
2. A favourite with hikers and climbers, from what South Lakeland town does this famous minty sweet hail from?
3. From what Scottish Royal Burgh does the haddock dish called a SMOKIE come from?
4. With a pastry base, what two ingredients are layered on top to make a MANCHESTER TART?
5. Called the “King of British Cheese” and named after the location of where it was originally sold from, The Bell Inn?

From Down South (“darn Sarf)
6. What is the topping on TOTTENHAM CAKE?
7. What school lends its name to a dessert made with soft fruit, usually strawberries, merengue and cream…..said to have been invented there?
8. From which Spa town might we buy a SALLY LUNN teacake?
9. Named after the West Country location of its origin….us British like to “gorge “ ourselves on this cheese?
10. This Cornish original, uniquely features a whole fish (or fishes) with the heads peeking out of the pastry?

A bit more geography for us stranded travellers.
11. Which is further North….Liverpool or Leeds?
12. Which two South coast resorts include the title of REGIS in their names?
13. Which Scottish city has a CAMERA OBSCURA, which gives a 360degree view of the surrounding area ?
14. Where in London will you find the WHISPERING GALLERY?
15. Which artist created the huge winged sculpture THE ANGEL OF THE NORTH that looks down on travellers from on top of a hill near Gateshead?
Answers to No 9
1. Rodgers and Hammerstein
2. Carousel
3. Michael Ball
4. £33m. Actually £32, 794, 701
5. Lark
1. Corn
2. Jaffa cake is cake and shortcake is biscuit.
3. Ginger nuts….hair colouring.
4. Cookie
5. Fern from Victorian baroque.
1. Unsmoked
2. Cheese
3. Black
4. Absinthe
5. Blackcurrent…Ribena



Part 2 of Malcolm’s history of the Burma Star Association

THE BURMA STAR MEMORIAL As readers od Dekho will know the Burma Star Memorial Fundwas established in 2005 working hard in setting up a scholarship programmel Awith University College London. Our scholarships will be available to citizensof any ofthe Alliednations that contributed to the Burma Campaign. The steering committee has also been developing a new website which willbeBURMSTARlaunched in theAutumn at The 56,000Association M EMORIALmembership records and all back copies of Dekho! have been digitised and will be FUN Davailable to both view and add to on this website. There is also information on thehistory of the Burma Campaign and details of the new Burma Star scholarship programme. The websitecovers the following areas:Design style of the websiteThe Memorial Fund has developed a new identity and logo. The website reflects this new design approachand colour palette. The logo represents the educational role that the Fund will play in the future. The conceptis based on book spines with the medal ribbon colours and a star integral to the design. The website usesdifferent elements of this in its design and has a more contemporary feel to it. The design style will also beused on the Memorial Fund’s stationery.Online archiveThis is the most comprehensive part of the new website. We have worked with an organisation calledFindrryrpast to digitise all of our 56,000 Burma StarAssociation membership records. Over a three- monthperiod a member of staff from Findmypast was based at the Grosvenor Gardens offices and took a photographof each of the membership records. The same has been done for all of the past issues of Dekho!A11of thesecopies have been photographed so that they can be digitally recorded.The new website will be free of charge and will not be subscription based. Anyone will be able to view thephotographic images oftherecords andofthemanyhundreds of articles inDekho! Therewill alsobe a searchfacility so that an individual can look for a specific name, regiment, squadron or ship for example. You willalso be able to add to an individual record. If you have photos or memoires that you would like recorded forposterity the Administrator at the Memorial Fund will be able to explain how this can be done.Burma Star Scholarship ProgrammeThis section of the website gives more information on the new Burrna Star scholarship programme that theMemorial Fund has established with University College London.The Burma Star Scholarship reflects the multi-national nature of the Allied forces which fought in Burma -the most diverse of any force in the Second World War – by being open to graduates from any Allied nationwhich contributed military forces.The Burma Star Scholars will study at University College London in fields related to the Campaign. They will
be drawn from around the world and we hope will have a passion for changing the world and tackling theissues which we all face in the future. Like the 14thArmy, they will be excited by the thought that the worldcan be a better place.The scholarship will only be successful if we raise enough money to fund it. We are dependent on donationsand the supporl of philanthropic partners to help us fund these scholarships. We are always delighted to hearfrom potential funders and those interested in making a donation to help fund our scholars. Please contactHeadquarters on 0207 823 4273 or at HistoryThe Campaign History section of the website has much of the information on the history that is on the currentBurma Star Association website. However, it will be presented in a more dynamic, interactive way with asearch facility to allow you to find specific stories, battle histories or Division information quickly and easily.The new Campaign history timeline shows the chronicle of events far more clearly and it will be easier totrack the progression of the Campaign and key events. We have included General Sir William Slim’s LastOrder, issued on 2 December 1945 on this webpage and Lord Louis Mountbatten’s Address to the Press inAugust 1944.This section also includes information on Books of Interest. It includes a link to the Burma CampaignMemorial Library held at SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) . The collection was compiled byvolunteers from the Burma Campaign Fellowship group over a four-year period (1995-1999). It initiallyconsisted of private donations and bequests from veterans and other individuals; books drawn from thelibrary collection of SOAS and books purchased u’ith the aid of a grant from GB Sasakawa Foundation. Thisinitial collection was complemented by a significant addition of Japanese language titles relating to theCampaign donated by the All Burma Veterans Association of Japan in 2001. It is constantly growing asexisting rare books are acquired and new works on the conflict are published. The full descriptive catalogueof the material available can be accessed via the new website.Campaign MemorialsInformation on the many Burma Campaign memorials can be found on this parl of the website. As readers willbe aware. the Memorial Fund established a Burma Star Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum atAlrewas in Staffordshire which is dedicated to all those who took part in the Burma Campaign of 1941-1945 .Opening hours, directions and details of the annual memorial service will be included here.There is also information on the 400 recorded UK wide memorials as well as those located in Myanmar andIndia. Finally, this section of the website reminds us of the origins of the Kohima Epitaph. The verse isattributedto John Maxwell Edmonds (1875-1958) and is thoughtto have been inspiredbythe epitaphwrittenby Simonides to honour the Greeks who fell at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480BC.The website will be launched in the Autumn of this year. We hope that readers find it useful and draw yourattention parlicularly to the online archive where you can look back over our 192 issues of Dekho !


Sue’s No 9 Quiz Bizz!

You’ll Never Walk Alone….in the headlines.
1.  Who wrote the song?
2. What Musical does it come from?
3. Col. Tom Moore had a No.1 hit to add to his fundraising efforts for the NHS. Who with?
4. He set out to raise £1000 but what phenomenal sum did it reach(a point for the nearest Million £)?
5. Back to the song….what bird is referred to in the lyric?

Biscuits. Do you know your nibbles….there is a link!
1. Do you like a bourbon chocolate cream? It shares a name with an American whiskey. What grain is used to make the whiskey?
2. Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit and is shortcake a biscuit or cake?
3. Which nickname, also a biscuit, is given to DJ Chris Evans, snookers Steve Davis and Prince Harry…and many others?
4. What computing term meaning “information that travels from browser to web server” is another name for a biscuit.
5. What plant is stamped as a pattern onto custard creams.

Colours in food and drink. When a colour is in the question or answer.
1. Is green bacon smoked or unsmoked?
2. What is Blue Vinney?
3. What colour are fully ripened olives?
4. What green alcoholic drink contains wormwood?
5. As a child, Michael Portillo made a TV advert for what drink?

6.    1974
14.   K
15.   RED

Part 2 of John Elms our President’s history of the Malayan Emergency

The Malayan ‘Emergency’ 1948 – 1960   Part 2

A brief history of a British Infantry Regiments tour of Malaya from 1955 to 1958. On 19th July 1955 the main party of the 1st  Battalion Royal Lincolnshire Regiment boarded the Empire Clyde at Liverpool bound for Malaya. An advance party including the CO. Lt. Col. Goulson was to leave by air for Singapore twelve days later. The Empire Clyde arrived in Singapore on 11th August with the advance party already there to welcome it.

Following a weeks acclimatisation at Singapore the battalion moved to Kata Tinggi in Jahore State for three weeks jungle training. Upon completion the battalion took over duties from the 1st Bn. Somerset Light Infantry in Pahang State forming part of the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade which at that time also included the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 2nd Royal Australian Regiment. Operations commenced against the communist terrorists otherwise known as CT’s. By February 1956 the battalion strength had risen to nearly 1200 some 75 per cent being National Servicemen. It was noted “It was no small demand to ask a young man of 19 or 20 to take a patrol into the jungle, patrol a difficult and possibly dangerous area and navigate his way back.” 

During April 1956 B, C, D and Support Companies moved to Negri Sembilan HQ and A Companies remaining in Pahang. The four Companies now formed part of then 26 Gurkha Brigade together with the 2/2nd and 2/6th Gurkhas. Up to November 56 the Battalion was credited with 13 CT’s killed and 9 captured, 2 members of the Battalion were listed as wounded.  On the night of 7th/8th November a party of local Home Guard, pig hunting, entered one of A Companies ambush positions and were mistaken for CT’s. Two of the Home Guard were killed. Unfortunately 2/Lt R. D. Ogden (a member of the tobacco family) was killed.

At the end of November 56 the Bn. Moved north to Perak state leaving B and C Companies behind to join them in December. At this time three members of the Bn. received Queens permission to receive three Negri Sembilan awards, Sgt G. L. Bench the N S state Meritorious Service Medal with L/Cpl G. J. Henson and Pte . R. C. Powell receiving the N S State Conspicuous  Gallantry Medals.

The state of Perak included areas of tin mines, rubber and tea estates with jungle covered mountains and extended north some forty miles north of Kuala Lumpur right up to the Thailand border. Operations were soon underway with the first success going to D Company with a kill near Sungei Siput where the conflict first started on 16th June 1948. Between 2nd February to 2nd April the battalion was based around Taiping for a period of rest and retraining. This also provided the opportunity of leave for most of the men.

Operations resumed  after 2nd April and carried on in the area until the end of February 1958 when the final move took place to west Johore in the south of the peninsula. Once again considerable success had been achieved in Perak. Accurate figures were impossible due to the nature of operations but a considerable number of CT’s had been eliminated or captured.    

On 31st August 1957 Malaya was granted total independence which was known as ‘Merdeka’. B Company obtained ‘a kill’ two hours before Merdeka and on 3rd September C Company obtained two more. These were the last in the old regime and the first under the new one.

As a little aside an interesting event occurred on 13th March 1957. A three story rubber factory collapsed near Taiping. Sheets of latex approximately 2.5 metres long and 1.5 metres wide were hung over wooden poles to ‘cure and dry’. The whole lot collapsed burying workers.  We were called in to attempt a rescue. It was dark and flood lighting had been set up. I was in the first party. We climbed on top of the collapse and formed a chain gang passing along the sheets of latex . We did a four hour shift and by the time mine was over hands were ‘raw’ with handling the latex. Protective clothing not yet invented! Eventually five bodies were recovered but no survivors. The event made the national press as did several of the operational successes.

The Battalion made its final move to Johore at the end of 1958. The area consisted of jungle covered hills to the west and swamp and rubber plantation to the east. Numbers were now being run down ready for departure later in the year. The last engagement was on 10th  May when 2 CT’s were killed and six more wounded and captured. This decimated the last CT fighting platoon in the area. It also brought to an end a very successful tour by the Battalion operations ceasing 16th July. The Battalion lost 10 men on the tour plus one Iban tracker a member of the Sarawak Rangers who was attached. There was also a small number of wounded.

Apart from the three Malayan awards listed above members of the Battalion were awarded four Military  Crosses, two Military Medals, two MBE’s , two OBE’s and 30 mentioned in Dispatches. Some 2000 men were involved over the period with in the region of 75% being National Servicemen. Some 500 men embarked at Singapore in the Empire Fowey on 25th July reaching Mombasa Kenya on 5th August. Instead of continuing home it was diverted to Aden where trouble was commencing and an infantry unit was needed. Here it remained until 10th September when replacement infantry was available. The date of the eventual arrival in the UK was unrecorded. The remainder of the journey  was completed in the troopship Devonshire.

Editors Note

John was serving with the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment during this period.



Medway Queen Part 2

In the early part of the 20th century a trip on a paddle steamer was a high-spot of a family’s summer with the Medway Queen’s decks often being full of holidaymakers. During these times most seaside resorts had their own pier where many paddle steamers disembarked their passengers. The Medway Queen mainly operated between Strood, Southend and Herne Bay; calling at Sun Pier (Chatham) and Sheerness. Additional trips to

destinations such as Clacton and occasionally Margate were also advertised. She would normally leave Strood Pier at around 9am and call at Sun Pier (Chatham) shortly after. The Medway Queen carried many people on her various excursions from the Medway Towns during the 1920s and into the 1930s.  Special events such as Chatham Navy Days generated extra traffic and in 1937 Medway Queen ran an excursion to the Spithead Naval Review, meeting up with a train load of passengers from London Victoria.

In September 1939 the ship assisted in the evacuation of children from her home county of Kent to East Anglia as part of an operation contracted to General Steam Navigation of which the New Medway Steam Packet Co. was a part. Embarkation was from the Ford Jetty at Dagenham on the 1st and 2nd of the month and from Gravesend on the 3rd.

Medway Queen was requisitioned for war service on 9th September 1939 and taken to the shipyard of the General Steam Navigation Company in Deptford Creek where she was transformed from her black, white and cream peacetime livery to battleship grey. The refit included considerable modification to her aft end where part of the saloon was cut away to accommodate the mine-sweeping gear. Additional items were fitted such as a 12pdr gun and anti-aircraft machine guns. The bridge was extended and enclosed. She went into the yard as a pleasure steamer but came out as HMS Medway Queen with her pennant number N48 which later became J48. The commissioning ceremony took place in November and sea trials commenced.

Her first wartime captain was Sub-Lieutenant R.D.C.Cooke, RNVR. He was a veteran of the first world war. The other officers included Sub-Lieutenant J.D. Graves RNR and Lieutenant Jolly RN. who was a peacetime yachtsman. The navigator of HMS Medway Queen was Lieutenant Keilly who, despite being of pensionable age, managed to persuade the Captain to take him on as a Junior Officer because of his long deep sea experience. Other crew members included Petty Officer Crossley who was to become the Coxswain and also Petty Officer McAllister who became the designated Bo’sun of the upper deck.

After gun trials at Sheerness adjustments were made in Chatham Dockyard. HMS Medway Queen was then posted to Harwich in January 1939, initially as an independent ship and later as part of the 9th Minesweeping Flotilla. During the winter of 1939 parts of the Medway and Thames estuaries were frozen over but the Flotilla continued their daily sweeps for mines with the assistance of a tug to break any patches of ice that lay ahead of them. The harshness of the cold winters took their toll on the Medway Queen with faults appearing in the ship’s structure. This lead to her being ordered into Chatham dockyard in February 1940 for repairs and installation of de-gaussing equipment as protection against magnetic mines.

In March 1940 HMS Medway Queen joined the 10th Paddle Mine-sweeping Flotilla in Dover The flotilla was commanded by Commander Greig RN. of HMS Sandown (another paddle steamer, originally from the Isle of Wight). At about this time the Commanding Officer changed to Lt. A. T. Cook RNR. when his predecessor retired through ill health. Lt. A. T. Cook commanded Medway Queen throughout the Dunkirk Evacuation and for some time afterwards. HMS Medway Queen patrolled the Straits of Dover acting as sub-divisional leader. Often the paddle steamer would anchor in pre-arranged locations in order to act as lookout. It was when the Medway Queen was fulfilling this duty on 27th May 1940 that she received orders to head to the beaches of Dunkirk to embark some troops that would be waiting there. Even then the crew of HMS Medway Queen had no idea of the enormous operation known as “Operation Dynamo”.

To be continued


Committee member Jennie Gibbons and her music.

Here is a little item which may be of interest to some of our members.

I first started to play a tenor horn, which is held and shaped like a very small euphonium,  in Snowdown Colliery Brass Band, well over twenty years ago. This band plays every year at the Deal Hospital Remembrance Day Service, it also played for several years at the Armed Forces Day Celebration at Deal Pier. I now play for the Deal Brass Academy Band. You will see this band playing at Armed Forces Day on Deal Pier. We also play at several fetes, summer and winter activities, though not at the moment due to Lockdown! Members, including myself, play outside our homes, amid the clapping, patriotic tunes at 8pm on Thursday evenings. Among these tunes are:  Over The Rainbow, Ode To Joy, There’ll Always Be An England and We’ll Meet Again. All very much enjoyed by our neighbours and a pleasure to play.


Very interesting item from our Youth Liaison Office Stuart Gemmell.

Hello to you all. I hope you are all keeping safe and well during this unusual time. I understand that lockdown has probably posed more of a challenge for some, than others, but to me, it feels like I am on operations again with the Army.

Some of you may know that I served with the Royal Engineers for over 21 years. I was lucky to deploy on many operations around the world. Almost 20 years ago to the day, I was sent to Kenya, providing support to a Kenyan National Park, repairing roads and building a bridge that had been swept away during the previous year’s monsoon season.

                    A young Sapper Gemmell (L) and friend in Kenya (Jan 2000)

                      Camp living Nakuru National Park Kenya (Jan 2000)

Living was basic in the African bush, as you can see from the photos above, but as Royal Engineer’s we made the best of what we had to hand, which was often not a lot.
        The Royal Engineers – A brief history

The Corps of Royal Engineers was formed in May 1716 after a Royal Warrant of King George I authorised the Royal Regiment of Artillery and the Corps of Engineers as separate entities. In 1787 they were granted the title Royal and Engineer officers and were styled Royal Engineer. Commissions were awarded on merit, unlike the cavalry or infantry, where they could be purchased.                                                                The Royal Engineers has no battle honours. Its regimental motto, awarded by King William IV in 1832, Ubique (Everywhere) & Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt (Where Right and Glory Lead) signify that the Corps had seen action in all the major conflicts of the British Army.

The Royal Engineers were responsible for the introduction of much new technology to the Army – telegraphy during the Crimean War of 1854 – 1856. In 1870, the Telegraph Troop, Royal Engineers was founded the first formal professional body of signallers in the British Army charged with providing communications for a field army by means of visual signalling, mounted orderlies and telegraph.

The Royal Engineers also introduced photography in the Abyssinian Campaign of 1867 and steam road traction in the Ashanti Campaign of 1873.The Royal Engineers were responsible for the introduction of much new technology to the Army – telegraphy during the Crimean War of 1854 – 1856. In 1870, the Telegraph Troop, Royal Engineers was founded the first formal professional body of signallers in the British Army charged with providing communications for a field army by means of visual signalling, mounted orderlies and telegraph.

With their expertise of firing explosive charges underwater the Royal Engineers became responsible for harbour defences, using submarine mines in conjunction with searchlights. Indeed, the Submarine Mining Service grew into a major specialization and was not handed over to the Royal Navy until 1905.

The Royal Engineers interest in aeronautics began in the 1860’s when they explored the possibilities of using air balloons for aerial observation purposes. This developed into an interest in fixed wing aircraft and on 13 April 1912, when King George V signed a royal warrant establishing the Royal Flying Corps. The Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers became the Military Wing of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) a month later on 13 May.

On 1st April 1918, the Royal Air Force (RAF) is formed with the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The RAF took its place beside the British navy and army as a separate military service with its own ministry.

The RFC’s motto was Per ardua ad astra (Through adversity to the stars). This remains the motto of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and other Commonwealth air forces.

The Royal Engineers (Postal Service) was formed in 1913 from the Army Post Office Corps, this came about as a result of the connection between the Royal Engineers (Signal Service) and the General Post Office. The postal service left the Royal Engineers in 1993 to join the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC).

Todays Ordnance Survey was developed from the early Royal Engineers survey activities. Britain having acquired an Empire, it fell to the Royal Engineers to conduct some of the most significant “civil” engineering schemes around the world. The Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment, was responsible for the foundation and settlement of British Columbia as the Colony of British Columbia. They also had a hand in the following structures:

  • The Royal Albert Hall
  • Much of the British colonial era infrastructure of India
  • The construction of the Rideau Canal
  • The Western Heights of Dover
  • Pentonville Prison
  • Royal Naval Dockyards across the world, including Chatham Dockyard

Members of the Corps have determined boundaries on behalf of the British as well as foreign governments; some notable boundary commissions include:

  • 1839 – Canada-United States
  • 1858 – Canada-United States (General John Hawkins RE)
  • 1856 and 1857 – Russo-Turkish (Sir Edward Stanton RE)
  • 1857 – Russo-Turkish (Field Marshal Lintorn Simmons RE)
  • 1878 – Bulgarian
  • 1880 – Græco-Turkish (Major General John Ardagh RE)
  • 1884 – Russo-Afghan (Colonel Thomas Holdich RE)
  • 1894 – India-Afghanistan (Colonel Thomas Holdich RE)
  • 1902 – Chile-Argentine (Colonel Sir Delme Radcliffe RE)
  • 1911 – Peru-Bolivia (Major A. J. Woodroffe RE)

As you can see from our history, the Royal Engineers has had a busy 300 years!


Item of interest from our Branch Padre “In Love” Rev John Lines MBE 

 Towards the end of the war, I was living with my mother in West Norwood near Crystal Palace in South London.  Like most men of that time my father was away fighting in our armed services.  My mother’s mother lived in Chorleywood in Hertfordshire and for some reason we were going to visit, why I cannot recall but it may have been because my grandfather was seriously ill.  However back to my tale!  To start the journey we caught a London Transport LT class bus up to Victoria, the LT class buses were AEC six wheel vehicles and this particular one had an outside staircase at the rear to reach the top deck.  I know my mother was not too keen on the top deck, especially with all the cigarette smoke, but she kindly indulged my plea and we went up to the top deck.  On our arrival at the bus stands outside Victoria Railway Station I was to see a sight that changed my life forever!  Standing in the bus station was a grey painted bus, don’t forget that London bus were usually red, which made a funny tinkling noise as it ticked over.  I was in love, a love affair that has lasted to this very day! I can imagine my poor mother on the rest of the journey, firstly to Baker Street tube station and then train to Chorleywood, as I went on about that bus!!!

My enquiries eventually got me the facts that the bus was a wartime Utility bus with a chassis built by Guy Motors of Wolverhampton and London Transport had around 435 of them.  The grey paint, and several other colours, was used because no red was available during the war.  As I grew I started to research the Utility buses, especially those of London Transport.  I set myself the task of acquiring a view of all 435 of them, either with LT or sold to other operators.  Sadly I now have between two and two and a half thousand  views of the London Guys, but not all 435, mind you I am not giving up, and the collection is still growing.  (Poor Christine having to put up with it!)

Sometime in the 1960 I was on the telephone to a friend who was part owner of a London Transport bus and he suggested that I ought to buy a bus!  I well recall replying that I did not want an AEC or a Leyland bus, I wanted a Guy!  In my innocence I thought that they had all gone long before our conversation!  I was rather surprised when he said that Burton Corporation in the Midlands was still running ex London Guys!  Now I have been a non-drinker all my life so really had no idea that Burton was renowned for its breweries! However, a call to directory enquiries and I was given the number of Burton Corporation Transport Department and when I telephoned I was put through to the general manager.  Result?  Ten minutes later I was the owner of an ex London Transport Guy Utility bus fleet number G 351!  Maybe, if I am allowed, I can continue this story at another time.  Keep safe John Lines.

John we look forward to your next episode in a few weeks time.


“Item of interest” from Richard Purton our proud Standard Bearer.

 A Festival of Togetherness.

At a time where we are keeping ourselves apart to save the lives of our family, friends and loved ones, being together has never been more important. Usually free to go where we want, when we want, we are all adapting how we come together in these difficult and unprecedented times. From phone calls and text messages we wouldn’t normally make so regularly to increased use of social media to standing at least 2 metres from our vulnerable loved ones front door dropping off food or medicines. In these last few weeks we find ourselves perhaps coming together more closely than ever before and at a time when in fact our freedom has been heavily restricted.

As Legion members, togetherness is at the heart of our ethos. We show this in the many ways the Legion operates. The list is endless. Each year during remembrance tide, members come together at The Royal Albert Hall for The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance.  I had the honour of carrying our branch Standard at the festival last year. An honour I have been privileged with twice before with the Margate and Kent County Standards.

Inspired by the success of The Great Exhibition in 1851, The Royal Albert Hall was designed by civil engineers Captain Francis Fowke and Major-General Henry Y. D. Scott of the Royal Engineers and opened by Queen Victoria in 1871. The project was part of a series of permanent facilities to benefit the public driven by Prince Albert. Passing away in 1861 the Prince did not get to see the completion of his ideas but is honoured and remembered by his memorial opposite the ‘Great Hall’.

The first festival was held at the Royal Albert hall in 1923 on 11th November and was entitled ‘In Memory 1914-1918 – A Cenotaph In Sound, in aid of The British Legion, Field Marshal Earl Haig’s Appeal for Ex-Service Men of all Ranks’. It was renamed in 1927 as the ‘Remembrance Festival’ and in 1971 took the name we know today after the British Legion received its Royal Charter. The Queen first attended on 8th November 1952 and has regularly attended ever since.

The festival has evolved over the years from a sing song with remembrance service and Last Post to the extravaganza we know and love today. It was first publicly broadcast on BBC Radio in 1927 and of course is now a firm favourite on the schedule of BBC TV.

In these testing and unusual times, embrace the many different ways in which we find to come together, however far apart we are. Many of us will be worried and overwhelmed but we are all doing our best. Remember, you are not on your own. We are in this together. Embrace this Festival of Togetherness and we will make it through to be together again.

References : –  Wikipedia


“Item of interest” from our Vice Chairman Malcolm Gibbons.


Having begun life as an informal club after the war, the Burma Star Association  was formed in 1951. The following year the Burma Star Relief Fund was established by Trust Deed and registered as a charity under the War Charities’ Act 1940. In 1995 a new charity was formed, with The Burma Star Association combining the membership of the old Association with the benevolence work of relief fund.

Over the years, approximately 56,000Burma Star holders- or holders of the Pacific Star with the “Burma clasp”— joined the Association. Nevertheless, the Association’s benevolence work encompasses all veterans, whether or not they joined the Association, together with their widows or widowers.

The record cards have recently been digitised and will very soon be available to view on our new website

Although the records indicate that Association membership now stands at some 1,700, the actual figures is certainly lower, since the office is often not informed of members’ deaths. In theory, there are 32 Association branches although many of these are inactive, without having formally closed.

Furthermore, over the last number of months has seen the deaths of key Association officers, mostly notably our President, Viscount Slim, and our Vice Chairman Vic Knibb. It was only but two years ago, we reduced the quorum of voting members at the AGM from 20 to 10.

As well as dwindling and increasingly immobile numbers, the Trustees are also extremely conscious of the fact that the Association’s overheads now exceed welfare distributions, a gap that can only widen.

Against that background, the Trustees are extremely keen that the Association should plan in order to close at a time of its own choosing.

VJ Day was commemorated by the Government, under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence, in 2005,2010 and 2015. There is every prospect that there will be commemorations – quite possible for the last time – on 15th  August this year. Our proposal is that the Burma Star Association should therefore seize the opportunity to close ‘on a high’, on an anniversary of national significance. In perhaps his most – quoted line, T S Eliot wrote in The Hollow Men: ‘Not with a bang but a whimper.’ A bang would be altogether better…

In accordance with Section 18 — Closure and Winding – up of the Association’s Constitution (2014 Revision) – the Trustees have the authority to close the Association: ‘ When the Trustees consider that the number of existing and potential beneficiaries qualifying for relief in accordance with clause 3 hereof is so small that the separate administration of the Association is no longer justifiable …. and transfer its assets … to another charity … with priority for the benefit of persons who are at the time of  the winding-up beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of the Association.’

In 2005, the Burma Star Memorial Fund was established  in order to perpetuate the memory of those who fought so gallantly with the ‘Forgotten Army’ in Burma. As well as creating and maintaining a memorial garden and grove here, at the National Memorial Arboretum, the memorial Fund Steering Group has been working hard on an ambitious campaign to raise funds to support post- graduate students at University College London.

Selection is currently taking place for the first scholar, who will be studying Engineering for  International Development, a subject of particular relevance to the Burma Campaign. Future students will seek solutions to the continuing threat posed by epidemic diseases.

Through its carefully – phased Trust Deed, the Memorial Fund is able to assume the Association’s vital benevolence role, thus enabling the transfer of the Association’s remaining funds to the Memorial Fund.

On the 3rd April 2019, after very careful consideration, the Trustees therefore agreed that the Association should close on 15th August 2020, the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day.

Note :  Jeremy Archer (A Trustee) put this message to the Annual General Meeting on 11th May 2019 and it was accepted.     

  The Kohima Epitaph.

 When you go home

Tell them of us and say

For your tomorrow

We gave our today



“Item of interest” from our President John Elms.


Medway Queen PS (1)

I first met the Medway Queen as a delicate teenager in 1960 when, with my girl friend Jos’e, later to become my wife and mother of three, we took a trip on her down the river Medway to Sheerness, quite an adventure for a lad who had only ever been on boating lake in Gillingham Park!

Little did I know a good many years later I was to become a life member of her Preservation Society.

The Medway Queen was built at Troon in 1924 specifically for the New Medway Steam Packet Company Ltd. for operation on the River Medway. The ship was ordered in 1923 at a cost of £21,500 for completion in 1924. She was built by the Ailsa Ship Building Company of Troon on the river Clyde using a traditional frame on plate technique. The hull was flush riveted and the internal joints on bulkheads were secured using round head rivets. The engine was also constructed by Ailsa, being a compound diagonal steam engine (with two cylinders working at different steam pressure and set at an angle between vertical and horizontal). A bow rudder was later fitted, in 1936, to better enable the ship to manoeuvre in harbour and the boiler was replaced and converted to oil firing in 1938. The new boiler was constructed by Wallsend Slipway and Engineering Company in Newcastle and installed in Chatham Dockyard.

To be continued




Flag Lowering

A good crowd were there to witness the Union Flag being lowered from the Flag mast in the now closed RM Depot Deal.                                                                         
The flag is raised with due ceremony when the clocks go forward and lowered when they go back, this simple but moving ceremony has been carried out over many years by a dedicated band now residing in the depot with good few “outsiders” in support!


Fancy a walk on Normandy Beach? click the link for all the info!


Did you serve in Malta? have you any connection with Malta? then the following may be of interest. (the link is dated 2018 but the report is for 2019)


“TIME MARCHES ON” a project to mark the 30th anniversary of the Bombing of the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal.


If you have served in HM Armed Forces please take a few minutes to complete the survey below. Thank You!



Full details in the invitation letter below, please contact me for a booking form and menu. Last chance to book 30th August!  OR 07885110384  OR  01304 363947


The Poppy Event on Walmer Green Saturday 29th June proved to be a great success as the photo’s go to prove!

Deal Army Cadets assemble the Branch marquee

“Spiv” Brian Walton of Dover Branch.

Downs committee member Lydia (L) with her “assistant”

Branch Vice Chairman John Elms with his fabulous paintings, John kindly donated a percentage of his sales to the Poppy Appeal

Poppy organiser Anne Hill and husband Peter

Err? branch member Lindsay Thacker??

Committee member Sue Andrews sells a cake or two to Sheila Watson

Deal Army Cadets set up camp!

Branch member Rosemary Baker on her book stall

Poppy Tombola with Branch member Kath Jarrett

Members Gwen Boucher and Sylvia Roberts

L-R members Sheila Watson, Jenny Gibbons & Anny Elms

Branch Chairman Edward Barkway trying to look useful!!

Branch Secretary Malcolm Gibbons makes an announcement.

Victory War Time Band in full swing

Royal Marines & Royal Navy Cadet Band marching display

Deal Army Cadets Drill Display

A few more photographs follow….


My thanks to Bob Davies & Janet Barkway for their photographs.



Poppy Event this coming Saturday 29th June see poster below NOW!

See you there for a great day out!


Fancy some excellent food at a good price, good company and a great venue? seek no further see below and book NOW!                                       

Come to our meeting Monday 6th May and book your places with Lydia!


WW1 Walmer Aerodrome Evensong at St Mary’s Church Walmer, 19th May scroll down for full info on previously published poster.


“Cake Maker” Kaitlin does it again!

Committee member Sue Andrews with husband John were very proud Grand parents at a presentation evening last night Thursday 4th April, See Sue’s full report below.

Ruby 99! a deputy Lord lieutenant and Kaitlin.

Harry Chapman, branch Secretary, Kaitlin and Mayor of Swanley.

                                            Our grand daughter Kaitlin was invited to the British Legion Swanley, Crockenhill and Hextable awards presentation last night.
The ceremony was held in Hextable village hall and was attended by the many Poppy sellers, Cadets and other volunteers who were awarded certificates.
We joined our grand daughter and her family for the presentation.
Kaitlin has for the past two years made ‘Poppy’ decorated cupcakes and sold them at her school to raise money for the Poppy appeal. Her school had given the money she raised  to the local British Legion branch and told them of her efforts.
As a family we were made really welcome. Kaitlin especially!!! She was met by Harry Chapman branch secretary and he then introduced her to the Mayor of Swanley. They both chatted to her and thanked her for her efforts. The branch Chairperson and Poppy Appeal organiser both took time to chat with her too.
Kaitlin was presented with a certificate for her contribution to the Poppy Appeal and was also given a beautiful British Legion necklace, together with a British Legion Poppy   Cake recipe book.!!!
Kaitlin had her photograph taken with Ruby, who is the Branches oldest Poppy seller aged 99!!!
It was a really lovely evening and wonderful to see her being really made a fuss of.

Sue Andrews


Flag Raising at former RM Depot

This short but meaningful ceremony to raise the Union Flag took place at 11.00 Sunday 31st March, it will fly proudly until the end of British Summer Time 27th October when it will be ceremonially lowered. 

Colour Party L-R John Elms, Peter Hall, Dev Jennings and John Hardy.

Bob Davies RM (Far Left)

A good Job done!

My thanks to all for the photographs.



There will be a short ACT OF REMEMBRANCE at the entrance to the RM Rifle Range at Kingsdown, Monday 1st April Muster at 10.00 for 10.20 SCROLL down to see the full story below at………. 

“Royal Marines Rifle Range Kingsdown”


Walmer Aerodrome

See the open invitation poster below and the potted history of our local WW1 Fighter Defence Station that follows.

Walmer Aerodrome closed to flights in early summer of 1919.The last Squadron at Walmer (233 RAF) was disbanded on May 15th 1919, but it took some time to remove planes, personnel and equipment. It had been opened in Spring 1917 as a Royal Naval Air Service aerodrome and was one of the busiest aerodromes in this part of Kent. From an Aerodrome with only a flight of planes, usually six and seventy supporting staff, Walmer was to increase in size to accommodate a full Squadron of up to twenty four planes. The last German Aeroplane raid on England by daylight took place on 22nd August 1917. Three planes took off from Walmer mid-morning, along with planes from Dover and Manston to successfully engage the enemy. After this, German tactics changed with future air attacks on England taking place at night. On the first of April 1918 at the height of World War One the RNAS and the RFC were combined to form the Royal Air Force. RAF Walmer now had a new Fighter Defence Flight with Captain W.M. Alexander as Commanding Officer flying Sopwith Camels. Their primary mission was to engage enemy fighters originating from Belgium and by the 20th October 1918, the Belgium Coast was completely reoccupied by Allied Forces. After the signing of the Armistice there was a reduction in the necessity for air power in this part of the world and although the numbers of planes at Walmer was increased in March 1919 when all 233 Squadron arrived from the Guston Aerodrome the plans were already being considered to withdraw and within three months Walmer Aerodrome was closed. The last plane to fly out of RAF Walmer was the Airco DH.9

RAF Walmer was also open during WW2, but was not used operationally for aircraft.


Royal Marines Rifle Range Kingsdown


Please attend if you can.

Thank You!



Holocaust Day, see poster below for full details.

Our Parade Marshal Joe de Zille will be laying a wreath on behalf of the Downs Branch. Everyone welcome!



The Bingo regulars were out in force for the first session of 2019, the second Wednesday of every month in The Alma function room, everyone is welcome to join in the fun from 2pm to approx 4pm.

Thanks to the “crew” including John Elms, Mary Eldridge, Gwen Boucher and Lydia O’connor for all their help in ensuring everyone has a good time!


FREE trip to France for D Day Veterans!

This is a golden opportunity to visit the Normandy D Day landing sites in France, if YOU are a D Day Veteran OR you know someone that is then please click the link below.


World War One lost medal “miracle”

Click the link to read this amazing story!


Thursday 6th December at the RMA Club saw 33 members and friends tucking into a superb lunch prepared by Sue and her “girls” the tables were beautifully decorated to put us all into the true Christmas spirit.

Vice Chairman John Elms warmly thanked Sue and her staff for the wonderful meal and prompt friendly service.

Secretary Malcolm Gibbons proposed the toast to Absent Friends.

Chairman Edward Barkway warmly thanked John and Lydia O’Connor for organising the lunch and Lydia for running the raffle, he welcomed all present and wished each and everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year.


Our thanks to Bob Davies for his lovely photographs.

Don’t forget the Christmas Raffle with buffet on Wednesday 12th December in the function room of the Alma Pub at 18.30 for 19.00 tickets just 50p a go, over 50 prizes!



IMPORTANT! December’s Monthly Bingo (2nd Wed of every month) is on Wednesday 19th December 14.00 to 16.00 NOT Wed 12th.


Just a few of the lucky “winners” at last months games organised by Gwen Boucher tea maker & washer upper’er, Mary Eldridge card checker and dogs body with John Elms money taker, card issuer and all round good egg approaching Molly the caller!


Display at Deal Town Hall

A very interesting display at Deal Town Hall attracted a steady flow of visitors to see the exhibits arranged by Events Manager Jo Harper which included some 150 post cards written by pupils from Sandown School in memory of all WW1 soldiers.

Hosting the event and helping Jo to set up were members John & Anny Elms, Mary Eldridge and Lydia O’Connor.

Our Downs Branch RBL Poppy man welcomed the visitors.

The crosses supplied by Gwen have pictures of just some of the men from Deal & Walmer who died in the Great War.

Some very touching sentiments written by the pupils of Sandown School.

A fascinating history of the 1500 Belgian refugees who stayed in Deal during WW1 researched by Suzanne Green  displayed along the LH wall.

Our magnificent Book of Remembrance inscribed and donated by John Elms in 2015 attracted a good deal of interest.


Our granddaughter Kaitlin spent 2 evenings making  and decorating 70 ‘Poppy ‘ cakes to sell at her school.
She raised over £75 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
She is on the left of the picture. Her friend helped her sell them.
We are very proud of her.
Sue and John
Message and pictures from new committee member Sue Andrews.

Mmmm! they look very tasty, well done and thank you Kaitlin.

(Scroll for three more new pictures)

A small part of the Poppy display in Kingsdown Church.

Well done “Bloody Mary’s” wine bar for flying this flag.


St Andrew’s Church West St Deal

Extend an open invitation to a short service at this lovely old church this Saturday10th November at 7.30pm where you are invited to lay flowers and tributes in memory of the end of WW1 at their War Memorial within the church.

The RBL Book of Remembrance that John Elms inscribed and presented to the branch will be re-blessed.

Everyone welcome.


PARKING                                                                                                                                                          There is FREE parking on the Freedown for the very short Service at 09.00 on Sunday 11th November ONLY.

Please scroll for the poster below the poem.


 Very Special Poem to Masheeda from her Sister-in-Law.

Sq. Leader Anthony Downing RIP 23 Dec 2011 aged 34 Died of wounds from an IED in Afganistan.


Programme from Walmer Parish Council, poster below.


Please support this concert if you possibly can as the organisers are very kindly donating some of the proceeds to our local Legion. Full info below!


Quick Reminder to ALL branch Members there is an open meeting Monday 24th 19.30 @ The Alma Pub in Deal, please come along and have your say!


This thought provoking image entitled “There but not There” was spotted by Bob Davies at the Military Odyssey Show at the Kent County Show Ground.


BINGO!                                                                                                                        These regular 2nd Wednesday of every month sessions held in the function room of the Alma Pub are proving very popular with daytime players!

 Just a few of the regular 30 or so that come along, who at this session enjoyed a surprise buffet kindly donated anomalously, so many thanks indeed to whoever you are!

Everyone welcome!

Many thanks to the organising crew, Mary, Gwen, Lydia & John.


Three pictures of the stalwarts manning the RBL Downs table at Deal Hospital Fete, well done to you all for “flying the flag”


Branch members will be manning a stall at Deal Hospital Fete this afternoon 4th August so please come along and say “hello” we will be very pleased to see you!




Canadian Armed Forces in Folkestone see poster below                                              


Clean plates all round!

Thirty three Downs Branch members and friends enjoyed a very convivial lunch at the RMA Club Thursday 21st June, our President “Aussie” Walker and his wife June and Dover White Cliffs Branch members Chris and Brian Walton were warmly welcomed by chairman Edward Barkway.

The very generous and tasty two course meal with coffee and mints was prepared and served by Sue Cornish and her “girls” at an extremely reasonable cost of £12. no wonder there were “clean plates all round”

The raffle raised £88 so many thanks indeed to all who donated the prizes, thanks also to Lydia and Rosemary for selling the tickets, Aussie managing to draw out his own ticket! and Edward winning a pink Teddy Bear (no comments please!)


Many thanks to everyone that made the day possible, especially to Liz Larner and Lydia O’Connor that recorded the sales and payments and to John Elms for booking the venue.

 A generous well deserved  collection being presented by John to Sue and her staff not only for looking after us so well but also for the splendid table decorations, many thanks from us all!


When a vinyl record was mysteriously handed into the RAF Association’s Flowerdown House hotel in Weston-super-Mare, we didn’t expect to discover such a rare find: A 73-year-old wartime recording made by a serviceman to his wife for their first wedding anniversary.                                  (see below picture)

Contact between the serviceman, identified as Rick, and his wife during the Second World War, likely would have been limited, and the recording demonstrates just one way families kept in touch.
To hear Rick’s message click the “start button” below..
…they didn’t have ecards or Facetime then!!

Many Thanks to member Brian Fawcett for sending me this.                                            Edward


A poignant reminder kindly submitted by member Bob Davies.                                


Are you ex WRAC?

Mrs Mary Clark would love to hear from you, please contact her directly at

Many Thanks,                                                                                                                                                    Edward



Free Holidays for WW2 Veterans!


Remembrance Travel is trying to find all surviving veterans of WWII to participate in funded LIBOR Tours of Remembrance to where they served.

The Royal British Legion has been running LIBOR funded tours for Normandy veterans for the past four years and thanks to additional LIBOR funding is now able to widen the tours to all veterans of WWII.

The Treasury are enabling a series of tours which are being funded by the LIBOR fines, allowing a WWII veteran to return and pay their respects to fallen comrades. In addition, a family member and a carer would be able to accompany the veteran to support and share the experience.

The tours will take place from spring to autumn as numbers demand and will give WWII veterans – now mostly in their 90s – the chance to meet up with fellow veterans, visit significant battlefield sites, cemeteries and memorials. The tours will be led by an official Royal British Legion guide and the tours will include:

  • Overnight B&B accommodation pre and post tour (as required)
  • Accommodation on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis during the tour
  • Air, rail, ferry or executive coach travel as per the itinerary
  • Visits to war memorials, cemeteries and significant sites
  • Entrance fees
  • Medic
  • Up to £50 per person allowance for travel to and from the tour departure point

Tours do not include lunches, travel insurance and items of a personal nature.

These tours are also open to organisations and associations. If there is a group of 10 veterans (30 passengers) or more, we will operate a coach at no charge from a local departure point to join an existing tour or operate a separate tour. Please note the group would not qualify for the £50.00 travel allowance.

There is no database of veterans from WWII who are still alive today, therefore if you are a veteran or know of a veteran who would like to benefit from these tours, please contact us on 01473 660800 to register your interest or download the registration form and send it to Remembrance Travel, C/O Arena Travel, 2 Betts Ave, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP5 3RH.

Click here to download the registration form >>



This annual event to raise the Union Flag on the flagpole situated in front of the former Officers Mess in the South barracks housing estate took place to-day Sunday 25th March at 1100hrs. Members of the Deal RMA Branch were on parade and a bugler was in attendance to sound the calls. This short ceremony reminds all who live on the estate of the long Royal Marine history of where they live.

A few of the residents ready to witness the event

Flag raising crew at the “ready”

Royal Marine Bugler calls for the colour party

Colour Party to attention

The Union Flag is ceremoniously raised.

Colour Party respond

The flag proudly flying outside the former Officers Mess.


Photo shoot of those in proud attendance at this special occasion.


It is with great sadness we announce the passing last Sunday 18th May of Rev Peggy Fishlock aged 89.

Peggy was a long time member and Padre of the Downs Branch and was loved and respected by us all.

Funeral 10th April 2.00pm at Barham Crematorium.                                                      Photo from Bob Davies.


If you know of a WW2 Veteran please tell them about the info below!


Drumhead Service September 2018

(Information Posted 30th January 2018)

Please Note!

  1. For Downs Branch RBL Members ONLY!

  2. Booking through Mary ONLY  at OR 01304 382235.

  3. Provisional booking NOW please, confirmation will announced in June / July.

  4. Transport depending on numbers interested may be arranged.

  5. Please confirm if you have a wheelchair or a walking frame etc or need assistance.

  6. Details on the poster below.

     Our next Monthly Branch meeting is on Monday 5th February bookings will be taken then on a “first come first served” basis.  Thank You.


Kent County Conference 20th January 2018

Arrival of the Colour Party and Branch Standards

Roll of Honour and Exhortation

Prayers from our County Padre Cannon Paul Kerr

L -R Tony West BEM County Membership & Secretary, Richard Cast Chairman, Leyland Ridings MBE President, Terry Whittles National Chairman, Stephan Gatward FAAT Treasurer & Richard Graham Vice Chairman

Members and Branch Delegates, Mary & Aussie for Downs Branch

Richard Cast investing Richard Graham as the new County Chairman.

Richard Graham Kent RBL County Chairman.

Mary Eldridge with her well deserved County Vice President Award

Joe DeZille Standard Bearers Competition Runner Up (again!) Certificate and shield.

Many worthy winners with their awards

Richard Cast (centre) presenting a new trophy in memory of his late wife Pauline with daughter Sammie Cast, The Pauline Cast Trophy was presented to the County by Richard Cast as an award for Branch Community Support (BCS).  It will be presented each year to the Best BCS Branch, with the Swanley, Crockenhill and Hextable Branch being the first winners.

National Chairman Terry Whittles inspects the Standards

Standard Bearers raring to go!

All photographs very kindly supplied by Ian Lillford White Cliffs Branch Dover.