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perish invisibly in the night, when no one is prepared to risk their lives for them”. Later during the Reception, Mrs Moreland said “It has been a great privilege to be able to say thank you to all the Servicemen and women who lost their lives and to those who were injured. But let us move on. Let us remember the past, but don’t let’s live in it”.

A number of members made the long journey to take part in the Mons Reunion. The parade executed an almost faultless march to Chester Cathedral where this year we commemorated the Malay Campaign. Col Dick Peel spoke about the life and career of Brig Bernard Rigby, the author of our regimental history, Ever Glorious. The march back to the Castle was followed by the usual lunch and Regimental update from our President. It was good to see so many supporting the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey but I do not think I am the only one to be very disappointed to see our Regimental plot as part of a Mercian Regiment plot. It was just as disappointing that only a representative of the Mercian Regiment was invited to present the plot to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. We will put this down to an administrative glitch and hope that things will be back to normal next year. We enjoyed another visit to HM Tower of London the evening before Remembrance Sunday and we are very grateful to Dickie Dover for entertaining us with his eerie and macabre tales from the Tower. It was unfortunate that the rain fell during the Ceremony of the Keys, but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm and interest of all those attending. With a little help from our friends, we managed to provide a decent body of marchers at the Cenotaph. It was a great surprise to have John Huggins parading in the next column opposite us. Although a member of the Southern Region, John was marching with the London Ambulance Service. Needless to say, Brig Sharpe was quick to fix an oak leaf into John’s hat. This year, we enjoyed excellent coverage from the BBC and it was particularly pleasing to hear comments from the watching crowd who remarked on our smartness as we passed. We are very grateful to all those who travelled long distances to support us, this year as far away as New Zealand. As is customary, we enjoyed a roast dinner afterwards in the Chandos Public House.

At our AGM, there were no surprises when all of the committee were re-elected – unopposed. At the Meeanee Ladies’ Dinner, held once again in Knightsbridge Barracks, we welcomed Col John Donnelly, recently appointed Deputy Colonel (Cheshire) and his wife Jenny, the CRA Chairman Pete Gresty and Lynne and also Maj Rob Prentice representing 1 MERCIAN. He received The Harington Cup on behalf of the Battalion from General Harington’s daughters.

142 October 2009


by Keith Mort Branch members attended both the Malaya and Suez Reunions, where once again the boys from Walsall and Birkenhead pulled out all the stops and pressed the right buttons to make both events hugely successful.

Our bowls team went to Birkenhead hoping to play bowls but could have taken up swimming instead as the rain bounced down washing out the match which was declared a draw. On 6 July, a large contingent travelled to join up with our friends from WFR at the Crich Memorial near Matlock: we had a superb buffet lunch in the Black Swan before moving up to the Memorial to take part in the Service with our Association, Branch and Mercian Volunteers Association Standards on parade. A Cheshire Regiment wreath was laid by CRA chairman Peter Gresty. After the Service, we returned to the Black Swan to finish off the buffet and partake of more liquid refreshment. Apart from one downpour during the Wreath laying ceremony when Brigadier Andrew and his aide got drenched, the weather held and a moving and memorable day was had by all.

Sunday 13 July saw us at the Ellesmere Port Boat museum to commemorate 318 years’ Service by the Regiment to Crown and Country. After two moving Services at the Boat Museum and the memorial in Whitby Park, we went along to the TA Centre at Stanney Lane for lunch – again another memorable day and thanks to Ellesmere Port Branch for such good organisation. On the evening of 26 July, the Armoury hosted a charity dinner in aid of the baby unit in Stepping Hill Hospital. Over £4,000 was raised with yours truly boosting the fund by bidding for a picture on canvas of Denis Law and George Best both in their prime when they played together for some team or other in Manchester, can’t remember the name but I believe they play in red. On Sunday 3 August, we commemorated the 91st anniversary of the battle of St Julien which took place on 31 July 1917, with our annual Church Service at St George’s, Stockport. Seven branch Standards were on parade led by Derek Sykes with the Association Standard; the Mayor of Stockport graced us with her presence. It was good to see that George Jones DCM was well enough to attend. The Service was followed in traditional fashion with a Curry Lunch in The Armoury. The next big event for us was of course the East Cheshire Reunion at the end of October; this was the 60th such Reunion and was once again a great success. The highlight for many of the 232 people who attended was the display given by The Corps of Drums of 1 MERCIAN.

Our Ladies Christmas Dinner on 19 December was another huge success and

rounded off the year perfectly. For a change, we brought in outside caterers so that Eric and his team could enjoy a tête-à-tête with the lads in the Longson Suite whilst the ladies were wined and dined in the downstairs bar. We started off the New Year by attending the AGM and Meeanee Reunion at the Norbreck Castle, Blackpool. The branch took up five tables in the ballroom for what was an excellent weekend. Our thanks to the organising committee for all their hard work in putting it all together.


by Russ Cooney On Saturday 9 August we held our Belgium Dinner night in the Regimental Club and were well supported with 47 people sitting down to a very good four course meal. We are very lucky to have such an excellent club not too far from our doorstep! An article in a recent CRA Newsletter about the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas prompted us to arrange a visit and pay our respects. On a sunny day in August (or was it THE sunny day in August?), 26 of us went to Staffordshire to see the new memorial. There are more than 130 major memorials on site with the “Shot at Dawn” posts particularly heart-rending. After hot-rodding one incline too many, Alan Rowe’s motor scooter gave up and, after a very narrow vote, we decided not to leave him stranded in the woods and had him towed back in. Sunday dinner was taken at the nearby Fradley Arms and was excellent value. We can recommend this visit to any of our branches who have not been.

The Mons Reunion is always rather special and enjoyable; the march past and Cathedral Service was great. Our Standard Bearers do us great credit and the CRA looked proud indeed. Lunch reminded me of an exercise we did in the mid-sixties in Germany. After three days of being very hungry and scavenging off the local farmers our CSgt found us drooling at the thought of a mess tin full of stew: I was handed a carrot butty and half an orange and, because I complained, he took the half orange off me! We had an attendance of 80+ at our Christmas social and over £1000 worth of prizes. The night went well but there are a few things we have to address to make it even more successful next year. Our venue at the Gladstone Social Club is much better and now that the committee have identified a few teething problems this year, should be up to our normal high standard.

Snippet – Rusty Cooney (after a few beers): “Alan, you will say a few words at my funeral won’t you”.

Alan Rowe: “Don’t know, you haven’t given me a date yet. I could be doing something else”.

The Mercian Eagle

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