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Walsall


by Mick Bird Our Malayan and Singapore evening, for me, turned out to be an excellent weekend. Seven of our visitors stayed overnight at the local hotel. The next morning the seven members, Roy Turner, Paul Hadfield, Vic Parker, Wally Lakin, Brian Eddows, Bill Bastin and John Gibson were joined for breakfast by Len Hurcombe, Bryn Jones and me. What a wonderful 1_ hours we had as most of us had not met up for over 50 years. We certainly drank all the beer, killed all the CTs and chased all the women in Johore. Gentlemen, I thank you for your company and here’s to the next one.


Mick Bird and Les Sutton, accompanied by their wives, had a pleasant weekend in Liverpool and also attended the Suez Reunion. It was an excellent event, well organised with good food and entertainment. Well done the Birkenhead branch. The two events, Suez and Malayan & Singapore, were well attended with over 200 members but there was only one officer on parade, Maj Bill Jones who is a real staunch supporter of our events. Where are all our “leaders of men”? The Mons Day Parade was attended by thirteen members; seven brought their wives and have since regretted it because they made the most of the opportunity to do some serious shopping in Chester. It was a pleasure to meet up with those young junior officers I served with all those years ago, including Dick Peel, Charles Lane and James Goddard. We had the usual mini bus organised, supplied and driven by Alan Cooper to attend the East Cheshire Reunion. There was a very good turnout for this event, superbly organised by the Stockport Branch. Supper was very tasty, the cheese was wonderful, all swilled down with free beer (how do they do it for the money?).


Suez Reunion 2008 by Geoff Hunt and


Graham Ball The 11th Annual Suez Veterans’ gathering took place in Bromborough Civic Centre in June. Apologies were received from Col David Owen and Maj Mike Morgan-Wynne who had previous commitments, but we were pleased to welcome Peter Gresty, the Chairman of CRA, and his wife, Lynne. Sadly, numbers attending were lower than in previous years probably caused by the rigours of time catching up with many of us. However, it is always a pleasure to meet up with any old comrades of 54 years ago, especially this year as one, Joe Passey, ex Support Company, made sure that his visit to UK from home in Adelaide, South


The Mercian Eagle


Australia, coincided with the Reunion. He had a lot of old friends and memories to catch up with. We were well entertained by the Liverpool Harmony Singers, ate a first class smorgasbord and drank plenty of liquid refreshment and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Next year’s Reunion will be held at Ellesmere Port Civic Centre. We would appeal to all those who missed this year’s Reunion to make a big effort for 2009.


Mons Reunion – Sunday 14 September 2008


by J A J After all the rain we endured during August and September, it was good to have a fine but cloudy day for our Mons Reunion. This year there were 90 members on parade including four Colonels of the Regiment and a very good officer contingent. Brig Mike Dauncey DSO sent his apologies. At the rear of the parade were representatives from the 1st Battalion. The parade was led by the King’s Division Band with 25 musicians on parade and members commented after the march how they had enjoyed marching behind them, but one or two commented that the pace seemed more appropriate to the light infantry. It was good to see nine Standards on parade led as usual by Derek Sykes with the Association Standard. I noticed a couple of new Standard bearers on parade and this is encouraging. Nevertheless, the reality is that some 90% of those on parade were OAPs, but they were still a credit to the 22nd. The parade was commanded by Brig Andrew Sharpe OBE and, for the return march to the Castle, Maj Ron Goodwin MBE commanded as Brig Andrew accompanied the Lord Mayor of Chester on the saluting dais. The Chairman of CRA, Peter Gresty, was on leave enjoying himself somewhere in the Caribbean, but he had sent his apologies.


The Service in the Cathedral included four very well known hymns, all sung with great fervour. The reading by Brig Andrew was “Service in Malaya 50 years ago” and was well received. During the Service, Lt Col Dick Peel paid tribute to Brig Bernard L Rigby CBE who was Assistant Regimental Secretary and Secretary of CRA in the 1960’s and 70’s and author of our regimental history, Ever Glorious. He was born on 15 September 1910 and died on 10 December 2007, aged 97. Brig Bernard enlisted into The 22nd as a soldier in August 1932 aged nearly 22 and trained at our old depot in Chester Castle. He eventually transferred to what was then the Army Education Corps to fulfil an ambition to be a teacher and quickly rose through the ranks. Commissioned into The Royal Army Education Corps in April 1943, he retired as CEO HQ Western Command in Chester in 1964. Starting his Service in Chester as a Private in 1932, he finished


there as a Brigadier, having served in every rank, albeit some temporarily, in between. He was appointed CBE for his Services to Army Education in the 1965 New Year Honours List.


East Cheshire Reunion – Saturday 25 October


2008 by Alan Jennings Regimental history reached another milestone when the 7th Battalion celebrated its 60th Reunion Anniversary. Her Majesty’s telegram expressed her good wishes for “a most memorable occasion” and those wishes were fully realised. 232 tickets were issued of which 16 were for WW2 veterans. We were delighted on the night to welcome two lads who served in A Company of the 7th from 1939 to 1945. They were Stan Clayton aged 88 who now lives in Lincoln and John Downing aged 92 who lives in Macclesfield. It was pleasing to have representatives from 14 out of the 16 branches on parade. I must thank our colleagues who travel such long distances to join us for our special evening.


We again had a full table from Mortar Platoon 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment which is based in Stockport and, to bring the past and present together, we had the Corps of Drums of the 1st Battalion on parade and they did themselves proud. We were pleased to welcome the President of CRA, Brig Andrew Sharpe, Gen Keith Skempton and the Chairman of the CRAMC, Peter Gresty, as well. Brig Mike Dauncey sent his apologies. The traditional meal of Cheshire Hot Pot followed by Cheshire Cheese was up to expectations and very enjoyable. The plates were clean when collected at the end of the meal. We again gave free entry to WW2 veterans and there were two cans of beer for each person on the tables - a gesture that was much appreciated. During the formal part of the evening, the Loyal Toast was proposed by Col Edward Scott. The Toast - Our Colonel in Chief - was proposed by Peter Gresty. Brig Andrew Sharpe proposed the toast to the 22nd and took the opportunity to update us on the 1st Battalion. After the speeches, the Corps of Drums gave a magnificent display which was enjoyed by all.


22nd Golf Society


by Bill Jones The 2008 season gave us great golf and a keen, willing turnout. Although our members were slightly down on Prestbury due to sickness and holidays, we have attracted new members through the excellent coverage in the newsletter. Our next meeting at Sutton Hall (a long and testing course)


October 2009 143


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