Annual Report published in the Gazette 1972

PRESIDENT: The Lord Wigram, M.C., J.P.

VICE-PRESIDENTS: Major M. McLaren, Major MSB Vernon, M.V.O., Major P.N.S. Frazer, Major C.J. Airey, J.J. St. Clair Mardon Esq., K.G. Mardon Esq., The Hon A.F.C. Wigram

CHAIRMAN: Mr S.G. Tucker

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr J.L. Bowles

HON. SECRETARY: Mr D.T. Griffiths, 110 Pound Road, Kingswood, Bristol

COMMITTEE: Messrs R.N. Ackerman, B. Barrington, D. Box, T. Caswell, M.M., K. Cook, J.D. Frost, L.F. Day, F. Howarth, K.V. Williams, R. Bleadon, and J.J. Strong

HEADQUARTERS: The Crown & Dove Hotel, Bridwell Street, Bristol 1

MEETINGS: (Committee) 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7.45pm at Omnibus Social Club, Easton Road, Bristol or as notified. (General) at Headquarters 2nd Tuesday of March, June, September and December.

(This report was written by the former Honorary Secretary)

 The start of 1971 promised to be a very full year for the Branch, and so it proved in very many ways.

Initially we had a setback when Dennis Box, our Treasurer for some years, found it necessary to resign his appointment, though fortunately he has been able to serve on the Branch Committee and help in many other ways. Ken Matson has taken over these onerous duties and has been extremely busy trying to turn our pennies into pounds and a first-class job he has done on our behalf.

In March several members were able to attend the Annual Dinner of the Bath Branch and needless to say we enjoyed a really good evening, well organised by our old friend Jack Sharman.

In April the Reverend Douglas Walker, our Chaplain and Welfare Secretary, notified us that he was moving to Swindon and arrangements had to be made to change the venue for our monthly Committee meetings. For many years Douglas had been a most engaging mine-host for these meetings and is was a great loss when he had to step down as Welfare Secretary, a most important function of our activities. The news that he would remain a member of the Branch was most welcome and we have been happy to renew acquaintance at our quarterly meetings and enlist his help in other ways.

Again in early April, and on your behalf, I attended the Annual Meeting of Branch Secretaries in London, where Colonel Arthur Spratley put us through our paces in true Regimental fashion. The journey on the "milk train" home to Bristol where one arrives in he pre-dawn period all seemed worthwhile after a wonderful day and evening of business and pleasure.

No fewer than 15 members and wives from the Branch were able to attend at Wellington Barracks on Sunday the 6th June for the Annual Remembrance Service at the Guards Chapel - once more a most memorable occasion.

July again proved an extremely busy month, starting with the Boyton Cup Shoot at Pirbright on Sunday 4th. Another sunny day saw 74 members, wives and families helping to swell the ever-growing attendances at this most popular event organised so efficiently on our behalf. This year we had our own trophy to compete for - "The Wigram Cup" - a most handsome trophy awarded by the Branch for the best Branch score of the day. There was great jubilation in the Bristol Camp when it was announced that Lance Cambridge had not only become the first name to be inscribed on it, but that he had also won the Boyton Tankard for the highest score of any Association member - scoring a remarkable 29 out of a possible 30. So far as we have been able to ascertain, he is the first Bristolian to win this award. Well done Lance!

On the 14th July your Committee moved its monthly meeting to the United Services Club Weston-super-Mare in order that members from that area could have the opportunity of becoming more closely involved in our activities. This meeting was such a success that it will be repeated in future years.

Later in the month a number of members were able to attend a Garden Party organised by the Worcester Branch, thanks to the kind invitations issued by Bill Gibson, their Secretary. The following Sunday, the 1st August, saw 82 members and wives present at the home of our President at Poulton Fields near Cirencester, where a full programme of events had been laid on for our entertainment. This was followed by refreshments for all, kindly laid on by our host and hostess. Rain had held off during the day but as our transport wended its way homeward, the skies opened and the area was deluge by a Summer storm; our thanks to Jupiter for his forbearance on this occasion.

The 22nd of October saw the start of another spate of Branch activity. On this day 53 members and wives were able to accept the kind invitation of RSM Bill Elcock and his Grenadier colleague CSM Jim Lines of the Sergeants Mess of the Army Apprentice at Chepstow. Snooker, Darts, Cribbage ,Bingo and Dancing were all on the programme followed by a first-class supper.

On the following Saturday I was able to attend the Annual Dinner of the Monmouth Branch of the Welsh Guards Association - what an evening this turned out to be. More important than the refreshments was the fact that Roy Lewis, their hard working secretary and I were able to get together and plan a future get together on a social scale in Bristol for 1972. This could be the start of another friendship with our colleagues across the Severn Bridge.

Sam Tucker and I represented the Army at the Annual Festival of Remembrance at the Colston Hall, Bristol on the 6th November - again full house notices had been posted weeks in advance. A week later our vice-chairman John Bowles laid a wreath on behalf of the Branch at the Cenotaph in Bristol.

Once more we held our Annual Dinner and Dance on the 13th November, although this year it was on a Saturday. About 150 members, wives and guests sat down at the Arno's Court Country to celebrate the occasion under the leadership of our Resident. Mr Hutchinson, Town Clerk of Bristol was our guest of honour, and we were also honoured to have with us Mr Twist, Chief Constable of the City, and Colonel Hill, the Recruiting Officer for the City. We were pleased and honoured to have with us the Lieutenant-Colonel of The Regiment, Colonel Hargreaves, and also to see once more Lt-Col. Arthur Spratley our General Secretary, who was absolutely delighted with his sales effort which lightened our pockets by some 70 or so.

The success of the evening was most evident by the number of letters received from who attended expressing their delight at the arrangements - a real tribute to a Committee who had worked so hard once more to ensure that the highlight of our year is an event that is a "must" to be entered in everyone's diary.

Our Annual Christmas Draw was held following the December Quarterly Meeting and some 19 prizes were drawn. The profit, some 60, swelled Branch Funds due mainly to the fact that all prizes had been donated by members.

The skittles team which operates weekly throughout the Winter did not have the measure of success which looked likely early on, but comradeship remained high. One of our veteran members, Reg Gorton, won the shield for the highest average scores, giving some of we younger members a lesson or two in this most difficult pastime.

Our Committee meetings have, as usual, been well supported and my personal thanks are due to them, under the guidance of our Chairman Sam Tucker for their assistance on every possible occasion.

Great efforts are being made by the Branch to draw into the fold some of the 'lost' members and these efforts now seem to be bearing fruit, and it is expected that the early months of 1972 will prove most encouraging in this respect.

By the time my report goes to press for inclusion in the Annual Report, I will have had to vacate my appointment following a posting to the London area. I must, therefore, express my sincere thanks to my President, Chairman, Members of Committee and all those members of the Branch who have made my tenancy of the position so pleasant and enjoyable. We are most fortunate to have the services of Dennis Griffiths to take on my role and we are all quite certain that he will be a most capable and enthusiastic officer.

Our thanks are also due to the Lieutenant-Colonel and Lt. Colonel Spratley for their kindness in a number of welfare cases, as well as supporting our recommendations for Christmas Gifts for those members and dependants in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves.

Plans for 1972 are well laid and we all look forward to another most successful year.

Finally a word of thanks to Lt. Colonel Spratley and his hard working and most understanding staff at Headquarters who make our task much easier than it might appear on the surface.